Maggie Barry nominates for Botany

Maggie Barry, wrinkles and all


At the beginning of this post I want to make one thing absolutely clear. I am not taking sides in this selection process because I believe that the Party members who become delegates can be trusted to make the right decision. For the record I am friends with Jami-Lee Ross and Aaron Bhatnagar, and have only heard positive things about Denise Krum as a person, though not as a party hopper.

To be even handed I am going to continue with my original post on Botany and evaluate Maggie Barry in the same way as I have evaluated the others.

Maggie Barry

Everyone knows Maggie. She is like the friendly grandmother next door who always has some fresh baking to give to the neighbours kids. You can see her track record here. So I wont say much about her background except if a poll was taken she would probably have positive ratings across the country.


  • High profile. Genuine name recognition.
  • Positive public perception. As above. Maggie is a likeable and well liked person, just in the way everyone has a favourite grandmother or great aunt or older neighbour.
  • Should be able to fund her own campaign. A big point in her favour in this blogs eyes after the debacle in Mana where some of the highest earning Maoris in the country insisted on taxing the rest of the party rather than funding their own campaign
  • Rumours of the Prime Ministers support: The PMs word counts for a lot.


  • Age. To achieve much in parliament means getting in before 45 and having a long tenure. Maggie wont be a twenty year veteran with massive achievements in important portfolios.
  • Media Background. No media people have succeeded in Parliament in recent memory. Chris Laidlaw, Dennis Welch, Pam Corkery and Deborah Coddington all had less than stellar careers, perhaps because being on the right end of a microphone means you think people have to listen to you. In parliament no one has to listen to you and you are a backbencher so not much more than a sales person for the party. Even the amazing in his own mind Brian Edwards was less than amazing as a Labour candidate.
  • Lack of political experience. It is hard to imagine Maggie having what the Australians call the low bastardary necessary to succeed in politics.
  • Lack of National Party contacts. As a talk show host Maggie had to be non aligned, and rightly so. The down side is she doesn’t have the contacts other nominees have.
  • Need for Board Approval. The board does not have to approve her nomination, rule 94 I think, as she hasn’t been a member for a year.
  • No campaign experience: Maggie will be knocking on the door of the electorate chair asking for volunteers and campaign advice if selected.<
  • Not Local: Delegates will know Maggie, but will be more interested in if she knows the electorate and the issues that face the electorate. They will need convincing she is not just off to wellington on a power trip and will not forget the people of Botany.
  • Rumours of Prime Ministers Support. If it is not true then Maggie will have to do a lot of explaining like Wira Gardiner did when his candidacy for the National board backed up by media that he was the PMs prefered choice for President. She could be in a very difficult position if someone in the media asks the PM point blank are you supporting Maggies candidacy? Or if someone in the media asks her “is the PM supporting your candidacy over all the other candidates?”
  • Rumours of wide-spread caucus support. In her press release she says as much. Unfortunately, because of her lack of experience as a member of the National Party she mistakenly assumes that cucus and the leader select candidates. They don’t, the members do and it is utterly impossible to rig a selection.
  • The Tamaki Precedent doesn’t come through again. When Rob Muldoon retired Clem Simich was selected over David Kirk. The local party didn’t want a world cup winning All Black captain and Rhodes scholar with no connection to the electorate. And Maggie sure isn’t a David Kirk.

National’s selection process is robust and fair. There will be sixty delegates making the choice, and the best person almost certainly wins. It won’t be on celebrity, it won’t be on anything else other than core National party ethos and values and candidates that make the mistake of thinking that it is all about them seldom collect enough delegates to win through.

I hope I have not appeared to negative towards Maggie because like most New Zealanders I believe she is a good person and has made a big contribution to our country over many decades. I just wonder if she wouldn’t be better to look for a list only place, or talk to JK about being Governor General. Someone of the gravitas that Maggie has does not need to be bruised like Wira Gardiner was, and the party hierarchy need to be aware of this.

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