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Labour chooses Poto Williams for Christchurch East

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 pm, September 21st, 2013 - 57 comments
Categories: by-election - Tags:

Labour has selected Poto Williams to be its candidate for Christchurch East. I hadn’t heard of her before but a few phone calls has convinced me she’ll be a great candidate and a great MP. It’s fantastic to see a Maori woman being selected for a general roll seat in a open competition with people from a variety of backgrounds. That shows it’s a meritocratic system.

Update: my apologies, it turns out that Williams is Cook Islands Maori.


57 comments on “Labour chooses Poto Williams for Christchurch East”

  1. tracey 1

    as long as her deeds are known by chritschurch folk. maybe shane jones could stand against brownlee. the battle of the bulge.

  2. BM 2

    Was this a quota selection?

    Was she really the best candidate or was what she didn’t have between her legs the most important thing here.

    [BM, it’s a close call but I’m not giving you a ban for the misogyny and racism that underlie your assumption that a Maori woman can only win selection if there’s a quota. However, I am giving you a two week ban for not reading the fucken post before you comment. It’s only four fucken sentences long and it clearly states this was a open selection, which Williams won on merit. JH]

    • weka 2.1

      As opposed to the large number of men who are in parliament because of what is between their legs?

      that, btw, is me pointing out both the ridiculousness of your question, and the ridiculousness of living in a society that thinks women aren’t good enoug (or don’t belong to the right club).

      • BM 2.1.1

        Actually I’m pointing out why the quota system is complete shit and why most woman hate it with a passion.

        See the problem for Poto Williams is that everyone outside of labour will be thinking she got the nod because she’s a woman and not because she’s was the best candidate out of the group.

        • Rhinocrates

          Because you’re such an excellent spokes…person for all women?


          problem for Poto Williams is that everyone will be thinking she got the nod because she’s a woman

          Translation: “when I look at her, I will see that she’s a woman and decide that because of that she’s worthless and the only reason she got the nod was because the geldings chose her.”

          Don’t say “everyone”, say “I” and at least then you’ll have the guts to own your bigotry. Don’t hide behind people.

        • Andrew Geddis

          Problem with your comment being, Labour doesn’t have a quota system in place.

          So you appear to be alleging that “everyone outside of labour” (everyone, no less!) will think that a woman was chosen to be that party’s candidate in a seat currently held by a woman only because of a quota policy that the party does not have.

          • BM

            So you appear to be alleging that “everyone outside of labour” (everyone, no less!) will think that a woman was chosen to be that party’s candidate in a seat currently held by a woman only because of a quota policy that the party does not have.


            From the article

            Labour’s failed man ban is back, but in disguise. Grant Robertson is promising 50 percent women in the Labour caucus by the next election.

            It will likely mean ramping up the existing quota system, which could see men pushed off winnable positions on the party list.

            • Andrew Geddis

              It will likely mean ramping up the existing quota system…

              There is no existing quota system in Labour. You have linked to people who say they would like to see such a policy adopted in the future.

              So what you are saying is that if the Labour Party actually had in place certain candidate selection policies that have been proposed, then Poto Williams selection might be viewed as merely the consequence of those policies and not her “merit” (whatever that means). But Labour doesn’t have those policies in place. So your allegation that Poto Williams will be seen as chosen merely because of such policies (which the Party doesn’t have in place) is wrong, and you should retract and apologise.

              Unless, of course, you are deliberately ignoring the actual facts in order to troll for a response. Is that what you are doing, BM? Is it? How childish.

            • Rhinocrates

              Oh right, TV3, an authoritative source, just like “everyone”.

              And men have rightful positions while women don’t and are of course failures from the get-go. Evil gay feminazis will push men, competent because they have penises, off lists to put women in their place who are incompetent because they have vaginas and who will therefore lose, ‘cos “everyone” hates women and women can’t vote and Robertson is Dr Evil, but better because he controls everything. You think it’s a kind of sexism, but you never even think to question your own.

