Damning Faafoi with faint praise

April 20th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Little said:

“Kris Faafoi is a very talented MP whose hard work has earned him a place on the Shadow Cabinet. He is instantly recognisable to many New Zealanders and connects well when he’s on the road – an invaluable skill when working with the tourism industry.

When you read this carefully you see that Little is saying that Kris is being promoted because he used to be on TV and gets on well with people.

You’d think in a press release announcing a new member of the shadow cabinet, they could work a bit harder to talk up his skills.

This isn’t a go at Kris, who I think does a good job as an MP. Just the bizarre press release wording justifying his appointment.

Please Labour stop blaming the person who needs protection

September 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s police spokesman Kris Faafoi said the results showed a high level of use of the DPS by John Key.

“It shows how much the PM has stretched them.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Key said police made decisions on DPS staff assignments.

“The Prime Minister highly values his protection staff who are extremely professional and very hard working in sometimes challenging circumstances.”

I really wish Labour would stop their multi-year campaign of attacking the PM because he has Diplomatic Protection Squad Police accompany him. Its disgraceful. Their antics create a culture where politics may affect decisions around safety of the Prime Minister.

The PM (and previous PMs) get DPS protection because people threaten to kill them. It is not a perk of the job. It is a sad necessity. Labour should not blame the victim!

I hope when National is in opposition they are never so desperate as to criticise a Labour Prime Minister for having DPS accompany them.

Mind you if David Cunliffe wins, he may need the DPS to actually attend caucus meetings to protect him from his colleagues 🙂

Labour on Police

May 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Mr Faafoi said the latest Ten One police magazine showed more than 50 sworn officers had resigned around the country in the past month.

“It’s the sheer number and the experience of these officers that’s of concern,” he said.

A meaningless number. The Police have around 11,500 staff. How many staff normally resign in a month? What has been the rate for the last year. A month’s figures by themselves may be a blip.

Mr Faafoi said the problem stemmed from cost-cutting and he was not surprised that there was nothing extra in the recent Budget for police.

Actually the Police were given an extra $4 million in the Budget for operational spending, and since 2008 their funding has increased by $173 million which is considerable, even more so when you consider the structural deficit inherited from Labour.

“It was more about the National Party’s mates than hard-working Kiwis and that extends to the police as well,” he said.

I think Labour came up with this slogan before they saw the Budget and are too lazy to change it. Is Kris really saying $100 million for home insulations for low income families is helping National’s mates, not hard working Kiwis? I thought Labour used to claim they cared for low income families. Does he think the extra $1.6 billion for health is restricted to National’s mates? And the $900 million for education? And please Kris tell us how the $2.1 billion extra for Christchurch is for National’s mates. sounds like National has lots of mates, and Labour has none.

As a result communities were not feeling as connected to police as they did in the past and Mr Faafoi believed this could have resulted in the drop in reported crime.

Trying desperately to spin his way out of the fact that not only is reported crime down, but serious violent crime is significantly down – and the notion that serious violent crimes are not being reported is laughable.

Mr Faafoi said Labour had a track record of looking after police officers and would look to rebuild the public’s confidence in the organisation.

Really. Please tell us about this track record. Labour’s opposed almost every law change that the Police have supported such as three strikes.


Why there might be a low turnout in Mana

November 19th, 2011 at 3:44 pm by David Farrar

This billboard is up on display in Mana. It is not photoshopped.

A valedictory and a maiden

December 15th, 2010 at 7:01 am by David Farrar

I can’t recall the last time Parliament had a maiden speech and a valedictory speech on the same day. First NZPA report on the valedictory of Pansy Wong:

“It was beyond my wildest dreams when, 14 years ago, a girl born in Shanghai who grew up in a Hong Kong apartment where eight families shared a kitchen and bathroom, made an historic maiden speech in Parliament,” she said. …

“My political career has been an all-consuming one,” she said.

“It would not have been possible without my husband Sammy’s unrelenting support. As a consequence, his business interests were severely curtailed.”

“The playing field is far from being equal, but anything is possible if one works hard for it…nowadays it is accepted that Asian New Zealanders can succeed in the highest office.”

“It is time to turn a page in my life’s journey, to focus on personal and family priorities.

“The journey has been a remarkable one and it is time for me to exit political life.

“Sammy, I am coming home.”

