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Melissa Lee concedes in Mt Albert

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, May 22nd, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: mt albert - Tags: , ,

A full 3 weeks before the vote, National candidate Melissa Lee has publicly accepted that she is not going win the Mt Albert by-election. In yet another astonishing media gaffe Lee has told Morning Reports’ Sean Plunket (link to audio) that she hopes to come second.

The interview started well for Lee as she spoke about the one bit of good news she has had this week; the rejection of the complaint of misuse of NZ On Air funds. Things started to go sour when Lee said “I have no control over how people vote” and Plunket asked if influncing how people vote isn’t the point of the exercise. Lee nearly lost her hair-trigger temper.

Plunket then asked if the negative publicity she had received had led to a public backlash against the other candidates and a sympathy vote for her.

Sean Plunket: ‘What’s the feeling you’re getting? Where do you think you’ll come?’
Melissa Lee: ‘I think my chances are fairly good. It’s been 63 years in the hands of Labour so I wasn’t expecting to romp in and win this.’
Plunket: ‘Do you reckon you can come second?’
Lee: ‘Well, I’m hoping to. It’ll be really fantastic if I can nudge it a little bit further as well, but I’m not expecting to win. It was always going to be a hard battle.’
Plunket: ‘Are you expecting to come second then?’
Lee: ‘Yes’

Some questions arise.

At what point did she realise she was not going to win? Before the selection meeting? Before the final cut off for candidates, (prior to which she could have pulled out allowing Ravi Musuku to stand)?

Where is John Key? Why is he not seen to be helping Lee as she flounders?

[Note: Lee has since been made aware that giving up three weeks out is not a good campaign strategy and says she is determined to win “this damn thing”, presumably meaning the right to represent the people of Mt Albert in our nation’s Parliament].

29 comments on “Melissa Lee concedes in Mt Albert ”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    And for those who think this is all about the nasty media and devious lefties, have a look at some of the feedback from the folks over at Kiwiblog (and credit to David Farrar for his comments too):


  2. Oh dear what will it be next. The foot in her mouth must be up to the knee by now.

  3. Daveo 3

    How quickly the Tories turn on their own…

    Well – this is what happens when you follow Labour and go for “cultural diversity’ rather than brains.


    Ravi Musuku is looking better and better in 20/20 hindsight.


    What a joke. The best thing she can do now is resign from parliament and let someone else come in – maybe we’ll get a better list MP as well


    • Maynard J 3.1

      According to that first punter (munter?), daveo, she is a bit too ethnic to be ‘their own’.

      Did anyone seem to object to that comment?

  4. Kevin Welsh 4

    Bring on the next NACT “High Flyer”…

    If Melissa Lee is a shining example of National’s new up and comers then I shudder to think what the rest of them are like.

    Waiting with baited breath for Tim’s calm, measured, analysis.

    • Daveo 4.1

      I’ll let virtualmark field that one:

      We on the right tend to deride Labour for stacking the team with tired old unionists and academics. But the Nats aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory with the talent on display here. Sure, the Nats brought a lot of bright young things into their caucus last November. But they’re there because they rode in on John Key’s coat tails. Most of them didn’t have to face a lot of media scrutiny (Simon Bridges & Nikki Kaye excepted). And we may well find that most of them are all fluff and no steel.


    • The Voice of Reason 4.2

      You could be waiting a while for Tim to reappear. I heard he was the bank employee who forgot how many zeroes there are in $10,000.

      • Kevin Welsh 4.2.1

        That’s what happens when you spend all your day blogging!!!

        Priceless TVOR!!!

  5. edoze 5

    As an unabashed National supporter, i want nothing to do with Mellisa Lee holding a electorate seat, shes an idiot and clearly doesnt understand the game of politics.

    Please god give the seat to Russel!

  6. gobsmacked 6

    One thing the Nats have done well so far is contain the fallout from Melissa’s meltdown. Ruthless, but effective.

    From the media coverage, you wouldn’t know that Lee was the Prime Minister’s hand-picked gift to Mt Albert. But she was.

    • Fuzzy Dunlop 6.1

      I agree that John Key himself hasn’t been embroiled in the Lee debacle. While he showed up for the cameras at the beginning of Lee’s campaign, you can be sure he will be avoiding Mt Albert like the plague.

      But Lee is bad for National in that her constant mis-steps are overshadowing positive stories, like Key’s phonecall to Obama, and today’s announcement of more tasers for police. Remember how much Labour made out of Colin Powell’s “very, very good friends” line? That’s the sort of thing Key’s team wanted with Obama – but because of Lee and Rankin, it didn’t happen.