              You know, voting papers shouldn’t have ticks and crosses put on them – instead, they should have XX and XY.

              • Murray Olsen

                Or, to vote for BM’s candidate, just put KKK on the ballot.

                I’m not in Labour and I don’t think she was chosen because of a non-existent quota. Ergo, NM’s “everyone” assertion is wrong. I suspect he means everyone on the gun porn hate blogs. Oh, and Tony Abbott, who thinks that a woman’s right to say no needs to be moderated.

            • QoT

              How terrible. Let’s stick with the old system, where people who have been around since Roger Douglas fucked our country get high list placings on the offchance their electorate has had enough of them, and fresh young talent like Carmel Sepuloni and Kelvin Davis get fucked over.

              • Rhinocrates

                I’m hoping that that will be the next revolution in the Labour party – now the membership and affiliates can have a role in choosing the leader, perhaps the list can be wrested away from the terminally useless?

                Goff, King, Robertson, Fenton, Curran, Mallard, Shearer, Jones, Hipkins can all get positions somewhere past 130, or at least someone can stand for a seat or have a list position, but not both. There should always be risk, not guarantees, for people who want power.

            • weka

              “It will likely mean ramping up the existing quota system, which could see men pushed off winnable positions on the party list.”

              Glad you finally came clean. For you it’s really about men not getting what they want when they want it.

        • Coppertone Mamma

          Actually i thought it was a really great selection by Labour and I hope it is the spear head of seeing more candidates selected over the next 6 months who actually reflect NZers and middle and lower income NZ.
          I love that she is a community worker so therefore she is at the coalface everyday and experiencing the hardship that a majority of NZers are feeling in this recession.
          bring on more of it I say…..brown, white,male or female. who cares….its where they come from and what they do that will help bring some normalcy and common sense back into the game
          Go hard Poto…if i lived in Chch East and was on the general roll you would get my vote

    • … was what she didn’t have between her legs the most important thing here.

      Why would you think the fact Poto Williams doesn’t ride a horse would be in any way relevant to her selection by Labour? You are a strange person.

    • North 2.3

      BM @ 2 above – crude old unstable baggage you are !

    • QoT 2.4

      See, and everyone thought that it would be quotas which made people suspect women candidates weren’t there on merit. Thanks for proving that misogyny knows no bounds, BM!

    • xtasy 2.5

      Wow, TS being “sanitised” from BM, what a promising development.

      This was disgraceful and really “below the belt”, BM. I am all for more Maori and female representatives, and I hope Poto will be a good contender in this by-election, although I am not much informed about her background.

      Give her a chance at least.

    • Harriet 2.6

      “……It’s only four fucken sentences long and it clearly states this was a open selection, which Williams won on merit….”

      Well that’s good then…..as quotas make women look like fish and livestock.

    • millsy 2.7

      Didnt know there was a quota for bland uninspiring candidates.

      I thought that lesson was learnt with Meka.

  3. tracey 3

    bm, you can assume she was the best cadidate whereas in national if a woman is chosen tge men are either cynically manipulating the electorate or she is three times as good as the best man. thats the only way women can win nominations for the nats.

    ag, thanks for the chuckle

  4. Neoleftie 4

    Here is a brief synopsis posted on the rebuild chch site.

    whilst there is a push for more CAPABLE woman representation at all level of labour, the calibre of candidates was exceptional I think.

    Poto Williams is a 51 year old resident of New Brighton, she is Regional Manager of St John of God Hauora Trust, managing the Community , Youth and Child Service (Southern Region), based at the Waipuna site in Pages Road in Wainoni. Living and working in the Christchurch East provides a very real understanding of local issues on a daily basis, people wanting a life with a positive future for themselves and their children.

    Her current role is the latest in many community based roles, having held senior management positions in the Community Mental Health, Community Health, Disability services and prior to her current role, in the Family Violence sector.

    Her community work has included being involved in issues of homeless ness through the LIFEWISE Big Sleepout, being active in the Auckland and Christchurch launches of the Living Wage Campaign, being a member of the Community Child Protection Review Panel and holding governance roles for Waitakere Community Law Service and Community Waitakere.

