MP Louisa Wall says it is “appalling” that the Human Rights Commission has not upheld a single complaint under its race relations section despite receiving more than 2000 complaints since 1993.
No it is an excellent thing. Most complaints are settled with an apology or a decision there is no breach. Actually prosecuting someone for their speech should be reserved for the most grotesque forms of speech such as literal incitement of hatred or violence of the basis of race.
Louisa Wall, the Labour MP for Manurewa, has taken Fairfax Media and its papers The Press and Marlborough Express to the Human Rights Review Tribunal over cartoons by Al Nisbet printed in May last year.
The cartoons depicted people taking advantage of the Government’s breakfast-in-schools programme to spend money on their vices.
So a Labour MP is trying to stop a newspaper from exercising editorial control over its cartoons, by having it effectively prosecuted. If you don’t like the cartoon, then don’t buy the paper.
Fairfax argued that the case concerned where to draw the line in section 61 complaints.
Wall had argued that it was too high a bar but Fairfax agreed with the Human Rights Commission that it should only be engaged at the serious end of the spectrum.
Lawyer Robert Stewart said if Wall’s approach was taken to its logical conclusion, any material that was “disrespectful, belittling, or that mocks a group on the ground of their colour, race or ethnicity” could be restricted by section 61.
I am sure that is what Labour wants. No more mocking.
Stewart said 61 should be interpreted “restrictively” to the serious end of the spectrum with “insulting” to mean “scornfully abusive”, and “bring into contempt”
to mean “regarding with deep despise, detestation or vilification”.
Stewart said it was clear the editors “were aware of the possibility for the cartoons to cause offence”.
However, “the right to freedom of expression is also a right to shock, offend, and disturb any sector of the population”.
Tired and delighted that the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill passed its second reading by 77 votes to 44. That means 64% of MPs voted for it and 36% against. Four MPs swapped from yes to no (Brownlee, McCully, Coleman, McKelvie) and Huo went from abstain/absent to a yes (he explains why here).
I expect that the third reading will be by much the same number. Second reading is the stage where normally some people may shift their vote based on what has happened during the select committee process.
So let’s cover the evening from the beginning. I have to say I really love Parliament when it is debating a conscience issue – you get MPs speaking with passion about what they really believe and think, a massive difference from most bill debates which are relatively pro-forma. It really is Parliament at its best.
Due to the unexpected need to debate the Budget Policy Statement, it was far from clear at the beginning of the day if the marriage bill would conclude its second reading. To do so Parliament had to get through question time, the Budget Policy Statement, a third reading, a committee stage, half a second reading and then the marriage bill second reading.
Few people wanted to have the debate cut in half where it starts yesterday and concludes in two weeks, so with some astute MPs taking shorter calls than they could on earlier debates, the marriage bill debate started just after 8 pm.
The gallery was packed. And I mean packed – there was a queue to get in forming around 7 pm, and they ran out of seats so allowed many to just stand at the back of the public galleries. I wasn’t sure how many were supporters and how many were opponents, but noticed that the vast majority were young Kiwis. This is very rare in the gallery, and great to see.
I may have joked that probably all the women there were lesbians or fundamentalist Christians, which reduced my chances of scoring. A lesbian friend consoled me with the thought that there may be some bisexuals there
There were 12 speakers on the bill. They were in order:
Louisa Wall (Lab) – in favour
Tim Macindoe (Nat) against
Ruth Dyson (Lab) – in favour
Chris Auchinvole (Nat) – in favour
Trevor Mallard (Lab) – in favour
Winston Peters (NZF) – against, sought to send to referendum
Kevin Hague (Green) – in favour
Kanwaljit Bakshi (Nat) – against
Lianne Dalziel (Lab) – in favour
Tau Henare (Nat) – in favour
Jan Logie (Green) – in favour
Chester Borrows (Nat) against
There were two common themes in the speeches. The first was that MPs were generally very respectful of the passionate views on this issue. Those in favour spoke of their desire to respect religious views and the safeguards that had been placed in the bill to help with that. Those against spoke of how touching some of the testimony had been, but what their concerns were with the change. There was, for the main part, no name calling or insinuations about motives. It was a good debate.
