Labour moves into local body politics

The Labour Party are at least looking in to becoming more closely involved in local body politics.

It’s impossible to avoid questions about Phil Goff’s bid to become Auckland mayor while remaining a Labour MP.

Further to this the Taxpayers’ Union has raised the issue of whether Labour is using taxpayer funds set up an Auckland office “to co-ordinate the local government and General Election campaigns” – see REVEALED: SPEAKER’S WARNING TO LABOUR ON TAXPAYER FUNDED CAMPAIGNING

The concerns raised with the Speaker came after an email was sent by Paul Chalmers, the Project Manager at Labour House, to Labour’s Auckland supporters detailing how Andrew Little had opened an Auckland office that will be “the centre of the Labour and progressive movement in Auckland and the place to co-ordinate the local government and General Election campaigns.”

“It appears that Andrew Little and his MPs are pooling together taxpayer resources to open a campaign office in central Auckland for the Party and Phil Goff’s campaign for the Auckland mayoralty,” says Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams.

The Speaker has confirmed that the Parliamentary Service will be monitoring Mr Little’s spending and has written to him setting out the rules for taxpayer funded out-of-Parliament offices.

Mr Williams says, “We’ve expressed concern before that Mr Goff intends to be paid as an MP in Wellington, while he is campaigning for a new job in Auckland. This letter from the Speaker suggests that he too is concerned with MP’s taxpayer funded resources being misused for political purposes in Auckland.”

The original email, and the correspondence between the Speaker and the Taxpayers’ Union is available here.

But it’s not just in Auckland that Labour are looking at local body campaigns.

Palmerston North:

Party politics enters Palmerston North City Council election campaign

Party politics could be about to become a feature of the Palmerston North City Council.

The Labour Party is seeking to endorse councillor candidates at October’s local body elections.

Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway and Labour electorate committee chairwoman Lorna Johnson said the prospect had been considered for some time.

Lees-Galloway said the abolition of wards in 2013 had made it inevitable that many potential candidates would need support to campaign across the whole city.

“We think it will help get more diversity on the council.

“We want to add to the council, not dominate it.”

Why is an MP involved?

And Dunedin:

Councillors split over Labour ticket prospect

Councillors have divided into camps over the prospect of more party politics inside the Dunedin City Council.

Some city councillors welcomed the prospect when contacted by the Otago Daily Timesyesterday, saying any initiative that helped quality candidates to step forward should be encouraged.

But others warned any councillor elected under a national political party’s banner risked being beholden to Wellington, ahead of the city’s electors and ratepayers.

The divergent views came after it was confirmed the Labour Party was considering a “Local Labour” ticket to promote candidates for DCC council seats, and possibly the mayoralty, in October’s local body elections.

Cr Andrew Noone said he would not object to the initiative if constituents were calling for it, but “I feel it’s being driven not by the local community”.

The test would be whether Labour-aligned councillors made decisions based on evidence and advice from council staff, “or whether they do it on the basis of Labour Party policy”.

Other councillors welcomed the initiative, including Cr David Benson-Pope – a former Labour-aligned councillor and Cabinet minister – who said he was considering joining the ticket after running as an independent in 2013.

Not surprising to see Benson-Pope keen on a Labour ticket.

Is Labour looking at a more prominent involvement in local body politics elsewhere in the country?

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. kiwi guy

     /  1st March 2016

    They are failing miserably in national politics so it figures the Left will try for softer local targets.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  1st March 2016

    Labour has been in local government politics since forever.

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  1st March 2016

      Yes, the headline is somewhat misleading as Labour have always meddled in local govt though I suppose this signals a more aggressive approach.

      If I was a left-leaning candidate I’m not sure I’d find the official backing of the Labour party a positive thing in terms of votes.

      Reply
  3. artcroft

     /  1st March 2016

    Wonder how co-operation would go between an official Labour council and a National Govt or vice versa?

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  1st March 2016

      Isn’t Christchurch essentially like that already?

      Reply
  4. Im sure Auckland had Labour candidates at the last local body election and also there were Greens campaigning under party banners …

    Reply
    • There’s an openly Green councillor in Dunedin (and a few less open but as obvious).

      Labour seem to be moving about of the shadows, putting their name to what they were doing under pseudonyms.

      Reply
      • Richard Northey (ex mp i think ) is who I was trying to remember , the Labour party ran a Labour set of candidates in the Tamaki local board and the Mt Wellington Licensing Trust ( why ? )

        Reply

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