Two stand aside for Huo

It has been suggested this would happen for some time but now the way has publicy been cleared for Raymond Huo to return to Parliament should Jacinda Ardern win this week’s Mt Albert by-election.

Huo lost his seat in Parliament  in 2014 because he was three short of the list cut-off.

Andrew Little just made the final cut at 11 on the list (electorate MPs are ranked lower but get in automatically).

There were two other ex-list MPs who were placed higher than Huo at 21 who missed the cut, Maryan Street (15) and (Moana Mackey (17).

It was a bit embarrassing for Labour to have no Asian MPs, particularly when they launched their infamous Chinese surname attack.

After the Mt Albert by-election was confirmed Mackey said she wasn’t interested in returning to Parliament.

Gisborne Herald: Moana Mackey rules out return to the Beehive

FORMER Gisborne-based Labour list MP Moana Mackey has countered conjecture she is contemplating a return to politics.

Ms Mackey said she wanted to pre-empt speculation she was planning a return to parliament following the decision of current list MP Jacinda Ardern to seek the party’s candidacy in the Mt Albert by-election.

Ms Mackey said she had always kept Labour leader Andrew Little informed and previously told him she had no desire to return to Parliament if a list place came up on the Labour list.

“I have to say I really appreciated him getting in touch with me earlier this week, in light of David Shearer’s decision, and I confirmed that was still my position.

That was in December. Interesting that Little contacted her as soon as the by-election was confirmed.

Street has taken a lot longer but has now also indicated she won’t return. From Street on Facebook:

I am happy to confirm that I will not be taking up a place in Parliament as a List MP after the Mt Albert by-election. This will pave the way for the return of Raymond Huo to Parliament, something I fully support.

I have thought long and hard about this choice and have decided that I can be just as effective on issues dear to me outside Parliament as inside – perhaps even more so.

Besides which, I have discovered weekends.

The campaign for a law change to allow End of Life Choice has gained a powerful momentum with the petition in my name to Parliament’s Health Select Committee, where submissions are still being heard. I am heartened that it has become an issue with wide support throughout the community and across the entire political spectrum. I look forward to advancing that campaign further.

My very best wishes go to Jacinda Ardern and Raymond Huo.

So the way is now clear for Huo. I haven’t seen any indication of his intentions but presume he is interested in returning.

Ardern seeking ‘persondate’

Jacinda Ardern has hopped (again) to an electorate that she thinks will give her a persondate, but what should be a safe Labour seat is doing it the easy way, by working the system.

By-election day in Mt Albert is this Saturday but advance voting has been taking place, with 1924 ballots returned by Sunday. Advance voting is running behind the 2014 general election.

Voting numbers are expected to be down in an election that most think is a foregone conclusion.

Jacinda Ardern has been given another boost by media, this time Newstalk ZB in Mt Albert by-election: Crunch time for Ardern – only she was headlined and just one other of the 13 candidates was mentioned.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern could be just days away from achieving one of her political goals.

She’ll find out on Saturday if she’s got the backing she needs to win the Mount Albert by-election – a race she’s expected to win

While her background up until now has been as a List MP, Jacinda Ardern said it’s always been her aspiration to be an electorate MP.

“For me one of the things I was always keen to have is just that mandate to represent a community. I always tried to do case work operate in office like an electorate MP would, but it is a little bit different when you have that mandate behind you.”

Ardern has tried and failed to get a mandate three times in electorates.

In 2008 she stood in a very safe National seat, Waikato, and came a distant second but go into Parliament with an unusually high list placing for a first time candidate – 20.

In 2011 she switched to Auckland Central, which had been comfortably held by Labour up until 2005 but won by National’s Nikki Kaye in 2008 by 1500 votes.

Ardern got within 700 votes of Kaye in 2011, and within 600 votes in 2014.

However Ardern has chosen to switch to Mt Albert, easily held by Helen Clark for a long time, followed by easy wins by David Shearer for the last two elections.

So Ardern is expected to win easily, especially as National decided not to stand a candidate.

She will no doubt claim a mandate, but switching to what she thought should be a Labour seat in Auckland Central, then to a safe seat in Mt Albert is more seeking a safe seat rather than getting a mandate by wining a majority of votes on her own merits.

