Karen Rolleston

Northland Selection Update

At Sunday’s Northland meet the candidates meeting caucus favourite and National board member Grant McCallum looked to be struggling against some strong competition.

Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston had very good selection speeches, and came across as more competent than the other three.

The other three were passable but not as polished as Mark and Karen.

Sources in caucus are saying that there is some heavy lifting being done behind the scenes to improve Grant McCallum’s performance. Caucus are desperate to have McCallum in as their designated drinker for coalition negotiations with Winston post 2017, as David ‘Cancer’ Bennett is not thought to be up to it.  Read more »

Northland selection update

Everything is sounding good from the National selection in Northland.

My spies tell me that skullduggery is being nipped in the bud and observant and proper management of the process is underway. Some people who failed to maintain their membership have found out that the new regional chair plays strictly by the rules and they are being quoted liberally, along with the words “tough luck pal”. Some people have managed to get board exemptions and that is permissible within the rules, but from the sounds of it those are few and far between.

The rules are being enforced strictly…which is very pleasing to hear.

There is one little issue that has been drawn to my attention that needs some clarification.

It seems one branch is, shall we say, top-heavy with membership. It could be suggested that the branch has been stacked and when you look at the recent members it certainly appears a little untoward.

Suffice to say this has been looked at closely and even though some members are children they are all over the age of 12 which is well within the rules and constitution.

I seem to remember being 15 or so when participating in my first selection as a delegate in the old Eden electorate.

Anyway it appears that the Regional officers are aware of the issue and have checked the rules.

Of course using such tactics may provide some blow back for the candidate concerned, people really don’t like this sort of edginess in the National party.   Read more »

National’s Northland Nominees

The National Party has released the names of the five nominees who have made it through preselection.

The nominees are Mita Harris, Matt King, Grant McCallum, Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston.

It is an open secret that the National caucus and board all want Grant McCallum to become the candidate. Grant is known to be a fantastic bloke to go out on the lash with, known for his ability to consume alcohol and chase women discretely and not rat them out to the media or their missus.

He is one of the most popular guys at National conferences as he is a real talent when it comes to extra curricular activities.   Read more »

Potential Tamaki candidates

Names are now starting to pop up for the rushed Tamaki selection. Names mentioned to the Whale, or mentioned in the media include:

Denise Krum – A more recently established National Party identity, Krum is struggling to make headway with some delegates, who see her as “nice, but not up to it”. Krum is 69 on National’s list, and on current polling stands a good chance of becoming a list Member of Parliament, certainly if there are some mid-term retirements anyway.

Karen Rolleston – An established National party identity, though not a resident of Tamaki, or anywhere near it, Rolleston has some X-Factor that makes her a worthy consideration for delegates. She presents well in person, though narrowly lost in Palmerston North which was not bad for a Jafa.

Alfred Ngaro – Ngaro was catapulted into the National list as one of the fresh new “diversity” faces, and will certainly be in Parliament. He was a good (but not great) candidate in the 2010 council elections, standing as a C&R candidate but losing the winnable Maungakiekie ward contest to Richard Northey. A Cook Islands Maori, Ngaro is educated, affable and presents well. Big things are expected of Ngaro, more than just a token cabinet ministry role.

Suzy Clarkson – ex Prime TV news presenter, and star of fitness videos back in the 1990s. Now reportedly working for Coca Cola as their public affairs director. Her National Party background is unknown. In this morning’s Herald, Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett is reportedly backing her, though this is not necessarily a useful thing.

D. Mark Harrison – A social media entrepeneur and Hobbit helper (he organised the marches for the Hobbit movie last year), Harrison is regularly found in the company of lingerie models and bikini pageant contestants. Fancies himself as a bit of a playboy. He would make Alasdair Thompson seem like a reasonable progressive if chosen. However, he presents well and his Kings College persona can be turned on at whim, making him a possible outside runner. His National Party background is unknown.

