Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is this a rule that's made to be broken?

TVNZ's Head of Maori and Pacific Programming and Q+A presenter Shane Taurima is seek Labour's nomination for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election; the Herald reports:

TVNZ's Shane Taurima has confirmed he will seek Labour's selection for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election, saying the late Parekura Horomia had approached him about standing in the past and he was now ready to "return home.''
Mr Taurima, who is the head of Maori and Pacific Programming at TVNZ, will go up against at least two others to contest the seat for Labour including district councillor Henare O'Keefe and Ngati Kahungunu chief executive Meka Whaitiri. It is expected to select the candidate this weekend.
Mr Taurima, who is of Ngati Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine descent with connections to Ngati Porou has been a journalist for 18 years, including as a presenter for TVNZ programmes Marae, Te Karere and political show Q+A.
Mr Taurima said Mr Horomia had urged him to stand for Parliament at least twice, before both the 2008 and 2011 elections.
"Given my career choice and the absolute need to be impartial, apolitical and professional, I would politely decline his approaches and he respected me for that.
It wasn't my time back then. I wasn't ready. But I am ready now.''
A spokeswoman for TVNZ said Mr Taurima had resigned from Q + A and was now on leave from his other broadcasting roles.
Born and raised near Napier, Mr Taurima said he had lived in the electorate most of his life - from Napier to Upper Hutt - before moving to Auckland four years ago.
"My grandparents sent me off to the big smoke to get experience, skills and knowledge. They said the time will come when you return home and put it to good use for the betterment of the people. That time has come.''

Whilst we have no doubt that Mr Taurima would be a good fit for Labour, especially if he previously had the support of the late Parekura Horomia, there's one slight problem; check these tweets out:

We strongly dislike txt-speak, but to translate the top one, we believe that it says "Taurima said last week that he is not and has not been a member of the Labour Party". That could cause a delicate dilemma, because the New Zealand Labour Party's very own rules are explicit as to candidate selection; refer to #251 below:

If what Shane Taurima told John Drinnan from the Herald last week is correct, Shane Taurima does not qualify to stand for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti nomination. The NZLP rules of course leave the party with an "out" in that the NZ Council can grant a waiver. 

We saw that in the Mana by-election in 2010 when Phil Goff's press secretary Kris Faafoi suddenly won the Labour nomination for the safe Labour seat ahead of the LEC's choice, Josie Pagani. The nett result of that decision was that Faafoi turned a 2008 majority of 6155 to a very close contest, only beating off Hekia Parata by 1406 votes, narrowly avoiding a real embarrassment for the party.

We doubt that Labour's grip on Ikaroa-Rawhiti will be tested, as there will still be an immense amount of goodwill towards the late Parekura Horomia. But transporting in a candidate who does not have a strong local support base could cause Labour problems next year.

But it begs the question; should political parties be able to drag someone in off the streets who has no previous background with the party? In this case it's the Labour Party, but it is not a problem which is limited to them; most parties in the current Parliament have engaged in it to some degree. And why have a rule like #251 at all, if it can be so easily circumvented?

It also begs the question which we pose with tongue in cheek; when a journalist becomes a politician, is it an upward or a downward move in terms of their public perception?


TongueinCheek said...

"when a journalist becomes a politician, is it an upward or a downward move in terms of their public perception?"

Or when a businessman becomes a blogger?

Graeme Edgeler said...

should political parties be able to drag someone in off the streets who has no previous background with the party?

Political Parties should be able to nominate whomever they want.

Keeping Stock said...

So why have a rule requiring one year's membership of the party then if it can be so easily over-riden? It makes no sense Graeme.

Anonymous said...

KS, I expect Taurima will be granted an exception to the 1 yr membership clause, as he will say he could not formally join Labour while being a MSM journo, due to impartiality requirements. I don't think anyone in the MSM actually requires you not belong to a party, but they definitely would require that Taurima not be publically associated with a partisan position (eg Rob Hamill, Robyn Malcolm with Greens, say).

And like Graeme E says, a party should be able to pick whoever they want, even parachuting in celebrity candidates - they will pay at the polls and in loss of activists if they promote duds (eg Pam Corkery, Alamein Kopu for Alliance, Tuku Morgan for NZ First, Aaron Gilmore for Nats).

Mad Marxist.

Rude Toothpsaste said...

Maggie Barry, Nat.

gravedodger said...

Since most intelligent people usually pick up the leanings of most of the talking heads it would to me be more honorable to acknowledge support for any party or political leaning that is clearly held rather than hopelessly pretend to deny it.
I am constantly annoyed when Joe Citizen is introduced as a commenter using an employment status rather than informing the audience that they really have an entrenched position that precludes any semblance of neutrality.
Keith Locke was a classic. Introduced as the Green Party spokesperson on security intelligence when the more accurate summation was committed Communist with long standing familial connections all working to undermine New Zealand as a free democratic parliamentary governed member of the western alliance. Suitably sumarised of course.
Father Jack, Mother Elsie, Sister Marie Leadbetter all passionately supported The USSR, Stalin, Albania, Communist China, North Korea and virtually every totatarian regime that would destroy our western way of life.
Suggesting Locke Junior was merely a spokesperson on national security when that bunch had for nearly a hundred years promoted every country that was seen by most loyal New Zealanders as an enemy, was total bollocks
Once elected in the warm cloak of the GP he had to conceal his underlying idealogical bent but I warrant Keith Locke would be on the wharf when Kim Jong Un came to rule over us, with a NK flag.

Sprightly Sam said...

You're a relic from a past era, Gravedodger. Slippers on, man and fill that coco cup to the brim and settle down in front of the fire. No one wants to read your antiquated warblings about your imagined enemies. Be at peace, old bean.

may the best, etc. said...

Graeme Edgeler makes the point that Parties can choose whomsoever they wish. Mad Marxist warns of the perils in doing so. It should be noted here that the Labour Party hierachy would only be allowing Shane Taurima to enter the field from which the final candidate is chosen. The local Iwi will endorse a favourite which head office would be unwise to overrule.
I believe prospects, such as Taurima, should be given the exemption to the one year Party membership rule given the apolitical nature of his everyday employment. His announcement of wishing to represent the Electorate in Parliament for his political Party of choice will cost him dearly if he is unsuccessful, but he has made that choice. He ought to have the chance to make his case to the "selectorate".

Riverton Rulz said...

To be fair, Gravedodger, what Locke represented was also his Party's view.

Keeping Stock said...

Interesting comment May the best - the reality of course of LP selections is that Head Office has all the power as illustrated in the Mana selection where Phil Goff's choice of Kris Faafoi trumped the LEC's preferred candidate Josie Pagani. I agree with you that Labour would be very unwise to try that in Ikaroa-Rawhiti, or they may get a nasty surprise.