Mahara Okeroa – Te Tai Tonga – Number 40: Profile, photo and no website link. He has a facebook. Mahara is Te Tai Tonga’s current MP. Mahara was a teacher and a regional director for Te Puni Kokiri before being elected in 1999. Nothing unusual in a Labour MP coming from teaching and bureaucracy, makes a small change from unions.
“By removing barriers to Maori in education, healthcare, housing, and employment, we have made sure that Maori are equipped with all the tools to enable them to reach their full potential.” Yet some don’t, care to explain why Mahara? What barriers existed before?? “Maori are entrepreneurial, youthful and dynamic, and Labour is determined to build on these attributes, to ensure that Maori have the best possible future.” Well quite positive really. To give Mahara credit his profile doesn’t engage in attacking other parties, and he talks about opportunities and less about government support (although he certainly implies that a lot).
He’s certainly head and shoulders above Louisa Wall as a Maori candidate.
In 2005 Mahara won with 47.2% of the vote against the Maori Party’s Monte Ohia on 34.1%. Labour got 57.9% against Maori Party’s 17.6%. Mahara may well be able to hold his own here against Rahui Katene, the Maori Party candidate. Although I support abolishing the Maori seats, in the meantime, I hope he does hold on, though you have to wonder who the three people were in Te Tai Tonga who voted for the One NZ Party! Prediction: Mahara will hang onto his seat, Te Tai Tonga isn’t a Maori Party stronghold.
Mark Burton – Taupo – number 39: Profile, no photo and no website. Mark has been MP since 1993 first for Tongariro then Taupo. Mark was a social worker, and worked for the Red Cross, Social Welfare and Otaki Health Camp before being elected. He has been a Minister of Internal Affairs, Defence and SOEs, but resigned from these roles in 2007.
“Labour has major policies to roll out and progress, building on the broad range of social, economic and environmental policies we have advanced over the last nine years. " Like?
“So in Election 2008, I am proudly campaigning, and Labour is campaigning - as we always have, on substance – on policies delivered and policies to come, because we know that none of the very real challenges New Zealand has faced and faces now, can be met with short-term fixes and one line slogans.” Hmmm yes, Labour wouldn’t do that, I mean the website has no one line slogans does it?
Now Mark is going to be looking for another job after the election. He won Taupo with 45.5% of the vote in 2005, against National’s Weston Kirton on 41.1% (Mayor of Ruapehu District). With boundary changes this is the most marginal seat in the country, so Mark is almost certainly gone. On the party vote National was ahead in 2005 with 44.3% against Labour’s 37.3%. Louise Upston is the National candidate. Prediction: Mark Burton’s political career is over. Labour has virtually guaranteed it.
Judith Tizard – Auckland Central – number 38: Photo and profile, no website. Judith’s life has been in local body politics, and owning and managing a restaurant. She is of course the final member of a bizarre political dynasty that includes her grumpy dad and foul mouthed mother. Judith has been an MP since 1990 (Panmure, then Auckland Central defeating Sandra Lee in 1996).
Judith’s profile has no statement, it looks like a CV – convenient really because there is a reasonable chance she’ll need it after the election. It shows her out of Cabinet portfolios and her interests “Politics, reading, gardening, cooking, swimming and theatre”.
Nothing about aspirations, nothing about Labour’s “achievements”, nothing about future policy, nothing about what she wants for Auckland Central or has “achieved”. Great that.
Judith won in 2005 with 43.9% not a high percentage of the electorate vote, against Pansy Wong with 33.1% . Mind you Nandor Tanczos got 14.8% of the electorate vote. It is telling the party vote for Labour was higher on 45.2% with National on 33.7%. National’s Nikki Kaye is working damned hard to unseat Judith, and she has a chance. Judith’s position is on the knive edge locally and on the list. Nikki Kaye has a large gap to bridge, and with Nandor Tanczos retiring it does offer votes that can go elsewhere. It is a brave man who is certain on this one, but I’d like to think Judith would barely be ousted. Prediction (maybe optimistic but): Judith will be surprised when Auckland Central is tired of her and the Labour vote just scrapes below enough to save her on the list. Nikki Kaye will be the bold intelligent hard working new MP for Auckland Central.
Damien O’Connor – West Coast-Tasman – number 37: photo and profile, no website. Damien has been MP for that region since 1993. He has been a farmer, adventure tourism operator and union rep (funny that).
“While being the elected representative for our region since 1993, I am particularly proud of what has been achieved for the electorate during the last three years. Both the West Coast and Tasman continue to flourish; a result of considerable government investment and sustained economic growth. We must ensure this continues.”
Nothing exciting, rather bog standard, then a long list of pork that he claims he is responsible for getting for the West Coast. At least he’s honest, though government should never be about pork. Damien got 47.7% of the vote in 2008, against National’s Chris Auchinvole who got 40.9%, so this is no longer the safe Labour seat it once was, particularly when you note National won the party vote here with 39.6% against Labour’s 37.2%. Chris Auchinvole won a list seat and is running again. It could be a tighter race, though Damien has a strong local following. Prediction: Damien O’Connor will scrape in.
Stuart Nash – number 36 list only: profile, no picture or website. My guess is that Labour needs to get to this party vote to have a serious chance at power.
“I have the skills and experience to handle the complexities of the 21st century and to get the job done. I am well educated and experienced in business, strategy, marketing, management and trade, with Master’s degrees from Auckland and Canterbury Universities.” Degrees in business hmmm but that means “I was the Director of Strategic Development at AUT University” so not REALLY business then.
The funny thing is he never once mentions Labour, at all, not anything the government has done, or any policies, or the word Labour!
“As this country embraces the 21st century. I am confident with my experience and abilities that we will be able to handle the issues and challenges that are going to confront New Zealand in the future.”
Well it’s a list position, but I think Stuart wont quite make it.
Oh dear, Damien O'Connor and Mahara Okeroa have the best chances of this lot, Mark Burton is a lost cause, but the real race is Auckland Central. What sweeter victory for National than to remove one of Parliament's lazier MPs. However, Labour's party vote also needs to drop below 38%.