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Shhhhh….Labour’s candidates selected

By   /  December 21, 2013  /  19 Comments

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On September 13 David Cunliffe said on twitter that “the campaign for 2014 starts now”.

Great. It needed to, and I know that around the country Labour Electorate Committees, inspired by the new leader, are working hard to reach to campaign fitness for next year.

But even so I was a little surprised to hear that over the past few weeks Labour has selected a number of candidates.

Not surprised that the candidates have been selected, early selections are fine, but surprised that I’d heard virtually nothing about them in any media that I pay attention to or in any communication from the Party.

I knew that Kieran McAnulty was standing in the Wairarapa last Sunday but I had to ring him up to find out how he did.

I’ve been online to discover what else has been happening and I’m happy to let the rest of NZ know the results, to the best of my knowledge, and where I found them:

Otaki (contested) – Robb McCann – Party press release on Scoop

Rangitikei (contested) – Dr Deborah Russell – Party press release on Kiwiblog

Whanganui (uncontested) – Hamish McDouall – Hamish posted on Facebook & Wanganui Chronicle

Wairarapa (contested) – Kieran McNulty – Kieran told the Wairarapa Times Age

Clutha Southland (uncontested) – Elizabeth Craig – Home Paddock

Waitaki (uncontested) – Glenda Alexander – Stuff via Southland Times

Te Tai Hauauru (uncontested) – Adrian Rurawhe – Wanganui Chronicle

While searching I came across a blog called The Progress Report written by Patrick Leyland, a former Labour staffer; well known, well liked and well linked in and now in Australia:

“While recently I’ve been more interested in what’s been happening with Labor’s preselections for next year’s Victorian state election, the New Zealand Labour Party has also quietly started getting together its candidates for next year’s New Zealand general election.” (Italics mine)

Quietly getting its candidates together?  Why oh why would Labour do this quietly? Surely getting the candidates name out there, early and as often as humanly possible, plays a pretty important part of getting elected.

And just in case you’re wondering if I missed the bleeding obvious, there’s no mention of any candidate selections on Labour’s website and, it almost goes without saying, Labour’s Facebook page is hopeless.

I don’t know if Labour’s official site is paid for by Parliamentary Services, the Party or a combination of the two.  If it’s the former then, if my knowledge of electoral finance law is correct, party campaigns are a no go. If it’s the latter then why not have a space on the website for Party business? Oh wait, I just looked again, and they do, it took me four clicks to find it and it’s under Contact the Party/Resources but its policy papers, membership forms, the constitution etc.

I may be wrong but it seems to me that Labour won’t have a place online where people can find out about candidates and campaigning until it changes its existing website or launches a campaign website.

Please let it be soon.

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  1. Cathie says:

    Kaikoura’s candidate was front page of the Marlborough Express.

  2. stargazer says:

    Also Rachel Jone selected for Tauranga, covered in the Bay of Plenty Times.

  3. Jenny Michie says:

    Excellent for both those candidates. My point is that there is no where I could go to find out all the selections that have been made so far, and I think that’s remiss.

  4. […] this month I posted about Labour’s upcoming selections, as Jenny Michie on the Daily Blog has pointed out, Labour has been particularly silent about them. Despite selecting some great […]

  5. Hi Jenny, I totally agree. In addition to letting the public know who Labour wants them to vote for, letting your membership know about what is happening with selections is also a very basic way of keeping your members engaged. Ignoring basic comms like this seems to be a direct contradiction to the recommendations of the organisational review. I’ve written another blog post in response, which you can read here.

  6. Hi Jenny, I totally agree with you in that surely early selection should mean an early opportunity for the selected candidates to be out there garnering as much attention to their own names and to the Party’s intentions in the respective seats.

    Also, it is very very important for a central point, the Party’s website, to be a hub of all this information. Without a single point of reference it becomes ad hoc as your post displays.

    At least though the NZLP site carries all up to date press statements coming out of the caucus. During the ALP’s recent federal campaign it was impossible from this side of the ditch to get ya hands on media released information. Sadly, the ALP site still has not realised it needs to carry these statements as a raw record of what it stands for and what it does not.

  7. Marc says:

    Jenny – we live in “Niu Zilliland” (aka New Zealand), where the media are dominated by the so-called “mainstream media”, who again are largely privately owned, and corporate businesses. They have a prime motive, and that is to run successful business, that lives off advertising, and the advertisers also are largely other private businesses, who want to earn money, and make profits, by selling products and services.

    So all these “jolly good fellows” working for the media, and being hired by the media bosses, to work as reporters, journalists, moderators or “media personalities”, they are hired with the intention and for the purpose, of being utilised to “sell” stuff, be this exciting, blood and guts stories, scandals galore, or celebrity news, fed also by paparrazi, and by much, much “lifestyle” and “infotainment” kind of stuff. At the same time they are expected to blend in with products and services that “excite” young and old, that are meant to be sold and bought, and marketed of course.

    The remnants of “public media” (there is an outfit called “TVNZ”, believe it or not), they follow the same trends and philosophies, for broadcasting and online services that is. The print media is almost exclusively privately run for profits, and radio is even more commercially focused than television.

    Such former media outlets like Stratos and Triangle were apparently not fitting the agenda, so they have been ushered out of the game, more or less, same as others here and there.

