Guilty until proven innocent?

Suggesting the burden of proof be reversed to guilty unless proven innocent is getting into very dangerous legal territory.

RNZ: Call to shift burden of proof to rape-accused

Labour’s sexual violence spokesperson, Mrs Williams has called for radical reform of the sexual justice system which would see rape accusers believed by police as a starting point.

Every accuser should be given the benefit of doubt and believed when investigating an alleged crime of any sort, unless there is good reason to disbelieve them.

But taking that approach in court is a much riskier approach.

This would place the burden of proof on the accused – directly contradicting the philosophy of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Ms Williams said many victims of rape do not report it because they have little faith in the justice system.

She said the country needed to have a discussion about how to address that power imbalance.

Seeking better ways of conducting investigations and prosecutions would be the best way to deal with it.

Now, I know that runs up against ‘innocent until proven guilty’, and that would be one of the issues that we’d really have to consider long and hard, but I’m of the view that we have to make some changes.”

Poto Williams said she didn’t yet know how the policy would be implemented.

“I don’t pretend to have the legal nous in which to do this, but I’m comfortable that there is a way that we can work our way through this.

So Williams is posing the possibility. It doesn’t look lioke being anywhere near Labour policy.

“But at the end of the day we cannot, in all good conscience, say to victims of rape and sexual abuse, ‘your case will be ignored.’

“One thing we have to do is find out the numbers of false allegations that have been made, because that will be one of the things people will be really concerned about – that someone who’s falsely accused of sexual abuse will be put through a process that is completely unfair.”

It’s also long established that it’s unfair to presume guilt unless proven innocent.

A Hawke’s Bay barrister, Jonathan Krebs, said contradicting the principle of innocent until proven guilty in New Zealand’s justice system would be unthinkable.

“The rule about the prosecution having to prove offending and allegations beyond reasonable doubt is zealously held,” he said.

“Any proposal that a complainant of any sort of offending should be deemed to be telling the truth and an accused person must prove their innocence would be such a radical departure that I don’t think that would gain very much support at all.”

It’s hard to guess why Williams is raising this. It’s unlikely to go anywhere. Surely Labour won’t consider it seriously as policy.

More on Domestic Violence – Victim Protection Bill

There are two very good things about the progress of Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence – Victim Protection Bill – it is an Opposition MP’s genuine attempt to make a difference in the battle against the scourge of domestic violence, and it is an excellent example of how MPs from all parties can work together on a common worthy cause.

The first two speeches:

Introductions and parts of the rest of the First Reading speeches:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE—VICTIMS’ PROTECTION BILL

First Reading

POTO WILLIAMS (Labour—Christchurch East):

I have to first acknowledge my dear colleague Jan Logie, who is an absolute champion for women, and I have to say, Minister Amy Adams, I am actually rather taken aback by the emotion you expressed at the end of that speech.

I have to say for many women in the House, this is a very personal issue. I just want to tautoko my daughters and granddaughter in the gallery. Heaven forbid that anything that happens to many of the women in our country happen to those beautiful children up in the gallery.

I must acknowledge Heather Hēnare, champion of this particular cause and supporter of many victims of domestic violence. Your work will go on and you will continue to be recognised for the amazing work that you do.

What this bill, I believe, attempts to do is to really start to normalise the conversations that we must be having in each and every workplace about domestic violence. It must bring it down to the point where we stop being scared of opening the door and shining the light on what is going on in many of the families that we occupy—that we live in.

Each of our families is touched in some way by the abhorrence of domestic violence: whether we are impacted personally, whether our children experience it, and whether we are supporting our sisters and our brothers through difficult times.

This legislation is saying: “You know what? It happens.” Let us own it. Let us get real about this everybody. Because it happens, and because we are good employers, we are going to allow people the time that they need to address those issues. Ten days is not much but, you know what, it is a heck of a lot more than we used to get, and it is a good start. It actually says “Yep. We have a responsibility here. We have a responsibility as employers to support our employees through this, and you know why? Because they are good employees and we want to keep them and it actually adds to our bottom line at the end of the day.” Let us get real; it is all about the cost benefit for the employer…

SARAH DOWIE (National—Invercargill):

I too join in the line-up of people here today who are very pleased to be speaking in support of this bill, the Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill, in its first reading, to see it through to the select committee stage to have some honest conversation about how we move we forward in protecting women, the majority of women who are subject to domestic violence, and those men the workplace.

I am pleased that Jan Logie has referred this bill to the Justice and Electoral Committee. I think that our committee is up for the challenge to have these discussions, and, as I said before, I am very pleased to be part of this movement right now that has unanimous support in the House.

I do want to pay tribute to Jan Logie, because, contrary to popular belief, MPs do speak to each other outside this house, and I can also report that I had a conversation with Jan Logie just before we came into the house here tonight and I could see her genuine excitement that

(a) her bill had been pulled from the ballot and
(b) that she would receive unanimous support to see this bill through to the select committee phase.

So, well done, Jan, for championing this, and well done for that achievement.

CLAYTON MITCHELL (NZ First):

It gives me great pleasure to stand on behalf of New Zealand First to, first of all, acknowledge you, Jan Logie, for bringing this bill to the House. With tongue in cheek and with serious sincerity, I think divine intervention has played a little part in this.

Being International Women’s Day today says a lot, and the only time I have seen that happen again was with Sue Moroney’s bill when it was to do with paid parental leave. It was just again that the stars aligned, so well done and great courage. It just goes to show that the passion that you have for resolving this comes through with your speech and you speak very, very eloquently of that.

I would also like to acknowledge the Minister for her words and her sincere thoughts, along with all other members who have spoken here today, and it gives me great pleasure as a male to stand up and speak to this.

The fact is that New Zealand First wholly supports this. We certainly would encourage the conversation to continue in select committee. I think there are some potential drafting issues but that is not here nor there. We would like to hear from small and medium sized businesses to see what their take is with regards to the period of time, the 10 days, that has been allocated for people who are suffering at the hands of domestic violence…

JONO NAYLOR (National):

There is no doubt that domestic violence is an absolute scourge on our society. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that, firstly, we need to do absolutely everything we can to eliminate it to ensure that we do not have victims of domestic violence in New Zealand but also that, secondly, we as a society need to do everything that we can in the meantime to support victims of domestic violence….

…I also just want to acknowledge the delegation of people who I had come through my office door in Palmerston North a couple of weeks ago, the local representatives from the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

They came to me and said: “Jono, we’d really, really like you to support this bill, at least to the first reading stage, to ensure that this very, very important conversation gets on the table in Parliament and is debated, so we can work through all those different sort of nuances”—as I referred to before—”to ensure that we get the very best legislation we can.”

I am really happy to support this, at least at this stage, to ensure that we have that very positive discussion, because, as I said when I opened this speech, it is clearly incredibly important that we not only eliminate domestic violence from our communities but do everything we can to support the victims of it, and I commend this bill to the House.

SUE MORONEY (Labour):

At the outset, can I first of all acknowledge that this is International Women’s Day. What better day to be debating this bill than International Women’s Day, which is a day when we all stand in solidarity with women right across the world in order to, yes, celebrate how far we have come, but also pause and think about what we have yet to do. This bill clearly falls into the latter bracket. I want to congratulate the member Jan Logie on her foresight in bringing this bill forward…It is the ballot goddess at work again to make sure that this got debated on International Women’s Day, because, sadly, this is an issue that does affect women, in more numbers than it does men. In fact, what we would wish is that it affected nobody.

I agree with the last speaker, Jono Naylor, in that all of us would want to not be dealing with this end of domestic violence.

All of us would want to be putting our energy into preventing it from happening, and that is the world we really want to live in: where there are respectful relationships and people can deal with the pressures in life and the stresses in life without battering the people closest to them, the people who should be able to rely on the love and support of family members, but instead are hurt and have violence meted out against them from the people whom they should have the most trust and warmth and understanding from.

Sadly, that is not the world we live in, and I will not rest until we actually address the front end of this, and actually stop that domestic violence from happening in the first place. But it does happen, and so this bill is going to be something that will be a huge relief for those people, predominantly women, whom this happens to.

CHRIS BISHOP (National):

Can I firstly acknowledge the sponsor of the bill, Jan Logie. I was not privileged enough to see her first reading speech, but I understand it was quite a remarkable speech, and I want to pay tribute to you, Ms Logie, for your sterling work in bringing this bill to the House.

…one of the things I have been very privileged to have done since I became an MP just over 2 years ago is to go and spend time with our women’s refuge in the Hutt and to deliberately get out there into the community, to some of our marae and to some of those community organisations that are dealing with the front end and the hard edge of this issue.

One of the things—I suppose the biggest lesson—that I have taken away from those visits and those conversations is that the size of the problem is truly remarkable. You know, it is just almost unfathomable, the extent of violence—almost always by men against women—in our communities.

As Minister Amy Adams said in her excellent speech, which I watched in my office, it is not just going to take the Government to do something about this problem; it is a whole-of-society issue that we need to address.

The Government will do its bit and we will lead on this, and I hope, actually, that we will look back on the 2014 to 2017 Parliament and people will say that that was the Parliament—the 51st Parliament—when the New Zealand Government and elected representatives got serious about family violence.

IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY (Labour—Palmerston North):

I would like to start where others have started, by congratulating the member in charge of this bill, Jan Logie. She was very humble in her first reading speech, by recognising that the work—as is always the case with these things—started outside Parliament with Women’s Refuge, with unions bargaining for changes through collective bargaining, and with all the other groups that, I am sure, have worked closely with Jan Logie on formulating this bill.

But the truth is it does actually take someone in this Parliament to put the bill into the ballot, and then, when it comes out of the ballot, to actually champion it, to have the negotiations and to work with colleagues around the House, especially the hard work to get to the point where it appears we will have unanimity when we come to the vote on this first reading.

So I want to acknowledge that work by Jan Logie. We all like to be humble in this place, but we have a job to do, and when those opportunities come up—when that bill comes out of the ballot—it does take a lot of work to get to the position that this bill has got to. So congratulations to Jan on doing that.

I also want to acknowledge the Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, for her leadership, because—I will say this gently, and like the previous member, Chris Bishop, I do not want to be party political—the Government’s initial response was negative.

I think it’s reasonable for Lees-Galloway to bring this up but god of him to say it ‘gently’ in the context of general cooperation on this Bill.

The Government’s initial response was that this would cost too much, and Michael Woodhouse, as the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, stated that on the record.

Clearly, some conversations have gone on within the National Government, aided, I am sure, by the lobbying from the member in charge of the bill, and it is pleasing to see that Amy Adams’ leadership has won through and the Government has decided that this is a worthy piece of legislation to at least take to a select committee, where we can have the conversation.

MAUREEN PUGH (National):

I too stand in support tonight of the Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill, in the name of Green Party MP Jan Logie, and I add my congratulations to Miss Logie on her initiative in writing this bill and also on her good fortune of having it pulled from the ballot. I did hear her speech tonight. It was an impassioned speech, and I congratulate you, Miss Logie, on your dedication to this cause.

In my own conversations with NGOs that work with victims of domestic violence, there is a clear need to support women at work who have fallen victim of domestic violence. For women who work in front-line roles where they must interact with the public, it is essential for them to have their privacy protected, especially if a woman bears the marks, the bruises, the impacts from a domestic violence episode.

Also at work an abuser makes it very easy for a woman to be trapped, to be captured in her workplace, and to become yet a further target for abuse. The most effective way that an abuser does that is through violent or abusive phone calls or emails. But also it becomes a risk for others in the workplace, and thereto lies the impact for employers making their workplace a safe workplace.

JAN LOGIE (Green):

It gives me hope to stand up tonight, after having listened to all the speeches in the House. I could think of it as personally gratifying that this bill, with the community we have brought to the House, has support. But mostly what I am feeling is the message that you are sending to survivors in the country, that we are, together, committed to making their lives better. We have heard their experiences and we are committed to making their lives better in every way that we can. I think that, for me, at least is a moment to mark in time.

I have heard really clear support for wanting to eradicate domestic violence, for us to use what tools we can as a country to do that, and to support the victims and survivors in the meantime. I have also heard a very clear articulation from all members in the House that yes, this is not just the business of Parliament or Government. All of us have a role to play in that, and that part of being a good employer is caring for your staff, and that this is one way to do that, and it will pay off for businesses.

I have heard mention that there needs to be some work around the drafting of the bill. I am really happy to acknowledge that. Part of the reality of it was that I had different legal opinions on the current status of the law in relation to flexible working hours, but particularly in relation to the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the extent to which it covered domestic violence.

What we have drafted is something—it is quite hard to get something right, when you are not actually sure of the status of the existing law. I really do see it as an offering for us to be able to work together to come up with the best solution. When we are all on the same page about the outcome, then that gives me hope that this process is going to get the result that we need. I will say it again—it is a result that could save lives, so it is absolutely worth hanging on to.

I did appreciate the comments that maybe we could loosen up a little bit. It is not something that people usually suggest to me. The flexible working arrangements and the need for the domestic violence documents in here were based on some legislation from overseas, in the UK. But yes, we do not want to make it more difficult. We want to clarify that flexible working arrangements should be used and should be available, and that that needs to be visible, I believe, to be able to have that intent realised. But we do not want to make it more difficult.

Somebody did mention the point about the fact that perhaps this would be too onerous for small businesses, and I thank the member Iain Lees-Galloway for asking businesses to come with solutions, if that is a concern for them. But I am going to push quite hard on this, because the international research—in Australia 1.6 million workers are already covered by these provisions, and for most of them, although the provisions are there they do not take them. It is very rare. They will take some. They take what they need. It is not a mandatory 10 days. It is up to 10 days, and you use it when you need it. The experience overseas as well as in businesses here is that people do not exploit that. It is a relationship of trust that is working. I would want to put people’s minds at rest on that point.

In the final few seconds—just for all those people who have been fighting for this for so long, and for those women who went back because they had no other choice or felt that they could not get out, I hope tonight gives you some courage. Kia ora.

Bill read a first time.

Bill referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee.

Full draft transcript.

Willie Jackson backfiring

 

There were comments that Labour had scored a major coup over the Maori Party by securing Willie Jackson as candidate, but that could end up backfiring.

He has strong support from Andrew Little:

But backson is not the most popular of additions to the Labour list.

At The Standard: Labour Spokesperson for Family and Sexual Violence Poto Williams on Willie Jackson

Kia orana

As the Labour Party Spokesperson for Family and Sexual Violence, I am concerned that Willie Jackson is becoming a Labour Party candidate with a prominent ranking on the list.

White Ribbon encourages everyone to break the silence around domestic violence by challenging comments and actions that are abusive or condone abuse. I was a vocal opponent of Mr Jackson’s comments during the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident and I do not believe that his attitude towards victims of sexual abuse match what I expect of a member of the Labour Party. Especially a member of our caucus.

I appreciate that Mr Jackson may regret his comments, but I am yet to hear that he understands his attitudes and views are highly offensive to many New Zealanswrs. I’m yet to hear that he wishes to work on putting that right and apologise for his behaviour.

Violence is not just physical, but also covers emotional and verbal abuse. Not speaking out against abuse of any kind is condoning or tacitly endorsing that behaviour. The comments Mr Jackson made around the ‘Roast-Busters’ incident are never OK, but it is OK to ask for help.

White Ribbon calls for us to support people who wish to change their abusive behaviour, so I welcome the opportunity to support Mr Jackson in apologising and making those changes.

Until then, as someone who speaks for the victims of family and sexual violence, and as a survivor of such abuse, I can not in good conscience support him as my colleague.

That’s strong public criticism from a Labour MP, effectively condemning Little’s choice of candidate.

There is a lot of discussion on that Standard post where at a glance looks to be fairly strongly against Jackson.