I’m personally very sad to see Pansy go in these circumstances. I’ve known her since 1996, and she has always been delightfully cheerful and down to earth – has never let being an MP go to her head.

Pansy used to live in my apartment block so when I worked at Parliament, I’d sometimes get a lift in with her. We used to joke about the ghost of Muldoon haunting our apartment block (he used to live here also).

I was also the regional liasion to the Wellington Asian Committee for a couple of years, when I was Regional Deputy Chair. They were a powerhouse wheb it came to organising events and functions. It was always amusing as they planned a function and went around the committee, asking people how many tickets to a yum cha or the like they could sell for say $50 each. Most people would commit to selling 30 – 50 places each. Pansy would often take on responsibility for 100 places, and then when it came to me, I would sheeplishly commit to two tickets!

I often reflected that the only thing more surreal than me being the regional liasion to the Asian Committee, was that I also was regional liasion to the women’s committee also 🙂

So a sad farewell to Pansy, with the contrast being the maiden speech of Mana MP Kris Faafoi:

This is not the first time I have spoken in the House of Representatives.

In 1994 as a spirited 18 year old Jim Anderton chose me as his Youth MP.

That September day I arrived not realising I had to give a speech.

Flustered and nervous I scrambled to write something on the spot.

I also recall a young – well spoken – ginger headed Youth MP from up the line.

He spoke enthusiastically and seemed comfortable in his surroundings.

16 years on Darren nothing has changed!

Some say Darren is still a Youth MP 🙂

I didn’t know Kris had been a Youth MP. Knowing this, his switch from journalism to politics is more logical.

Can I take this opportunity to also acknowledge the other candidates in the recent by-election.

In particular I would like to acknowledge the Honourable Hekia Parata and Jan Logie.

On the whole the mood on the hustings was genuinely friendly.

Mana is one of the few electorates where spontaneous Pacific Island dancing is not an uncommon happening at campaign events.

I’m sure we are all glad my former TV colleagues did not make it to many of those.


Dad – I don’t know how you did it – but when I went hunting through your Wairarapa College yearbook and noticed your nickname was Romeo – it sounds like you did OK.

My mother Metita – left as part of a repatriation scheme – she didn’t know she was leaving Tokelau until the day she left.

They departed their homeland as 16 year olds – they left behind their loved ones, their culture, their religion to seek a better life in New Zealand.

Through hard work and sacrifice – and some help from the state – they toiled to make sure their hard work counted for something.

My parents wanted to ensure their three sons and daughter were raised as New Zealanders – they also wanted us to hold on to the important aspects of their way of life from the Pacific.

One reason I always like maiden speeches, is they are a reminder of the families behind an MP, and the incredible sacrifices parents make for their children.

Last week I got a letter of congratulations from Ward Clarke – my High School Principal.

I have two vivid memories of Mr Clark.

He espoused the value of the afternoon nap.

And each year he delivered us this quote from William Penn which inspired me and which I would like to share as I come to an end -.

I expect to pass through life but once.

If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

A very nice touching speech. Well done Kris.

A gracious victor

November 21st, 2010 at 9:40 pm by David Farrar

On tonight’s One News:

She’s trying to make herself feel better. She lost, and this is the second time the people of Mana didn’t want her.

That was Kris Faafoi talking about Hekia Parata.

Such a gracious victor.

The Mana result

November 21st, 2010 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

Labour came far too close to doing something that has never ever happened before in recent New Zealand electoral history – having an Opposition lose a seat in a by-election. No Government has won a seat off the opposition in the 59 by-elections since 1936.

And even worse it was not a marginal seat – it was a safe seat that has been held by Labour since 1938 (in that its predecessor seats were also Labour).

I was hoping the majority would be below 3,000 – my pick had been 2,500. I never thought it would almost drop to a triple figures and get as low as 1,080. In some ways it was the ideal result. If the margin had been 500 or so, then you’d be kicking yourself for not doing that extra bit to win it. And if Labour had actually managed to lose the seat, then Goff would be goneburger, and National doesn’t actually want Goff rolled.

So what happened? Well as I blogged during the week, I didn’t expect there to be a uniform swing – I expected different swings in different areas. I’ve divided the seat up into four areas – Porirua East, Porirua West, Northern Suburbs and Kapiti.

