The National selection in Mount Albert will be going down to the wire with the inevitable split between the locals and the regional/national organisations going to show on their monday selection. Patrick Gower had a good piece in the Herald yesterday – National torn over Mt Albert.
The National Party is embroiled in a backroom power struggle over its Mt Albert candidate, with the hierarchy’s favourite, Melissa Lee, trying to tip out grassroots toiler Ravi Musuku.
Ms Lee is a list MP and one of National’s new stars. Mr Musuku stood unsuccessfully against Helen Clark in the last two elections.
The hierarchy/grassroots divide is deepened by the selection process, with the 60-strong panel of party delegates made up of appointments from both sides. The panel will vote on Monday night.
A number of new local members have been ruled ineligible after they were signed up in a recent “recruitment drive”.
The local electorate organisation’s proportion of the panel is based on the number of party members it has. National Party northern region chairman Alastair Bell decides the rest.
As a local Labour party member I’ve been anticipating and hearing rumblings about National’s local electorate organisation getting riled about the regional and national interference in the selection process.
Ravi Musuku has done pretty well in the last two elections. He has managed to cut into the party vote and even the electorate vote, admittably on a rising tide towards the right. To do this he has revitalised the moribund local organization and activated local networks and supporters.
Mellissa Lee, I know nothing about apart from seeing her at the ANZAC service this year. Apparently she has been on TV, it does make her a ‘celebrity’ candidate. However merely being on the list in a reasonably high position means that she has support in the wider party. But there is probably not a support base amongst the current Mt Albert party members. It is likely that most of her support will come from whomever that the National party regional organisation puts on the selection panel.
The issue for National is that they may risk losing what little local knowledge that they have about the electorate if the regional overrides. That is what they appear to be doing. It becomes a question about what the National hierarchy considers to be more important – local or national profile.
Act is selecting their candidate today, not that is particularly interesting. Labour is selecting their candidate froma field of eight on sunday. That will be particularly interesting to me, as I’ve been working for the resulting candidate for the last weeks.