The interesting selection

Written By: - Date published: 5:56 pm, May 2nd, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: national - Tags: , ,

Looking towards Mt Albert

Looking towards Mt Albert

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.

27 comments on “The interesting selection”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    John Boscawen is standing for ACT. If Melissa Lee is National’s candidate, that will be 3 sitting MPs. Phil Twyford would have been the 4th, and I’m guessing that would be some kind of world record for MPs trying to … um … get elected as an MP.

    Labour’s slogan: “Vote for Me, I’m not an MP!”.

    • BLiP 1.1

      I hear ACT have a new slogan:

      ACT before you read, ACT before you listen, ACT before you think.

  2. Tane 2

    It’s going to be a difficult one. My sources tell me Ravi had a prophecy before 2002 that he was going to take Mt Albert. Hence he’s refusing to budge despite a lot of pressure from the central party. The man is on a mission.

    captcha: “winning Fidel” – the Workers’ Party’s secret candidate perhaps?

  3. gobsmacked 3

    Clearly something is up with the Nats.

    Ravi Musuku used to promote himself and his candidacy on his website. But now he’s gone into Cyber-Siberia …

  4. big norm 4

    I met Ravi Musuku during the election campaign last year, doing a interview at his place. He seems a very deeply religious person as other people have commented, but I don’t think he really understood that the National candidate in the Prime Minister’s seat is not given much serious attention by the party…having said that he looked to be very close to their organization on the ground in mt Albert and solidly entrenched there – I don’t think it’s going to be easy for the nats to convince him or their electorate members to have him stand aside. maybe there’ll be a place on the nz post board for him? haha

    You’re not trying to hint that bates is the candidate are you btw lprent?

  5. lprent 5

    Nah. I think I’ve made it clear previously that I don’t have all that much interest in the candidate. The whole campaign period is weeks. The campaign for the winning party is already well underway.

  6. outofbed 6

    Its Musuku on the rails and round the outsides comes bates it bates from mosuku who is fading on the inside but wait here comes big norn its norm it norm by nose. big Norman comes though and wins the Mount Albert stakes by a nose
    2nd was bates who faded in the final furlong
    Musuku would have done better but was blinkered
    and last was Boscawen who inspite having the big money on him failed to perform

  7. SPC 7

    I guess National has two possibly three questions to answer

    1. Is the electorate organisation important to them or not?

    2. Is it really possible for people of minority groups to win electorate seat nominations without central imposition?

    3 If yes to the first and no to the second – how do they explain any agenda to go back to FPP dominant SM?

    • Tim Ellis 7.1

      Interesting questions, SPC.

      1. Evidently, yes. You could ask the same question, however, about the Labour Party selecting David Shearer. Lee has a much closer association to Mt Albert than Shearer ever has.

      2. Evidently, yes. Musuku one the electorate seat nomination for National, twice. There isn’t any central imposition on National Party’s selection processes. Unlike the Labour Party, which has three of the seven votes cast by head office.

      3. In light of the first two answers, I don’t know what the point of your third question is.

      • SPC 7.1.1

        I guess in relation to the thrid question, my point is – does National put up people of minorities in safe seats?

        There is not much of a list with SM.

        • Tim Ellis

          SPC, Pansy Wong has Botany and Simon Bridges has Tauranga which both have huge majorities to National and are considered safe seats, so the answer is yes. Mana and Mangere are the only safe seats Labour has that are presently held by people of minorities.

          • SPC

            The thing is Tim, that Labour acknowledge that it is the list MP’s which enable the parliament to repesent our multi-cultural diversity (and so they support MMP). Those people in National pushing SM have no regard for the diversity that exists in the current National caucus which would not survive a change to SM.

          • Anita

            1) How’re you defining “minorities”? I might suggest Te Atatu as a very safe Labour seat held by a person “of minorities”.

            2) One can probably consider any non-Māori roll seat currently held by Labour to be safe, 2008 was the crest of a wave. That adds at least one more (I haven’t actually checked, so I may well be undercounting).

            3) Even on your figures (which are wrong unless your “minorities” is somewhat gerrymandered) Labour have a far higher proportion of “minorities” in their electorate seats.

            (Not that I think Labour is an inclusive party, it’s just better than National and your claim needed a fact check 🙂

      • lprent 7.1.2

        David Shearer has had a house in Kingsland for a long time. Obviously his work doesn’t let him stay in NZ for very long.

        What exactly is Melissa’s association to Mt Albert? Carpet-bagger?

        • Tim Ellis

          He doesn’t live in Kingsland though, does he LP? Has he ever actually lived in the electorate? Buying a rental property to boost your super income isn’t the same as having a strong association with the place.

          You can’t really run the carpet-bagger line effectively when several senior Labour MPs, including Annette King and Trevor Mallard, upped sticks in different cities to get safe Labour seats after losing out in previous elections. Shearer has stood in Whangarei before. Was he carpet-bagging then, or is he carpet-bagging now?

          Lee lived in Mt Albert when she first moved to New Zealand and has lived in Mt Eden, just around the corner from Helen Clark’s house, for most of the years since.

          • gobsmacked

            If National want to select a list MP, why not pick someone from the Indian community, like Kanwal Bakshi? He owns a house in Mt Eden.