Porirua East

In 2008 Laban got 82% and Parata 9%. There was basically no swing here at all with 2010 as Faafoi got 82% and Parata 11%. The total vote was 72% of 2008, and McCarten got 4% here.

This shows how hard it is to win Mana, when one large portion of the electorate votes Labour 9:1 over National. Even if the rest of the electorate votes 3:2 National over Labour, it is hard to compensate for such areas.

Porirua West

In 2008 Laban got 59% and Parata 28% so still very much core Labour areas. There was a good swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 51% and Parata 35%, so the margin dropped from 31% to 16%. The total vote was 66% of 2008, and McCarten got 6% here.

I had been expected Porirua West to be like Porirua East, and not swing much. But in some booths in Titahi Bay Hekia lifted her vote share by 9% and Faafoi lost 15%.

Northern Suburbs

These areas are pretty solid Nat, In 2008 Laban got 35% and Parata 54%. That was good enough, but there was a massive swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 25% and Parata 67%, so the margin grew from 19% to 42%. The total vote was 74% of 2008, and McCarten got 2% here.


The Kapiti area voted Labour last time, and flipped to National this time. And what is more extraordinary about this is it happened despite noisy local opposition to a new expressway.

In 2008 Laban got 46% and Parata 41%. There was a big swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 37% and Parata 47%, so the margin went from +5% to Labour to +10% for National – a 15% net movement. The total vote was 69% of 2008, and McCarten got 3% here.

Polling Places

In 17/42 polling places the vote share for Labour dropped by 10% or greater. That is huge.

Interestingly the advance votes actually had Faafoi getting a bigger vote share than Laban did in 2008. This reflects my view that Hekia got real momentum in the final week as several community leaders endorsed her, but by then many advance votes had already been cast.


Matt McCarten didn’t achieve a great result (but he did get lots of signatures for his petitions) and the Greens had a solid third. ACT was battling it out with Legalise Cannabis for 5th place. What was the total CR and CL vote in 2008 and 2010?

In 2008 Labour & Greens got 60% of the electorate vote, and National/ACT got 37%. In 2010 Labour/Greens/McCarten got 57% and National/ACT got 42%. So even taking the minor parties into account, you had the centre-right close the gap by 8% in Mana!

Historical Comparisons

Labour did manage to retain the seat, but they had a massive swing against their candidate. Again, this is historically very rare in by-elections. I’ve gone through the last few by-elections to note what happened:

  • 2010 Mt Albert – remained safe for Opposition
  • 2004 Te Tai Hauauru – not contested by major parties
  • 1998 TKC – big swing against Government
  • 1994 Selwyn – big swing against Government
  • 1993 Tauranga – not contested by major parties
  • 1992 Wellington Central – was marginal Labour and majority increases slightly for Opposition
  • 1992 Tamaki – big swing against Government
  • 1985 Timaru – falls to Opposition
  • 1980 East Coast Bays – falls to Opposition (Social Credit)
  • 1980 Onehunga – Opposition holds comfortably
  • 1980 Northern Maori – stays with Labour
  • 1979 Christchurch Central – Government comes 3rd
  • 1978 Rangitikei – Government loses to Opposition (Social Credit)
  • 1976 Nelson – Opposition increases majority
  • 1977 Mangere – Opposition holds comfortably
  • 1977 Pahiatua – Government holds

So this has not happened in the last 35 years – an Opposition almost losing a safe seat in a by-election.

The closest we have is 1992 Wellington Central, and they have a number of things in common

  • Both held in the first term of a new National Government
  • Both held two years into that term
  • Both had popular retiring MPs (Wilde and Laban)
  • Both had Labour put up a candidate with no background in the party (Laidlaw and Faafoi)
  • Both had a high profile third party candidate on the left (Denis Welch and McCarten)
  • Both times the National candidate was married to Wira Gardiner (Pauline Gardiner and Hekia Parata)
  • Both times the National candidate had stood in the previous general election
  • Both times Labour got a narrow victory on the by-election

The really interesting thing is that in the 1993 general election, Laidlaw lost the seat to Gardiner – it was the only seat lost by the Opposition in that election.

Kris has won the seat, but it is now a marginal seat, and he is going to have to work very very hard in the community to match Hekia and retain the seat in 2011.


A reader sent me this graph, of the ten largest polling places in Mana. It tells a big story about how Cannons Creek saved Labour.