    She is of Cook Island descent, part of a large extended family in New Zealand and Australia, holds an MBA from Southern Cross University and is currently writing a Doctoral Thesis on Pacific Women’s Leadership.

    Further to this I think it would be wise of chch east LEC to enlist deon swigg as co campaign manager with his obvious talents, compassion and established connections and skill set.

  5. dumrse 5

    It’s the first solution to the quota issue as stated by Grant. If it’s not, then clearly perception will soon become reality.

    • neoleftie 5.1

      Oh dumrse b silent you arse, add to the conversation at least.
      The call was for a local person with outstanding service to the community..
      It speak for itself surely.

      • xtasy 5.1.1

        In that pseudonym there are two letters missing, being “ba” in the middle, I suspect. We all make spelling mistakes, at times, so we honour the ones still learning to improve and perhaps learn better spelling and put in the missing “link”.

        Good luck dumrse, whatever that means.

  6. Blue 6

    Putting up a candidate no one has heard of is a bit risky, no matter how good she is. They’ll have to run a really good campaign.

    I hope Labour is not taking the seat for granted. The party vote on that seat went National’s way in 2011.

    • Rhinocrates 6.1

      I hope Labour is not taking the seat for granted.

      Not sending in a paratrooper is a sign of that. She looks like she has good links and a good record. I wish her the very best.

      Unfortunately, she’ll have to face the worst, such as Hoots talking about “dumb Maori”.

    • Rodel 6.2

      Williams sounds like a valuable committed person who has already contributed a lot….unlike Key’s choices of TV celebrities who have done little in the past but preened themselves on garden shows.

  7. tracey 7

    Judging by her cv she will be well known tovthe community of her electorate. Just because I havent heard of her doesnt make her invisible in her community. Looks like a genuine grass roots worker to me.

  8. Ray Lind 8

    I am writing to congratulate Poto on her selection. I also want to congratulate her electorate.

    I have had the privilege of working with Poto. She is an outstanding manager and a wonderful person. She is highly intelligent, wonderfully empathetic and very well educated. She will be a superb addition to the Labour caucus.

    Ray Lind

  9. Tony 9

    I think this selection is a big mistake. To select the candidate with the least links to the electorate highlights what a liability Moira Coatsworth has become. She has handed David Cunliffe a hospital pass. National must be favourites to win the seat now. If that happens then Coatsworth will have to go.

    • gobsmacked 9.1

      Obviously Tony is t-r-olling, and not very subtly, but anyway …

      – Moira didn’t select the candidate
      – She recently oversaw both the changes to the leadership election system, and then an election under that system, which has produced Labour’s biggest boost in years

      Try again, try harder.

  10. bad12 10

    Having read of Poto Williams work across New Zealand i congratulate Labour and Poto for the selection,

    Real people who have seen the real problems face to face and can bring real solutions to the table of Government,

    Thumbs up for Labour and i hope the first of many good candidate selections that takes the concerns of the communities they represent directly into the next Government…

  11. Tony 11

    Gobsamcked says “I’m obviously t-r-olling and not very subtly.”

    Moira was one of the votes on the selection panel and she convened the panel that overrode the local choice including the floor vote. If you don’t believe me then ask anyone that was there.

    I am the first to acknowledge that Moira has done a great job in overseeing the changes to the leadership election system. So it seems rather peculiar that she has presided over a selection meeting where the demcratic wishes of members were completely overriden today. The locals aint happy. One can only assume Moira either has another agenda or knows sometning the locals didn’t!

    Let’s hope Jim Anderton as camapign manager can do something amazing. He will certainly need to. This contest will be a real test of all his campaign experience and local knowledge.

    And no I’m not a troll. I’m a signed up member. I wasn’t at the meeting but have talked to several that were.

  12. PGM 12

    Williams is an outstanding selection, just have a look at her CV. She’s no chardonnay socialist, shes the real deal.