          • lprent

            I was more responding to your implied carpet-bagger line. I personally find it irritating and largely irrelevant. In the end we’ll decide ourselves without the assistance of the wingnuts or yourself.

            So Melissa Lee is in Epsom electorate. That would be a more natural electorate for her and National. The level of difference in the demographics between Epsom and Mt Albert is pretty extreme, especially in the professions breakdown. For all of his flaws Ravi is a natural candidate for Mt Albert.

            John Boscawen is a poor choice for Act. A practical demonstration that you do not have to be sane to be an MP. It will be interesting to see if he can behave himself when he gets into one of those baptist hall meetings.

            Russel Norman. Well he, I have few ideas about.

            Off to select our candidate later, but muffled up well so this damn cold doesn’t get any worse.

          • Tim Ellis

            LP I don’t know which electorate Lee lives in at the moment, but with the large asian population in mt albert and Lee’s long history with the area she might prove to be a very good choice for the seat.

            I’m not a national party delegate and never have been but I’m not sure that your advice that Masuku should be the candidate is too relevant. About as relevant as the whale’s advice on who Labour’s candidate should be.

            I don’t know what you mean by being a “natural candidate for Mt Albert”. Are you saying that it should be somebody from an ethnic community? Because if you are, that would rule out both David Shearer, the head office favourite, and Meg Bates, the local Labour party favourite after Twyford got dumped on.

            • lprent

              There are different groups of ‘asians’, just as there different groups amongst polynesians or europeans. No group have a coherence of the interests, exactly the same as I have very little in common with most of the attitudes of the Europeans of recent English or South African origin.

              I’m a Mt Albert ‘local’ even if I live over the border at present. I’m interested in having the best candidates for Mt Albert both in Labour and across the parties. This gives the best choices for Mt Albert voters.

              • Tim Ellis

                Those are good points, LP.

                Trying to be objective for a moment, it would seem that the best candidate for a major political party would be somebody who has a long-standing connection to the electorate, somebody who is best able to understand the various communities in the electorate, somebody who is best able to advocate for the electorate’s views in caucus, and somebody who is best able to communicate the party’s views to the voters.

                For my money, Melissa Lee exceeds all these tests for National. I don’t doubt that Shearer is ahead of Bates in terms of having potential weight in the caucus to represent Mt Albert views and is probably better suited to communicating party views to voters than a 24 year old, but he doesn’t have the local knowledge that Bates has. These would seem to be major issues that either Labour candidate will need to school up on. I don’t think they’ll be able to achieve that in six weeks.

                Bates’ relative life inexperience will take more than six weeks to overcome. She would probably be pretty good in a safe Labour seat in years to come, because she’s very bright, but I very much doubt that any 24 year old can foot it for a major party in a marginal seat. She seems like a really big risk for Labour.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Why Is Lee better on those scores than Ravi Musuku?

                  It seems to me that he is the better option particularly with regard to the electorate stuff.

                  Lee has list spot, Musuku would be reliant on his electorate. Given that if National wins it, (which can only really happen because of vote splitting), then it will certainly be a marginal seat. Who would be more likely to stick up for Mt. Albert, someone who needs the electorate support, or someone who would be safer bucking the party? Answers itself really.

                  I now you are proud of the National party’s more democratic and locally based selection process Tim, so seeing that the locals have picked him a couple of times already, it seems passing strange that Lee is so heavily favoured.

                  Whaleoil of course was completely dismissive of him, calling him cannon fodder who needs to realise his place and hinting at some unspecified rewards if he rolls over and a steam rolling if he doesn’t. Being slightly prejudiced against Tories, (I tend to view them as a bunch with authoritarian leanings), I expect that the local party will roll over and give the head office the candidate they want. But if they don’t, Whale seems to be hinting that the veto will get excercised. Aside from being exciting, why do you think they would do that?

  8. Bill 8

    Here’s an interesting selection!

    Okay. Not exactly on topic (apologies)…..No 6 in the Amazon Movers and Shakers list… The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

  9. Being National’s list in a high position does not imply anything about support in the wider party. National’s list candidates are all the local candidates who put their names forward for the list, plus whoever National HQ “appoints”. As far as I know, the wider party (the membership) plays no roll in the ranking. I can’t recall any grassroots involvement in list ranking from my reading of their constitution. National has one of the most limited regimes of internal democracy. Members only get to vote on a local candidate and nothing else with respect to the list.

    If Melissa Lee wasn’t a local candidate, she will have been been on the list because party HQ want her there.

  10. WhaleOil posted about how a victory for Green co-leader, Russell Norman, in Mt. Albert would see David Clendon (who lives in Mt. Albert) enter Parliament as a list MP. A two-fer.

  11. BILBO 11

    “I’m interested in having the best candidates for Mt Albert both in Labour and across the parties.”

    “Nah. I think I’ve made it clear previously that I don’t have all that much interest in the candidate. ”

    “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.”

    One of these comments is not like the other

    One of these comments is not quite the same.

    Can you guess which one is not like the other

    Can you tell me before I finish the game?

  12. Trevor Mallard 12

    Hardly a carpetbagger when I’ve lived more than half my life in Wainuiomata – in fact only 100m from Mum and Dad’s old place now! !

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