The second theme was about how the communications from some of those oppossed to the bill had not helped their cause – and that came from MPs who were against the bill. There was a strong message there.
The draft Hansard is here. I could quote and critique every speech, but will just touch on a couple. Tim Macindoe said:
A common theme of many emails from the bill’s supporters, given that my Christian faith was and remains the main reason for my position, was that ours is a secular society and my faith should be left out of the debate. I understand that view but in matters of conscience one must fall back on firm foundations. To ignore what I perceive to be God’s will in this debate would therefore be unthinkable, even though I acknowledge that not all Christians think as one in this matter and I agree with Glyn Carpenter in the New Zealand Christian Network that Christians must approach this matter graciously and with respect.
It’s good that Tim was explicit that he voted against because he thinks it goes against God’s will. The question for me is whether what some people interpret to be God’s will should be a reason to impose that view through legislation. That is a slippery slope that leads to (for example) sharia law in some countries, based on what their MPs think is God’s will. Until such a time as God speaks for himself on such issues, I can’t agree with laws based on God’s will.
Last year I indicated that a principal reason for my opposition was my concern that Parliament is moving ahead of the churches on this issue.
If Parliament didn’t move ahead of churches on various issues, we’d be in the dark ages. The churches wanted homosexuality to effectively remain a criminal offence. The 1986 law change was well ahead of the churches – yet almost no one today says that law change was wrong.
The best speech of the night was National MP Chris Auchinvole. I’ve embedded the speech below and recommend it highly for a great listen. Just as Paul Hutchison was the stand out of the first reading, Auchie was the stand out of the second reading. Interestingly while generally support for allowing same sex marriage is greater amongst younegr New Zealanders and less so amongst over 60s, it is worth noting Hutch is 65 and Auchie 67.
A couple of quotes:
Although I cannot imagine, if the bill passes, that a particularly large percentage of the population will suddenly take the opportunity to engage in same-gender marriages, I also cannot imagine that any number would make one iota of difference to the 41 years of marriage that my wife and I have enjoyed, or to anybody else’s heterosexual marriage. I cannot see it. I have thought deeply about this and cannot believe that the social impact of the bill would herald the demise and collapse of the wider societal values in New Zealand. I respect the right of those who wish to hold to that view, but I cannot give it currency in coming to a defined position on this bill.
Having a few more married couples in New Zealand will be good for society in my view!
Another grouping held a perception that this is counter to religious views and practices and represents State interference in religious practice, beliefs, and dogma. The select committee listened very carefully and sincerely to the concerns expressed. As someone who had 5 years as a lay minister for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa / New Zealand and was a member of the council of assembly for the Presbyterian Church, I had a particular interest in this aspect of the discussion. It became clear through listening that the overriding concern is that the clergy and those authorised by religious bodies to conduct marriages would be obliged—indeed, forced—to conduct ceremonies for same-gender couples should the bill be passed.
And the amendments make clear this can not happen.
The third consideration—we have heard it spoken by my colleague and friend Tim Macindoe this evening—is that marriage is an institution: time honoured, never changing, and having the essential components of one man and one woman common to all countries and civilisations throughout the millennia until death do them part.
It ain’t necessarily so. I am privileged to have my wife in the gallery tonight. My wife and I married on 11 March, 41 years ago last Monday, and lived happily ever after. But the question that exercises the upper echelons of ecclesiastic minds in those days was whether or not the bride should take a vow of obedience to her husband. If you are marrying a red-headed West Coast girl from a West Coast aristocratic family, some hope. During that same time, to have children born out of wedlock was a hamper to church marriage, as was a divorce, or indeed wanting to marry someone of a different religion. Banns of marriage were called from pulpits, advising that people were intending marriage, and others were invited to give reasons why that marriage should not proceed or to forever hold their peace. Marriage is not an unchanging institution, and although most of its institutional aspects have been laudable for men, they have often been less than favourable for women.
