Grassroots democracy

June 4th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Was in Mount Maunganui last night for National’s selection of a candidate to replace Tony Ryall in the Bay of Plenty. Tony’s majority in 2011 was a staggering 17,760 votes.

There were 101 voting delegates there. Every single one of them selected by a grassroots branch. Not a single vote held by anyone from head office, let alone a van load of unionists who get bused in to vote. The 101 party members were almost all very long-standing party activists who have spent years or decades door knocking, putting up hoardings, raising funds etc. It’s a great system where they get to decide who will be their local candidate, and is one of the reasons why National has the largest party membership in New Zealand.

The selection was won by Todd Muller (whom I previously blogged on here). Congratulations to Todd who will be an excellent MP and representative for the Bay of Plenty.

Amusingly this means the next National caucus will have three Todds – McClay, Muller, and Barclay. I’m suggesting they be called Senior Todd, Intermediate Todd and Baby Todd 🙂

Congrats also to Alfred Ngaro, selected for Te Atatu yesterday also. Boundary changes have made that seat more interesting that in the past.

This concludes the selections for the seats National currently holds. Still Port Hills and a couple of others to go with the Labour held seats. Port Hills could also be interesting.

4th time lucky for Twyford

December 18th, 2010 at 3:32 pm by David Farrar

As widely expected Phil Twyford won the Labour nomination for Te Atatu, which should eventually kill off his nickname as “Shadow Minister for the Homeless”.

Now the focus will be on whether Chris Carter finds a job in the next few months. His book is due to be completed in March and published in May.

Anyway congrats to Phil Twyford – better late than never!

More turmoil in Labour

December 9th, 2010 at 9:19 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett reports:

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?

Te Atatu LEC expresses no confidence in Goff

December 6th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A fascinating letter turned up in the post the other day. It was a copy of a letter from the Labour Party’s Te Atatu Electorate Committee (LEC) to Party President Andrew Little.

The letter has the unanimous support of the LEC and expresses their “disgust” at the way Chris Carter was treated by Labour.

It is to be expected that they are supportive of their former MP, but what is exceptional about the letter is the explicit statement of no confidence in Phil Goff.

They specifically state Goff’s leadership is uninspiring, and that they are concerned about his policy flip-flops. They attack him for his attacks on Helen Clark’s legacy and say he is betraying the legacy of a popular and successful Labour Government.

They go on to say that they have been expressing these concerns over Goff’s leadership for many months, including to their area representative.

Now remember that this is a letter agreed to unanimously by the LEC. It shows that this is not just an issue about Carter’s travel, but that there is serious discontent with Goff’s leadership in this solid red electorate.

In National over the years I’ve seen electorates get unhappy over various issues and write to the Board about them. I’ve never seen an electorate committee use the harshness of language about the leader, that the Te Atatu LEC is using – its is unprecedented.

The letter is below. You can click twice on each page to see them full size.

I found the references to Goff betraying Helen Clark’s legacy especially interesting – they indicate to me that the Clark loyalists will roll Goff straight after the 2011 election, unless he wins.

Te Atatu and Manurewa

December 3rd, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Two Labour list MPs are among eight nominees to contest Chris Carter’s Te Atatu seat in next year’s general election.

Rajen Prasad and Phil Twyford have put their names up, along with small business owner Nick Bakulich, law student Jim Bradshaw, barrister Michael Kidd, university lecturer Hamish McCracken, community advocate Ann Pala and communications consultant Kate Sutton.

It could well be fourth time lucky for Phil Twyford. He is a member of the anti-Goff faction, so will have the support of the Te Atatu members who were supporters of Chris Carter.

Michael Kidd has no chance, having previously stood for the Destiny Church linked Family Party.

Rajen Prasad hasn’t exactly shone in Parliament, and I think he may b on the wrong side of 60, so would be surprised if he comes through.

I think Kate Sutton will be the one to watch, as the main alternative to Twyford.

