Labour announces more candidates

March 24th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour has announced five new candidates to contest National-held seats at the election on September 20.

Tofik Mametov, an insurance representative, will contest Botany which is held by Jami-lee Ross.

Barry Kirker, a clinical psychologist, will contest Pakuranga, which is held by Maurice Williamson.

Jerome Mika, a union organiser, will again contest Papakura, which is held by Judith Collins.

Penny Gaylor, an Otaki member of the Kapiti Coast District Council, will contest Taranaki King Country, where sitting MP Shane Ardern is retiring.

Kelly Ellis, a Whangarei lawyer, will contest Whangarei where sitting MP Phil Heatley is retiring. Shane Reti has been selected there for National.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran was confirmed today as Labour’s candidate.

Fair to say that none of those seats are likely to be won by Labour, so they will be hoping for list spots. This may help Gaylor and Ellis as the gender quota is now in effect.

Muller declares for Bay of Plenty

March 14th, 2014 at 9:44 am by David Farrar

Todd Muller has announced:

Muller to run for National Party BOP candidacy

Todd Muller, one of the Bay of Plenty’s most seasoned agribusiness leaders, today confirmed he is putting his name forward to contest the selection to be the next Bay of Plenty candidate for the New Zealand National Party.  Todd is currently a senior executive at Fonterra Co-operative Group.

“I am keen to return home to the Bay where I grew up, worked, married, had our family and my parents have lived for more than forty years.  With the support of local party members I know we can make a difference for all those living in the Bay of Plenty and continue the extraordinary contribution of Tony Ryall ” he says.

The Bay of Plenty offers so much, our rich natural resources, together with the talents of the people backed by the National Government’s investment in local infrastructure makes us a successful regional growth story”.

“But like all growth regions, the Bay of Plenty needs a strong and assured voice at the decision making table to meet its ongoing economic and social needs.”

Todd has a long history in the Bay of Plenty having completed his schooling there, held senior executive roles at ZESPRI and as CEO of Apata.  In the last three years, he has worked at Fonterra, most recently as Group Director, Co-operative Affairs, reporting to the Chief Executive.

Todd has been active in the National Party for over 25 years and has held positions at branch, regional and national level as well as working for Prime Minister Jim Bolger during the National Government of the 1990s.

Todd is 45, married to Michelle, and they have three children.

I’ve known Todd for around 20 years, from when he was President of the Waikato Students Union, and in the Young Nationals.

At the risk of cursing Todd, many have thought he will be Prime Minister one day. He has a great record of achievement.

In his early days, he would often get to introduce the party leader at regional conferences, and Todd would almost get a bigger standing ovation than the leader! Despite this one leader hired him, and Jim Bolger was a huge fan of Todd’s. Todd would often make the mistake of admitting he had no plans on for a particular weekend, and Mr Bolger would drag him up to the King Country for the weekend to drive around the electorate with him. Todd also had the rare ability to survive extended whisky sessions, yet still be up at 6 am!

Todd’s career post Parliament has been no less stellar.  He became a senior manager at Zespri in his early 30s and then Chief Executive of Apata, which provides post-harvest services to growers. Apata is a medium sized business with turnover around $30 million.

After Apata he went to Fonterra, and has shot up the ranks to the executive leadership team, being promoted after just 18 months to report directly to the CEO. It’s fair to say he’d be taking a massive pay drop if he becomes an MP.

Obviously Todd is not the only candidate for the Bay of Plenty nomination, but I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t win – especially as he grew up in the Bay of Plenty,got married there, and spent much of his working life there. If National can get people like Todd into their caucus, their rejuvenation while in Government programme will be very successful.


Maori MPs and candidates

March 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

National has had two hotly contested selections this weekend for National held seats. Shane Reti won Whangarei and Wayne Walford won Napier. As it happens they are both Maori. No quotas involved. No racial equivalent of a man ban. No head office deciding. All decisions made by 60+ local members and delegates.

National already has nine Maori MPs. They may have 11 after the election. And unlike some other parties, they select Maori MPs in winnable general seats such as Waitakere, Tauranga, Northland, Botany and also now Whangarei and Napier.

Is it perhaps not time for us agree that we no longer need the Maori seats to get Maori MPs into Parliament. There are other reasons you can advocate there should be Maori seats, but in recent years there’s been a great track record of Maori candidates being selected for winnable general seats.