Aaron Bhatnagar – a friend of the Whale and established National Party identity. Missed out in Botany and Epsom. Needs more polish and some weight loss if he is to stand in another selection, but capable of being a strong MP if selected. Has been quoted as saying he is undecided about standing, and has already been the victim of an smear by the usual dark forces that congregate around Auckland National Party selections.

UPDATE: Aaron has confirmed with me today that he will NOT be seeking selection in Tamaki.

Mark Thomas – An established National Party identity and former candidate. Has a number of weaknesses that would cause National risk, including the fact he would cause a by-election if selected (he’s currently the spokesman for invisibility on the Orakei local board), comes across as effeminate, and is in a de facto relationship with his partner (Tamaki would be hostile to anything other than married). A public relations practitioner, famously once the paid PR stooge of Mark Hotchin, New Zealand’s second most hated man after Clayton Weatherston. He can’t have been that good allowing his client to be so branded. This also makes him a prime target for Labour, and would be viewed suspiciously by the St Heliers villagers who lost money in Hanover. His missus is said to be far more capable as a potential candidate.

Cameron Brewer – the rock star in the room. Is playing a media tease at the moment about his interest in Tamaki, but is the best known of the likely nominees, has a good National Party pedigree and is a monstrously effective media talent. Brewer would also cause a by-election if selected, which would no doubt have the blessing of Len Brown. Brewer is well advised by his old teammates in the National Party research unit in the Shipley years. May be seen as weak on policy by some delegates, but would probably be forgiven this as he would be incredibly effective in opposition when the Key government eventually does go out. Conceivably the only person in this lineup who could make cabinet prior to the 2014 elections, and if the whispers are correct, would.

David Williams – the ex headmaster of Saint Kentigern College around ten years ago has recently moved back to New Zealand after leading a school in Australia. His National Party background is unknown, though is well connected into the church community. Would probably have the support of the Peachey faction, who would like his strong education credentials and his socially conservative views (he is also a Presbyterian Minister). He would be expected to present very well.

Tamaki Contenders

The tipline has been running exceptionally hot over the last week, firstly with vested interest trying to get this blog to stick the knife into Allan Peachey. Now it is the same vested interests wanting to get their candidates promoted.

As with all selections I will take a neutral stance and not endorse any candidate. I did however recommend voting against Brent Robinson in Rodney but that was because of his skullduggery.

Cameron Brewer: The Mayor of Newmarket. Long time Whaleoil friend and effective campaigner who won a seat on the Supercity council. A good prospect and a man who is well suited to retail politics. May not be able to justify leaving council but is probably more likely to succeed in central government than local government.

Denise Krum: Former United Future chairmwoman and daughter of former National MP Graeme Lee. Did not make it through the preselection for Botany and was unsuccessful in Epsom. Probably does not present well enough to win a hotly contested selection in one of the bluest seats in the country

Aaron Bhatnagar:  Another long time Whaleoil friend and former Auckland City Councillor. Unfortunately for Aaron he has lost selections in Botany where he was an outsider and Epsom where he was favourite, and despite years of loyal service to National and C&R he may not make it in Tamaki. Already the victim of a nasty smear that Scoop has thoughtfully corrected.

Mark Thomas:  The man shafted by Jim Bolger in 1996 when he was National’s candidate in Wellington Central. Currently on the Orakei Local Board where the chair is the current paramour of Party President Peter Goodfellow. A man who has done a fantastic job running Sam Lotu-Iiga’s campaigns in Maungakiekie and has a reputation as a loyal party servant.

Karen Rolleston:  Highly regarded woman from Helensville who was narrowly unsuccessful in Palmerston North and beaten by the skullduggery in Rodney before the second selection process had began. In a party lacking women MPs of merit Karen is a strong possibility although will struggle with the parochial nature of Tamaki electorate.

The only candidate that has already declared is Denise Krum. The others may or may not run. Good luck to all who are brave enough to run for public office, and hopefully this will be a fair contest.

Finally, all National Party members should remember Allan Peachey has been forced out by ill health and he deserves our sympathy, as well as our thanks as well as our attention. Too often the National Party thinks “The King is Dead, Long Live the King” and deserts those who have served when they need compassion.