Another list MP, Ashraf Choudhary, is one of seven nominees to contest the Manurewa seat for Labour, which will be vacated by George Hawkins who is retiring from Parliament.

The other Manurewa nominees are lawyer Ian Dunwoodie, union organiser Jerome Mika, lawyer Amelia Schaaf, human resources manager Shane Te Pou, company director Raj Thandi and policy advisor Louisa Wall.

I’d be amazed if Ashraf Choudary wins the nomination. It could only happen if Hawkins endorses him. Choudary is almost invisible at Parliament.

Jerome Mika is backed by EPMU and it is rumoured that Hawkins will force a by-election if he wins. Shane Te Pou has been written about extensively on Whale Oil. Louisa Wall as a pretty good MP during her short time in the House, and I was surprised she got such a low list ranking. But I understand she wasn’t great at getting on with others.

Ian Dunwoodie may be the candidate backed by Hawkins, as he used to work for him. He has also worked for the ATA, is a lawyer and even an EPMU member so could be the candidate acceptable to all factions.

Don’t know much about Amelia Schaaf – she is a barrister.

Raj Thandi is the General Secretary of the New Zealand Indian Central Association. He is an unsuccessful candidate for the Papakura Local Board.

So at this stage I’m picking it as Mika vs Dunwoodie.

How Chris Carter could really do over Labour

October 28th, 2010 at 9:43 am by David Farrar

I think I have worked out the ultimate revenge scheme for Chris Carter, which would make Labour regret throwing him out.

It’s quite simple.

  1. Chris waits for Labour to do candidate selection for Te Atatu
  2. Then if they select front runner Phil Twyford, Chris resigns from Parliament
  3. Having selected Twyford as the general election candidate, they have to stand him in the by-election also
  4. Twyford wins the by-election
  5. Judith Tizard rejoins the Labour Caucus as a List MP for the next year

I think the prospect of Judith returning to Caucus would make even Phil Goff join up to the “We forgive you Chris” club 🙂

From Destiny to Labour

October 11th, 2010 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

One of the nine seeking Labour’s nomination for Te Atatu is Michael Kidd. I presume he is a Labour Party member in order to be able to stand.

Is he the same Michael Kidd who was ranked at No 7 on the Family Party list in 2008? The Family Party being Destiny in drag of course.

A strange political journey. Imagine the replacement for Chris Carter being a former Destiny candidate 🙂

Nine seeking Te Atatu

October 9th, 2010 at 10:07 am by David Farrar

The fact nine people are seeking Labour’s nomination for Te Atatu, reflects its safeness for Labour. No as safe as Mana (National won the PV in 2008), but whoever gain the nomination probably has a long parliamentary career ahead of them.

So who are they:

Phil Twyford – his fourth attempt to gain a seat after being rebuffed or scared off in Mt Albert, Auckland Central and Waitakere. As Chris Carter is said to be backing Twyford this should help him with the local electorate votes. Will Head Office back him though, and will the often union dominated floor votes go his way? A fourth loss would be even  more humiliating.

Rajen Prasad – he had a top twelve list ranking from Labour in 2008 but has been near invisible in Parliament. My only sighting of him has been booing National MPs at Backbenchers. Given his age also, I would be surprised if he could beat Twyford. In fact I wouldn’t want to place much money on him having that high a list ranking next time either.

Nick Bakulich – A PI funeral director standing in the local body elections. Former public servant, and a church elder.

Jim Bradshaw – law student.

Dr Michael Kidd – barrister, stood for Waitakere Council in 2007. Appears to be past middle age, which may count against him. In safer seats you tend to look for someone who can do 15 years or so.

Hamish McCracken – I’ve lost counts of how many elections and nominations Hamish has lost. He does get union support though, and maybe people will feel sorry for him.

Anne Pala – a community advocate who also sought Waitakere nomination off memory. My spies say she was highly regarded in terms of political skills.