If Ardern wins she will have successfully worked the system more than winning a mandate from voters.

Details of the Mt Albert by-election with a full candidate list: Mount Albert by-election, 2017


Whale Oil dirty and inconsistent

Missy posted:

Whaleoil have a post about the call from the HRC for the Govt to apologise about Child Abuse in State Care, supported by Jacinda Ardern. What caught my attention is the headline: Socialist Cindy, the childless champion of children

I am sorry, but her being childless should be irrelevant, I think that is just nasty to say that about her. There was a similar (sort of) situation here during the Conservative Party leadership election when it seemed one of the candidates kept prefacing every comment with ‘as a mother I….’, this was a direct dig at Theresa May who had no children, and the inference is that people with no children have no empathy – Cameron Slater is using the same tactic here. Pete tries to justify it, but in my view it is still shoddy on their part, and stigmatising Jacinda for not being a mother, and detracting from the point of the article – whether you agree or not with it.

I agree that having a dig at someone for being childless is nasty. perhaps this is some of the ‘more dirty’ that Slater has been talking about doing this year.

As Missy says, Pete Belt tries to defend the indefensible.

Spambot42: How is Cindy being childless relevant to the content of the article and the entirely relevant point you made about it…?

Pete Belt: She is the shadow minister for children. If they appointed a chinese person as minister of maori affairs, that would be notable. So, so is a childless woman being a children’s advocate.

BayPomNZ: She has been a child at some point in time so perhaps your analogy isn’t quite correct. I agree with spambot42 that being childless is completely irrelevant to ifnshed do a good job or not.

Pete Belt: It remains a factual statement. It is up to the reader to decide if it is relevant. As a parent, knowing what I thought about parenting and children before I became a parent, and what I know now, I feel confident in saying that a childless person can no understand what it is like to to have children and how their needs, thoughts and lives are experienced.

It may be a factual statement but it’s both nasty and stupid.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that any spokesperson role in politics is only credible if the person has been a mother, been a general, been a policeman, been a child in a sole parent family, been a property investor, been a tax evader etc etc.

Truby King founded Plunket and did a lot to teach mothers domestic hygiene and childcare, but he had never been a mother. That doesn’t negate what he achieved in reducing infant mortality. He also improved nutrition at the Seacliff psychiatric hospital, but I’m not aware of him having been a mental patient.

The Whale Oil headline is a dirty dig at Ardern, typical of Slater’s approach to politics. Talking of which, Slater has never been an MP, by Belt’s standards that means Slater being a political advocate is something worthy of taunting and degrading.

This just highlights the fact that Whale Oil is largely a political activist blog, and having never been a real journalist his attempts to portray his blog as an alternate new media should be rubbished by Belt, if he was to be consistent.

Abe Grey promoting Cannabis in Mt Albert

The Cannabis Party (previously known as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) has announced that Abe Gray will contest the My Albert by-election.

I think this is a smart move. This is a good opportunity to push Jacinda Ardern and Julie Anne Genter and the Labour and Green parties on how serious they are about supporting cannabis law reform, or at least whether they would support and enable a referendum to let the people decide.

The Cannabis Party launches Mt Albert by-election campaign with Radio Hauraki personality Abe Gray announced as the party’s candidate

The Cannabis Party is entering the race for the Mt Albert by-election after radio personality Abe Gray threw his hat in the ring.

Gray is a well known radio DJ with a weekly slot on Radio Hauraki’s popular breakfast show, hosted by Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells.

Gray is leading the charge for a binding referendum on cannabis laws in New Zealand,  which was vocally promoted by the late Helen Kelly.

He worked closely with Helen Kelly to draft the specific legislation required to create the binding referendum, prior to her death. However, no MPs in Parliament have adopted the legislation.

Gray questions whether the Greens and Labour are serious about cannabis law reform, given they turned their back on Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation.

The by-election gives Gray the opportunity to keep questioning them through the by-election campaign, as I’m sure he will do.

“A binding referendum on the questions of medical and recreational cannabis is my top priority,” he said.

