National’s selection process continues apace – and some interesting names have started to emerge.
Beehive Diaries is told those putting their name up for selection for National in the Upper Harbour electorate include former MP Agnes Loheni, former Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer, Robyn Holdaway, a policy advisor with Vector and Nicole Metzer, a managing director of an export company who used to chair the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.
Brewer entertained standing as a potential candidate in 2017 in the then-Helensville electorate after Sir John Key resigned but ruled it out for family and work reasons.
National’s rules prohibit potential candidates from commenting ahead of selection. Loheni was a List MP from 2019 to 2020, replacing Chris Finlayson after he resigned. She stood in the Māngere electorate in 2020 – a safe Labour seat.
Upper Harbour is one of the electorates National lost to Labour in 2020, taken out by new MP Vanushi Walters after Paula Bennett retired from politics. National will be hoping to win back in next year’s election, so it is no surprise there is interest in it.
National’s last candidate put forward for the seat was Jake Bezzant who subsequently got into a spot of trouble so the electorate committee will be cautious in selection.
The social media meme
It was inflation reveal week and National put out on social media an old 1943 National Party campaign ad focusing on the cost of living, featuring the prices of vegetables.
It had the slogan, “Change the Government.” Good idea. Trouble is Labour was re-elected in the 1943 election soon after.
Winter of her discontent
There was one question the PM refused to answer this week: the character she played in her time at the Shakespeare Globe Centre’s programme for schools.
Ardern refused to say, saying she did not want it to be a distraction from the issue of the programme’s funding. Of course, refusing to answer a seemingly harmless question inevitably made it more of a distraction.
Despite pleading from Beehive Diaries throughout the week for an answer, the PM continued to refuse to reveal it even after the programme was saved from having its funding cut.
But why? Was she Jaquenetta, the country wench in Love’s Labour’s Lost, an ominously titled play in which all weddings ended up cancelled for a year? Was it Lady Macbeth - a good dress rehearsal for the Covid-19 response, with all that handwashing? Was she Desdemona or Juliet? Was she, god forfend, Bottom? Will we ever know?
Comings and Goings
The Coming (back)
Labour MP Paul Eagle returned after his flop of a mayoral campaign and faced howls of mockery when he stood to ask a patsy question of Conservation Minister Poto Williams.
It drew the inevitable question from National’s Chris Bishop about whether eagles were a vulnerable and endangered species. Labour’s Michael Wood won the exchange, however, asking, “Is it true that some native species in the Hutt South area became extinct in late 2020?” - a reference to Bishop’s loss of the Hutt South electorate.
Former Labour MP Gaurav Sharma and former Speaker Trevor Mallard both ended up departing in the same week. Mallard got to do a valedictory – and Beehive Diaries learned that Sharma had also asked to do a valedictory but was rejected because he had said he planned to stand as a candidate in the Hamilton West byelection he has triggered by resigning.
Quote of the week
“I was in what might be described as a compromising position. We hadn’t put the barrier up between the beds. I gently extricated myself, and if Helen noticed, she was kind enough to never mention it.”
Mallard ‘fesses up to an accidental spooning of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark while sleeping on a plane. Clark’s diplomatic protection squad officer saw it, but Clark has apparently since told him if she did wake up, she did not recall it now.