    She is authentically blue collar – to celebrate she and her whanau went to a sports bar in New Brighton to have a drink and watch the league.

    She is a talented administrator, manager and leader with great people skills. She is exactly the sort of person who should be an MP and will make an excellent minister of the crown.

    • Tamati 12.1

      Whilst she seems extremely well qualified, competent and dedicated the carpet bagging tag will be hard to ignore. Sadly she already showed her JAFA traits by heading off the watch the rugby league after she won the selection. As any one eyed Cantab will tell you, Christchurch is a union town through and through!

      She better get along to a few Cantabury rugby union games quickly to show her true colours!

      • PGM 12.1.1

        Christchurch East is League central, like Papanui. It might be a true that white dudes from St Bedes are Union men, but League is more popular than Union in Aranui, Wainoni etc.

        As I have said, she is authentically blue collar.

  13. PGM 13

    Tony, that’s not what I heard about the meeting at all. People I have spoken to are rapt.

    You are undermining the integrity of the selection process. Williams won, fair and square, so it’s your duty as a member to get behind her to beat Gerry’s man.

  14. neoleftie 14

    Well I cant comment to much as wasn’t there…
    Party president get one vote
    Affiliate pres gets one vote
    Regional rep gets one vote
    LEC rep one vote
    Floor rep one vote
    Floor vote one vote.

    If as tony said the LEC and floor votes went to one candidate then it was political from HQ.
    There is a big push for more woman representation which in in self is positive.
    Looking at the calibre, abilities and skills set of poto Williams she has some outstanding qualities.
    Ok so the local, as suggested by tony above, didn’t get there person byt labour as a whole still got an outstanding person in Poto Willaims.

    • Allie 14.1

      As one of the people who will be voting in this byelection, I am concerned. I don’t want the National candidate to represent the electorate and the only way to avoid that is to vote Labour. However, I don’t know anything about Poto Williams except that she’s a very recent arrival to the city. I’m worried that in an electorate which suffered hugely from the earthquakes that we really needed someone who has been here longer and really understands the issues, having lived with them for a considerable time. Now, she might be the very best person for the job but there will need to be an extremely good campaign to convince someone like me that she will do the job we need her to do. I’m not a party member but have consistently voted Labour and Lianne; however I won’t just vote for Labour just because. That’s something which may not have been taken properly into account during this selection. Labour as a whole may have chosen someone they see as outstanding, but time will tell if the electorate will agree. I hope the campaign gets underway quickly so we have time to get to know her, because as of right now no-one I know in the electorate has even heard of her.

      [lprent: While this feels like concern trolling, I can’t find anything to indicate that it is. Letting it through. ]

  15. Ramsay 15

    Is it true that NP selections – as was stated by You Know Who this morning – are made by votes of constituency members? What the hell?

  16. Raymond a Francis 16

    Well she sounds like a good person who may turn into a good MP. You don’t have to worry about quotas when candidates of this quality make themselves available

    She may not be a paratrooper but with only 6 months in Christchurch she is hardly a local and that is going to make it a little difficult in tribal Chch
    When you meet one they really do ask you where you went to school!

    • Murray Olsen 16.1

      I thought they asked which ship your ancestors came over on. However, that may not be the case in this particular electorate. It also doesn’t explain Aaron Gilmore, who by all accounts was washed out of the bilges of a garbage scow.

      I have heard Poto described as a parachuted candidate by friends in Christchurch, but I have no idea how widespread any such feeling might be. What I do think is that Labour/Greens and maybe even Mana, by taking a stand against the failed woodwork teacher who would be king, have a chance to build a real left wing fortress down there. I hope they all take the chance.

  17. andyS 17

    Does anyone know who National is putting forward? The last one was a certain Mr Gilmore

    • GregJ 17.1

      Matthew Doocey – appears to be a newcomer so possibly someone out to earn their “spurs” before the General Election and a place on the list? No idea if local or not but currently works at the Canterbury District Health Board as a manager in its surgical division so certainly a resident.

