The Standard (and it is one of the nice things that blogs are getting the info out) has news of two more Labour Party candidates. Hamish McDouall in Whanganui and Kate Sutton in Epsom.
Hamish will be remembered by almost anyone aged over 25 as the student who was the first person to win Sale of the Century and the nation was enthralled watching him and willing him to win. I remember the following year he stood for some role in student politics at Otago and and the audience would all sing the Sale theme when he got uo to speak at forums.
I’ve actually run into Hamish a couple of times over the years. I doubt he remembers me, but his father was very involved at Red Cross where I worked, and I ended up sharing a car if memory serves me right. From my limited dealings with Hamish, he is a very bright and highly personable guy, and I suspect he will be a more formidable challenge to National MP Chester Borrows than Jill Pettis would have been.
Kate Sutton is pretty well known in political circles. As well as being Women’s Vice-President for Labour, she chairs a community board in Auckland. Like her other former colleagues from student politics, a bit of a political animal. She will not of course win Epsom, but will be hoping for a winnable List place (the irony for candidates such as Kate is the more electorate seats Labour loses, the better her chances will become).
I do have to say that overall the quality of Labour’s 2008 candidates is a big step up from the previous three elections. If they had brought some of these people in, in 2005, they might be a fresher more popular Government by now. The Suttons, Robertsons, McDoualls, Burns and Hipkins of the world are not going to be quiet bench warming MPs such as Ross Robertson or Ann Hartley. They’ll hit Parliament running, and if National is in Government, will face some very ambitious and competent opposition MPs.
I do of course think that having too many MPs who are “professional politicians” and have never developed a significant (as in at least a decade) career outside politics is a flaw. It will be interesting to see the final lineup.