A successful challenge in Kaikoura

December 19th, 2013 at 9:47 am by David Farrar

Commiserations to Colin King and congratulations to Stuart Smith who won the Kaikoura nomination for National earlier this week. Kaikoura is a large electorate and you have to look after both the Marlborough area but also a lot of North Canterbury.

It’s very tough being an incumbent MP, and losing a selection battle. However it is also a useful reminder that National’s electorate selections are incredibly democratic. All 60 delegates were elected by local branches. Not a single one was appointed by Head Office or even the Region. A world of difference from Labour’s selection where the head office get around half the votes, and affiliated unions can stack the selection meeting with people who have never joined the Labour Party.

Colin has been a diligent MP for his electorate and a loyal National Party MP.  Stuart is a former head of the New Zealand Winegrowers Association and almost inevitably will become the MP for Kaikoura.


Labour selections under Clark

November 26th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

John Crysler of the Department of Political Science of Carleton University in Canada has done a paper looking at the influence of party leaders on selections in two parties, with one of them being NZ Labour under Helen Clark.

It is a fascinating contrast to the current situation with David Shearer who couldn’t even stop conference voting to lower the threshold to challenge him – and just as importantly couldn’t get the party to agree to rules on future candidate selections.

Here’s what Crysler says about how it worked under Clark:

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the parliamentary party and the party organization were divided, the Labour Party leader had very little influence over candidate selection. In fact, some interviewees reported that in 1993, the party president and her allies deliberately influenced candidate selection to move the ideological orientation of caucus to the left and to replace the incumbent leader (which is how Clark came to the leadership in 1993). However, under Helen Clark’s leadership, during which time the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary wings were far more united, many interviewees reported that she did influence many electorate selections.

Clark was firmly in control. Now, no one is.

The institutional framework was such that all she had to do was communicate her preferences to the three head office representatives to have some influence. It is not clear how often these representatives took her advice, but many in the party believe it to have been frequent.

By the way this can not happen in Labour National. The head office gets zero say at all on selection meetings. Their role is just the traditional veto early on of totally unsuitable candidates.

According to the party’s constitution, there are 36 members of the moderating committee, only three of which are parliamentarians (the party leader, deputy leader, and someone elected by caucus). The rest represent the various elements of the party (party executives, sector councils representing various demographic groups and trade unions, and regional representatives). Despite (or perhaps because of) this disparate membership, Clark was widely reported to have taken a strong hand in the ranking process. Some interviewees reported that her influence stemmed from the respect the other committee members had for her judgment. One member of the moderating committee for three elections described Clark’s influence this away: Helen Clark’s opinion “was sought and always acted upon. If one slot didn’t reflect her preference, the next one would

I think the 2014 Labour Party list ranking will be fascinating. Think if Cunliffe is ranked No 3!

In Clark’s case, she also appears to have used her influence to augment the party’s electoral chances. For example, she tried to ensure that those demographic groups shown by Labour polling research to be likely Labour supporters be represented high on the party list.

Such as Rajen Prasad!

The conclusion is worth noting:

The experiences of Helen Clark and John Howard suggest that political media stardom is not necessary (nor, perhaps is it sufficient) for sustained political success in New Zealand and Australia. Instead, party leaders must be very competent media performers (preferably superior to their parliamentary colleagues) and media managers, and they must continually forge party unity through the drudgery of managing personalities and attending to party affairs so that their political messages are unsullied by unseemly divisions.

I think they are missing Helen!

John does not understand

July 21st, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

John Pagani blogs:

Give me a break.

“Interesting to be in a party where the leadership decide selections,” David Farrar says of David Parker’s decision to stand in Epsom, as if National’s selection of Paul Goldsmith wasn’t one of the worst leadership stitch-ups in the entirety of MMP.

I mean, he’s just shameless. I blogged when Goldsmith was selected that it made sense. But to then take the mickey and claim it was a local decision is bizarre. Goldsmith has been selected by party command  to throw the seat to former National MP John Banks, whose biography Goldsmith wrote. The locals wanted Bhatnagar.

John’s experience of political parties is limited. In the Alliance Jim Anderton decided everything. On the one occassion the rest of the party wanted a say, Jim stormed off in a huff and killed the party. Then in the Progressives Jim even named the party after him so he had full control.

In Labour, the head office had three votes on a seven person panel, and combined with the unions can decide most selections.

This is why John thinks that in National, the head office decided the Epsom selection. He can’t imagine a party where this is not possible.

