Mt Albert by-election
The departing member for Mt Albert will likely do an adequate job as UN Aid commissar and as she has the backing the political classes - albeit for differing reasons - the appointment of a New Zealander to the UN's "third most senior" post will be painted as nationally significant. Whatever fist she makes of the role and whatever influence she is able to exert - or not - she will be hailed in New Zealand as a statesman - something she was never able to achieve as a Prime Minister who courted domestic hostility with Labour-branded "progressive" issues, placated the middle classes and business by keeping the supposedly detested Rogernomics-Ruthenasia formula and encouraging the sort of speculative bubble that is bursting the world over, and whose foreign policy triumphs were trade related or tainted (eg. sending 'non-combat' troops to Iraq and active units into Afghanistan). She played it safe on the big issues, avoiding confrontation if it would mean a drawn out battle, trusting her instincts on when and how much the conservative base of the electorate could move - leaving her prone to ruthless acts against ministers she personally disliked and minorities not conforming to her expectations of reciprocation - her government earning a rebuke in a UN report over Maori land confiscation laws they passed. Cementing herself as an unchallenged leader started with a nasty scrap during the Lange government that only ended in the mid 90s. Those sorts of political management skills must be prized in an institution like the UN.
But let us turn to the future:
On the side of the street where I live (the other side is New Lynn electorate) we are going to have a by-election to decide who will represent us in parliament. Clark's old hand bag holder, the "bat shit crazy" Judith Tizard, is just one step away from being an MP again if the current hand bag holder and long-time coveter of this seat gets in (as every Labour candidate is bound to do in ultra-safe, working class Mt Albert) and due to the musical chairs that is the MMP party list system it bumps everyone up the list leaving Judith Tizard the next when O'Conner comes in.
Tizard perched to re-enter parliament again. Her legal mess with the copyright law is still being undone. She adds no value. Her re-absorption into the Labour caucus represents a net loss to Labour. If the caucus is reflective of her old electorate most will be dreading that scenario. They will be hoping Cullen hasn't really been lured out with promises of government appointments to boards as is the rumour, because that will mean she gets back in. How can Labour win the next election when Tizard is there as a reminder of how unreconstructed they really are?
The Nats could not be more happy over an election in a seat that they will lose.