Should help in the polls

November 18th, 2010 at 4:51 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report at NBR:

Prime Minister John Key was mobbed in Porirua today as he campaigned for National in the Mana by-election.

A group of about 10 supporters of independent unionist candidate Matt McCarten crowded around Mr Key when he arrived at North City Plaza, and they were joined by Labour Party activists backing Kris Faafoi.

Mr Key couldn’t hear the people he was trying to talk to over screams and chants, and one determined woman activist repeatedly got in his face as he tried to meet voters.

Excellent. I can’t wait to see the news tonight. Nothing gets more votes than a group of idiots screaming at the PM.

Called a “dumb-ass coconut” for supporting National

November 15th, 2010 at 7:33 pm by David Farrar

Patrick Gower at TV3 reports:

Labour’s pursuit of the Pacific Islander vote in the Mana by-election has been dealt a blow, with a member of candidate Kris Faafoi’s campaign team forced to apologise for calling a National Party rival a “dumb-ass coconut”.

Litea Ah Hoi is a hardcore Labour supporter out fighting for votes in the by-election – so hardcore her Facebook page carried a message calling a rival a “dumb-ass coconut”.

“It’s Pacific humour,” she says. “Whether you put it together with dumb-ass, and then the coconut… if she took offence to it, then like…” Ms Ah Hoi pulls a surprised face.

But the target didn’t laugh – she found it abusive.

Liz Tanielu says Labour doesn’t like losing the Pacific vote to Hekia Parata – and bullies anyone who gets out of line.

Indeed, they don’t like it when “their people” dare to endorse someone not from Labour. Just like the principals who get bullied for daring to disagree.

“If this was a non-Pacific person who said that, they would have been sacked,” she says. “There would have been severe consequences.

“Well the same thing should apply to Litea and her flunkies.”

But 3 News found Ms Ah Hoi working in Mr Faafoi’s campaign headquarters today. She will be staying on, even though Mr Faafoi himself doesn’t like the term.

“In some senses it can be funny,” says Mr Faafoi, “in a context when it’s comedy. But in this context, it’s wrong.”

It is comedy, when done in humour. It isn’t comedy when done as a way to slag some one off because they said good things about Hekia on television.

Goff lowering expectations for Mana

November 15th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Labour leader Phil Goff has admitted National’s Hekia Parata could win the Mana by-election if turnout is low.

His press secretary, Kris Faafoi, is standing for the seat, traditionally seen as a Labour stronghold. But yesterday Mr Goff said a low turnout would “jeopardise Labour’s hold on the seat”.

Goff is trying to do two things here. The first is to motivate Labour supporters to turn out and vote. He is right – turnout is important.

The second is he is trying to make the seat sound marginal, so that if Labour’s majority is slashed, it does not reflect so badly on them.

Mana is one of their safest seats. It (and its predecessors) have never been held by National. Mana has a larger majority than Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch East, Trevor Mallard in Hutt South and Jim Anderton in Wigram.

A few people point to the party vote margin at 2,500 and say this means it is not safe for Labour. But they make a fatal mistake. The releveant comparison with the party vote is between right and left, as both right and left voters will vote tactically on the electorate candidate (many green voters vote for a labour candidate and many ACT voters vote for a National candidate).

So what was the party vote for the right in 2008 in Mana? 39%. And the left vote? 53%.

In the median electorates, the right is 8% ahead of the left on the 2008 party vote. In Mana the right is 14% behind the left on the party vote.

Now this does not mean Hekia can not win. She has been winning endorsements from some non traditional National voters. Even Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have come out and said people should vote for her or Matt McCarten (partly because they fronted up onto their radio show).

But the reality is that no Government has ever won a seat off an Opposition in a by-election. I’ve checked back over 90 years. If Hekia wins, or even comes close, it will be a seismic event.

Who is that other bloke?

November 14th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Oh dear. Phil Goff was interviewed by Susan Wood on Friday night at around 6.25 pm, and they were talking about Kris Faafoi’s campaign in Mana.

Susan asserted that no one in Mana knew what the Labour candidate looked like, and Phil responded that he had been in Mana with Kris the day before, and that everyone had recognised Kris, that in fact they were wondering who the other bloke was.