      • Blue 17.1.1

        Remarkable. Looks like National aren’t even trying to win the seat. Poto might be in with a chance after all.

        • GregJ

          Well leaving aside the candidate I would expect the local LEC has already being gearing up to run a strong local campaign anyway – this would be a good trial run for the General Election and although a traditional “safe” Labour seat with a healthy majority I trust no one in the party is complacent about the importance of retaining the seat with a strong showing.

  18. paul scott 18

    An utter carpet bagger no man allowed weakling Labour party disgrace to Christchurch East.
    We needed a local. The grandiose one and his central committe has foistered a labour party ticket on us and we will thrash you sickling Labour . Nicky Wagner has a lot of overlap , and her workers will cross boundaries prepare yourselves for the worst . You lose East Christchurch Labour

    • GregJ 18.1

      Hmmm – I guess you’ll be busy tomorrow back at school. Perhaps you should ask the teachers for some remedial English classes as you appear unable to clearly articulate an actual point of view and grammar is certainly a mystery to you. Please “come on back” when you’ve grown up and are ready to debate with the adults.

    • PGM 18.2

      @paul scott: Considering that Wagner is widely thought to be considering not standing again because she is a) increasingly unpopular and likely to lose to Labour in 2014 and b) never ever going to be in Cabinet, your comments are pretty hilarious. One of those (ex!) campaigners is a community board candidate in Riccarton for Labour-lined People’s Choice, and she is said to be bleeding supporters because she is unwilling to help her constituents with their Gerry problems.

      @Murray Olsen: Williams is not a parachute candidate. She works for an NGO in east Christchurch, which is why she moved down, and was shoulder-tapped to seek selection by a local. She has impressed many people with the speed to which she has come to understand the issues facing east Christchurch and that she chose to live in South Brighton.

      You can tell she never expected to get the selection by the loud gasp she lets out in the TV3 clip of the announcement. She worked very hard meeting members and going to meetings, building relationships, and impressed a broad cross-section of Party members. She deserves it.

      The core members of the LEC, many of whom have been vocal supporters of other candidates, are all strongly behind her selection. The local discontent is limited to people committed more to their nominee than the Party, because the selection process was run so transparently and so well.

  19. Puckish Rogue 19


  20. Constituent 20

    The parachuted candidate for Christchurch East Poto Williams landed with her feet running and hasn’t had time to unfasten her safety straps, in well under a year she has assessed, understood and actioned her support for the eastern suburbs of Christchurch, I only wish she took charge of EQC! Having been at the selection process and attended the public meeting, I must admit she was not my first choice however pretty close. She is definitely the kind of person New Zealand Labour need for continuity strength and unity. All the contenders showed impressive strength and I wish Karen Hayes, James Caygill, Christina Laalaai-Tausa, Tina Lomax and Deon Swiggs every success serving the country under New Zealand Labour however that maybe. I am positive many of these candidates who didn’t make it this time will be future MPs.

    [lprent: This reads like just another concern troll. Full of pompous bluster, assertions of fact without any links, and short on anything substantive. I’ll let it through as an example of how to be a stupid dickhead in social media, but I’d suggest that opponents of Poto Williams leave how to just argue their case without any of the transparent stupidity evident in this comment.

    I’ll keep labelling the likely concern trolls that I find. ]

    • Constituent 20.1

      Iprent, So sad you believe and read my offering as you do as you are so far off the mark

      [lprent: I’m a very experienced cynic. We’re coming up on 700k comments here most of which I have read and there are decades of reading comments before that on other media. It simply isn’t hard to see some fool being a dickhead on their ‘first’ comment.

      Normally I’d file a comment like that under astroturfing spam. But since there appear to be a number of fools trying the same thing (and whinging about my responses), I think a bit of public education is in order.

      Of course I could be “so far off the mark”. But your style of comment simply doesn’t lend itself to that explanation. It reeks of a hidden bile and a certain amount of convincing stupidity. Just as I suspect we have discussed previously. ]

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    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago