National is destined to have five new MPs in safe blue seats after November the 26th, and only one of them is a woman. As mentioned yesterday the tipline has been saying Captain Panic Pants (that’s him looking over John Key’s shoulder) has got his knickers in a proverbial twist over too many blokes, meaning some careful juggling of the National List will need to happen to untwist CPPs knickers.
The candidates for the list who don’t have safe seats are:
Claudette Hauiti: Respected Maori TV producer and highly rated by Hekia Parata, which means she is likely to garner the patronage of media darlings like Simon Power. She is though considered by many in the party to be destined to only ever be a List MP because she is not electable. Claudette was unsuccessful in her attempt to win a seat on the Eden Albert Local Board in 2010, and cynics suggest that sending someone out to fail at local board level is a good way to send a message to them that they are not fit to be a politician. Would be a welcome addition to National’s Rainbow Caucus. Taking one for the team in Mangere. The tipline though rang hot since yesterday asking questions about her former membership of the Labour party, despite her alleged rehabilitation through C&R. She is also known to be close to former Alliance MP and Whaleoil mate Willie Jackson.
Leonie Hapeta: Successful businesswoman in Palmerston North and a contributor to the Manawatu community. Regarded as a very solid operator who could give Iain Lees-Galloway a huge fright in Palmerston North, especially if he continues with his nasty, criminal campaign against her. Good background in tertiary education management which is an area National is weak in. This blog shares John Cleese’s opinion of Palmerston North, a position that may be held by senior people in the National Party and could count against Leonie.
Jonathan Fletcher: Word is he is the most likeable of all the new candidates, which will count for something, though his Y chromosome is going to count against him. Unlike many others in the National caucus he only has a solid rather than stellar career in the private sector behind him.
Paul Foster-Bell: A well credentialed diplomat, and another who is likely to suffer from Captain Panic Pants’ phobia of a bloke fest. Rather too smooth to appeal to the common man but perfectly suited to the liberal elite in Wellington Central. Does provide and enjoy fine Cuban cigars and quality booze though. Top bloke even if he breaks Rule 12.
Sam Collins: A genuine team player who is taking a huge one for the team in a seriously red seat in the socialist republic. Relatively inexperienced, and spent more time in think tanks than in the real world. Would benefit from several years in sales before attempting to run again, though rumoured to be lining up Ilam when the inevitable health issues nail the big guy. No XX chromosome so expected to take a very low list position and will not complain about it either.
Jo Hayes: Wanganui based member of the bro-racracy who is another who has taken one for the team by moving to Dunedin to run for National. Finished third in the Palmerston North selection race behind Leonie Hapeta and Karen Rolleston. Little else is known about her as she has no candidate profile on the National web site.
The pious within National will state National is meritocratic and will rank based on potential as an MP rather than chromosomes but we all know this is not true. Georgina Te Heu Heu is a case in point, ably supported by Katrina Shanks and reinforced by the high list positions of Sam Lotu-Iiga, Hekia Parata, Melissa Lee and Kanwal Bakshi in 2008. Obviously Hekia and Sam are talented on paper but grouping four ethnic candidates together in high list positions demonstrates National is not a strict meritocracy.
Claudette, Leonie and Jo become the front runners, with the unfortunate sacrificial lambs being Jonathan, Paul and Sam. Untwisting CPPs knickers may yet be possible, especially if National give high list positions to women who are not standing in a seat. Tomorrows list ranking post will detail all the rumour, gossip and innuendo surrounding the women who have been asked to stand as List only candidates.