Rodney Selection Winners and Losers

Mark Mitchell won the acrimonious selection in Rodney last night, and it was a privilege to have been in the room during the process.

Winners

Mark Mitchell: Mark’s reputation is such it would have been an absolute travesty not to have had him selected. Reputation alone is not enough, and delegates in Rodney have told me what a fantastic guy he is, very good with people, and very genuine. It is hard to remember the last time a National candidate met delegates by helping them bail hay and then had a few beers afterwards, but this kind of touch builds loyalty, loyalty that helped Mark win on the first ballot.

Peter Goodfellow: Peter was ultimately responsible for the selection process and deserve credit for taking bold decisions to stop a deeply flawed process. Good work Peter, you have done the right thing.

Losers (0r as Phil Goff would say Not Winners)

Brent Robinson: Brent was outed as a branch stacking, immoral fundamentalist, and his preachy style on selection night really grated. He should never have tried to rig the selection as he probably would have won if he had not tried to rig the process.

Cehill Pienaar: As branch chair this man tried to ensure the fundy take over of the electorate by colluding with Brent over membership and events. His horrible political past has been exposed, and his backing the losing candidate now makes it inevitable he will be told to resign if he does not resign himself.

Karen Rolleston: For someone I keep hearing such good things about she needs to stop making dumb decisions, engage proper professional advise and start listening. She was told by respect senior party people she would lose Palmerston North. She did. She was told she would lose Rodney. She did. She was told she could well win North Shore, and she ignored this, meaning Maggie Barry is now the presumptive candidate in a field of pygmies.

Amateurs: Some boneheads in the Auckland region hierarchy have been putting about that candidates should not pay for advice or pay for strategy. They are as prissy and as puritanical as the old amateur era rugby people and need to stop this silliness. Laughably the main proponents of this argument are people who earn a living by charging for their services themselves.

If you want to be a National candidate there is a very small group of talented, experienced professionals who will greatly enhance your chances of winning. Yes they will cost, but who else won’t you pay – your lawyer, your accountant, your printer, your speech coach, the petrol station for the gas to get to delegate meetings? Professional advice costs money all over town, why not in politics?

What I can’t understand is why paying for someone who gives you the best chance of a long career in politics is wrong or unethical or whatever else the buggers muddle in Auckland seem to think is reason for not engaging professionals. Aspiring candidates should call the tip line if they want introductions to competent political advisors.

Blog readers are well aware of my views on people who behave unethically, and the best way to out them is to publish information. I realise pride is a sin, but I’m feeling just a little bit proud that I have contributed so meaningfully to the selection of a really good candidate and future National MP. I am also proud that National know that they cannot cover up skullduggery in the party. The tipline callers are many and varied and the truth will out.

Rodney Skulduggery Update

I have refrained from commenting on the Rodney selection in the last few weeks as the tipline has been quiet. The simple explanation for this is that the revised process has been a lot fairer than the process was before it was suspended, and this is a credit to Party President Peter Goodfellow who had the guts to stop an hopelessly flawed process.

Selection for Rodney is tonight, and so I want to run a quick recap on why the process was suspended and started again.

  1. Brent Robinson tried to win the process through unscrupulous means.
  2. He stacked his branch with members from his fundamentalist church, increasing his branch membership by around 600%. This completely blindsided the sitting MP and the other three branches, and forced an audit of membership.
  3. Brent then tried to intimidate candidates out of the race. One requested a meeting with the electorate chair and was ambushed by Cehill Pienaar, Brent Robinson and ten others and basically told Brent had the nomination won. Many quality candidates were likewise ambushed and scared off.
  4. At a meeting of delegates for nominees, Brent colluded with the electorate chair to stitch up his opponents by suggesting a speech to those in the room. He was prepared for this, and his opponents were not. New Zealand’s favourite grandmother, Maggie Barry, was intimidated out of the race by this and is now seeking the nomination in North Shore.

