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Mount Albert Labour goes active

Written By: - Date published: 3:34 pm, April 26th, 2009 - 68 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

labour-candidates-for-mt-albertOn the way to the Question & Answer session for the Mount Albert Labour selection candidates, it was clear that the campaign has kicked off.  The hall is slowly filling up, and it looks like the seats are all full. You’ll see a photo (from the iphone) of candidates on the front table just as the meeting started.

It is likely that local issues are going to be a very strong part of this campaign. Issues like the NACT super-city botch-up, the stalled train station upgrades after NACT stopped the financing, the changes to the state highway 20 where NACT is ‘reviewing’ the existing design to something that is noisier and far more intrusive to the local community, the doubling of the size of St Lukes mall using the NACT minimal protection RMA, etc. It will be interesting to see what the candidates for selection have to say.

Mt Albert Labour HoardingThe first hoardings are up from Labour (left), and I’m sure that I saw some from other parties at Point Chev. Apparently the door-knocking, pamphlets and phone canvassing is all underway for this seven week campaign. Don’t wait for the selection of a candidate, if you want to volunteer, then the Labour by-election is all ready to use your support effectively.

It will be exhausting.

So far the Q&A has been very interesting. The choices will be hard, but I’m sure that I will get a great candidate from it.

I managed to get a copy of the initial hoardings. Looks like a very local campaign, but that is my ‘home’ electorate. The waffle that John Key likes to push won’t work too well here. However I’m sure that he will turn up doing publicity stunts in support of whichever candidate National selects.

68 comments on “Mount Albert Labour goes active ”

  1. Good billboards. Simple message and effective I reckon.

    However, just a point about the St Lukes expansion. The Plan Change for it is currently in the notification period so it will all be conducted under the existing RMA rules. But who am I to let the facts get in the way of a good story 😉

  2. mike 2

    You should be spraying some of your misguided venom towards the greens as it will be their decsion to put up a strong candidate that will ultimately turn Mt Albert blue.

    • lprent 2.1

      mike: I didn’t mention the greens? Why did you? Trying to divert away from the post?

      This was a post on a Labour meeting I was attending.

  3. Sarah 3

    And was David Shearer able to answer a single question on local issues? Brian Edwards calls him a carpetbagger in his post today!

    • And what is Melissa Lee? or Russell Norman. (if not carpet baggers).

    • lprent 3.2

      Sarah – you are wrong. David Shearer has had a house in Kingsland for a while.

      Perhaps you should check your facts before making a public fool of yourself.

    • FALEFONO 3.3

      I was at the meeting yesterday and I have to say I was disappointed by Shearer. He came across as lacklustre, dithering, completely out of touch with any of the issues, and like he was treating the selection as just a formaility.

      Fryer and Varianathan were both quite good.

      But the clear winner of all three rounds was Bates. She was stunning, like Clark Mk 2 but with good looks and a GSOH.

      That will put Goff in a very awkward position if he still wants to support Shearer after the Q+A embarrasment. If he does it will be clear to at least the 100 members there that talent was not the deciding factor.

  4. The Shearer phenomenon is particulaly interesting and has invited accusations of carpetbagging. Which is rather different, Sarah, from calling him a carpetbagger. I didn’t. See http://brianedwardsmedia.co.nz/2009/04/mt-albert-musings/ I was responding to Matt McCarten’s piece in today’s SST.

    • I find it interesting that Matt always talks as if he knows what is going on inside the Labour Party (I wonder who he gets his information from?). He often turns out to be very very far from the truth.

    • Tane 4.2

      McCarten’s a funny one. I don’t know whether it’s the concering amount of time he spends in the company of the lunatic right or if it’s his just his usual sectarianism, but he certainly gives the impression these days that he’s unwittingly running lines for the right.

      Why else do you think David Farrar quotes him at length on his blog nearly every week and Hooton boosts him in his columns and radio appearances at every opportunity?

