Mt Albert nominations open for Labour

Written By: - Date published: 6:48 am, April 7th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: , , , ,

Normally I don’t put up press releases but this one is special to me. It is about my home electorate and where I moved to in 1964 to start primary school.

Labour Party President Andrew Little is calling for nominations for the Mt Albert by-election, following the appointment of Rt Hon Helen Clark as Head of the UN Development Programme.

Mr Little says Helen has given the people of Mt Albert outstanding service as their MP for 28 years and the interest in the by-election is intense.

He says a number of high calibre potential candidates have already come forward and he’s anticipating an open, transparent and competitive selection process and a strong campaign based on local issues.

Mount Albert has a unique community culture. Labour party members will participate in choosing a candidate who will be very involved in promoting local issues such as the Waterview tunnel, the future of Auckland city and ensuring a sustainable public transport system.

‘One of Helen Clark’s many legacies is that she leaves the Mt Albert Labour organization in fantastic shape, we’ve got many hundreds of members and volunteers who will do their utmost to keep Mt Albert Labour’.

Nominations for the Mt Albert by-election will close on Wednesday 22 April.

There have effectively been two MP’s for the seat of Mount Albert since it was created in 1946*.

Warren Freer gained the seat in the by-election in 1947 at the age of 26 and went on to be number 3 in the Labour government. 

Helen Clark who gained the seat in the 1981 at the age of 30 and proceeded on to be one of NZ’s best Prime Ministers. She is continuing to pursue her dedication to public service as the head of the United Nations Development Programme appointed unanimously by the 192-member General Assembly. She will be greatly missed by Mount Albert.

It will be interesting to see who we select as the new Labour candidate for the electorate. They will have a great group supporting them, a strong electoral team, and an awesome tradition to follow.

It will be even more interesting to see who National selects to follow in the steps of Robert Muldoon – who stood for the seat in 1954 and lost. Ravi Musuku has stood for the last two elections and has been a worthy opponent.

*The first MP, Arthur Shapton Richards gained the new seat in 1946 for Labour, but died in 1947.

19 comments on “Mt Albert nominations open for Labour”

  1. irnswn 1

    ‘Labour party members will participate in choosing a candidate ”

    Arent half the deciding votes go to the central Party organisation. Isnt it an bit inccurate to suggest that local members will be selecting the candidate?

  2. r0b 2

    Prediction: Tim Ellis will soon appear in this thread to spread National’s Tizard meme.

    Anyway, all the best to Labour in Mt Albert, choose the best candidate and have a great campaign.

  3. the sprout 3

    If National does stand Ravi Musuku they might have a chance.

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Labour will hold the seat, obviously.

    But the interesting one here is the minor party candidates, or independents. By-elections attract these actively engaged citizens / nutters (take your pick).

    Will there be a Whacky Smacky candidate? It’s perfect timing for them, just before the referendum. Or an ACT / NRA candidate, promising “one strike and you’re shot”?

    • The Baron 4.1

      I dunno if I would be that cocky. Chances are that Labour will hold it – but hell, you mighta said the same thing about Auckland Central before the last election.

      Resting on your laurels inevitably leads to humiliation at some stage. Labour needs to take this one seriously.

      On another note, I’m sure the majority of readers here are more o-fay with the labour party than I am – so, fulfil my desire for outrageous speculation! Who are the likely candidates, and what would they bring?

      • lprent 4.1.1

        I’ll post on them after the cutoff date. Speculation is kind of tedious for almost any by-election because there is a *lot* of maneuvering.

        Even after the nominations come in and they get access to the LEC and membership lists, there is often quite a few drop offs before closeoff and selection.

        I’m expecting that there will be at least 8 left at selection (as at 1981), and probably at least 15 considering it.

        • gobsmacked


          National’s problem is the turnout paradox.

          On a low turnout, National could win (if Labour supporters stay home because they’re complacent, or indifferent). But once the media say it’s “game on”, and start talking up the prospect of a National win (and they will, because they love the horse race story), the by-election is no longer a foregone conclusion. Therefore people think their vote matters after all, and so the turnout increases.

          Getting people to turn out to “send a message” to an opposition party (as opposed to choosing a government) is a very hard sell.

  5. Jem 5

    The last last by-election in a in a city seat following the departure of a Labour MP was Wellington Central in 1992. Labour was in opposition, the country was in recession and Labour retained the seat.

    Let’s hope history repeats.

  6. Tim Ellis 6

    It will be very interesting to see who comes forward for Labour. Phil Twyford seems to be the local favourite. It will be fascinating to see if this holds true or if for strategic reasons somebody else gets the nod.

