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Labour’s Electorate-only Candidates

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 pm, June 23rd, 2014 - 36 comments
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Before we get too carried away patting those Labour MPs on the back for withdrawing from the list process in order to ‘give way’ to fresh talent, someone should take a closer look at clause 356 of the Labour Party constitution:

The Moderating Committee shall rank list nominees by a process of exhaustive ballot taken singly for at least the first sixty (60) positions, thereafter optionally by preferential voting in bands of five (5), e.g. positions 61-65, etc.; and pause for an equity review after each five (5) position ballots are completed. For the avoidance of doubt, each equity review shall include the electorate candidates likely to be elected at the relevant level of Party vote. Maori on the Regional Lists and the Te Kaunihera Maori list shall be included in the equity review at each stage. (My emphasis)

What this means is that when the List Moderating Committee stopped to do an equity check (which they are required to do every five places) they had to take into consideration those candidates not standing on the list, but nominated in seats that Labour was more than likely going to win.

This, consequently, meant that the list needed to have more females on it than males simply to come up to the 45% target mark – which lead to headlines like “Labour’s female-dominated list“, and provides more fodder for those who are keen to attack Labour over the gender quota (and, dare I say it, ‘manban’).

So, while Trevor Mallard et al were looking like the good guys who stood aside (to the point that Kelvin Davis seems to think he owes Mallard a beer), I’d question whether their motives were really that selfless.

There are many excellent candidates on Labour’s list – Liz Craig, Deborah Russell, Willow-Jean Prime, Jerome Mika, Virginia Andersen, Claire Szabo, Michael Wood, Hamish McDouall, and Richard Hills all deserve to be MPs. Unfortunately, on current polling it’s extremely unlikely that any of them will make it into Parliament this election. In reality, the only way the old guard in safe seats can give way to fresh talent is to retire from Parliament.

36 comments on “Labour’s Electorate-only Candidates”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    So, while Trevor Mallard et al were looking like the good guys who stood aside (to the point that Kelvin Davis seems to think he owes Mallard a beer), I’d question whether their motives were really that selfless.

    I probably agree with you but for a different reason. I had presumed (but do not know) that perhaps some of the current Labour MPs who “stood aside” from the list did so because the placing they had received after the moderating committee process was crushingly poor.

    Hence they opted out of the list altogether instead of being published on it. So not “really that selfless” as you say.

  2. Tamati 2

    The NBR’s break down shows that it’s unlikely they’ll achieve their 45% quota. It’s a really hard to consider every possible electorate outcome across a range of party votes.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/sites/default/files/images/labour-list2_1.jpg

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      Moreover, Hooten’s latest venom-ridden NBR piece predicts Cosgrove winning Waimakariri, Lees-Galloway winning Palmerston North, Mallard winning Hutt South and Nash winning Napier. Also he predicts Peeni Henare winning Tamaki Makaurau and Adrian Rurawhe winning Te Tai Hauauru. On this basis, Labour needs at least 24.17% according to his math to get the first list MP, David Parker, elected.

      • Rojo 2.1.1

        I can’t see Labour winning Napier, Waimakariri, or Tamaki Makaurau, but I imagine they’ll pick up Christchurch Central.

        The other effect of this is that it gives Mallard et al a license to run re-branded electorate-only campaigns. Fuck the party vote, basically.

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          Any MP who does not campaign for the party vote should seriously think about their commitment to the party.

          • Rojo 2.1.1.1.1

            Case in point is Clayton Cosgrove: ran almost no Party Vote campaign in his seat, and when he lost his seat had the gall to take a list spot. I feel sorry for all those Labour candidates who slogged their guts out campaigning for the party vote in safe-Tory seats, who then watched Cosgrove slide in on the list.

            • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1.1.1

              So, the essence of your complaint is that electorate seat candidates who miss out there shouldn’t be on the list? Bad news for the Labour women list MP’s such as Jacinda Adern and Moana Mackay then. Or is it just that you believe the list should only feature prospective MP’s you personally like?

              • Lanthanide

                Er, no, his point is that if you’re a candidate for Labour, you need to campaign for the party vote. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t feel entitled to the proceeds of such vote.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Quite right, Lanth. And as no candidates have been shown to fall into that category, either in the past or in the coming election, it’s a moot point.

              • Rojo

                Not at all – my grevance is with candidates who don’t run Party Vote campaigns (or run bare minimum party vote campaigns) who then slide in on the list. Cosgrove de-branded at the last elections – his hoardings didn’t even mention Labour. Yet, he benefited from Labour’s party vote through getting a list seat. The same can not be said of Jacinda.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Interesting point. And one that David Farrar made, using similar language as yourself, 3 years ago.

                  http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2011/11/debranding.html

                  I’d like to see you offer some proof that Cosgrove’s hoardings ‘didn’t even mention Labour’. Bet you can’t.