Greg Presland – could be a substantial candidate. Has been very involved behind the scenes with Labour, and when he is not commenting on blogs is a lawyer. A previous City Councillor and Labour appointed him to various boards.

Kate Sutton – Last time I checked Kate has the Woman Vice-President of Labour, and gained the job at a very young age. She has strong support from the younger activists and is pretty feisty  would run a hard campaign. I’m not sure, but don’t think she is from the West which could count against.

So who are the front runners – I would say it is a choice between Twyford, Presland and Sutton, but reserve the right to change my opinions as the contest moves on.

Lining up for Te Atatu

October 7th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The race for Chris Carter’s plum Te Atatu seat is suddenly wide open after a rush of nominations.

Apart from Mr Carter, who is still seeking the nomination despite being expelled from the Labour caucus, it is believed six people are vying to stand in the seat for Labour at the next election.

Among those believed to have thrown their hats into the ring are list MPs Phil Twyford and Darien Fenton and former Epsom candidate Kate Sutton. Another of Labour’s 2008 candidates, Hamish McCracken, could also be in the mix.

Twyford v Fenton could be interesting as there is a bit of history of tension there. After Twyford missed out on Waitakere, someone suggested on his Facebook page he could consider Northcote. Darien jumped in and basically said naff off, she’s been working hard there.

Kate Sutton would be fairly strong contender, but I don’t know if she has Westie roots. Hamish McCracken seems to try for every seat.

Will it be 4th time lucky for Twyford? Will Carter be expelled? Will Carter stand as an Independent if he is? To find out tune back in tomorrow at the same bat time on the same bat channel!

UPDATE: Carter has announced he will not stand in 2011:

Member of Parliament for Te Atatu (Labour), Chris Carter, has announced his decision to withdraw his candidacy for the Labour Party in the electorate of Te Atatu for the 2011 General Election.

“In good conscience I cannot campaign on behalf of a leader I have criticised,” said Mr Carter. “It would not be fair to him or ethical of me.

So not standing, as he can’t honestly say he supports Goff.

“Of course there are some things I wish I had handled differently. At the same time I also regret that, during the pressures I have faced in the past year, I did not receive the support, advice or guidance I expected from my party leadership. However I want to look forward to focussing on continuing to serve the people of my electorate and it is for the Labour Caucus to resolve the Leadership Question.

I can’t imagine Phil Goff’s initial response to the Paul Henry comments would have helped his position with some of his caucus members. Goff’s response was that it was just “Paul being Paul”. Goff could have inflicted some damage on John Key if it were not for that initial response. I can only imagine how furious some Labour MPs are at Goff for the missed opportunity.

‘I look forward to seeing Labour returned to the Treasury benches in the near future.”

Chris has also said that Labour can not win under Goff. So his implication is pretty obvious.

Who will stand for Te Atatu?

October 6th, 2010 at 9:06 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Renegade MP Chris Carter’s views on who should replace him in the safe Labour seat of Te Atatu are interesting but irrelevant, Labour president Andrew Little says.

Not really. He has the unanimous backing of his electorate committee so I imagine his views on his successor will be highly influential.

Mr Carter told the Dominion Post newspaper that he had asked Auckland lawyer Deborah Manning (known for her representation of represented Algerian asylum seeker Ahmed Zaoui) to stand in the seat but she declined. His second choice was Phil Twyford.

Heh, isn’t that Phil’s problem in all the other seats also 🙂

“We have a clearly set out selection process and it doesn’t involve former Labour MPs having a say over who a potential successor might be,” Mr Little said.

“They are interesting comments but they won’t help us select a candidate for Te Atatu.”

But they may. If he is still a Labour Party member, then Chris could get elected to the selection panel.

Labour’s Te Atatu challenge

September 29th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Martin Kay writes:

Labour has yet to set a date to hear disciplinary charges against rebel MP Chris Carter as time runs out before nominations for his Te Atatu seat close.

