Congratulations to Jonathan Fletcher who won the selection for Rimutaka, and commiserations to Alastair Scott who has a very good reputation but needs to retain campaign professionals if he is to win a nomination. A number of delegates have told the tip line that Jonathan won because he worked the room very well and spoke better than Alastair.
Nominations have closed. Megan Campbell, a former parliamentary staffer and active party office holder in the CNI Region, appears to have the inside running against local girl made good Heather Tanner. Megan has spent some considerable time in the electorate working hard with the locals doing the basics of gaining a nomination well. A detailed post on this race will follow soon. The one uncomfortable fact facing both ladies is there is a high profile party figure rumoured to be in the race. There are a couple of other names in the race but they aren’t likely to set the delegates interest alight.
A tighter than expected race, with long serving National Party salwart and current board member Grant McCullum not dominating as expected. Word from Northland, where there will be a massive number of delegates (1 delegate per 15 members) is that Grant is getting out worked by several other candidates including Mike Sabin and Mark Tan, with others also coming across as more personable and less entitled to the seat vacated by John Carter, one of the most
loved local MPs in New Zealand history.
The party is frantically casting about for high quality candidates with Paul Goldsmith, Ewen McQueen, Maggie Barry and Matt Kemp putting their names forward for a safe blue seat. Word is that none are finding much favour with the party at large. Matt is apparently a tax manager at Fonterra meaning he might be useful at working out how to close loopholes for rural tax dodgers, and he could be a good bet as a long term MP that will last until National is next in government. Unfortunately for Kemp he has annoyed a large faction that supported Steven Joyce ascending the North Shore throne. Ewen McQueen is the former (and last) leader of Christian Heritage, a position he took up after Graham Capill went to jail for fiddling with kids. Paul Goldsmith has all the personal charisma of a parking meter and the charm of a parking warden.
Unfortunately it is hard to imagine Maggie making it through without proper advisors, and while she has a lot to offer, her status as New Zealand’s favourite grandmother means she is unlikely to last until the next National government, meaning a career on the back benches or in opposition.
Failed Palmerston North candidate Karen Rolleston, who is an impressive speaker, well presented and works a room well may be running which would provide another option, and she has the advantage of having run a business in the electorate. Unfortunately her unwise run in Palmerston North means her reputation for making good strategic decisions has been compromised.
Other names may come forward as this is a very safe blue seat but an outsider without a strong campaign team will likely miss out as locals select one of their own.
Royalist, diplomat and protocol expert and man who has a passing resemblance to Bomber Bradbury, Paul Foster-Bell, is the only name currently in the hat for Wellington Central though there is some talk that Alastair Scott might run. Either way, this blog picks future Labour Leader Grant Robertson will buck the projected swing to National and improve his majority as only good things are said about him.
The tipline has been quiet for a few weeks after Peter Goodfellow took the sensible and principled decision to suspend the process and start it again with new delegates so there can be no suggestion of rigging. Murmurings of more skullduggery, malicious rumours and general partisan nastiness have come through in recent days as the process hots up again. iPredict should run stocks on whether or not a defamation case results out of this race such is the vile-ness of the rumours.
Brent Robinson has some strong backing on iPredict though this has tailed off in the last day or so This support has been taken from former regional chair and long time Whaleoil friend Scott Simpson, but there does not appear to be any strong logic behind it. Frankly I can’t believe the cheek of Brent Robinson even staying in the race. This blog still maintains a “anyone but Brent” stance. That stance may change if anymore skullduggery is detected in Rodney.
The race to take a dive to keep Rodney Hide and ACT in the house has not really generated any interest yet although being Auckland and full of self-interested factional party warriors it is likely there is some skullduggery going to come through at some stage. Disappointingly there are no elderly matrons with blue rinses left in Epsom, but even so there are enough members with access to blogs and email to ensure anyone trying anything silly in Epsom is likely to get outed quicker than those in Rodney.
Word is that even if voters are told to hold their nose and vote for Rodney Hide they are likely to ignore it, so there is a reasonable chance that whoever wins the nomination for one of the bluest seats in the country will end up MP for life or until they get caught with their pants down like the former National MP from the area.
There are rumours around that Tim Groser will be foisted upon the electorate, something he neither wants, nor the locals want. Having Epsom erupt in anger after the Rodney electorate selection debacle wouldn’t be helpful PR-wise for the party.
This could get messy unless the party shows some careful management of the process, something that sadly is severely lacking across the Northern Region which has become something of a buggers muddle in recent years.