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Pryde of the South

Written By: - Date published: 2:33 pm, October 30th, 2007 - 22 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:


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.

22 comments on “Pryde of the South”

  1. Benodic 1

    Did you guys see DPF’s laughable analysis over here?:


    It’s always good fun when he tries to give his insider goss on the Labour party, then gets ripped to pieces in the comments threads for showing his ignorance.

  2. robinsod 2

    Oh come on Tane, it’s not like DPF can give away the insider goss from the Nats – he’d be off the payroll quick smart.

    Is the pic from the big Auckland union rally last year?

  3. robinsod 3

    I meant Benodic.

  4. This is almost a useful analysis, Irish Bill. Except it falls down because you don’t actually state who you think will take it away. For a supposed Labour Party insider, you should be qualified to offer an opinion on this.

    Dunedin South is a rock-solid Labour seat. It’s hugely important organisationally: the LEC has one of the largest memberships–at around 200, around 5% of Labour’s entire membership–and is asset-rich. Benson-Pope’s electorate office is leased by the LEC to Parliamentary Services. It’s a cash cow to the Party. Dunedin regularly makes the largest campaign contribution to the party of any of the other LECs. In a large part, this is because the other LECs are almost without exception a total joke, don’t have any members to speak of, and have no assets.

    Pryde will win hands-down. That’s not really in doubt. The really critical issue is how much of a Samson DBP will prove to be over the next year when he loses the nomination? Will he go away quietly with the promise of a DHB chair–not a great consolation since Labour won’t be in government? Or will he start to reveal some of the many skeletons he hid as Labour whip?

    That’s where it will get messy. If I were Aunty Helen, I wouldn’t want DBP pissing inside the tent, given all that he knows about Labour’s skullduggery.

  5. IrishBill 5

    Sod – nah my mate took that one at the Wellington rally (the one where workers shouted Wayne Mapp down with a chant of “bullshit”)

    IP – I never said I was a party insider, I’m just offering honest opinion. I think you’re right – Pryde should win hands down, though from what I hear there’s no deal done for the party’s vote. Where you show your ignorance is in thinking DBP is gonna piss into the tent – if you really believe he’s disliked by the party and vice versa you’ve probably fallen for the blunt wedge politics being spewed by National. There’s a lot more love between DBP and the caucus than there will ever be between English and Key (just for example).

  6. PaulL 6

    Seems to me that DPF’s analysis was very similar to this one? Not sure how it got “ripped to shreds”. Actually looked like frantic spin to me, and not even sure what it was trying to cover up, since everybody could have predicted that DBP was toast.

  7. IrishBill 7

    Paul – I suspect the problem was that DPF was trying to spin the idea that the EPMU is just an adjunct of the Labour party when it is pretty clear that Pryde and the union made their decisions to stand and endorse independently of the party. I’m not sure why DPF has been doing this but I have noticed the right trying to smear unions a bit lately. I suspect it’s just them stupidly aping their Australian counterparts but it could be that they are starting to get a bit nervous about these large democratic organisations and their desire to protect their members rights. If it’s the latter, I wonder why?

  8. Bill,

    It is inconceivable that a challenge to DBP would be made without the PM’s approval. Can you name any other time in recent Labour Party history where a sitting MP has been challenged?

    I don’t think Helen Clark went to the EPMU and said: “Hey, we want you to put somebody up to challenge DBP.” Of course not. That’s not how it works. But she did originally say when she sacked BP from Cabinet that she thought he should think long and hard about whether he needs to stay in Parliament. That is not very subtle code for her wanting him out. DBP hasn’t taken the hint. The fact that Labour’s biggest contributor, in financial and organisational terms, comes to the rescue with a candidate who can thump the local member is the clearest possible signal that she wants DBP out of office.

    Otherwise the first thing she would have done is discourage any other candidates from challenging him.

  9. IrishBill 9

    Prick – I’d say what happened is that rumours of Curran’s nomination and the Party’s subsequent refusal to slap her down was taken as a signal the gate was opened to challange DBP. I doubt Pryde would have been encouraged to step into the role by either the party or the union but probably saw it as an opportunity to do a bit more for his electorate. From what I’ve seen of him he’s a pretty straight forward guy and not the type to be involved in political machinations. And besides I’m not sure that everyone in the party would be that keen on letting the EPMU increase it’s political power.

  10. Oh come on, Bill. The power of the EPMU in the party will continue for a very long time. It’s fairly clear now that anybody as Labour leader when Helen loses the next election, with the exception of Phil Goff, would just be a seat-warmer for Andrew Little.

  11. insider 11

    The theory I heard from a senior Dunedin Labour party member was that Pryde is just a trojan horse, and this is actually a way to open the door for Curran to make a serious run, as once one person’s hat is in the ring it is legitimate for any to enter. It would have been PU for her to make a direct sole challenge, for whatever reason.

  12. IrishBill 12

    Insider that’s just dumb.

    IP – Don’t think for a second that everyone in the broad church of the party welcomes the unions with open arms. Remember the fourth Labour govt?

  13. That’s very interesting Bill, that insight. You obviously know the ins and outs pretty well, and I have to say that despite our political differences, there seems to be a lot we agree on with respect to the Labour Party. Frankly, I didn’t think that there was much of a right wing faction in the Labour Party left, and that Helen had largely stamped out any opposition. I’ve often seen the Labour Party as fashioned in Helen’s image. Is that not your view?

  14. Trent 14

    So Panty-Slut-Boy is up against one of his own (excuse the mental images). May the least kinkiest win.

  15. Trent 15

    Pervert vs unionist (we can’t understand the unionist because of his speech inpediment – woops he’s foreign, well south of Auckland so who cares) … this will be interesting. Glad I don’t live in bepraved Souuth Dundein anymore. Pervert or union bozo? heh amuzing choise.

  16. Trent 16

    Panty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-sluPanty-slut-boyt-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boyPanty-slut-boy … It just helps with the google searches.

  17. Robinsod 17

    Trent- how’s your grandad?

    IP – Nah the idea of Labour as Helen’s party doesn’t take the broadness of teh party into account. That command and control model is more fitted to the Nats. Ironic really…

  18. Irish Bill 18

    Whoops, I meant “breadth”. Is “broadness” even a word?

  19. Trent 19

    He’s still dead Irish Bill, your point being what exactly? Panty-slut-boy is universally loathed and the EPMU have a linesman up against him, wow, South Dunedin is just so well served.

  20. Robinsod 20

    Trent are you saying that a linesman can’t be a good representative? Is that ‘cos working people are too thick or something? You disgust me – you should go back to pimping your old pop’s memory to score points – it suits you so well you bigoted little man.

  21. Trent 21

    Whatever Robinsod

  22. Robinsod 22

    No Trent, I want to know why you think a linesman can’t be a good representative of his own community.

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