    Everything is designed to make money, one way or another, ideally also good profits and gains. The party and support parties that “best” ensure this goal is reached, are presently in government, they will of course want to have this environment, that there is private initiative, “competition” on commercial terms, and selling and buying, to “stimulate” the “economy”.

    The players in the media that are left, they seem to be happy with that kind of government. Many working for them are happy too, they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them, so they report on what they see “fit”.

    So why do you wonder that there has been little reporting about Labour and on any newly selected candidates? Maybe they have not “marketed” themselves enough, to fit the profile the present “media market” expects?

    Surely, you cannot expect the mainstream media we have to “dare” support politicians that may change the game, and perhaps bring in public media competition, or restrictions, or “fair reporting” and even “informing” the public on stuff that may matter. No, we cannot have that.

    Perhaps reflect in quiet, is it worth to rock the boat, and bite the hand that feeds us, the advertisers and commercial enterprises running the show? Now changing that, that may be a real challenge, I think.

    I look forward to Labour committing to restoring robust, strong and good quality public broadcasting, combined with complementing on-line services, that may just make the little difference in future, may it not?

    • fambo says:

      The Wairarapa Times Age has given Keiren McAultry plenty of exposure for over a year now including the front page on his successful nomination and I think he has columns in that as well as the Wairarapa news. So i think provincial papers tend to be more idiosyncratic in the space they give to political parties.

    • Red says:

      If you’re alluding to the MS Media being right slanted, maybe you need to read more of it. I’m slightly confused, by your angle that privately owned Media is lacking in their social obligations to…. something or other – ? But then assert those outlets are dictated to by the Govt?? You’re right in some respects… they are commercial operations & businesses contribution to the world we live in… is “being a business” so far as I can see…. employing, producing, selling and making a $. Why we’d expect more, I can’t fathom.
      Our media has worked on this model for years – but only lately are we reaping the new crop of Journo’s who’ve been taught that their consumers are so stupid, they need to be told what to think, rather than forming their own opinions. Pretty sad state of affairs, for sure.

      • Marc says:

        RED –

        “You’re right in some respects… they are commercial operations & businesses contribution to the world we live in… is “being a business” so far as I can see…. employing, producing, selling and making a $. Why we’d expect more, I can’t fathom.”

        My point is that we need firmly established, well supported, and advert free public broadcasting and community focused media, at least as a kind of “balance” to the crap the MSM present.

        A society that is based solely on buying and selling, on gains and profits, and that is thus commoditising every aspect of life, will inevitably lead to “corruption”, and that is what we increasingly have. Social divisions increase, while fair play, informed decision making, true free consent and so are being compromised or even denied.

        People tend to only do things for money or gain now, not for any other purpose. Those that do not meet expectations, that cannot cope with competition, they are left behind and crapped on. That is not the world I want. The MSM play an important part in all that goes on as I described it.

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s like you have to be an investigative journalist to find anything out about Labour at times.

  9. Actually, Otaki’s Labour selection meeting was well-advertised and reported on our Labour Otaki website, on our Labour Otaki FB page (https://www.facebook.com/labour.otaki) and in local Kapiti & Horowhenua newspapers.

    The Dominion Post was also sent our press releases (as published on our website) but we have no control over what gets published.

    Both our Labour Otaki website and Kapiti Independent News carried pre-selection profiles of all our nominees. The profile of our successful candidate remains on our website. What’s more, Rob now has his candidate FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rob-McCann/195094183869278

    • The links don’t seem to work.

      Labour Otaki website: http://www.otaki-labour.org.nz

      Kapiti Independent News: http://www.kcnews.co.nz

      • Jenny Michie says:

        Hi, I have no doubt whatsoever that Otaki’s candidate selection received good local media coverage. I know you lot and you’re well organised! I wouldn’t have expected less. But, again, my point is there is no central place where this information is stored on line and there’s been no communication from the Party to all its members letting us know that a) the selections were coming up and b) the results.

    • Marc says:

      All these individual websites, and especially Facebook pages that people and organisations keep and entertain, they may be ok for those that are part of their friends and support “network”. But many are misled to believe the wider public spends hours browsing the web, to try and find various sites and forums, that provide bits of information.

      I am trying to get it into some people’s heads, that it has always been important, still is, and will remain to be so, that important announcements are made via media with large enough circulation and wider access. That has traditionally been the role of media, but with the modern version of mainstream media, they simply ignore a lot, as they cannot be bothered to report on stuff that matters to many.

      Hence the forums like The Daily Blog and The Standard, same as others, have to increasingly take over such roles, to announce and spread news, which the MSM no longer bothers reporting. Naturally parties and organisations should also realise this as an important alternative, and use blog and other forums, to announce stuff.

      David Cunliffe seems to see this as a priority, but some in Labour may not have got the message yet, or simply want to stick to what they are used to.

    • Francis says:

      Does Labour even have a place where they list all the individual LEC websites? If it does, it’s certainly not easy to find…

  10. Jenny Michie says:

    Perhaps Labour could issue a press release with all the results thus far and send it to its members, as well as, given the lack of a campaign website, posting it on Labour’s and David Cunliffe’s FB page.

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