ODT on Curran’s allegations of dirty politics in Dunedin Labour

The ODT reports:

In most cases, the revival of a Labour Party branch which says it has doubled its membership since August, and aims to have 100 members early next year, would be welcomed by the sitting MP.

But Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is anything but thrilled by the resurrection of the Andersons Bay-Peninsula branch in her electorate.

She says the branch was reconstituted without official approval, with the aim of undermining her bid to be re-elected.

”This is dirty tricks and dirty politics in Dunedin South,” she told the Otago Daily Times this week.

I await the Nicky Hager book on the Dunedin South Labour Party.

Mr Loo told the Otago Daily Times Ms Curran was used to having ”tight control” of the branch and did not like the fact the Andersons Bay-Peninsula branch was not in her inner circle.

The branch aimed to attract new members who were not university students but were in the trades, labourers or struggling to find full-time work – the traditional base of the Labour Party, he said.

Mr Loo remained a strong supporter of former Labour leader David Cunliffe, who wants the job back but is facing a challenge from Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, formerly of Dunedin.

Ms Curran and Dunedin North MP David Clark both supported Mr Robertson previously and can be expected to provide similar support in the Labour leadership contest.

So is this branch warfare a proxy for the wider battle?

Pointedly, he mentioned all Labour MPs would face re-selection in 2016 and selection contests were good for the health of the party.

”No MP holds their seat by right. It’s not personal, but the way of developing talent is to give people a chance of participating,” he said.

I don’t think challenges are dirty politics. It is democracy.

Dunedin South was fourth, behind Manurewa, Manukau East and Mangere, in the amount of party vote received.

This is true in terms of votes, but that is partly because Dunedin South had a higher turnout. As a percentage of the vote, Dunedin South was 17th best for Labour.