“It should be the democratic right of all New Zealanders to have their say on this important issue.”

Gray promised to submit Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation to the private member’s ballot on day-one if he is elected to Parliament.

Gray’s main opponent will be the media if they refuse to give him equal coverage (Ardern is already getting media favouritism).

If the media decides that cannabis has headline potential it could work in the Cannabis Party’s favour. Even if Ardern does cruise to victory as predicted the campaign is a good opportunity to highlight an issue that New Zealand politicians seem to be paying lip service to at best, while many other countries are seriously responding to social and health pressures on cannabis.

Gray is a good choice for the Cannabis Party, he has a lot of campaign and public activism experience.

TOP to stand in Mt Albert

Despite Gareth Morgan saying his The Opportunity Party would be list nly and would not contest electorates, yesterday he announced that his chief of staff Geoff Simmons will contest the Mt Albert by-election.

Stuff: Gareth Morgan’s party to take on Jacinda Ardern in Mt Albert by-election

Millionaire economist Gareth Morgan has confirmed his party will take on Labour MP Jacinda Ardern in this month’s Mt Albert by-election.

However, Morgan himself will not run. Instead, his Opportunity Party chief of staff Geoff Simmons has put his name forward to run in the February 25 by-election.

Speaking in front of a van promising to “Make New Zealand fair again” Morgan said the decision of several parties not to contest the by-election meant there was “an opportunity here to do something for the people of Mt Albert”.

When was New Zealand fair before now?

It looks like Morgan sees an opportunity to have a practice campaign at electorate level and build some party profile.

Simmons, an economist with a regular interview slot on RNZ, had been responsible for a lot of the policy work at the Morgan Foundation and was “extremely literate in all that material”.

With the TOP emphasis on policy Simmons could make the campaign interesting if he challenges the cosy Labour-Green plans to promote themselves jointly.

It will be good if Simmons can test Jacinda Ardern’s policy mettle and force her into doing more than play her photo-op magazine style of campaigning.

In a reference to Ardern and Green Party candidate Julie Anne Genter, Morgan said Simmons would act as “a thorn between the two roses”.

TOP are unlikely to get close to threatening the outcome by it will be good to see Simmons  challenging the cushy co-party arrangement.

There’s a real risk to Labour here – that Simmons and Genter will overshadow if not overwhelm Ardern in serious policy debate, unless the show pony can prove she can tackle the hard stuff as well.

Mt Albert candidates

I’ve heard of four candidates for the Mt Albert by-election so far.

Penny Bright has indicated she will stand.

‘Anti-corruption campaigner’
2017 Mt Albert by-Election Independent candidate

New Zealand People Party (NZPP), which stood in the Mt Roskill by-election with  disappointing result, has selected Vin Tomar for Mt Albert.

Mt Albert electorate will have some more choices in the forthcoming by-election in February next year with New Zealand People Party (NZPP) also announcing their candidate.

NZPP has shortlisted Vin Tomar, a registered early childhood teacher and real estate agent and a practising licensed immigration adviser as their candidate.

Roshan Nauhriya, the founder President of the Party, who is currently overseas confirmed the news on the phone and reiterated that “we are committed to building our party and fight every by-election before the next year’s general election.”


Labour have selected Jacinda Ardern, and the Greens haver selected Julie Anne Genter who is sort of conceding defeat and claiming joint victory.

RNZ: Labour likely to win by-election – Greens candidate

Green Party candidate Julie Anne Genter has conceded that Labour will probably win next month’s Mt Albert by-election but says she will put her best forward.

She said Ms Ardern was likely to win but was excited to work alongside her.

“Having two positive, young women candidates who are both working to change the government is a real opportunity to get more people excited and interested in the positive potential of politics.”

Genter and Greens need to make an attempt to promote themselves rather than just be a support act for Labour.

This puts one of the best performing Green MPs up against a talked up but under-performing Labour MP.

The by-election will be on 25 February.

Labour on Ardern’s selection

In contrast to the Green media release on Julie Anne Genter’s selection that mentions Labour and Greens together twice,  the Labour announcement is totally focussed on their candidate Jacinda Ardern and Labour.