Endorsements for Parata

November 13th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

On The Nation this morning they reported that there is a real split in the Pacific Island vote in Mana, which has traditionally been very strong Labour. They interviewed Liz Tanielu the head of the Teaaomanino Trust which is the biggest pacific island service provider in the region. She says she traditionally votes Labour but that Faafoi is an outsider, and she is angry they could not find a single local to stand, while Hekia has been active for some years in the electorate and “walks the talk”, and that the by-election should not be a party vote but a vote on who will be the best MP.

Then they had on Api Malu, who was representing 40 pacific island church ministers. He says they are looking for people who have worked with them, and that Hekia Parata has impressed a lot of people, and the leadership with what she has done.

Also on the show, Tariana Turia endorsed both Hekia Parata and Matt McCarten as candidates who would make effective MP for Mana.

By coincidence in the Dom Post this morning, Porirua Deputy Mayor Liz Kelly also endorsed Hekia:

Porirua Deputy Mayor Liz Kelly has backed National Party candidate Hekia Parata to win the Mana by-election.

Her prediction will cause ripples as Labour’s Kris Faafoi has been favoured to take the seat, which is viewed as one of Labour’s safest. The party has always polled strongly in the Pacific Island and Maori communities.

Local leaders suggested yesterday that Mr Faafoi’s lack of experience is seen as a drawback.

Ms Kelly, an independent councillor, said Ms Parata’s work in the electorate had not gone unnoticed. “The feedback I’m getting is that Hekia is very popular … There is a lot of support because she’s been working the whole time.”

Mr Faafoi was a “nice guy” but “there’s no history” with the electorate and some voters resented that.

And a local community leader:

Samoan community leader Paula Masoe said Ms Parata had won over a lot of Pasifika supporters. “She’s a hard worker and we respect people who work hard for our community. I’m really happy that someone like Kris put their hand up. But it’s not time for him yet. I don’t want the sweat of our people to be put on someone who’s not ready yet.” …

Experience was valued in the Pacific Island community, she said. “It’s not about having someone who is Pacific Island there, you’ve got to have somebody who is able to carry the huge responsibility and he probably will. But not yet.”

There was a “strong feeling” among local voters that Mr Faafoi was imposed on the community by the parliamentary Labour Party.

“Labour needs to look at themselves because we don’t want to be treated like the poor relations. When they look at putting someone in to speak up for us I’d like to think that they’ve considered a whole lot of other people of our community that have been involved in Labour.

And also in the Dom Post, Chris Trotter effectively endorses Matt McCarten in his weekly column:

I asked Matt if he’d heard of Slavoj Zizek – the Slovenian socialist currently setting the cat of principle among the fat, pragmatic pigeons of the European Left.

“I’m busy, Chris,” he chuckled, “of course I haven’t.” “Well, Matt”, I replied, “Zizek is challenging Europe’s social democrats to stop looking over their shoulder at the European Central Bank; to govern “as if they were free”.

“Maybe that’s what you should ask the Mana electors, Matt. To stop looking over their shoulder at Labour. Could be your slogan: ‘Vote – as if you were free’.”

And in the NZ Herald, Audrey Young says Parata should be promoted to the Ministry:

Pansy Wong’s resignation from the Cabinet a week before the Mana byelection presents Prime Minister John Key with a golden opportunity.

He has the chance to add fresh blood to his ministry without the usual resentments around reshuffles and a chance to show Mana the calibre of National’s Hekia Parata. …

promoting Parata before a byelection – even to a minister outside Cabinet – would tell the Mana electorate something of the calibre of the National candidate.

It is clear that some traditional Pacific Island Labour voters are saying they people should vote for the best MP, not for the party. They are right – this is how MMP works.

Now his fondest memory

November 9th, 2010 at 2:13 pm by David Farrar

I blogged previously about Kris Faafoi’s remarkable memory, when on Q+Q he claimed to remember McDonalds coming to Porirua, at the age of one.

I also blogged on his pamphlet which talks about how he had a great start because his family lived in Mana, when the truth is his immediate family lived in Christchurch.

The McDonalds line was dismissed as:

He has since said he “mis-spoke”, and meant to say he had heard it was the first McDonald’s in the country and it was where he had his first McDonald’s burger.

However a Porirua Citylife reader tells me the following quote appeared in the local newspaper on 3 November – three days after the Q+A interview:

Some of his fondest memories include going to the opening of New Zealand’s first McDonalds, which he proudly boasts was in Porirua.

“It was like a family playground for me at that time,” he says.