Labour president Andrew Little said the party was in talks with Mr Carter’s lawyers to arrange a meeting of the ruling council to hear charges that could result in the MP’s expulsion from the party.

Labour wants the matter dealt with before nominations for the party’s Te Atatu candidacy close on October 8 to avoid having to reopen the race if he is expelled.

Mr Carter said yesterday he was still the only nomination and had not withdrawn his candidacy.

Carter is obviously not going to agree to be available until after the 8th of October.

Unless Labour delay the deadline for the close of nominations, then it is possible Carter will be the only nomination. That would be hugely embarrassing for the leadership.

An opportunity for Labour?

August 12th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

Labour will have very mixed feelings about being forced by one of its MPs to fight a byelection in Mana, even though it is one of the party’s safest seats in the Wellington region.

The byelection sparked by Winnie Laban’s departure to a job at Victoria University is a nuisance for Labour and an opportunity.

I like the idea put forward by Matthew Hooton on National Radio this week. Matthew proposed that Labour should arrange an effective mini-election in November – by-elections in Mana, Te Atatu, Manurewa and Wigram.

This could be a circuit breaker for Labour – they’d get publicity for four to six weeks, and would probably win all four seats, achieving a massive rejuvenation. This would help their chances in 2011 significantly, as they would look a lot less like the bunch thrown out.

Carter only nomination for Te Atatu

June 23rd, 2010 at 6:05 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Labour has confirmed that Te Atatu MP Chris Carter is the only nomination for the seat, meaning he is soon likely to be ratified as a candidate for the 2011 election.

Cheers around the Beehive can be heard welcoming this news.

As the only candidate, Mr Carter would now face a confirmation meeting run by his local electorate committee, including a question and answer session, a speech and a formal motion of confirmation.

Maybe the electorate committee will hold him to account?

Mr Carter’s long-time partner, Peter Kaiser, is the electorate chairman in Te Atatu.

Maybe not.

Michael Jones MP?

March 13th, 2010 at 9:11 am by David Farrar

The Herald does a lengthy profile of Michael Jones:

Jones’ work has admirers at the highest level. Listening to him speak at last week were Prime Minister John Key, ministers Paula Bennett, Tariana Turia and Georgina Te Heu Heu and National’s sole Pasifika MP, Sam Lotu-Iiga. Key spoke later, in a similar inspirational vein. But it was Jones who spoke from the heart.

Key’s high-powered retinue made it clear he was redoubling the effort he made before the last election to get Jones to stand for Parliament on the National ticket.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, who has watched Jones for 20 years, says he “could go very far” in politics if he chooses to.

He compares the great flanker to former Prime Minister Norman Kirk. “I have always felt their voice is similar, their phraseology, their quiet and forceful delivery,” he says.

“I think he’s an extraordinary New Zealander. I think he’s got another life. I think that life is saving New Zealand and I would just love to see him run.”

Jones is taking Key’s overtures seriously and is consciously stepping up to leadership.

Jones would be a massive addition to National’s ranks, if he chose to stand. Not because he is a former All Black (some say our greatest), but because he is has always been such an inspirational personality.  His record of community service is second to none.

Jones’ Christian moral values have always placed him on the right politically. He opposed Labour’s civil unions law and Sue Bradford’s anti-smacking law, and fronted advertisements for Christian Heritage in 2002.

But he also grew up with Maori families in Te Atatu, learnt te reo Maori at university and spoke out against former National leader Don Brash’s attack on “race-based funding” in 2004. He warmed to National when Key took over and asked him to stand in 2008.

“I got to know John Key in that period and I liked what I saw, not only in terms of his leadership style. “I really sensed that his aspiration was to bring all New Zealanders forward, including Pacific people,” he says.

What would be interesting, is not just if Jones stands, but will he contest a seat? The two logical seats he might contest is Te Atatu or New Lynn.