And other speakers touched on how just a few decades ago some states in the US banned inter-racial marriage.
The last two aspects I wish to touch on are the matter of conscience and the question of family coming first. In terms of conscience, I have given much, much thought to this. I am acquainted with guilt. Being a Presbyterian, one goes through life thinking that one has not worked hard enough, has not done enough, and has not reached the requirement that life’s opportunities offer, and you will always get other members who will tell you that, as one did this evening. To assuage my conscience on this issue, I delved back in my life to the age of understanding, which I think those of Catholic persuasion tell me the Jesuits determine it is at 7 years old, when I was a boy. I looked at catechismic values—learning the catechism by rote in Glasgow: “Who made you? God made me. Why did God make you? God made me to know him and love him.” The third question: “What image did God make you in?” The answer: “God made me in his own image.” Every 7-year-old boy and girl said the same, and believed it was true. They did not have to add: “as long as I conform to being heterosexual, and not to loving anyone of the same gender as myself.” My conscience is very clear on this issue. Every person has the same spiritual claim as one another, to being made in the image of God, and it will take a braver person than I am to deny that.
So, in dealing with the legacy of discriminatory prejudice, and I would not want that to be a deciding feature, I prayerfully ask to be able to internalise and resolve this complicated situation in my head, in my heart, and in my soul.
What I learnt from listening to the submissions, colleagues, was that in fact each homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person appearing before us was not to be seen just as an individual, not to be identified just by gender preference, but in fact seen as a mother’s son or a daughter, and a father’s daughter or son, as siblings to their brothers and sisters, grandchildren to their grandparents, nephews and nieces to their uncles and aunts, and uncles and aunts to their nephews and nieces, and cousins to their cousins. They are all family, along with their heterosexual friends and relations, and all are an integral part of the New Zealand family, and all are part—in my mind, in my heart, and in my conscience—of God’s family. I now realise that this bill seeks to put first something that critics have accused it of undermining, and that isempt to b the family. We as parliamentarians should not simply look past the interests of the applicants for this bill. We should not simply look at their interests. We should, and we must, look after their interests. We should pass this bill.
I’m so glad I was in the House (galleries) for this speech. Television doesn’t do justice to the atmosphere. The sympathetic nods from around the House, the claps and smiles, the laughter, the intense interest. It was again my favourite speech of the night.
One saw this also with the next speech by Winston Peters. As he was calling for a referendum, he railed against “politicians who think they know best” and said “There is nothing more odious, more loathsome, than politicians who think they know best”. What wouldn’t have been captured by cameras is that there was spontaneous laughter from almost the entire public galleries as Winston was railing against politicians who think they know best, as it was self-evident to everyone that Winston is of course the classic politician who always thinks he knows best. The laughter wasn’t deliberate or an attempt to be disrespectful – it was just a spontaneous outbreak as his speech almost became self-parody unwittingly.
Anyway we got to the votes at around 9.45 pm. There were actually three votes. They were:
To accept the select committee report and proposed amendments.
Winston’s amendment to the second reading motion proposing a referendum at the next general election in place of reading the bill a second time.
The motion that the bill be read a second time and proceed
The first vote passed 66 to 21. I think the whips may have been unaware that there are always two distinct votes at second readings and they only had proxy votes to cover the second reading vote but not to cover the accept the select committee report vote.
The amendment by Peters for a referendum went down 33 to 83. It was an interesting quirk of standing orders that while you can not amend a bill at second reading, you can amend the motion for it to pass its second reading.
The final vote was the key one, and the Assistant Speaker announced it passed 77-44. There was a round of applause but fairly muted as the galleries had been warned not to participate in the business of the House. However once the House was adjourned the entire public galleries rose spontaneously to give a sustained standing ovation to the House and MPs. It was quite electric, and I suddenly realised as I looked around the galleries that I think every single person there was in fact a supporter of the bill as they were all standing and applauding.
