Jan 6, 2008

Have Helen And Winston Done A Dirty Deal Over Tauranga?

One of the developments we missed here at The Hive in the run up to Christmas was the confirmation by Labour that Anne Pankhurst has been selected as its candidate to run for Tauranga. The decision seems to have been made around 17 or 18 December.

Pankhurst is a defeated council candidate in the October local body elections. She was an incumbent Councillor we believe, so the loss is more notable.

We had heard in November that Pankhurst was going to be the candidate - apparently this was arranged personally by Helen and the 9th floor team. There were no other candidates putting their names forward for selection. But we also heard that Pankhurst was getting the wobbles and that she might be putting out feelers to National to see whether they might be interested in her, should Clarkson decide not to stand. Clearly National were not interested.

The significance of this decision is that there is a lot of baggage associated with this candidate. One example appeared straight after her nomination. She appears to have made some false claims in the CV used when running for Council. See the attached from the Bay of Plenty Times. She does not have a hope of winning this seat.

Labour clearly doesn't feel comfortable with not running a candidate in Tauranga, but clearly doesn't want to be seen to be competing too seriously with Winston in this seat. People might recall that pretty serious candidates have been run in the past by Labour against him. Why not this time? Because with the loss of any prospect of support from Maori, and with the Greens in real trouble, Labour needs Winston and a few NZ First people back into the next Parliament to give them any hope of holding onto power.

But there is a risk here, for both Winston and Labour. We wrote this analysis a month ago. It still holds true:

Facing the prospect of political oblivion, and with no savings to speak of, NZ First Leader, Foreign Minister, and Government lapdog Winston Peters is reported to have decided to run again for his old seat of Tauranga. Winston lost this seat to National's Bob Clarkson at the last election. Things will be difficult this time around too Winston, particularly if Labour tries to make it easy for you by not standing, or by standing a plonker. This will make it clear to all that a vote for Winston or NZ First is in fact a vote for Labour. Moreover, with most of your original constituency pushing up daisies, or thoroughly pissed off that you misled them over the Super Gold Card, what are you going to run on?