The Labour Party is making a mess of choosing a candidate
to replace Helen Clark in Mt Albert. The National Party
must be rubbing its hands in glee. The simple, logical thing
would have been to let Phil Twyford put his name forward
for the nomination (he's clearly been positioning himself
for it for years); and there seems little doubt that if he did
seek the nomination he would get it, and then go on to win
the seat comfortably for Labour and hold it for as many
years as his predecessors Clark and Warren Freer did.
Instead, he’s twisting in the wind while the Labour
hierarchy apparently tries to make up his mind whether it
wants him to switch from being a list MP to being an
electorate one, because moving over would bring the next
person on the list, Judith Tizard, back into Parliament. And
Tizard is regarded by many as a tired old retread who would
not, to put it politely, add lustre to the Labour caucus.
If Tizard really is such anathema, how come she is where
she is on the list? Clark’s resignation could surely have been
foreseen when the list was being compiled before the last
election. After all, something called the Moderating
Committee, which has 37 people on it, spent a long time
wrestling with the ranking. Now, with every passing day,
Labour is digging a deeper hole for itself, virtually
disowning one of its own and undermining Twyford into the
nargain. Not a good look —whatever you think of Tizard.
I also find it dismaying that Labour commissioned UMR
Research to hold several focus-group meetings in Mt Albert
to find out what voters thought of Tizard and other matters.
This is where political parties have got to, is it? You don't
trust your own people to know what’s going on at ground
level, so you get the professionals in to find out. You spend
money because you can't be bothered spending your own
time. Call it the commodification of human communication.