Labour’s troubles

 This letter to the Editor from John Burke of Mana has appeared in the Dominion Post this morning. John Burke is the Former Mayor of Porirua City who now lives in Mana Esplanade, Porirua. John is or was a staunch Labourite.

Labour has serious constitutional issues, in particular surrounding candidate selections. We have seen time and again in the past 6 years popular local candidates spurned in favour of the head office anointed name.

It is with some credit that one of the beneficiaries of that head office rigging of selections can see that it is actually destroying the aprty from within. David Shearer indicated that this should be to the fore-front of any changes that Labour makes. Shearer of course was parachuted in over the top of Phil Twyford in Mt Albert.

The Mana by-election too saw the popular local, Josie Pagani, over-ruled by a johnny come lately carpet bagger in the form of Goffice press secretary Kris Fa’afoi.

Labour’s candidate selection process is one of the least democratic of all the parties. Control rests with Head Office and the locals basically get only one vote from the floor. The union affiliates can also be bussed in to overwhelm the locals and often are. This what happened in Manurewa with the selection of Louisa Wall who gained the approval of Darien Fenton’s SFWU.

In general too there needs to be reform around membership of and donation to political parties. It is time to move to restrict membership of political parties to natural persons only and likewise restrict donations to only allow them from natural persons. Remove the ability of a party to claim mass membership by virtue of affiliates. Membership should be direct membership on a voluntary basis not forced membership through affiliate status.

There is much to done in all parties but Labour has to do the most. To do nothing invites the demise of the party.


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