Moira Coatsworth recently announced that last year’s party membership was the greatest in 30 years – that is, it is higher than even before the 4th Labour Government did such damage to membership numbers. This is a sign of rude health.
Media commentators (I’m looking at Raymond Miller) will no doubt scoff at that statement – they judge a party purely on how well they’ve manipulated the latest media spin-cycle. They forget that parties are many thousands of ordinary Kiwis, not just a few dozen MPs.
And in Labour’s case – many thousands more than just a couple of years ago, as they doubled the membership last year.
That increased connection with the community has resulted in contests among very strong candidates in very blue seats. And I think Labour’s clear message that it is looking for gender-balanced caucus to reflect society has resulted in a lot of strong women candidates putting themselves forward in particular.
Women like Claire Szabo, selected for North Shore on Monday. Current CEO of Habitat for Humanity NZ, with a Master of Public Administration from Harvard; a former CEO of English Language Partners, who has run her own business in Hungary – all this and still annoyingly younger than me…
There are only a couple of selections left for Labour, which promise more strong candidates to finish off the line-up. And they’ll have many thousands more members behind them to help get out the vote.