An Open Letter being circulated in social media:

Open Letter to New Zealand Labour Party Council re: Willie Jackson

Dear New Zealand Councillors,We, the undersigned New Zealand Labour Party Members, write to express our collective dismay at recent news that Willie Jackson seeks a high list placing to re-enter Parliament as a Labour MP.

From defending the conduct of the Roastbusters gang, to questioning the suitability of a Labour MP for leadership because of his sexuality, to advocating for National’s charter schools, Mr Jackson has, time and time again, demonstrated his unsuitability to be a New Zealand Labour Party Member of Parliament.

Roastbusters Rape Apologist

During the 2013 Roast Busters investigation Mr Jackson, along with his co-host John Tamihere, interviewed a young woman on their RadioLIVE show who was close to some of the victims and familiar with the case. During the interview Jackson engaged in a line of questioning that blamed the alleged victims and mocked the interviewee.

Jackson refuted the interviewee’s allegation that the young men involved were rapists, saying “girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway, should they?”, “how free and easy are you kids these days?”, and referring to the accusations as “mischief”, before asking the young woman when she had lost her virginity.

Jacksons’ conduct in regards to this investigation was abhorrent and totally at odds with Labour values. Allowing Jackson to represent our Party flies in the face of survivors of sexual violence, and the policies Labour seeks to put in place to improve justice system processes for complainants.

Comments about LGBT New Zealanders

Mr Jackson seeks to join the party that introduced Homosexual Law Reform and marriage equality, but says he is “a little uncomfortable with gay men”. As a talkback host he interrogated a Labour MP and leadership candidate about his sexuality. He followed this appalling interview with a column which dressed up his homophobia as remorse on behalf of a country ‘not ready’ for a gay Prime Minister. Jackson wrote:
“The main issue, however, for Robertson has nothing to do with his ability to be able to front over policy, which he does well – but everything to do sadly, with him being homosexual.”

Labour should not want a person to be an elected member of parliament that lacks the courage to fight homophobia, let alone exhibiting comfortability with prejudice against LGBTI New Zealanders.

Advocacy for Charter Schools

Willie Jackson has publicly advocated for charter schools. He led an organisation to establish two of National’s charter schools and publicly questioned Labour’s commitment to the educational progress of New Zealand’s children.

Lack of renewal and women in caucus

Even if Willie Jackson had not advocated such offensive positions in sharp contrast to Labour’s values and the dignity of those we seek to represent, he remains the past, not future of Labour politics. The New Zealand Labour Party is lucky to count amongst its ranks many potential candidates with immense potential, drive and energy to renew our caucus.

We the undersigned are extremely concerned that high ranked list positions are being promised to men, contrary to the constitutional requirement that the list moderation committee makes decisions that would result in equal numbers of men and women in caucus following the election. Given the composition of Labour held electorates, very high places on the list must be given to women for it to be constitutional, and a promise to give Mr Jackson a high position would threaten this.

We, the undersigned members, in light of Mr Jackson’s comments and conduct, urge New Zealand Councillors to reject Mr Jackson’s membership, and to vote against his nomination at List Moderation Committee.

References:

More on family violence proposals

During the week the Government announced proposals aimed at addressing and reducing family violence – see The Government’s most important policy – family violence.

Yesterday Justice Minister Amy Adams was interviewed on The Nation about it.

Justice Minister Amy Adams speaks to Lisa Owen about her family violence law reform – does it go far enough? 

Interview: Amy Adams

The Nation repeats at 10 this morning.

Q & A is also interviewing Adams (TV1 9:00 am).

Justice Minister Amy Adams talks to Greg Boyed about her family violence reforms announced this week. Will they make a difference to our high rate of domestic violence?

And he also asks whether she agrees with calls to keep 17 year olds in the youth court – is it time to raise the age of youth justice?

Our panel includes Justspeak spokesperson Julia Spelman, Graham Barnes from the domestic violence charity Shine, lawyer Stephen Franks and political scientist Dr Jennifer Curtin.

