The Tamaki Debacle

I covered the Tamaki lineup yesterday following the press release from National, and it’s pretty hard to not be underwhelmed by the list of names.

Closer selection of the leadup to the lineup shows some serious deficiencies in party planning.

That a seriously blue seat, considered to be one of the safest parliamentary seats that hauls in the membership and money to the party, should be left with a lineup of largely unknown, insipid and uninspiring people, beggars belief.

First issue – why did the by-election come as a surprise to the party? Everyone knew Allan Peachey was sick, but the refusal of Peter Goodfellow to intervene and demand answers from his sick MP back when it was obvious meant that the local electorate people had their hands tied under party rules. This despite numerous appeals to Goodfellow to something. Eventually, the electorate was fed up with Peachey’s furtive behaviour, demanded answers, and Peachey decided to move on. A decent Party President would have sat down with Peachey 4 or 5 months ago and negotiated a dignified exit, when it was reasonably obvious that Peachey was ill.

Secondly, did the Party President and local electorate make their move on Peachey without knowing if some quality contenders would come forward to replace him in a new selection?

Think about it – a competent party president would have had a Rolodex full of business cards of potential candidates around the region, and would have asked the local chairman if he had the names of some good people who would come forward – especially for a seat like Tamaki. Instead, top contenders ran a mile citing existing political interests or conflicts with work.

That there isn’t a quality known name in the race for a great seat is an indictment, mostly on Goodfellow and senior party people (unaffectionately known as “The Buggers Muddle”) in Auckland. That this has happened, when the electorate should be concentrating on an election instead of a massively rushed selection, deserves to have answers asked of the National Board.

The person I feel sorry for the most is the Electorate Chair who has to mange this whole shemozzle through. So far he is doing a good job and maintaining the rules and fairness with aplomb despite the ineffectual assistance of Peter Goodfellow.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.