  5. outofbed 5

    Mike spot the difference
    you should be spraying some of your misguided venom towards the greens as it will be their decision to put up a strong candidate that will ultimately turn Mt Albert blue.
    you should be spraying some of your misguided venom towards the Labour party as it will be their decision to put up a strong candidate that will ultimately turn Mt Albert blue.

    • Outofbed

      I do not understand.

      It is a Labour held seat and the Greens are putting up probably their best candidate. This increases the chance of National winning it. If National does then the centre left will not win the next election. The sort of idiocy that we have seen towards environmental action over the past 6 months will continue and probably be enhanced.

      I have been scratching my head trying to think why and the only justification I can think of is that the Greens want to supplant Labour as the majority left wing party. New Zealand’s history has had other examples of such titanic battles, interestingly National was or became the government during the time of each of these.

      The Green’s miscalculation IMHO is that they can now be painted as National’s poodles, willing to side to a reactionary government that does not believe in climate change so that its members can have the occasional cup of tea with Ministers.

      • QoT 5.1.1


        I don’t necessarily agree with outofbed’s position, but the fact remains that just because Mt Albert is currently a Labour-held seat it doesn’t give Labour dibs on standing the only left-wing/left-of-centre candidate.

        Sure, we can say “the Greens standing Norman splits the vote giving National a greater chance.”

        But it is equally true that Labour is just as capable as the Greens of *not* standing in the seat. Yes, it’s ridiculously unlikely. But it takes two to split a vote.

        Besides which, this is like the posts about people voting for the Workers’ Party or RAM at the last general election, and some writers here basically blaming those voters for Labour’s loss. These voters aren’t stupid. If they want to elect a Labour candidate they’ll vote for the Labour candidate. If they don’t want to, they won’t. Strangely, not everyone on the left considers a Labour-led government their default goal.

        • mickysavage


          I think it is different because this is a FPP election and the Greens are standing their leader. They could fight the good fight and go for John Carapiet who I understand is respected or they can go with Russell Norman and it then like they want to maximise their vote.

          They have chosen to do this, it is beyond what could reasonably be expected. It could damage Labour’s chances.

          RAM and the workers are small enough they will not do any damage. The Greens can campaign as hard as they want at a MMP election, no problems. But this is FPP. This reminds me of 1975 when an enthusiastic dedicated group formed Values and let Muldoon into power.

          For those on the left like it or not Labour has to be the default goal. After 6 months of environmental policy destruction, fire at will and tax cuts for the rich only, dare I say it, there is no alternative.

          • QoT

            And … exactly what reason is there for the Greens not to stand Norman?

            Because seriously, this argument seems to come down to “Labour has dibs on Mt Albert!”

            No one’s forcing Labour to stand a candidate either. This is FPP. They could, just like the Greens, just like ANY party, stand a strong viable candidate to maximise their vote. Or they can not.

            End of the day, Mt Albert voters get to choose who they want as their member of Parliament. And just like RAM voters and Workers’ Party voters, they’re not morons who need their field of candidates narrowed to a single left/right choice in order to know what they’re doing.

          • Anita


            Local electorates are local electorates. By carpet bagging the Greens are treating the electoral process and the voters of Mt Albert with the contempt that is traditional from Labour and National.

            IMO the Greens should run a hard campaign for Mt Albert with a Mt Albert candidate.

          • QoT

            Sure, Anita. Because National and Labour are both going to totally run their Most Genuine 100% Mt Albertonian candidates, and not the ones with better campaigning skills or higher profiles or anything.

            While we’re speaking on a “pointing out the fucking obvious in a condescending tone” basis, just because you call something carpet bagging and state that it’s a bad thing does not actually make it either.

          • Anita


            As I think I said, i wouldn’t expect any better from Labour or National. Yeah they both carpet bag, yeah it bugs me, but as I have pretty low opinions of both it doesn’t strike me as worth commenting on. I like to imagine that the Greens hold themselves a little higher and behave a little better; not in this case 🙁

            I’d be interested to hear an argument that Norman is not carpetbagging.

