A couple of messy days for Labour.
I don’t know any of the background apart from what has been reported but I agree that better consultation with the Greens should have occurred concerning the second position on the Security and Intelligence Committee. There is a rationale for Russel Norman not being put back on the committee but a proper discussion should have been had.
And there have been rumours that Winston Peters may stand in Northland and Labour may be thinking of withdrawing its candidate in favour of him. TRP has posted an analysis suggesting that Labour should consider supporting Peters and to show that debate is alive and well amongst the authors I thought I should post a contrary view.
I hope Labour do not support Peters and stick to the current position of running Willow Jean Prime as a candidate for both local and strategic reasons.
Willow Jean is an outstanding individual and has huge potential. She performed exceedingly well in the Labour list selection process last year and was highly placed. She is an elected member of the Far North District Council and last election reduced Mike Sabin’s majority by 2,000. She a Moerewa lawyer of Te Kapotai, Ngati Hine and Ngapuhi descent. She is one of a group of outstanding potential future politicians that the Labour Party has.
The by election will give her and the party the ability to campaign on Labour ideas and to present her to the electorate.
The alternative, ceding in favour of a Winston Peters candidacy is in my humble opinion wrong at so many levels. This would make Labour appear weak and remove the opportunity to talk about the issues that are important for Labour. It would also give Winston the ability to hog the limelight for a month. And if by some chance he won it would give New Zealand First momentum that Labour may regret.
I do not support reliance on NZ First for the possibility of a future Labour Government for a few reasons. Much as Winston is entertaining and charismatic he is a long time tory whose reactions to issues are generally conservative. He cannot be relied on to support Labour. Memories of 1996 when Peters campaigned through the country promising a change of Government but then sided with National are still strong. And he is the worst sort of politician who can campaign against the cynicism of politics as usual but then engage in the most cynical of politics.
The way I see it Labour should do its best to ensure that the relationship with the Greens is nurtured and enhanced. If there is a competitor with Labour it is New Zealand First.
So Labour should take the opportunity to campaign hard in this by election and improve relations with the Greens.