Labour’s selection meeting for Waitakere started at 10.30 am, and is still going.
It started with a contested election for the meeting’s rep on the selection panel. The panel effectively has seven members.
- Three members appointed by Head Office
- Two members appointed by the Waitakere electorate committee
- One member appointed by and at the beginning of the selection meeting
- One vote reflecting the secret ballot after the speeches
The secret ballot vote, as I understand it, is a simple first past the post vote and counts as a vote on the panel for the candidate who gets a plurality. If that candidate falls out of contention (ie it is between two other candidates), then the vote doesn’t count.
The order of speaking was Phil Twyford, Hamish McCracken, Carmel Sepuloni and Ann Pala.
Voting after the speeches concluded around three hours ago, so there is obviously some sort of deadlock on the panel, which is taking a while to resolve.
As I understand it McCracken has EPMU support, as he works for them or did work for them. So some of the head office vote may be with him. Pillay, the retiring MP, was EMPU so they probably see the seat as theirs.
Sepuloni is probably the candidate with the best chance to take the fight to Paula Bennett. I don’t think she’ll beat Paula, but she’ll do better than a white middle aged guy would, to be blunt.
Twyford was proclaimed as one of the new high flyers. However if he loses tonight, it will shoot his credibility to shreds, considering it will be his third effective rejection in a row, having been scared off Mt Albert and Auckland Central. Some in Labour will not want to embarrass Twyford like that, even if they think Sepuloni has a better chance.
Eventually the panel will need to eliminate one of the three favourites and then it is a simple two way race, where one candidate needs four out of seven votes.
I’ll blog the result once I hear it.
UPDATE: And it is Carmel Sepuloni. Congratulations to her. As I said above, this is hugely embarassing to Phil Twyford whose nickname already was “Opposition Spokesperson for the Homeless”. He may have to end up Labour candidate in Helensville, or some other unwinnable seat. Or he could move to Mt Roskill and wait until after the next election!