            As for why I think it’s bad MMP is designed to be a blend of proportional and local representation. The point of the local electorate is solely to provide local representation about local issues without affecting the overall proprtionality of the house. So if, for example, I lived in Motueka I could expect the Greens to represent my political views, but Chris Auchenvole to make sure my local issues were handled. Carpet bagging leads to poor prioritisation of local issues (which the Greens are supposed to believe are very important) and can lead to deliberate distortion of proportionality (which the Greens…).

  6. Just a quick piece of feedback.

    Please put “Vote Labour” on the election hoarding. It’s just not very clear which party we should be supporting just by looking at them.


  7. Sweetd 7


    I foresee the greens fate worse than you predict. They will become the new NZ First. That is, easily moving from left to right depending on what way the wind is blowing, but in doing so they will explain to the public, this is to further green cause; in effect it will be to be distrusted by both labour and national.

    The greens want to not been seen as mini labour, and putting in a strong candidate are showing that. But, I think they may be cutting off their nose to spite their face, in that the long term waves of this action will echo for a very long time and they will forever be on the outer no matter what party is in.

    Or, maybe its just too much cab sav…

  8. outofbed 8

    In some ways we see Labour and National as both side of the same coin
    put really simply
    Both want to grow the economy at the expense of the environment
    The way they cut up and share the pie is the difference.

    How can we get exposure for our brand of politics if we do not take this
    kind of opportunity
    We are an independent party after all

    As I tongue in cheek said before if the Labour Party wanted to achieve Socail justice, one way would be to want a Green electorate MP in Mount Albert as that would strenghten the Greens who are more a natural ally to Lab then Nats

    I disagree that National winning MA would make any difference to the centre left winning the next election.

    What is more likely to let the Tories win Is Labour not be an effective opposition with a poor choice of leader as is the case now

  9. gfraser 9

    Anyone else think that the MSM are doing a top job for National for the upcoming by election?
    I have heard on Morning Report “that National are underdogs and have nothing to lose”
    Ralstons column in the Herald today could have came straight from the Nats HQ and finally this evening TV3 trumpeting the fact the Goff is 3rd in the preferred PM stakes.
    I hope that the voters of Mt. Albert are not as easily swayed as the rest of the country was by this B.S.

    • I agree GF, it feels like a fight on many fronts at the one time …

    • Daveski 9.2

      I have heard on Morning Report “that National are underdogs and have nothing to lose’

      So the MSM now gets it for accurate reporting?? Which part of that is unreasonable or indeed erroneous?

  10. Doug 10

    Why blame the MSM when Labour are doing such a good job of making fools of themselves, fancy starting a campaign without a Candidate. If Labour thought Judith was to old, Shearer is even older the party seems to be going backwards.

    • lprent 10.1

      Why not. The candidate is not likely to win the campaign, although they could lose it.

      The campaign in Mt Albert will be won largely on the ground with door-knocking, phone-canvassing, hoardings, message, etc. Most of that doesn’t depend on having a candidate – they are there largely for the debates and baby-kissing.

      I think that the Nats just have sour grapes because they don’t know how to get working early enough. Incidentally in Mt Albert terms, this is a really short campaign. We usually start about a year out from the election.

  11. Julie 11

    Do you know when the selection is likely to be finalised for any of the candidates lprent?

    I would have thought if we are going to get all bogged down in carpetbagging that Norman wins that hands down – he’s Australian 😉

    • lprent 11.1

      From memory Labour and the Nats are end of next week. I don’t get all that fussed about candidates. If they’re any good then they’ll trust people to do what needs to be done.

  12. Julie,

    I heard from the grapevine that it will be finalized by Sunday at the latest.