The wise words of Solomon provide some insights for the good delegates of Rodney:

Proverbs 28:2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

As of late I have gained a great deal of understanding from Solomon’s wise words in the book of proverbs. There are many great verses that budding politicans would do well to read and understand the wisdom of Solomon. The behaviour exhibited in Rodney amongst some and in particular Brent Robinson was not the makings for a long term National MP. It smacks of hypocrisy, and as a Christian I find Brent’s behaviour absolutely appalling. Again Solomon provides appropriate words:

Proverbs 28:10 Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.

Delegates should choose their new MP carefully, and choose him or her from the other four candidates all who have not tried to rig selection. I wish Karen Rolleston, John Kirikiri, Chris Penk and Mark Mitchell well tonight.

Rodney Skulduggery Update

The National Party has released the names of the five candidates who have made it through preselection.

The five are (in alphabetical order):

John Kirikiri
Mark Mitchell
Chris Penk
Brent Robinson
Karen Rolleston

Long time friend of Whaleoil, Scott Simpson, has decided to leave the race where he was considered the front-runner, abandoning his supporters to run in Coromandel. As this post hits the internet he will be speaking in Te Aroha trying to convince the good folk of Coromandel that he really loved them all along.

As followers of this blog know there is a clear policy, no candidate  for selection is endorsed, and delegates are expected to be wise enough to chose the right person for their electorate without any outside interference.

What this blog does is hold people to account for unethical behaviour, and for this reason Brent Robinson is clearly not fit to be an MP. His shabby dealings on three occasions caused this selection to be abandoned, and he must be the most shameless man in the country to have continued to pursue the nomination.

To recap:

  1. Brent Robinson signed up about 200 members to his branch, mainly from his fundamentalist church at $5 per head. This was a total shock to the electorate when it came up at the AGM.  The aim was to stack the selection to get Brent the seat, with Brent’s selection being the bridgehead for a fundamentalist faction to form in the National Party caucus.
  2. A prospective candidate asked to meet the chair of the electorate to discuss running, and was ambushed by Brent, the electorate chair and about 10 others. They made an unethical play to clear the field for Brent Robinson.
  3. The Electorate arranged a nomination signing session with delegates. When the candidates arrived Brent ambushed them with an unscheduled speech, which for Brent was prepared but for the others was impromptu. One of the prospective candidates at that time was Maggie Barry, who was doing due diligence on a number of seats and withdrew because of Brent’s behaviour.

These are real examples of why Brent Robinson is not fit to be an MP, not even for New Zealand First, let alone a proper party with sound ethical foundations like National. If you have to cheat to win a selection then frankly you don’t deserve to be a MP.

Delegates should consider carefully each of the other four candidates. They all come with good reputations and do not deserve to be beaten in a rigged selection race.

For a full recap of the Rodney Selection Skulduggery go to these links via the Rodney tag

National Party Selections Roundup

Rimutaka

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.

Coromandel

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.

Northland

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.

North Shore

Maggie Barry is NZ's favourite grandmaThe 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.

Wellington Central

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.

Rodney

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.

Epsom

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.

Palmerston North selection update

The selection for the new National party candidate for Palmerston North was held today.

Unlike all the dodgy shenanigans by locals and regional power brokers in Rodney the selection was a fairly straight forward affair.

Ultimately being local counted and Leonie Hapeta narrowly edged out Karen Rolleston for the nomination. Leonie will make a great candiate and short of breaking her ankle like she did in the local body elections will be out door knocing and securing the last provincial seat that Labour currently holds for National.

Leonie is a battler and can beat Iain Lees-Galloway.

Karen Rolleston is a very capable candidate too, and had she not been bullied out of Rodney by Brent Robinson and Cehill Pienaar may well have had a good crack at that seat. With some good sound advice and some fine tuning by a competent strategist she could well make a good showing soon in a selection closer to her home base of the North Shore. Karen can contect me for some suggestions.

All the best to Leonie Hapeta though, take the fight to Labour and tip out their lack-lustre candidate in November.