It’s one think to mis-speak in a live debate. Quite another to repeat it to a newspaper.

Pushing the boundaries of truth

November 2nd, 2010 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday about the claim to remember McDonalds opening in Porirua, which happened when Kris was one year old. Since then, Whale has produced a series of photos showing other events Kris remembers being at. This is my favourite.

A reader has sent me a copy that Labour has distributed around the electorate. It is below.

Fa’Afoi Brochure

Just hold your screen on its side to read it. Anyway the key quote is “I had a great start because my family settled in Mana”.

Now this is pushing the truth to breaking point. Yes Kris has cousins and uncles and aunts in Mana whom he visited. But he was born and raised in Christchurch. 99% of people reading his brochure would take his statement to imply he grew up in Mana.

I don’t personally think it is a huge issue that Kris was not raised in Mana. Neither was Winnie Laban off memory. But this is the second time that Labour and Kris has pushed the boundaries of the truth to create a false impression – they obviously think it is vital.

One could also quibble over his slogan to vote Faafoi to vote for more jobs for Mana. Never known a backbench Opposition MP to be able to create jobs – but that at least is a subjective view that can be debated.

It would be interesting if someone complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the brochure, as that would give a ruling on whether or not the brochure stretches the truth so far as to be misleading.

I had an uncle and aunt in Perth whom I visited occasionally. I would never claim “I had a great start because my family settled in Perth”.

A remarkable memory

November 1st, 2010 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

Kris Faafoi, the Labour candidate for Mana must have been a child prodigy. On Q+A yesterday he said:

Yeah, I was born and raised in Christchurch. My parents are Tokelauan. The biggest percentage of Tokelauans in New Zealand are right in Porirua East. I’ve been kicking around there since I was a youngster. I remember when the McDonald’s came in; I was there when the Mitsubishi factory was going strong.

McDonalds opened up their first NZ store in Porirua in 1976.

Now I understand Kris is 34 years old, which means he was born in 1976. So Kris must have been an exceptional toddler to remember McDonalds coming in, when he was less than a year old.

UPDATE: Whale Oil has photographic evidence of Kris being in attendance at other historical events, such as the Lee Harvey Oswald assassination, the Arafat-Rabin peace accords and storming the beaches of Normandy.

McCarten for Mana

October 27th, 2010 at 12:53 pm by David Farrar

So Matt McCarten is standing as a UNITE backed Indpendent for Mana. What does this mean for the by-election?

The only certainty is that it means it will be a lot more interesting and even exciting, and will have more media coverage of it. Beyond that, it depends on a few things.

Most would conclude it is a slap in the face for Phil Goff and Kriss Faafoi. Rather ironic to have the candidate who won thanks to the union block votes, to now face a candidate from another union.

Does it mean Labour could lose the seat? To be honest, at this stage no one knows. It is safe to say that Matt is unlikely to pick up many votes from Hekia, so that helps National and Hekia.

What we don’t know is whether he will get 500 votes or 5,000 votes. That may depend on what issues he campaigns on.

It is even possible this could help Faafoi and Labour. A battle on the left could get more left wing voters voting. And if Labour are tactically cunning, they could try and position themselves as the moderate party between National and McCarten.

So this announcement is a slap in the face for Labour, and no one in Labour will be happy with McCarten’s candidacy. But that does not mean this has suddenly become a three-horse race, or that it is suddenly a marginal seat. Mana is very tribal Labour and UNITE has fewer activists on the ground here than in Auckland.

As I said, the only guarantee is things will now be more exciting. I wasn’t planning to attend any of the Meet The Candidates meetings, but now I might just go along to see what stunts Matt gets up to with chicken suits and the like.

UPDATE: The Electoral Commission has announced eight candidates for Mana. They are:

Kelly Buchanan Alliance
Julian Crawford Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
Colin Du Plessis Act
Kris Faafoi Labour Party
Sean Fitzpatrick Libertarianz
Jan Logie Green Party
Matt McCarten Independent
Hekia Parata National Party

Nice name for the Libertarianz candidate!

Were the locals outvoted?

