Today Labour choose their candidate for Manurewa to replace George Hawkins. It’ll be a show of the party in good health, with 500 expected to turn up and vote on 7 candidates: Jerome Mika, Louisa Wall, Ashraf Choudhary MP, Ian Dunwoodie, Amelia Schaaf, Shane Te Pou and Raj Thandi.
They’ll be pleased to be rid of George, who certainly wasn’t the most left-wing member of the party, and has caused more trouble than most over the years. At the last boundary re-drawing he put in his own submission that ensured his own incredibly safe seat was made safer to improve his ego – but resulting in Mangakiekie becoming a marginal National seat even before the 2008 election, and Auckland Central in turn losing a Labour area as well, making it easier for Nikki Kaye to win. At the recent SuperCity elections he formed a group with a bunch of right-wingers, splitting the Manurewa vote.
And now he’s threatening to resign if he doesn’t get his preferred candidate to replace him – as though Manurewa was his own hereditary fiefdom.
He wants Ian Dunwoodie, or possibly Shane Te Pou, neither of whom would be popular with the wider party. At a squeeze he’s apparently willing to go with Louisa Wall, who’s a more likely option. I have no problem with Louisa being the candidate, she seemed great (and not deserving of the right-wing’s ire & prejudice) when I met her briefly; I do have a problem with George causing a hugely expensive and pointless by-election if the other front-runner, Jerome Mika, gets in. I’ve met Jerome, who’s hugely capable and devoted to helping out working people in his job with the EPMU – he’d be a great MP. And in Manurewa a by-election in election year would be about as useful as Turia’s in 2004.
At any rate, if either of the 2 front-runners gets in Labour will have done well, and have exciting new (or new-ish in Louisa’s case) blood to add to their team next year.
And it’s Louisa Wall – Congratulations Louisa.
Next Saturday is the Te Atatu selection, where Chris Carter hasn’t made any such blatant threats, even if he has been seen talking to George Hawkins…
He likewise has a favourite for his fiefdom, but a favourite who’s also the front-runner amongst another impressive field for Labour. 8 compete there, with Phil Twyford looking the likely winner – although he has no cake-walk. There’s a strong field, with Kate Sutton, Labour vice-president, a strong contender (particularly with Labour wanting to replace some of the women lost in 2008), and Rajen Prasad another MP competing. Nick Bakulich, Jim Bradshaw, Michael Kidd, Ann Pala, and many-time candidate Hamish McCracken make up a high quality list.
Twyford would be a great MP for Te Atatu, although I personally think he could have a more useful role for Labour on the list as a “candidate for Greater Auckland”. He could do some real damage at election time against National and Act on Auckland issues, which should still be a big topic – even though it is now “Brown Town”. National will no doubt continue to hold back the cash for the public transport Auckland have voted for so there will be mileage to be made. The worry is that Te Atatu is no longer a safe seat (party vote was almost a dead heat in 2008), so Phil may be too tied up campaigning locally – one of the great strengths of MMP can be the ability to keep your big-hitters focussed on the nationwide campaign.
Overall: Labour stand to have 2 great candidates replacing 2 overrated egos – so all good for the future of the left.