Got to sleep around 2.30 am. Will finish this post with a quote from Chester Borrows who in fact voted against the bill. But he made a good point:
As a Christian—a conservative Christian—I find it abhorrent the way that Christians have entered into this debate, and the threatening nature with which they have emailed colleagues. I know of colleagues who have set out thinking they will vote against this bill and who have changed their mind because of the way they have been treated by Christians, supposedly worshipping in their daily lives and witness a loving God. If they profess to worship that God, then it is a different God whom I worship and whom I believe in, because they have shown nothing of that love—that all-encompassing love—in the way that they have conducted themselves in this debate. It is unfortunate that in every debate where fundamentalist Christians get involved in lobbying one side or another, they always bring out the worst, and seek to have those people who do not hold to our faith shove us into a pigeon-hole that would brand us all in the same way. I think that is a despicable way for people of faith to behave.
I know a number of MPs whose support for the bill was lukewarm, but they became more staunch in support of the bill due to some of the appalling e-mails they got from some opponents.
Ms Wall provided research to the Herald which showed that all of the 11 countries that have legalised gay marriage have outlawed polygamy.
None of the 50 countries that recognised polygamy under civil law formally recognised same-sex relationships.
Ms Wall said that in most cases, polygamy was legal in countries that repressed women, not socially progressive countries like New Zealand.
“You have countries where you can be whipped, fined, flogged, sent to jail for the rest of your life [for being in a gay relationship] so to say that marriage equality is a stepping stone to polygamy completely misrepresents the truth globally.”
I have to agree with Louisa that the countries which have polygamy tend to regard women as chattels and homosexuals as criminals.
I wonder if any of those 50 countries that allow polygamy, allow polygyny (one man married to multiple wives) and polyandry (one woman married to multiple husbands) or just polygyny?
Interestingly NZ law does give some recognition under the Family Proceedings Act to polygamous marriages made overseas, if legal in the country they resided in.
Anyway I personally do not accept the argument that if you support same sex marriage you should support polygamous marriage. I don’t think people have any significant choice over their sexual orientation. I do think people have a choice about the number of people they want to be in a relationship with.
Five bills were drawn from the ballot today – four from Labour and one from Greens. The most high profile will be the bill from Louisa Wall to allow same sex marriage. This will be a conscience vote, so expect to see media to start to ask around MPs how they will vote for it on first reading. That is probably six or so weeks away.
Labour list MP Louisa Wall is using taxpayer money to rent her Manurewa electorate office – from her civil-union partner.
Although within the rules, the loophole has previously sparked debate about who should benefit from parliamentary funding arrangements.
Three years ago it was revealed seven MPs – including Prime Minister John Key and current Cabinet ministers Phil Heatley, Gerry Brownlee and Amy Adams – had bought their offices and then billed the taxpayer for the rent.
MPs are given a capped allowance to cover the cost of running offices outside Wellington. They must declare if they have a pecuniary interest.
Ms Wall says Prue Kapua bought the Manurewa office in December after she won her safe seat.
The former Silver and Black Fern insists the Great South Rd property is being rented at below market value and she is not benefiting financially. She could not say how much the rent was.
Parliamentary Service said it does not discuss individual MPs. However, a spokeswoman said if “a partner/significant other/member owns a property, a market valuation is taken and the rental payment by the service is based on that valuation”.
This story was broken by Whale Oil, and I am surprised that the Stuff story doesn’t reflect he (or at least someone other than them) broke this story.
As to the substance, my views are:
It is desirable for electorate offices not to be owned by anyone associated with the MP, so it is an arms length transaction
Sometimes there may be compelling grounds for an MP to own their electorate office, so they have security of tenure, and can modify the building as they see fit.
In the case where an MP (or family member) owns the building, the rent should be set well below market level – say 50% of market, so there is no suggestion that the MP owning the building is profiting from it.