  13. outofbed 13

    “would have thought if we are going to get all bogged down in carpetbagging that Norman wins that hands down – he’s Australian”

    throws hands in air and gives up

    • BLiP 13.1

      Yeah, me too, OOB. I’ve given up on the political process as being the best medium for promoting environmental iniatives while the current bunnies flop around and get subsumed into a Blue-Green tinge. Direct action is where its at. Just a couple of high exposure stunts highlighting environmental hazards in the Mt Albert area will have more impact than six weeks of Norman puddling around and preening before the cameras.

      • The Baron 13.1.1

        “Just a couple of high exposure stunts highlighting environmental hazards in the Mt Albert area will have more impact than six weeks of Norman puddling around and preening before the cameras.”

        God, I didn’t realise that Mt Albert was such an ecological wasteland. My oh my, BLiP – you standing outside the Kingslander pointing at cigarette butts is bound to swing the vote your way.

        Head for the hills Ma – environMENTAL catastrophy is a-comin!

  14. Tim Ellis 14

    I think it’s good that Labour have got their hoardings up, but it looks like Labour were more interested in getting sites established and a monopoly on public hoardings rather than getting the proper message across. A good strategic move in that respect.

    As for the message itself, I think it is pretty lame. It looks very much like it could have been on behalf of the NZ First party. It doesn’t have any clear association with Labour. If the party was really proud of itself, then it would have a big Labour association.

    It’s amusing to note two things relating to the authorisation statement: firstly, it refers to Mike Smith, who’s based in Wellington. I think this is ironic, given that Labour is promoting itself as having a local candidate to “put Labour first”. Secondly Labour has done away with the home address requirement for authorisation statements that Labour defended so vigorously under the EFA. They’ve put up Mike Smith’s work address rather than his home address.

  15. I don’t know much about them but I’m inclined to agree with David Farrar that it’s a 2 horse race between

    Shearer, darling of the Herald

    and Bates, who’s getting this kind of ultra vitriolic attack from the arch right

    hmm, i wonder which candidate the right are actually worried about?

  16. Pat 16

    The great irony is that Labour’s strongest candidate was Twyford. No-one, left or right, doubted that he would win the seat.

    Look’s like Shearer has 3 votes out of 7 already, so it all comes down to the local party admin who have the ability to nobble him if they can all back someone else like Meg Bates.

  17. the sprout 17

    I’m not so sure Shearer has unanimous Head Office backing. I agree he looks great on paper, but looking at her website I think Bates would clearly be the better candidate to canibalize the Green vote – which I think is why the right are so septic about her. Well, that and the fact she reminds them of their greatest nemesis!

    • Tim Ellis 17.1

      That is an interesting analysis sprout. Bates certainly would seem to be the ideal candidate for Labour if the Greens weren’t running a candidate, to unify the left-wing vote, but that prospect seems to have gone out the door with Russel Norman standing.

  18. Pat 18

    Once again, I think Labour are in danger of falling into carefully laid traps by reading too much into what is posted on Right-wing blogs. i.e. the right are septic about Meg Bates, therefore she must be the best candidate.

    I think the Nats would be overjoyed to see Meg Bates get the nod ahead of Twyford and Shearer.

  19. cassidy 19

    Yeh go Meg Bates – or should I say Megabates! Brains, confidence, knowledge, youth and a woman what more could Labour want for its rejuvenation. A second Helen Clark in the makings. The Labour Party needs both Meg and David – excellent candidates BUT why stand David in a electorate that he knows little about and has no current feelings for…Don’t push Meg aside Phil, give David another electorate to stand in so you get both!! Mt Albert is Meg’s town as she showed with much aplomb in the Qand A session.

  20. Stephen 20

    I think Mt Albert-ers would be a little cautious about installing a professional student as their MP…

    edit: whoops, tutor too.

  21. the sprout 21

    you mean like Helen Clark was when they first elected her?