September 19th, 2010 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Big News blogs:

I have spoken to someone who was at the meeting yesterday. Labour’s Local Electorate Committee is controlled by Winnie Laban. She wanted Fa’afoi, so her committee voted for Fa’afoi, even though some may have not supported him. Goff’s office wanted Fa’afoi, and his three votes got him. The other vote was decided by the community. That vote was made up of 52 locals and 60 unionists. The locals wanted Pagani. The unionists wanted Fa’afoi. None of the unionists were locals, but because there were more of them, they had sway. [DPF: The unionists are in fact local – they are local affiliate members]

This meant that the community vote was stacked with unionists to make sure Fa’afoi got the nod, meaning that the Local Electorate Committee actually voted against the wishes of the local voters, and stacked the floor so that the community vote also went against the wishes of the community.

And a commenter at Kiwiblog states:

The local members vote was 34 Pagani, 16 Faafoi and 2 others. The 60 union votes went all to Faafoi. Local members got out voted by union members who have never worked for Labour in Mana.

And Phil Quinn has some advice:

It may have been another despicable parachute-job, but he won under the rules as they stand. That makes him the Labour candidate today, and he has my support.

But Kris Faafoi will lose the Mana by-election if he thinks it will come as easily, or with as many short-cuts, as his dubious path to the nomination.

He must, first and foremost, ask whomever (a) wrote his letter to members, (b) employed his replacement in the leader’s office before he was nominated, (c) put him on Radio Australia, (d) thought it was smart to stack the hall yesterday with advisors and press secretaries on overtime and (e) was responsible for his poor performance at the Q+A, to remove themselves from any position of influence in the campaign.

I’m quite glad to be in a party where unions do not control selections.

Not a surprise outcome

September 18th, 2010 at 6:01 pm by David Farrar

It’s not exactly a surprise but congratulations to Kris Faafoi for winning Labour’s selection to be their candidate for Mana.

Kris will become the MP for Mana (Labour have never not held the seat). I look forward to his maiden speech.

Also congratulations to Fran Mold on her new job as a press secretary for Phil Goff.

UPDATE: A Labour Party member writes about what happened in the comments:

As a local party member I have seen some stitch ups in my time but this was a disgrace and once again the Mana Labour party is lumbered with an out of town drop in candidate.

We should be used to it by now I guess, but it really gets my goat. Almost the entire leaders office staff including the chief of staff and leaders secretary were there today, you had a group of staff including other press secretaries and advisors counting to floor votes and “checking” membership details. They even tried to stop one longtime member in her 70s from voting – she still has Michael Joseph Savage on her kitchen wall and these upstarts tried to say she wasnt Labour!

These Goff staffers brought with them affiliated union members to stack the votes in favour of Faafoi.

The whole thing was a set up and it was a race based selection. Well, Phil Goff has got the man he wanted but he has lost my support and the support of many others in the process.

Ouch, that is not a good look.

Campaigning for votes in Mana in Australia

September 14th, 2010 at 1:54 pm by David Farrar

Phil Quinn blogs:

Embattled Mana nominee Kris Faafoi has taken to Radio Australia to press his case.  Radio Australia.

Is this poor guy getting the worst political advice since someone told Napoleon to invade Russia in winter?

First, they are in such a rush to shunt him into Mana, his backers have appointed his replacement in the Labour leader’s office before he has even won the nomination.  Next, they send him to a [meet] the candidate’s Q&A forum ill-prepared and underwhelming.  Now the global PR strategy:  ”Here’s an idea, Kris:  the locals in Mana think you’re a fly-by-nighter and a carpetbagger — do as many interviews with foreign broadcasters as you can!”

I have given a lot of poorly conceived advice to politicians over the years, but — by and large — I was intoxicated at the time.  What is their excuse?

Quinn’s post has me trying to think of what was the worst advice I ever gave while intoxicated? Sadly, I can’t recall 🙂

Four seeking Mana nomination

September 11th, 2010 at 11:18 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The four Labour candidates competing for candidacy in the Mana by-election have been named and party president Andrew Little is predicting a close contest.

Press secretary and former television reporter Kris Faafoi, Vehicle Testing New Zealand business manager Michael Evans, criminal defence barrister Peter Foster and communications consultant Josie Pagani have been nominated.

A close contest? Personally I’d be putting money on the guy who already has his campaign website address registered, plus who has a replacement for his current job lined up.