Also in the case where the MP (or family member) owns the building, the level of rent should automatically be publicly disclosed
I don’t think the status quo is good enough, when an MPs or their partner can get paid market rental for their building. They are still benefiting from having the MP able to guarantee them as a tenant for three years. Any rental in this situation should be well below market levels, and should be public.
Records show the property was sold on November 9 to a company called TKL. Ms Kapua, a lawyer, is the sole shareholder and director. It was bought for $405,000, $25,000 less than the July rateable value.
“There is a list of MPs who own their own offices … so your question to me is what?” Ms Wall said.
It was incorrect to say the property was bought before the election. But she added: “I don’t know when it was bought, but it was bought after the general election.
Louisa is incorrect here. The property was purchased by her partner around three weeks before the election.
Labour doesn’t seem to learn. I’m now awaiting their attack on Richie McCaw. The Herald reports:
Rugby-netball double international Louisa Wall is sticking up for fellow Labour MP Darien Fenton over her attack on the public “bromance” between the Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch and Prime Minister John Key. …
But Ms Wall, who is back in Parliament for a second stint as a list MP, said the comments were misinterpreted, and she shared the disappointment at Sir Peter’s support for Mr Key – despite admiring his work.
“We would have assumed Sir Peter was a working-class champion,” Ms Wall said.
But instead he is a class traitor, is the implication.
Ms Wall, who is contesting the safe Labour seat of Manurewa, said “personal is political”, and Sir Peter could not endorse Mr Key without endorsing his policies.
So if you say something nice about the Prime Minister, Labour thinks it means you hate working people.
For Ms Fenton, though, his broadcast utterances were political treason. That any member of the country’s working class could speak well of a “Tory” leader is anathema. Unthinkable. Unforgivable.
The Mad Butcher was shocked by her withering personal rejection and the attempt to denounce him for saying what he thinks. His former butchery business was also stunned by an inference some had taken that a Labour MP was calling for a boycott of the Mad Butcher stores, many of them in rock-solid Labour seats.
The Fenton comments would have been politically dumb and personally reprehensible at any time, given Sir Peter’s record for serving the communities the MP purports to represent.
But her timing, amid Sir Peter’s well-publicised but tentative recovery from cancer and the joy of all league fans at the Warriors’ late season success, was particularly damaging.
Labour has also rounded on Sir Peter Leitch, the Mad Butcher, who, after strongly supporting Helen Clark, now favours John Key.
Labour List MP Darien Fenton declared she was, and I quote her directly, “never going near him again.” While he was “good in the past” he had “gone way out on a limb.” When asked whether it wouldn’t be better to try to win back his vote, she replied, and again I quote her directly: “Why?” Ms Fenton is guaranteed to be re-elected as a list MP, at the expense of quality Labour people like Kelvin Davis and Stuart Nash, who are both doomed.
At thestandard.org.nz, a blog written by Labour and union staffers and other leftist activists, the attacks on Sir Peter, who won his knighthood for services to philanthropy and the community, were even more vicious. One, defended on free-speech grounds by the blog administrators, was: “I wish the Mad Butcher would hurry up and die.”
Such attacks on the Greens, left-leaning academics, the media and the popular Mad Butcher (in the very week his beloved Warriors will finally win the NRL!) suggest some kind of derangement syndrome caused by Labour’s fury at Mr Key’s popularity.
These people have learned nothing from their defeat in 2008. They despise the voters, whom they regard as ignorant and wrong. Unless such bitter and paranoid individuals lose influence within Labour, New Zealand won’t benefit from proper opposition until late 2014 at the earliest.
Matthew has commented that he received more positive feedback on this column, than any other he has written.