      Lee is also bad for the Nats because the by-election is now a missed opportunity for them to damage Phil Goff’s leadership. A decisive campaign by Lee in such a safe Labour seat would have allowed the media to portray Labour and Goff as weak and out of touch. This hasn’t happened, and with three weeks to go, Lee seems likely to stay in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

  7. Tigger 7

    “I actually regard this as a bigger blunder than the South Auckland crime remarks.”

    Oh my god, I actually agree with something Farrar said. Hell just froze.

  8. Fuzzy Dunlop 8

    “At what point did she realise she was not going to win? Before the selection meeting? Before the final cut off for candidates, (prior to which she could have pulled out allowing Ravi Musuku to stand)?”

    Well, according to a Herald story from May 5, Lee thought she had a chance if Russel Norman split the Left vote:

    The Greens are putting up co-leader Russel Norman and Ms Lee said there was going to be “a major split” in the Labour-Greens vote.

    “I’m very pleased Russel Norman is standing…it means I potentially have a chance,” she said.


  9. toad 9

    Fuzzy Dunlop said: A decisive campaign by Lee in such a safe Labour seat would have allowed the media to portray Labour and Goff as weak and out of touch. This hasn’t happened, and with three weeks to go, Lee seems likely to stay in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

    So the clever tactic for National supporters now would be to vote for Norman, given the incompetence of their candidate and the fact that some of them will be very annoyed that the party they voted for has taken away their local democracy and plans to bulldoze a motorway through their suburb.

    That would send a message to National to respect democracy and public opinion and at the same time, if Norman were elected or came a close second, destabilise Goff’s leadership.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind Goff’s leadership being destabilised. He is on the right of the Labour party, and a left-wing leader would be much easier for the Greens to negotiate with after the next election. A left wing leader would also allow Labour to better differentiate itself from NACT.

    Problem is, I don’t see any obvious likely left potential leaders to replace him. Cunliffe is just as right wing as Goff. Probably the best bets would be David Parker or Maryan Street, but, they both have a serious charisma deficit they would need to overcome.

  10. George.com 10

    Couldn’t believe John Boscowan from ACT, believing he ever had a chance and has a chance now. ‘Its now a 2 horse race’ he tell us. Yes John, but you are not in it and never have been. You’ll be fighting it out with the likes of Bill and Ben, the Kiwi Party, Peoples Choice party and the legalise Dak party. Boscowan is either having a laugh or he is incredibly arrogant and seriously out of touch. Although, he does have Rodney Hide as a role model. Hmmmmmmmmmm…………………

    • Pascal's bookie 10.1

      hey that’s a bit mean George, at least in this election ACT should get more votes than NZFirst.

  11. jarbury 11

    I just have to say that kiwiblog thread on this is the funniest KB thread I’ve ever read. It’s hilarious watching the right turn on their own.


    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      heh. thanks for that. I found myself reading the “Brash welcomes review” thread which contains these gems (amoungst others):

      And what sort of response will Inspector Plod get when he knocks on the door of the SIS and asks if they had any involvement in the case?

      The SIS gave Hager a scoop? ya rly.

      Once again I call for not a commission of inquiry in the formal sense or a police whitewash, but for a full investigation by clued-on members of the public. Not “truly independent’, but simply hell-bent on getting to the truth, and all of it. I don’t even think extraordinary powers are necessary, all that is required is plenty of sunlight and public attention, together with a clear government direction that the OIA is to be complied with strictly by each and every individual and organization that is to be investigated. Al;l necessary powers and sanctions would arise under current law and regulation, what is needed is the resources to apply and pursue it dilligently. A small enthusiastic group of skeptics and cynics would do, I volunteer.

      Yeah ok “dimmocrazy”, we’ll be in touch.

      Hager says a Commission of Inquiry would be pointless as he wouldn’t reveal his sources. Shouldn’t a non-corrupt legal system provide him with an incentive to do so – like a jail term?


      Hager’s house should have been turned upside down by now as a receiver of stolen goods. Surely that’s what non-corrupt police forces do in these circumstances?

      Yes John Ansell, that’s exactly what non-corrupt legal systems do when journalists receive leaked info and won’t reveal their sources. One’s that haven’t been corrupted by western liberalism that is.

      Glutaemus Maximus (1637)
      May 22nd, 2009 at 11:39 am
      The Political Damage done by a full investigation, will always be mitigated by a cover up by all the Parliamentarians.