  22. Stephen 22

    the sprout,

    I should’ve said I was aware of that! Things change – I think Melissa Lee’s record compares very favourably when measured against Bates’, but then in the end it’ll all be about policies…right right right. I think Bates’ youth will probably count against her a bit too…

  23. dave 23

    The campaign in Mt Albert will be won largely on the ground with door-knocking, phone-canvassing, hoardings, message, etc. Most of that doesn’t depend on having a candidate – they are there largely for the debates and baby-kissing.

    AMAZING!. candidates are there just for baby kissing and debates. This is a by-election Lynn. People will vote for and and elect a candidate to ” put Mt Albert first”. Not put Labour first, National first

    No candidates, no by-election.By-elections depend on having candidates. Got it? Labour has no confirmed candidate. That Labour billboard is bit like saying “go to the back of the line” when you don’t know which line you are talking about. You just know you have to go to the back of the line.

    • lprent 23.1

      After the candidates are selected it will be 6 week campaign in an electorate of 45,000 registered voters. Do the maths. A single candidate will not be able to contact more than a small percentage of the electorate. However the parties will. It will largely be a party campaign

  24. Meg 25

    Hi Stephen, just by way of clarification, I am the Head Tutor in the Politics Department.

    This means I am involved in the hiring of a staff of up to 18 that I then train, manage and advocate for. This involves all of the things people like to attribute to the “real world”- budgets, contracts, HR skills, and involves my teaching experience within the discipline of politics.

    I have also been lecturing in New Zealand politics. Please feel free to check out my site to prevent further confusion.


    • The Baron 25.1

      Tally ho, sounds like you’re uniquely suited to parliament then. Surely the theory can’t be that different to reality, right?

    • had enough 25.2

      HI Meg have you got some real life skills with which you can actually relate to the real people of MT Albert with?

      • QoT 25.2.1

        Because the people of Mt Albert totally have a history of rejecting candidates bagged by the nutters of the right for their tertiary education experience.

        Captcha: National voguish. Worrying.

  25. Sarah 26

    You’re a rude little fellow, aren’t you, Iprent? If you read it properly, you’ll see there are no “facts” in my comment, other than a reference to a post. And John Key has a house in Hawaii – does that make him an expert on Hawaiian affairs?

    • lprent 26.1

      I was correcting you saying that he was a carpet bagger. Brian Edwards didn’t as he explained above, and he was was who you attributed the ‘fact’ to. Therefore the ‘fact’ can only be attributed to you.

      Perhaps you should check your facts before making a fool of yourself in public.

      • Tim Ellis 26.1.1

        I find the whole carpet-bagging accusation a bit tiresome, to be frank. Auckland has a very high proportion of transient people who come in and out of electorates anyway. People don’t normally live in the same houses all their lives. Many MPs on both sides of the House didn’t live in their electorates before representing them: Annette King, Trevor Mallard, and probably a few National MPs as well. John Key, David Cunliffe, and Phil Goff don’t even live in their electorates now.

        lp, have you got verification on whether David Shearer has recently lived in the electorate?

  26. gobsmacked 27

    If we’re talking head office versus locals, why is National’s two-time local candidate getting shoved out by a sitting MP?

    There are already a few rumblings of discontent in the sizeable Mt Albert Indian community at this prospect. Something missed by Pakeha MSM commentators (who think Asians are basically all the same, but do serve nice food).

  27. Sarah 28

    Might be a good idea to work out the difference between a fact and an opinion. I didn’t say Shearer was a carpetbagger – others did. And that’s opinion.

  28. Stephen 29

    Thanks Meg. I had read your website bio, but it didn’t really say what you just said about what being a head tutor involves, which is more than I thought. What I do like about ‘real world’ (read private sector) experience is that it involves more than a little exposure to issues that the tax base who provide our salaries faces (I work at a uni too). Just a small personal bias of mine – you’re obviously no idiot, so we’ll see what happens!

  29. Stephen 30

    I think the weird Wall Street stuff should be a different sector in its self.

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