This is an important issue – family violence has serious implications for relationships, children, health, education, crime, employment – it’s effects are widespread and insidious.

One positive is there is general Cross party support for family violence proposals.

However Labour’s family violence spokesperson has taken a swipe at the Government: Labour: Community agencies needed to reduce violence

The Government is being accused of leaving frontline agencies out of the picture when it comes to tackling family violence.

Only a small portion of a $130 million package to reduce violence in Kiwi homes will go to non-government organisations like Women’s Refuge.

Labour’s family violence spokesperson, Poto Williams, says that’s not good enough.

“I’m really concerned that the minister has completely missed the boat,” says Ms Williams. “You cannot take just a justice response to this or just look at introducing new laws.”

Ms Williams says it will be impossible to eliminate family violence without community agencies.

She says Justice Minister Amy Adams is being too simplistic.

“The only way that people are actually going to eliminate violence from their lives is to have community agencies and NGOs working alongside them for the long term.”

Ms Williams says a multi-layered approach is needed to the issue, rather than just focussing on law and order.

There is already a ‘multi-layered’ approach, with the Government looking at bolstering some aspects of that.

If more effective ways of preventing and reducing family violence are successful then ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ agencies should be needed less.

No prosecution but Cunliffe pays up

Curiously announced late on the Friday before Christmas the Police say they have given David Cunliffe a written warning for tweeting for votes on the morning of the Christchurch by-election. NZ Herald: Cunliffe gets written warning for byelection tweet

Labour Leader David Cunliffe says he has been given a written police warning about a tweet he posted on the day of the Christchurch East byelection urging people to vote for Labour candidate Poto Williams.

Mr Cunliffe says he has taken the warning on board and will not repeat the error.

“It was an inadvertent mistake which I regret.” Mr Cunliffe said. I took steps to rectify the error by immediately deleting the tweet and Labour also notified the Returning Officer as soon as possible.”

Cunliffe has also pledged to make a donation:

He said he would like to acknowledge his mistake by doing something to help the people of Christchurch.

“I intend to make a $1,000 donation to the Stepping Stone Foundation which provides counselling services to earthquake-affected children.”

Taking immediate action, openly acknowledging the mistake, publicly heeding the warning and offering a donation are al mitigating factors in an embarrassing situation for Cunliffe that substantially diffuse any chance of ongoing criticism.

A certain mayor could take note of how to deal with a transgression.

The tweet said: “If you are resident in Christchurch East don’t forget to vote today – for Labour and Poto Williams.”

At the time he had about 6,400 followers on Twitter.

This was a clear breach of electoral law and instructions issued to parties the day before election day.

There are some interesting technical implications that make it both more and less serious than was claimed.

Cunliffe says he “immediately” deleted the tweet, but once he posted the tweet it could remain on followers Twitter feed for hours, until the closed or refreshed their viewer.

But not all of the 6400 followers would have had their Twitter open early on a Saturday morning, and only a small proportion of of the followers would be Christchurch East voters. Only some will be Labour supporters, I am a Cunliffe follower as are many media and others interested in following politics.

And if Cunliffe has tweeted at a minute before midnight on Friday he wouldn’t have breached the law, and could have left it undeleted and viewable all day Saturday by all of his followers.

But I think the rule is fair enough, having a relatively  electioneering free election day is a good thing, even if it is imperfect. An tweeting and other online communication is similar to print where advertisements published prior to election day can still be viewed on the day.

Something that has been highlighted with this though is the adequacy of dealing with potential Electoral Act transgressions. The police are usually very slow to act if they bother at all. But there is no sign of this being changed.

 

 

Christchurch East by-election

An easy win for Labour’s Poto Williams but on a very low turnout – less than half the votes (13,318) than a low turnout general election in 2011 (28,524).

With 35,072 enrolled voters that’s a turnout of 38%.

[Update: the Electoral Commission has estimated the turnout at 41.4% – there is a lot of uncertainty about how many registered voters there are.]

Turnout for the Mana by-election was 55%, Botany was 36%.