One nomination received for Labour’s Mt Albert candidate

At the close of nominations at 5pm today, Jacinda Ardern was the sole nomination received for the position of Labour’s candidate for the Mt Albert by-election, says Labour General Secretary, Andrew Kirton.

“In line with our internal process, Jacinda will be confirmed as our Mt Albert candidate by local Labour Party members at a special meeting to be held on Sunday 22 January.

“We’re really looking forward to talking to locals in Mt Albert about the National Party’s dismal record on housing, health, and transport. It’s just a shame that National isn’t prepared to front up to the Mt Albert community and explain their record.

“Labour will be taking nothing for granted and intends to earn a new mandate in Mt Albert by talking to the local community and focusing on how a Labour-led government can build a better New Zealand,” says Labour General Secretary, Andrew Kirton.


Ardern confirmed for Mt Albert


Probably surprising no one, Jacinda Ardern has been as good as confirmed (she is the sole nominee) as the Labour candidate for the Mt Albert by-election.

Opportunity for a voter revolution in Mt Albert

With National choosing to stay out of the Mt Albert by-election the voters have effectively been given a free shot – they could make a massive statement if they wanted to.

Jacinda Ardern is expected to win the Labour nomination, and she is expected to comfortably win the by-election in what has been a safe seat for David Shearer since 2009 and previously for Helen Clark, and Warren Freear going way back to 1947 (Freear thwarted Robert Muldoon’s first shot at Parliament in 1954).

With no National versus Labour contest, which would have been futile for National anyway, and nothing significant at stake for parliament, this gives the voters a chance to make a statement of some sort.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter has expressed an interest in standing if Greens decided to run a candidate. Greens got double their overall party vote in 2014 in Mt Albert – 21.68% (8,005 votes).

So it could be a chance for Greens to test their mettle against Labour without the complication of their Memorandum of Understanding as Greens don’t need to help Labour out.

While Greens need Labour to have a chance of getting into government (unless they get really radical and do a deal with National, very unlikely under Turei’s leadership) their best opportunity for increasing their party vote is taking support off Labour.

Despite the MoU Greens understand MMP and know that the higher their vote is relative to Labour the bigger their bargaining power.

Labour on 38% (they wish) and Greens on 11% would have a very different balance of power to Labour on 28% and Greens on 20%. Of course there may need to be other parties involved such as NZ First and the Maori Party.

Other small parties might fancy their chances, like the People’s Party or Gareth Morgan’s TOP, but they are unlikely to excite the voters into making a big statement against the political system.

Mt Albert voters could get even more radical than giving Labour a fright and Greens a boost, and giving National the finger – they could get in behind an independent candidate. That would really put them in the political spotlight.

Of course this would be dependant on a high profile independent candidate standing. Would anyone be up for the challenge? It would be a brilliant way of stirring up the old parties.

An un-contested by-election?

It’s possible Jacinda Ardern could win the Mt Albert by-election uncontested, if no other candidates stand.

David Shearer’s resignation from his Mt Albert electorate has precipitated a by-election next February.

Ardern has expressed an interest in standing. If she gets Labour’s nomination it would be very likely she would win the by-election.

National has decided it would be futile to stand a candidate so have chosen not to. That’s a pragmatic decision.

Greens and NZ First chose not to stand candidates in the recent Mt Roskill by-election. It makes sense for them to also stay out of the Mt Albert by-election.

This would make the by-election virtually uncontested. All it would take to avoid the cost and futility would be for no other candidates to stand, so Ardern would win the electorate uncontested.

There is a chance an attention seeking candidate would stand against Ardern, forcing a million dollar farce. All it takes to stand for election is two nominations from voters from the electorate – the candidate themselves don’t have to live in the electorate.

It’s most likely at least one other candidate will put themselves forward, but there would probably be little media interest and little voter interest.

An uncontested by-election would be the logical option but that’s probably a long shot.

It’s also possible Labour’s nomination might be contested.

Would Laila Harre be tempted? Probably not in Mt Albert, she has been linked to New Lynn.

Would Andrew Little bet tempted? Again probably not, he has shown no inclination to relocate from Wellington to Auckland.