      The Diana inquest saw off how many Coroners, 5?

      As soon as they got near to the truth, it all got too heavy.

      Do I believe her death was part of a random accident? Not a chance. The truth was all to difficult for those affected.

      The French were totally involved. We know how naughty they can be, don’t we?

      Brash is seeking to get some headroom and closure. He will get a big green tick, and everyone else will manage the collateral damage potential.

      It’s all about Kings, Knights, and Knaves. Always has been, always will be.

      Gold plated win.

      but then AG shows up and starts talking sense.

  12. jarbury 12

    As I pointed out, the Don Breash emails thing is a lose-lose for National. If nothing is found then National get the blame for not making the police do a proper investigation. If something does get found, then who knows who might be implicated.

    Who benefitted most from Brash’s fall? John Key and Bill English.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      Yeah, as DPF syas, it’ll be interesting t’see what happens 🙂

      I think Brash is going batty myself. The whole kabuki play about the emails being Stolen and Whodunit? was a great piece of distraction for National that allowed for a change of subject and a clean break.

      But you weren’t supposed to believe it Don!

      Either that or he is so bitter about how it is Key, and not he…

      …that he wants the truth to come out and is prepared to see the Nat govt fall apart if it was an inside job.

      Which is what Hager maintains and is far and away more likely than, for example, the SI fucking S. (I’m still ROTFL aboot that)

  13. jarbury 13

    The most important thing is that it’s a lose-lose for National. They can’t come out of it looking good in any way, whereas the only way this could hurt Labour/Greens is if it was someone from their side leaking the emails, which seems just about impossible.

    Steven Joyce perhaps? 😉

  14. gobsmacked 14

    And now National are getting pissed off with ACT, because obviously John Boscawen is to blame for Lee’s troubles and is such a huge threat in Mt Albert:


    What a strangely defensive campaign this has been by National. The only line they should be taking is: “You voted us in a few months ago, we’re miles ahead in the polls, John Key is popular, so vote for us again”.

    Instead they’re scrabbling around trying to find dirt on Shearer, a stupid tactic against someone who comes across as thoroughly inoffensive and the least likely Bogeyman. And now the “50% plus” party is bullying the “margin of error” party and bleating on about how tough it is for them to win, the poor things.

    What a bunch of faint-hearts. If this is how they behave now, how on earth are they going to cope when the government becomes unpopular?

    • Fuzzy Dunlop 14.1

      The whole Nats strategy has been wrong, wrong, wrong. Disturbingly, I actually agree with Michael Bassett’s conclusion at the bottom of this very good article by Catherine Masters:


      The sky-high poll ratings for John Key’s government went to their heads, and they thought there was a genuine chance of them winning.

      Then they made the mistake of selecting Melissa Lee, who had no candidate experience and whose qualifications were limited to reading an autocue and coming 50th on an internet poll of beautiful politicians. And then Melissa started musing out loud of her chances of taking the seat. This from someone who needs their MP minder to mouth them the answers in a debate (no autocue, you see).

      Once it all went to custard, they got defensive. It was all someone else’s fault. The media were picking on them.

      Now, as you say, they’re digging even deeper by giving Boscawen a platform and looking even more desperate by trying to smear Shearer.

    • George.com 14.2

      John Boscowan going on like he is Gods gift to democracy and National desperately trying to shut him down. A few days ago, following the National party attempted smear over Shearer clumsily making the link between unemployment & crime, Boscowan opened his trap and called Labour arrogant and out of touch. PMSL. Pot and kettle stuff this. Johns dear leader acting arrogantly and high handedly with his super city plans, John himself showing his out of touch arrogance thinking he is the saviour of the failing right wing government. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  15. The Voice of Reason 15

    I’m still wondering where John Key is hiding. I can’t imagine Marshall or Holyoake not coming to the aid of a National lady in distress. Muldoon didn’t seem to have much respect for the Party women, but Bolger was almost feminist in comparison, allowing the rise of Shipley and Richardson foe example.

    Brash claimed to be the decent type who wouldn’t talk over a woman, even if she was an opponent. But Key seems to have written off Lee and is prepared to let her twist in the wind as long as he’s not tainted by association.

    This strikes me as creepy, but consistant with a dry right attitude of personal responsibility. We give you the chance and as long as you look like a winner, we’re right behind you. You are a valauble part of team Key. As soon as you appear to be a liability, it’s bye bye and what was your name again?

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