New Lynn had National just 0.1% behind Labour on the party vote, but a larger 12% gap on the electorate vote. However I think it is fair to say Tim Groser was running a party vote campaign, not trying to win the seat personally.

In terms of ethnic profile, New Lynn is 58% European, 23% Asian, Pacific 12% and Maori 9%.

Te Atatu saw National marginally ahead in the party vote, but Chris Carter win the electorate vote by 17%.

However Te Atatu is even more ethnically diverse with 18% Pacific, 16% Maori and 17% Asian.

I think there is a very reasonable chance that Michael Jones could win either seat. Carter’s reputation has been damaged by the focus on his overseas travel, and he may of course retire. Cunliffe will not be retiring, but he has a smaller majority to defend.

The Auckland Seats

November 12th, 2008 at 1:34 pm by David Farrar

Starting at the top, the three northern seats of East Coast Bays, North Shore and Northcote were solid blue. Their party votes went up 9%, 4% and 11% respectively.  In East Coast Bays almost three times as many people voted National as Labour. These seats now are counters to the South Auckland seats.

The personal majorities were 12,800, 13,200 and 8,500 respectively. Northcote was held by Labour up until 2005 and Jonathan Coleman this tme incraesed his majority by around 6,000.

Out west we saw the near impossible – National won the party vote in all three West Auckland seats. Tim Groser worked hard on New Lynn to lift the party vote by 10% to 41%, with Labour dropping 12%. Te Atatu went from 32% to 42% and Waitakere from 33% to 42%. Listing the vote 10% in Westieville was great work.

Paula Bennett’s win in Waitakere is all the more remarkable because of the new boundaries. They had her 6,000 votes behind in 2005 and she won by 900. Groser reduced Cunliffe to 3,500 from a paper majority of 12,000 – also one of the biggest swings! Finally Chris Carter dropped to 4,500 from 7,500.

In central Auckland we have Auckland Central. National lost the party vote by 12% in 2005 and won it by 5% this time. This seat has been held by Labour since 1919 (apart from once going further left to the Alliance), making Nikki Kaye’s 1,100 vote victory all the more remarkable.

Mt Roskill also just went to National on the party vote, and Goff’s majority went from 9,400 to 5,500 – still very safe. His leadership predecessor in Mt Albert won the party vote by 6%, and had a slight dent in the electorate majority from 11,400 to 8,700.

Epsom went from 58% to 63% for National on the party vote, with Labour falling to under 20%. Rodney Hide drives his majority from 2,000 to a staggering near 12,000. They liked his dancing. Tamaki also remains solid blue with another 60:20 split on the party vote. Allan Peachey saw his majority go from 10,300 to over 15,000.

Maungakiekie was another big mover. The party vote went from a 13% deficit to 45 lead. And Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga scored an 1,800 majority from an close to 7,000 majority to Labour previously. Sam is one of the most well liked guys in the National Party, and had one of the biggest teams in recent memory on the hustings. He had between 10 and 25 people door knocking both days every weekend.

Out East we have Pakuranga which was no surprise. It is another close to 60:20 seat. Maurice is very popular locally and scored a 13,000 majority.

Botany. This brand new seat got the second highest party vote in Auckland for National – 62%. Pansy Wong also got a 10,000 majority. ACT’s Kenneth Wang was in third place but got a respectable 4,500 votes.

Papakura. The party vote went 52% to 28% for National, and Judith Collins took a 6,800 paper majority and turned it into a 9,700 real one.

Finally we have the three M seats in South Auckland. Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East. Mangere saw Labour’s party vote go from 73% to 61%. In Manurewa it was from 61% to 50% and Manukau East from 65% to 57%. But turnout was down also and in absolute terms, Labour went from 55,000 votes to 38,000 over the three seats.

Thankfully Labour’s Sio beat Taito Phillip Field by 11,300 to 4,700

Note the above comparisons are all to 2005 results adjusted to new boundaries. Also a more formal analysis will be done when we have final results.