Jami-Lee Ross does his maiden speech today, and I expxect Louisa Wall will be sworn in as an MP next week. What hasn’t been on is that this increases the number of Maori MPs by two (and sadly reduces the Ginga MPs by one). The House now has 21 23 MPs of Maori descent (have updated post to include two more MPs of Maori descent):
Georgina te Heuheu Labour
Louisa Wall Green
Metiria Turei Maori Party
Te Ururoa Flavell
Tariana Turia Independent
So that is 23/122 MPs are of Maori descent, representing 18.9% of Parliament. Now this means that Maori are over-represented in Parliament, relative to their population proportion. Now I don’t think this is at all a bad thing. My belief is that Parliament should be diverse and broadly representative of NZ, but we shouldn’t have quotas trying to match the makeup of Parliament to the exact population.
But what it does show is how well MMP has worked for Maori representation. We now have seven Maori MPs in Maori seats, three Maori MPs in general seats (all National) and 11 13 Maori List MPs.
It also reflects my view that one could do as the Royal Commission recommended, and abolish the Maori seats (in exchange for no 5% threshold on the list for Maori parties). Even without the Maori seats, there would be at least 16 MPs of Maori descent in Parliament (and probably more).
Currently as I said Maori make up 18.9% of the House. This contrasts with being 15.2% of the total population and 12.0% of the adult (18+) population (which I deem as the appropriate comparison).
If there were no Maori seats, then there would be at least 16/120 Maori MPs which is 13.3% of the House – almost exactly proportional to the adult population.
I’m not an advocate of removing the Maori seats, without significant consent of Maori. It would cause significant disharmony to do so. But it would be good to have a sensible debate about whether the time has come to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.
What I like about the RC’s recommendations is you wouldn’t have the tensions of the Maori Party trying to represent all Maori – something that is impossible. With no threshold (effectively meaning 0.6 0.4%) for Maori based parties instead, it means you may get say three different Maori parties in Parliament – a radical Hone type party might get three MPs, a more right ring urban Maori party might get one MP, and an Iwi based party might get say two MPs. It would allow for better diversity of Maori opinion (in my opinion). Plus you’d have the Maori MPs in National, Labour and Greens.
I understand that a deal has been done over the vacant Labour list spot. Expect an announcement later today that Judith Tizard has accepted the vacant list spot, and will be sworn in on Thursday 7 April.
However in a deal with Labour, she will resign her seat in May, and then Louisa Wall will come in. The other four higher placed list candidates have agreed to also stand aside.
This allows Tizard to make the valedictory speech she was “robbed” of, and also take part in the committee debate on the new Section 92A of the Copyright Act, which she originally authored. She wants to defend the original section, and explain why it was done. After that she will step aside and let Wall in.
News just broken on Twitter. Louisa Wall has won the nomination for Manurewa, which makes it a victory for the Service and Food Workers Union over the EPMU.
Labour supporters will be relieved that a by-election has been averted.
Personally I think it is a pretty good choice. Louisa performed pretty well in the last term of Parliament for a rookie MP, and I think she’ll have a successful career as MP for Manurewa. If she doesn’t piss her colleagues off, she should become a Minister in the next Labour Government.
Attention will not shift to Te Atatu selection next weekend. Wall’s victory here should help Twyford win the nomination. If Wall had lost out here, then there would have been more pressure to select a female candidate such as Kate Sutton.
Turmoil is continuing within the Labour Party as it heads toward Sunday’s contentious candidate selection in Manurewa with current MP George Hawkins threatening to resign and force a byelection if the party selects a candidate he dislikes.
The party will select its new candidate to replace the retiring George Hawkins on Sunday and Mr Hawkins is understood to have told Labour leader Phil Goff he would force a byelection or publicly criticise the party if candidate Jerome Mika was selected.
George should not rule out both!
While the EPMU supports Mr Mika, the Service Workers Union, the Maritime Union and Amalgamated Workers Union support Louisa Wall. If the two sides can not agree on either candidate, they could choose a third person as a compromise rather than take a majority vote.
This is Labour Party democracy in action.