Final election night results (30 booths out of 30)

Candidates        
BAKER, Leighton CNSP   487 3.7%
DOOCEY, Matthew NAT   3,506 26.3%
GASKIN, Ian IND   19 0.1%
HOLLAND, Adam IND   31 0.2%
LAMBERT, Paula ALCP   56 0.4%
LICHTWARK, Jenner NZDSC   20 0.2%
MOORHOUSE, David GP   926 7.0%
PARK, Sam IND   75 0.6%
VEALE, Gareth ACT   56 0.4%
WILLIAMS, Poto LAB   8,119 61.0%
   
Candidate Informals   23  
TOTAL   13,318  
Majority         4,613  

http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electorate-5.html

2011 Electorate result:

Candidates  
BAKER, Leighton CNSP 522 1.8%
BRITNELL, Michael ALCP 254 0.9%
DALZIEL, Lianne LAB 15,559 54.5%
GILMORE, Aaron NAT 10,225 35.8%
MATHERS, Mojo GP 1,347 4.7%
MILLER, Johnny UFNZ 108 0.4%
       
Candidate Informals   509  
TOTAL   28,524  

http://archive.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2011/electorate-5.html

A candidate for Christchurch East or Labour?

There are suggestions thyat Labour’s Christchurch East candidate selection Poto Williams may have been chosen for her potential as a Labour Party MP rather than a Christchurch East MP.

This is risky in an electorate where Lianne Dalziel was supported for her hard work in Christchurch and was not favoured in Labour HQ.

Labour are at risk of becoming further isolated from grass roots politics. Ironically Newstalk ZB reports Party president Moira Coatsworth saying Williams will be good for “grassroots community advocacy”

“She moved to Christchurch to actually get involved at a time when other people were feeling quite tired, so she’s really committed to representing Christchurch East at this time.”

Ms Coatsworth says locals believe Williams will represent them well.

“She’s got a very strong background in community service – she comes from the non-government organisation sector.

“And she’s really passionate about grassroots community advocacy.”

Labour’s grassroots in Christchurch may not agree. Comments from The Standard on, first from Tony:

I think this selection is a big mistake. To select the candidate with the least links to the electorate highlights what a liability Moira Coatsworth has become. She has handed David Cunliffe a hospital pass. National must be favourites to win the seat now. If that happens then Coatsworth will have to go.

Gobsmacked:

Obviously Tony is t-r-olling, and not very subtly, but anyway …

– Moira didn’t select the candidate
– She recently oversaw both the changes to the leadership election system, and then an election under that system, which has produced Labour’s biggest boost in years

Tony:

Moira was one of the votes on the selection panel and she convened the panel that overrode the local choice including the floor vote. If you don’t believe me then ask anyone that was there.

I am the first to acknowledge that Moira has done a great job in overseeing the changes to the leadership election system. So it seems rather peculiar that she has presided over a selection meeting where the demcratic wishes of members were completely overriden today. The locals aint happy. One can only assume Moira either has another agenda or knows sometning the locals didn’t!

Let’s hope Jim Anderton as camapign manager can do something amazing. He will certainly need to. This contest will be a real test of all his campaign experience and local knowledge.

And no I’m not a troll. I’m a signed up member. I wasn’t at the meeting but have talked to several that were.

PGM:

Tony, that’s not what I heard about the meeting at all. People I have spoken to are rapt.

You are undermining the integrity of the selection process. Williams won, fair and square, so it’s your duty as a member to get behind her to beat Gerry’s man.

Williams is an outstanding selection, just have a look at her CV. She’s no chardonnay socialist, shes the real deal.

She is authentically blue collar – to celebrate she and her whanau went to a sports bar in New Brighton to have a drink and watch the league.

She is a talented administrator, manager and leader with great people skills. She is exactly the sort of person who should be an MP and will make an excellent minister of the crown.

Others are applauding the quality of Williams – but this is as a potential Labour Party MP, not as a Christchurch East MP.

The by-election will show if there is a local backlash from Christchurch East voters for Labour HQ installing an apparent Party apparatchik.