Selection

National party selections: Delegate Selection v Universal Suffrage

The National Party constitution allows for electorates to decide whether they have all the members in an electorate eligible for selection, or choose delegates to select their candidate.

Delegate selection rules mean that there is one delegate for every ten members, so senior party people who have been involved for years get the role of delegates. Delegates are less likely to be wowed by some flash harry who turns up from out of town, smoozes everyone, delivers a good speech and then gets on a plane to Wellington as quick as possible.

Universal suffrage means far more people involved in selection, and this means candidates can not get to talk to every voter. In a delegate selection every candidate is expected to visit delegates and have a good long chat to them, so the delegates make an informed choice rather than being wowed on the night by a fast talking carpet bagger.   Read more »

National Selection FAQs

Do women have a better chance of being selected before or after having kids?

If you are the best candidate it is possible, but it is hard because the delegates will be older and think you should have kids first. This is not helped by board members and regional chairs saying the same thing, but this blog will vigorously out anyone that makes such statements to give women without kids an even chance.

What initiatives does National Party have in place to mentor/support women looking to stand for selection?

Nothing particularly useful. As usual National talk a good game but don’t deliver. You are better finding good people who know how to win selections and prepare you for a tough battle than rely on the party to do anything useful. The party is next to useless at preparing candidates because they fail to talk about what really matters when it comes to selection.  Read more »

Candidate’s College Questions

The organisers of the the Candidates College will try to convince aspiring candidates that their life will not be fulfilled unless they take one for the team and run for National in a red seat.

The political reality is different. National will not win seats from Labour in 2014. It will lose them. There will be fewer list MPs, and not many new ones as all the old ones consider the world will not function without them having a secure place on the National list.So you will not go to parliament unless you are selected in a safe National seat.

Questions candidates should ask are:  Read more »

National’s Candidates College

National is holding its candidates college in Parliament this week. There may be legal issues about training candidates in parliament, but National will have been too stupid to contemplate what would happen if a complaint was made about improper use of parliamentary resources.

National never tells candidates the truth about running for office so in the lead up to the candidates college I will provide questions to ask the board and advice to aspiring candidates.

The most important advice is expect National to shaft you.  Read more »

What’s going on in Ohariu?

Word is filtering through the tip line of some dodgy maneuverings in Ohariu in the lead up to the anticipated selection battle. There are three potential challengers that are known to be thinking about taking on the sitting MP, though Katrina may be able to hang on. None of these people have done anything dodgy yet, and it would be misleading to suggest they have.

Where Katrina’s real threat comes from is not from the three candidates but from a very senior staffer thinking he is going to be anointed the next MP for Ohariu. I have a strong,long-held view that political staffers do not make good MPs, as half the Labour caucus has shown, and believes the members in Ohariu will not be strong armed into supporting a staffer because the party tells them to.

National’s constitution is very sound on selection. As long as there are enough members the board or regional chair cannot anoint a candidate. The candidates all have to go through a thorough selection process where the sixty or more people in the room vote for the best candidate. The more members the more delegates and the less chance of delegate stacking. Aspiring candidates should be out there signing up members but bearing in mind that scurrilous tactics like signing members from graveyards like in Rotorua a number of years ago will certainly be outed.

My only qualm about Ohariu is the lack of ethics displayed in the Palmerston North selection by the regional chair. Regional chairs are ethically bound to remain neutral, not attempt to stack selections with their relatives so their favored candidate wins.

As always I will take a neutral stance on selection and weigh up the pros and cons of all candidates, and wish them all the best. That is unless there is skulduggery going on and skulduggery will be outed. Still selection is a long way off, but it is clear that I need to keep a close eye on Ohariu.

Questions Candidate College Attendees should Ask

Tomorrow National’s new and “improved” Candidates College meets from 8:30am to 12:30pm in Auckland prior to the conference at SkyCity. Those that haven’t been put off by the “inquisition” and passed tests more stringent than aspiring board members have to pass will be in attendance.

The organisers of the the Candidates College will try to convince aspiring candidates that their life will not be fulfilled unless they take one for the team and run for National in a red seat.