The three unions are also supporting List MP Phil Twyford in Te Atatu, which will have its selection a week later. Mr Twyford’s chances could be hurt if Mr Mika is selected for Manurewa because of calls for more female candidates in Auckland.
I suspect it will be fourth time lucky.
Things must be quite fragile in Labour at the moment, as Phil Goff has yet to announce the further rejuvenation reshuffle that was expected. When he did reshuffle due to perks abuse, the Herald reported:
Labour leader Phil Goff said there would be further changes ahead of next year’s general election.
You generally avoid reshuffles in election year. I wonder if Goff has backed off a reshuffle, as he can’t afford to upset any of his caucus at the moment?
Ten people have lined up so far for the Mt Albert by-election – seven for Labour and three for National. The Labour seven are:
Twyford has to be the favourite, so long as he can deal with what the Herald calls the “Tizard dilemma”.
Louisa Wall impressed me as an MP. Labour has a pretty bad record of selecting Maori candidates for winnable general seats, so this would be a chance to change that. However Wall did not go out of her way to curry favour with various party factions and they may not want to give her a seat for life.
Hamish McCracken has stood three or four times before and never been ranked above the 50s, which suggests he is not seen as being of the quality needed to have a safe seat. His EPMU background will help with the head offices votes though.
Helen White also has an EPMU background, and is politically quite experienced. Could do well.
Glenda Fryer. Has some profile from Auckland local body politics but I doubt a front runner for the seat.
Conor Roberts. Conor is one of those annoying people – annoying because absolutely everyone likes him! He may be seen as a bit too young for the seat, but on the other hand it has only had two MPs since 1947. Conor would do well on the campaign trail.
Meg Bates. Meg is the only Young Labour President I have not met, so can’t really comment in detail. She used to work for Helen, and Helen generally employed pretty smart people, so she could be another Jacinda Ardern potentially.
The Nats list is:
As membership is over 200 in their Mt Albert electorate, the selection will get decided by a selection panel of 60 delegates.
Labour’s selection is a panel of seven, made up of:
Three people appointed by the NZ Council, one of whom must be a woman
Two people elected by the LEC, one of whom must be a woman
One person elected at the selection meeting
One vote by ballot from those at the selection meeting
Wall says she will not actively seek the electorate vote in the Auckland Maori seat of Tamaki Makaurau, held by Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples. Instead she will be seeking the party vote.
Labour Party president Mike Williams said he was “surprised” at Wall’s comments, as it was “absolutely not” party policy to stand aside in electorate contests in favour of the Maori Party. “We’re two ticks everywhere,” he said.
Wall, who enters parliament early next month from Labour’s party list, replacing retiring list MP Ann Hartley, said she would not be going head to head with Sharples over the seat.
“It’s not about me and Pita fighting. I’m going to be there as party vote Labour and talk about the difference between Labour and National.”
That the only thing I can think of to justify giving her an unwinnable place. A pity if it is, because as I said she impressed me the times she has appeared on Back Benches.
Yesterday’s Dom Post labels a young parliamentary group visiting Australia group as “apprentice junketeers” which is quite amusing.Six apprentice junketeers drawn from aspiring political leaders will be in Canberra today to listen to Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan deliver his budget.
The group flew to Australia late last week as part of an annual exchange programme.
According to Parliament’s Speaker, Margaret Wilson, the trip is designed to promote friendship and cooperation between New Zealand and Australia. It would expose the sextet of political up-and-comers to a different political, economic, social and cultural system.
The delegation leader is Labour’s new list MP, Louisa Wall. Travelling with her are Labour public relations practitioner Conor Roberts, National communications adviser Willy Trolove, National researcher Kenny Clark, NZ First researcher Tony de Jong and Green Party researcher Hannah Scott. The party will visit Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart.
Now I actually support exchanges such as these as an excellent investment. Almost all policy, fresh research and ideas come from overseas, and having young people involved in Parliament or politics gain first hand experience is as I say a good investment.