In seats with membership under 900, the Regional Chair can have influence as they select some of the 60 delegates. But in a strong seat like Epsom, the 60+ local delegates are selected purely by the members in their branch meetings, and those delegates get 100% of the votes (the Regional Chair has a casting vote but not a deliberative vote).

Party members take their duties seriously as delegates. Unlike Labour where a union can bus in scores of “members” who have never attended a Labour Party meeting in their life, and have never even met the candidates, National has eligibility criteria. You must have been an individual member for at least a year, and more importantly you must have attended a Meet the Candidates meeting to be able to vote at the selection meeting.

On top of the formal MTC meetings, candidates generally will meet every delegate one on one in their house. To win a selection you need to spend weeks getting around all the delegates – some you may even meet two or three times as they question you on your beliefs, your experience, your ambitions.

I accept this is all alien to John, but it is how it works in the seats where National has membership of 900 or more.

Meanwhile NewstalkZB report:

Labour Party frontbencher David Parker’s to take a tilt at Epsom.

The list MP has confirmed he will be taking on National’s Paul Goldsmith and Act’s John Banks at the general election.

Now I am told nominations are still open. Yet the story treats Parker as if he is the confirmed candidate. That is because they know in Labour if the hierarchy support you, you will almost always win – their rules are written that way.

What is more interesting is that Parker is moving from Dunedin to Auckland. His relationship is part of it no doubt, but look at the politics.

If Goff loses, him and Annette will go. Parker and Street could well be the replacements. But Labour could not have a Leader from Dunedin and a Deputy from Nelson. Auckland is their stronghold, and where elections are won.

By moving to Auckland, Parker makes himself a far stronger contender for the leadership.

Also I should note that the blogs were first to say Parker would seek Epsom.

Bridges wins Tauranga nomination

June 13th, 2008 at 9:33 pm by David Farrar

Congratulations to Simon Bridges who won a four way contest tonight to be National’s candidate for Tauranga. He won on the first ballot which is a good sign of the respect he holds.

Simon will be an excellent candidate, and work hard for Tauranga.

Labour’s Selections

May 26th, 2008 at 1:36 pm by David Farrar

Craig Foss has noticed that Labour held a meeting this weekend to confirm Rick Barker as the Tukituki candidate, which is curious as he was announced as the candidate before Christmas. Did something happen?

There are rumours that some Labour MPs worried about losing their seats may announce they will go list only.

This could help explain why Labour has delayed its list ranking. Labour has a dilemma. If they give high list rankings to incumbent MPs, then they face having almost no new MPs enter Parliament.

Incidentally my list of candidates still has no names for Waikato and Tamaki for Labour. Anyone know if candidates have been named?  National is now just awaiting a Tauranga selection plus both major parties can do list only nominations.

National list ranking

May 14th, 2008 at 7:29 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small in the Dominion Post has an article on issues regarding list ranking within National.

I believe the existing rules are very good. Regions rank all candidates from their region (including MPs), and then a National List Ranking Committee (with a majority elected by electorate delegates) combines them into a national list, making modifications as it sees fit.

I’m not a fan of any moves to exempt sitting MPs from the normal process or to guarantee in advance all MPs will be in safe list places.  I think it weakens the party to have less discretion over how the list is ranked. There is of course always a natural tension between the organisation and the caucus on these issues, but I have always felt that one of National’s real strengths over Labour has been a far more democratic candidate selection process, and not protecting incumbent MPs in list ranking, as Labour did in the last three elections. Part of why Labour is now facing problems is it left its rejuventation too late.

National has a proud history of trusting the collective wisdom of its members. If National had rules protecting incumbent MPs, then Brian Neeson instead of John Key would still be the MP for Helensville. Likewise Judith Collins and John Carter woud not be MPs.

MMP especially poses challenges for parties – not just in list ranking. You also have situations where List MPs and new candidates compete for new seats after boundaries are redrawn.  While Selwyn has eventually resulted in a very good outcome, I think there are lessons to be learnt there about not trying to scare people off from standing against an MP – it tends to be counter-productive.

Now having said all that, I don’t think any National MP will be or should be retiring against their will this election. Of the 48 MPs, five are retiring (Connell, Rich, Blumsky, Clarkson and Simich) so that will leave 43 incumbents. On current polls if National should get at least 55 MPs, so there should be at least 12 new MPs joining the Caucus. And there have been some excellent new candidates selected.