                  • Rojo

                    That’s right. Me an Farrar get together and discuss the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy…

                    Rest assured, Lynn wouldn’t have given me an account if he thought I was anything but some shade of red.

                    [lprent: Or greenish, or anarchist, or something in the diversity of the left that in at least part grew out of the labour movement. After that they just have to be able to write an opinion reasonably coherently and ideally not sound like a clone of anyone else. We’re after diversity. ]

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      I’m not saying you meet with Farrar, I’m saying you appear to be recycling one of his old posts for no obvious reason. And your reply doesn’t answer the question I put, Rojo. But to save you the time, Cosgrove’s hoardings at the last election do mention Labour. You are wrong to say they don’t.

            • Anne 2.1.1.1.1.2

              That was in large part a nation-wide error on the part of Labour’s strategy team Rojo. We were so appalled at the lack of a mention of the Party vote on the bill boards in 2011 that my electorate slapped sticky-backed strips on them urging people to “Party vote Labour”.

              Trevor Mallard was the parliamentary team’s chief strategist so he has to take some of the blame.

              • Colonial Viper

                There’s a few of those brilliant top-down command and control style strategists likely returning Sept 20.

          • Clemgeopin 2.1.1.1.2

            EVERY Labour candidate and EVERY Labour campaign activist should seriously campaign for the PARTY VOTE. They need to state clearly that their first need and priority is for the party vote.
            The electorate candidates need to emphasise that while they welcome the candidate vote, their main priority is for the party vote first.

  3. felix 3

    Am I reading this wrong, or is the post speculating that Labour MPs are deliberately sabotaging their party’s media coverage?

  4. fisiani 4

    The Labour list is just lipstick on a pig. At the rate that Labour is falling in the polls no one on the list may get in. Labour could easily have an overhang.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Fizzy – your ability to massively pack maximum BS into minimal words is phenomenal. Well done.

      • The Lone Haranguer 4.1.1

        Dude, would you be kind enough to ask those who run this ship if they can put a “Thumbs up” voting thingy on here.

        Your comment deserves one.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          We had one briefly, but it was abusable. Lynn hasn’t had time (or inclination?) to put another one in.

  5. greywarbler 5

    It is unfortunate that the author brought up that term m.n-b.n again. And other points which on the surface seem to be explaining the list choice process, have been dealt with in a way that almost invites criticism or just negative comment of the Labour selection.
    Overall I don’t think it is helpful and informative. Just another egg to splatter and leave a mark that has to be cleaned off by a helpful left supporter.

    • Te Reo Putake 5.1

      Good point, greywarbler. A quick google search shows no hits for ‘man ban labour’ this year apart from, surprise, surprise, Whaleoil. It’s a tribute to the relative positivity that the list has been greeted with that the media have used the phrase ‘gender balance’ instead.

      There’s a certain bucolic whiff of the strawman about this post. It posits in its first sentence that people have been getting carried away ‘patting those Labour MPs on the back for withdrawing from the list process in order to ‘give way’ to fresh talent’. I haven’t spotted any comments along those lines, presumably because most folk actually know that staying on as an MP of any form does not refresh the caucus one iota.

      The author also says in a reply above that “the other effect of this is that it gives Mallard et al a license to run re-branded electorate-only campaigns. Fuck the party vote, basically.”

      While I’m no fan of Mallard, that’s clearly unfair to him. He just has to turn up to win the seat (49% of the vote at the 2011 election) and the party vote in Hutt South was way above the overall national figure for Labour. It’d be nice if he would retire, but attributing sinister motives to him, when history shows he has also worked to get the party vote as a high as possible, is poor form.

      • greywarbler 5.1.1

        Te Reo Putake
        You make interesting points – there was quite a lot to look at in the post and I missed some.
        That bit about the party vote/electorate vote. I think Spinney this morning was going on about that but I don’t remember to whom at present. Funny that the same point turns up in a post here. Makes you wonder really.

      • Rojo 5.1.2

        It was Davis that highlighted Mallard standing aside on Checkpoint last night, which is why I’ve highlighted him here. I don’t actually think Mallard will run a de-branded campaign – that would suggest that he thinks he’s going to lose to Bishop (which he won’t), but others will. Cosgrove has in the past, and then took a List spot when he lost his seat.