It is, in my mind, a very different case to a Speaker’s Tour when four of the five MPs on it are retiring. I have been critical of that trip because the participants are not going to be around to put the experience and contacts made to good use.
The media have been well justified to be sceptical of that particular trip. But I would hate that to be seen as a licence to dismiss all overseas travel as “junkets”. While some trips are better value than others, certainly a lot of Ministerial travel (for example) is damn exhausting work with almost no spare time at all.
I popped into the Backbencher last night to observe the live filming of the first episode of a new TVNZ 7 show – Back Benches.
It will be on every Wednesday at around 9 pm, and features Wallace Chapman hosting a panel debate between (mainly) backbench MPs. Damien Christie and Mary-Anne Ahern produce it.
The MPs last night were Maurice Williamson, Louisa Wall, Jacqui Dean and Hone Harawira. There were many dozen people watching – a big crowd from TVNZ (whose account my meal almost got charged to), other press gallery members, a few Vic Uni students, some ACT and Green supporters, plus a few MPs and staff from National.
It was a fun occasion, and I’d recommend locals go along when they can. They debated party pill bans, free trade with China and Peter Brown’s comments. Lots of clapping for various MPs. Hone was funny, with a fair bit of grand-standing. Louisa Wall was pretty good, with a good command of the issues for a new MP.
The comment I liked most of all was Maurice Williamson who said that his ideal free trade deal would be one page, and would simply say “You can sell anything you like to us, and we can sell anything we like to you”. Sounds good to me.
Tim Donoghue at the Dom Post has got hold of Labour’s list rankings for the Northern Region. Somewhat disappointing to see they are once again protecting all their incumbent MPs by ranking them ahead of any newcomers, no matter how talented. But even that may see some List MPs fall away.
The average of the polls have Labour getting 42 seats. They currently have 31 electorate seats and it is not unreasonable to assume they will lose two Maori seats and five general electorate seats so assume 24 electorates and 18 List MPs. Where I note likely to win a seat, this is not a prediction or a concession. It is an assumption for this scenario. Things can and will change in a campaign.
Now let us look at their Northern List:
1. Helen Clark* -likely to win seat
2. Phil Goff* – likely to win seat
3. Chris Carter* – likely to win seat
4. David Cunliffe* – likely to win seat
5. Shane Jones* – 1st list spot
6. Judith Tizard* – likely to win seat
7. Mark Gosche* – 2nd list spot
8. Lynne Pillay* – likely to win seat
9. Ashraf Choudhary* – 3rd list spot
10. Darien Fenton* – 4th list spot
11. Dave Hereora* – 5th list spot
12. Louisa Wall* – 6th list spot
13. Sua William Sio – likely to win seat
14. Raymond Huo – 7th list spot
15. Phil Twyford – 8th list spot
16. Hamish McCracken – 9th list spot
17. Carmel Sepulone – 10th list spot
18. Kelvin Davis – 11th list spot
19. Michael Wood – 12th list spot
20. Kate Sutton – 13th list spot
Now how many winnable list places would there be in Northern Region? Well generally their population is 1/3 to 1/4 of the total country, so if it follows population, one might expect four to six List MPs getting through from Northern.
So at this stage (and Labour has yet to combine the regional lists into a national list) Jones, Gosche, Choudary and Fenton look fairly safe, while Heroera and Wall are marginal, and the chances of a non MP making it in is remote on current numbers.
Choudary, Fenton and Heroera are not exactly high flyers. Despite Clark’s talk of more new blood needed, candidates like Phil Twyford look unlikely to make it in.
The Herald covers the swearing in and maiden speech of new Labour MP Louisa Wall. She replaces Ann Hartley who has been “promoted” to the North Shore City Council.
I knew Louisa had been s Silver Fern but wasn’t aware she had also been a Black Fern. And even better she is keen to play rugby for the parliamentary rugby team. I love the idea of the team having a woman player in it – their opponents will probably stupidly under rate her and be left wondering what happened as Wall sprints away to score tries.