Most political parties in New Zealand are of the 'cadre' variety, bereft of membership and, where there is an electorate organisation, most likely it is controlled by a few activists who answer to themselves and not the electorate.
The National Party has always prided itself on its grassroots membership and while the halcyon days of 1975 when membership stood at a quarter of a million will never be repeated it is important that their MPs acknowledge that maintaining an effective electorate organisation brings dividends by ensuring they remain close to their grassroots support base (not to mention the 'dosh' generated by numbers).
The Veteran is fortunate to be living in an electorate where its membership is more than the countrywide membership of ACT; United Future and Winston First combined and, I suspect, comes close to Labour's nationwide membership total.
And so it is that I am concerned and disappointed that in Botany and Rodney the National Party had to appoint 'top up' delegates to allow the selection process to proceed. The Party rules specify that a minimum of 60 voting delegates are required determine their candidate based on one delegate per 15 members = 900 members. Where membership is less than 900, additional delegates are appointed from eligible party members (preferably from within the electorate).
Clearly for Pansy Wong and Lockwood Smith, ensuring they had a strong electorate organisation was not a priority for them even though they held their seats with majorities in excess of 10,000 ... and I think that is sad. Hopefully their successors will not disappoint in this regard
General Debate 2 September 2015
20 minutes ago