Phil Quinn on Mana and Faafoi

September 6th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Phil Quinn is a former Labour staffer and Porirua City Councillor. He is worried about Labour selecting Kris Faafoi:

Mana is once again up for grabs and there are two serious candidates seeking the nod.  One of them, Kris Faafoi, is a press secretary to Phil Goff, Labour’s current leader (and, full disclosure, an old mate of mine — although we haven’t spoken in a while).  I am sure Faafoi is a tremendously capable guy, but his candidacy annoys me.  Here’s five reasons why:

1.  I have seen a letter he has sent to branch members.  The complacency and sense of entitlement reflected therein is reason enough to vote for anyone but him.  His candidacy, judging by his letter, is entirely about him, and the local party members are expected to fulfill the role of fawning pawns.

2.  He is neither fish nor fowl.  Faafoi is neither a local candidate with strong Party credentials nor a celebrity vote-magnet.  I am not someone who rejects outright the idea of parachuting in well-known identities to contest by-elections, and Faafoi , a former TV reporter,  has pretensions toward such a category — but he falls way short.  His fame is ankle-deep and is worth precisely no votes for Labour.

3. I gather from well-placed sources that Faafoi first considered becoming an MP two weeks ago.  Call me old-fashioned, but the Labour Party should not reward such fly-by-night ambitions with (nominally) safe seats.  If he has harboured no political ambitions for all but two weeks of his charmed life, then it begs the question: how much time has he dedicated to learning about public policy and preparing himself for Parliament?  None, I would venture to guess.

4.  The Porirua/Mana electorate has been treated like a prison-bitch by the Labour Party for too long.  Outsiders like Faafoi, Laban (the retiring member), Kelly and his predecessor, Wall, have represented the seat since its creation.  If Faafoi thinks that having family members in the electorate adds up to something, then he is more naive than I thought (and I thought he was quite naive to start with).

5.  The NZLP should stop looking at 20-year old census data:  Mana is not the overwhelmingly Islander-dominated seat they think it is.  Since the expansion of the electorate for MMP, it now encompasses large white, middle class suburbs of the kind Labour ought to be very nervous about (from the formerly marginal seats of Kapiti and Western Hutt).  The instinct to back Faafoi purely on ethnic grounds is patronising and simplistic — but it is also strategically misguided.

This should be wringing some warning bells, when it comes from someone with no interest in the outcome, yet knows the electorate well.

I have nothing against Kris, but it is obvious the fix has gone in for him to win, with his replacement as Chief Press Secretary already lined up.

If I was a Labour delegate in Mana, I would find it hard to go past Josie Pagani. Josie would appeal to all sections of the electorate, and would seriously help Labour’s rejuvenation.

I’m not saying this as some sort of cunning double plan, where I am trying to get some Tory mole in place, or some doofus. Josie will be a serious pain in the butt to National if she wins.

All I am saying to delegates is to keep an open mind, and decide on the performance of the two candidates – don’t let Head Office decide for you, who will be the MP for the next 20 years or so.

Mold quits TVNZ

August 30th, 2010 at 11:18 am by David Farrar

Fran Mold has today quit as Deputy Political Editor for TVNZ, according to well placed sources.

The reason is an agreement in principle that she will replace Kris Faafoi as Chief Press Secretary to Phil Goff.

However the timing of this is very is interesting. You see Labour have yet to have their “democratic” selection process. Yet the outcome seems certain enough that Fran has quit prior to the 18th of September when the selection is made. I guess, the head office delegates are not going to be listening to who makes the best speeches on the night.

Faafoi confirms Mana nomination

August 25th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Labour chief press secretary and former ONE News reporter Kris Faafoi has confirmed he will stand for selection for the Mana seat north of Wellington.

Faafoi said he would immediately quit his role if selected – nominations close on September 9 with selection on the 18th.

Kris is the favourite to win the nomination, and become the MP for Mana. He’s a nice guy, who will not alienate anyone.

Danyl M make the point:

On the other hand, it seems like an awful lot of Labour’s new intake are professional political operatives who became MPs after working as staffers in the leaders office. When you’re trying to be a broad, community based social democratic party representing a wide variety of New Zealanders I think you need to cast the net a little wider than the end of the hallway when you’re looking for new talent.

A fair point.

The selection is not a dead cert. As I have said before, I think Josie Pagani i very talented, and she could well gain grassroots support. But where head office has such a powerful say, it is hard to see them turning down the Leader’s chief press secretary.

If Kris gets selected, it will be interesting to see who replaces him in his press secretary role.