    No doubt Labour and National are both polling furiously in the seat. The media seem keen for it to be a close race (as they are with every by-election). National’s head office has much less power than Labour’s in selecting a candidate, but irrespective of who Labour selects they will be desperate to hold onto the seat.

    It will be interesting to see just how much of a fight National puts up in its campaign. Mt Albert has traditionally been a very safe Labour seat. If National runs an exceptional candidate with a very strong campaign, it could go down to the wire.

  7. Indiana 7

    Whats the impact if either paty wins?

  8. gingercrush 8

    If Labour wins which they should and rather easily the impact will be small. Its not a seat that is traditional National territory. Indeed, its never been National territory. But as lower income earners are pushed further and further out of Auckland. While middle and upper income voters move in. Its a seat that in the future should push more towards the right. But as that isn’t likely till another six years or so, its immaterial. Though if Labour were to win super big, that will have some impact in that National will be seen to be at its limit. But more importantly that they’re losing the centre. If Labour manage to merely win it, the most impact it has is some positive news in the media but probably more important gives some confidence back to the party.

    If National wins the seat. Its a huge blow to Labour since they have lost a seat that is Labour territory. Its an indictment for the whole Labour party but in particular the leadership which would put them under pressure. But more importantly, it allows the media room to paint a narrative similar to what we had when Bill English was National’s leader. And such a narrative would be a disaster for Labour.

    By-elections are also a good time for a 3rd party. They’re not expected to win. But it does allow opportunities for them to push their parties ideological points. Particularly, if they manage to run second and getting in-between one of the major parties.

    • Indiana 8.1

      If Nat wins the seat, they still govern, if they lose the seat they still govern, right? I don’t see the impact of this appart from scoring points against each other – Yay! We kept it Labour vs Woo Hoo! We scored a big one today!

      I’m also not convinced that as a suburb becomes more affluent, that it becomes more right wing, or even left wing for that matter. I think age has more do with it and historical family voting habits.

      • gingercrush 8.1.1

        Correct, whoever wins the seat will not in itself impact the current government. That is a fact. But it can provide important narratives for any party in the future. Politics is about scoring points.

        Of course affluence by itself doesn’t make an electorate more right-wing or left-wing. Indeed in Wellington which has a large number of higher earners continues to support left-wing parties. Age is a factor I suppose. And there is strong sociological and political material to suggest that families typically vote the same way. I would suggest that changing demographics and growth in the number of Asian voters and the proximity to Auckland Central makes Mt. Albert an interesting electorate to watch. Because its one of those electorates that is and will undergo some huge changes that will evidently change how they vote. My suggestion is that it will move slowly to becoming a right-wing electorate. But that such change will not be in effect till some years yet.

  9. The Voice of Reason 9

    irnswn: Members of the party central organisation are (surprise, surprise) Labour party members too. So the statement is 100% percent factual. Other parties do it differently; Act, for example, rewards associated interest groups such as the Senseless Sentencing Trust and the Chinese Triads with list places. No member involvement at all in that process.

    Thanks for the input Tim E and well done r0b for picking that it was coming. This by-election will not ‘come down to the wire’ Tim. It’s a comfortable win to Labour and the start of the electoral replenishment that will see them back in Government at the next election. If you want a ‘down to the wire contest’ I’d say the coming by-election in Helensville when John Key spits the dummy after being dumped for Bill English may be a different matter.

    captcha: whether obvious

  10. Pat 10

    I expect Labour to pick Twyford and simply swallow the big dead horse that means Tizard will return to parliament. Next election they will park her at No 121 on the list.

    If Labour don’t pick Twyford, it would show them to have a clear case of shrivelled gonads.

    I also expect National to select a good candidate and with campaigning support from Key, they will push Labour right to the wire.

    BTW Twyford is great name. How many names start with 4 consonants? Would make a good trivia question.

    • lprent 10.1

      It isn’t Labour picking the candidate – no party has a monolithic decision structure. Well maybe the one person parties?

      It is largely the local electorate organization in any well organized electorate for Labour. They will pick pretty much according to our needs with some input from the party hierarchy. That is how the selection panel is structured.

      Quite simply there is no real way to be sure of the outcome until the Q&A, speeches, and other formalities are done. All I’m sure of is that it will be exhausting during those meetings.

      In the meantime we’re (the LEC) more concerned with getting ready for a different type of campaign to normal.

      • the sprout 10.1.1

        “we’re (the LEC) more concerned with getting ready for a different type of campaign to normal”

        you mean you’re expecting a clean, issues-based fight from National this time?

      • Tim Ellis 10.1.2

        LP, how many votes does the local electorate have on Labour’s selection committee? How many votes do affiliated unions have at the selection meeting?

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