Interesting to see EPMU President Don Pryde has thrown his hat in the ring for the Dunedin South seat and has the full backing of his union. Having met Don at a conference a few years ago I’ve got to say I was taken by his level-headedness and the way he’d think before passing comment on anything – definitely a safe pair of hands. I can only assume that this is a clear sign that NZLP council member Clare Curran’s candidacy was designed solely to open the debate as she’s a personal friend of EPMU National Sec Andrew Little and was the strategic talent behind that union’s ground breaking Fair Share campaign so it’s unlikely Little would endorse a candidate against her if her candidacy was serious.
Whether Pryde will make the cut against Benson-Pope is another question but I’d assume he has the backing of the Dunedin South LEC (he’s a member of it) and endorsement from the EPMU never hurt any political candidate, especially in the crucial floor vote. Interestingly for Labour’s largest affiliate and such a political powerhouse the EPMU only has one ex-official in parliament and Pryde is definitely from the grassroots end of the union’s spectrum – a friend of mine rang him for an interview today only to discover he was taking the call from the top of a powerline he was servicing!
I’d imagine that sort of background will play well in what is a traditionally blue collar left-dominated seat but with nominations still open for a little over a week anything could happen.