        • Te Reo Putake 5.1.2.1

          So what? It’s the party that determines who goes on the list and Cosgrove had enough support internally to get a reasonable place on it last election. That’s the system we use. This time, it’s electorate or nothing for him. I hope he wins Waimak back and I note that despite losing, he was one of the few Labour candidates to actually lift his electorate vote last election. Just not quite enough, unfortunately.

          To be fair to your analysis, Clayton has always kept the Labour branding low key. It’s a conservative area and he has won it against the odds in previous elections. I used to drive past his rather prominent electorate office in bourgeois Papanui and it always made me laugh that there was no signage to identify him as a Labour MP. But I also know he was a damn fine electorate MP and the one time I sought his help for a friend who was being threatened for opposing the opening of a legal highs shop in Kaiapoi he was onto it in a flash and got the whole community behind the campaign.

          As I’ve said previously on TS, it’s probably time for Labour to look at term limits. 4 or 5 would seem reasonable to me and it’s pretty clear that we have been lousy at succession planning and that must change.

          • Te Reo Putake 5.1.2.1.1

            Whoops! Cosgrove is of course still on the list, so it ain’t ‘electorate or nothing’. My bad.

          • Lanthanide 5.1.2.1.2

            Term limits are problematic because there will always be politicians to whom they shouldn’t be applied, and many other politicians who should be moved on sooner.

            Helen Clark was first elected in 1981.

            I think some sort of formal review at the 4 term mark might work. But then again, isn’t that what this list committee thing is? Surely poorly performing MPs, or ones that don’t bring in the vote, are demoted via the list, which itself is a signal that maybe they should leave parliament?

      • swordfish 5.1.3

        “The party vote in Hutt South was way above the overall national figure for Labour.”

        But it always is. Surely the more important measure is the size of the swing away from Labour over the last few Elections ? (Hutt South, first and foremost, relative to other Wellington seats and then to other seats in general).

        • Te Reo Putake 5.1.3.1

          Still less than the drop in most seats. The problem was that Labour fell to historic lows everywhere, It’s not something that should be attributed to individual candidates. Even Cunliffe ‘lost’ 3%. As far as I know, they all tried their best to lift the party vote and I’m damn sure all the candidates this time will do the same.

          • swordfish 5.1.3.1.1

            “Still less than the drop in most seats”

            I’m not saying anything, here, about Rojo’s suggestion that Mallard is planning an electorate-only / “fuck-the-Party-Vote” campaign nor about the notion that swings against Labour can necessarily be attributed to individual candidates, but I’d take issue with the suggestion that the swing against Labour in Hutt South in 2011 was “less than the drop in most seats.”

            2011 Election

            NZ
            Labour (2008) 34%, Labour (2011) 27.5% (minus 6.5)
            Hutt South
            Labour (2008) 42.8%, Labour (2011) 35.7% (minus 7.1)

            NZ
            Lab+Green (swing in 2011, relative to 2008) minus 2.2
            Hutt South
            Lab+Green (swing 11, relative to 08) minus 2.8

            I’d also say that the Lab-to-Nat swing in Hutt South was exceeded only in Chris Hipkins’ Rimutaka (in terms of the 5 Wellington seats). And it was clearly greater in Hutt South than in New Zealand as a whole.

  6. Clemgeopin 6

    It is an excellent mix of candidates broadly representing our society. Labour’s aim of getting a 20% renewal and at least 45% women is to be lauded. I am sure their previously announced policies and the yet to be announced further policies will also be of good value to everyone and the country and not just primarily more beneficial for the wealthy, privileged and the powerful as is the case with National.

    If anyone thinks that out of the 4,470,000 people of New Zealand of which about 50% or 2,269,000 are women, there aren’t 34 women in the country that are capable, if not more capable than men, is both very stupid and totally biased. The more I have thought of this issue, the more I have come to this view.

  7. greywarbler 7

    Interesting that Rojo is not in archives as having been here before though ‘he’ seems to be an ardent left political commentator. Or perhaps a common ‘tater?
    Perhaps it’s the season for him to come out of his hole – like just before the election.

    Peter Paul and Mary –
    To everything turn, turn, turn
    There is a season, turn turn turn
    And a time for every purpose under heaven.

    • Rojo 7.1

      Ardent left political commentator? Should I be flattered or offended? This is The Standard… :P

  8. Rich 8

    It’s interesting that Mallard stepped aside to give Davis a reasonable list place. Which might, in turn, encourage Te Tai Tokerau voters to party vote Labour and electorate vote for Hone Harawira.

    That’s in the Left’s interests, but I doubt Mallard would see it that way.

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