You may have missed it but there was good news for Labour this week with their candidate Rohan Lord quitting the race for East Coast Bays.

No doubt Lord is talented and experienced but he well demonstrated he's not for politics.

He quit because he was ranked 72 on Labour's list. He put the boot in declaring there's "no chance for white middle class men" in Labour.

He obviously overlooked Labour leader Andrew Little. And before him, David Cunliffe, David Shearer and Phil Goff. White middle class men have done very well in Labour in recent times.


Lord proved he's not a team player. He quit because the team didn't appreciate him enough and he kicked them on his way out. His ranking proved generous given his behaviour.

Labour is better off without him and Lord himself is better off out of it.

The surprising thing is that Lord is a former America's Cup sailor and Olympic sailing coach. I would have expected him to better understand the importance of the team.

Politics by its nature is very much a team effort. You don't quit and kick the team around simply because you don't get your own way.

Successful sports teams understand that as do successful politicians. The difference between sports and politics is politics is much more serious. It's not just about pride and being the best - but about ensuring a better future for New Zealand.

Success at sport can make us feel good but doesn't directly affect the country's well being and prosperity. Politics does.

Lord's quitting proved he wasn't standing to support Labour's values, principles and policies but rather to get to Parliament. That's completely wrong-headed and a further reason why it's good news that he quit.

Would-be politicians need to understand in politics the team and what the party stands for matter more than what any individual candidate wants.


Lord missed another key aspect of politics. It's not a meritocracy like sport or business.

Parliament is the House of Representatives. The place represents us all and parties - explicitly or implicitly - work hard to achieve diversity in their candidate list to represent better the votes they hope to win.

It's true that white middle aged men get marked down because by their nature they offer themselves up in greater numbers. That's so in every party. That's politics.

Politics is also, well, politics. We speak of work politics when colleagues get promoted not on merit but because they're good at self-promotion, lobbying, winning the support of those they need, and, indeed, applying leverage when and where they can.

Those ahead of Lord were better at politics than he. Politics requires that you win the support of others. Lord is clearly capable and experienced but not in politics.