The political reality is different. National will not win seats from Labour in 2014. It will lose them. There will be fewer list MPs, and not many new ones as all the old ones consider the world will not function without them having a secure place on the National list.So you will not go to parliament unless you are selected in a safe National seat.

Questions candidates should ask are:

  1. What will National do for me if I run in a red seat?
  2. Will running in a red seat improve my chances of a better list position next time?
  3. Will running in a red seat improve my chances of selection in a blue seat next time?
  4. What will it cost me to run in a red seat with no chance of getting into parliament?
  5. Will the board and senior party officials remain impartial through selection process?
  6. What will I be taxed by the “Victory Fund” for running for National?
  7. Will I have any say over policy if I run for National or will I be screamed at if I try to influence policy?

National has a institutional culture of using and abusing people and forgetting those who help them. Anyone considering running for National in a red seat in 2014 should be aware that it will cost them a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of heart ache. As soon as the election is over National will forget those who took one for the team, and will do absolutely nothing to support their careers or help them get into parliament in the future.

Worse they will have a post-election review and trot out an 8 page report after months of indifferent consultation and slap themselves all on the back for a job well done. Then re-constitute the Candidates College and repeat all the same mistakes.

National Selection FAQ, Ctd

What are your chances of selection in a seat where you challenge a sitting MP?

Historically pretty good. John Key and Judith Collins won. Other challenges have resulted in MPs cutting and running. There are some common factors in winning a challenge, including an average MP, a weak electorate and a strong candidate. Any MP without a strong electorate is vulnerable as if they do not have 450 members the regional chair appoints top up delegates. Read Rule 105 for a detailed explanation, but simply put there is 1 delegate per 15 members, and the rest are top ups so a regional chair could shaft a sitting MP.

National Selection FAQ, Ctd

Better chance of being selected as a woman before or after you have kids in the National Party?

If you are the best candidate it is possible, but it is hard because the delegates will be older and think you should have kids first. This is not helped by board members and regional chairs saying the same thing, but this blog will vigorously out anyone that makes such statements to give women without kids an even chance.

When will National take Training Activists Serious?

I’ve told the truth about how inept National is at training candidates, and how useless their candidate college is. This is supported by the stupidity in not training
campaign teams in electorates properly, or at all.

Last cycle National were useless at selecting candidates, with the myopic president saying “we are too busy governing” to select candidates in 2010 like Labour did.
Unfortunately for the president the party has no role in governing, so this excuse is either a lie, or the statement of an exceptionally stupid man.

So National offered their standard day long training in Wellington for campaign teams in early February, before many of the candidates had been selected. Despite knowing the election would be in late 2011 National didn’t have candidates selected, so many campaign teams missed out on the training session. Not that the training session offered much by all accounts anyway, it was more just a series of peacocks preening in front of a captive audience.

With such a large caucus National should delegate some of the better campaigners to help build the grass roots campaign of the party. The man I would like to see lead this is my oldest friend in caucus, good fiscal conservative and MP for Coromandel, Scott Simpson.

Scott has been around campaigns for as long as I can remember, including the by-election in East Coast Bays where Muldoon stitched up Brash. He taught me much of what I know about the negative side of campaigning, and isn’t afraid of breaking a few laws to even things up when Labour are breaking laws, unlike the squeamish beltway faux warriors in National. The Eden campaign of 1987 was a study in practical campaigning, where I learned a huge amount about the law of
the jungle from the current MP for Coromandel.

Lets see Scott take responsibility for training an entire generation of National activists.

National Selection FAQ, Ctd

What  is the maximum age you need to stand if you want to become a Cabinet Minister ?

Depends, people like Grosser or Finlayson or Parata are of relatively advanced years but got into Cabinet quickly. This is not typical, and it is more likely you will have to serve time before you get into cabinet. Older candidates do not make it, and age is an issue, so I recommend getting into parliament before you are 45 if you want a cabinet position.

At 45 you have plenty of time to last several cycles, meaning you can afford doing time in opposition.