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6 local people in the race for Labour’s Chch East nomination

Six local people in the race for Labour’s Christchurch East nomination

Six local people are putting their hand up to replace outgoing Labour MP Lianne Dalziel in the upcoming by-election for Christchurch East.  The selected candidate will come from a strong field of nominees – James Caygill, Karen Hayes, Christina Laalaai-Tausa, Tina Lomax, Deon Swiggs and Poto Williams.  The selection meeting will be held on Saturday 21st September, and between now and then there will be public and Party engagement processes for the candidates to follow.  The by-election is expected towards the end of November,

Andrew McKay, Chair of the Christchurch East Labour Electorate Committee said “The Christchurch East electorate needs an MP who understands what local people have been through and who can work hard to get things moving.  The Labour candidate will continue Lianne Dalziel’s strong record of making things happen for local people. Three years after the Canterbury earthquakes, too many people in Christchurch East are still struggling with EQC, with insurance issues, and with a lack of good jobs and housing.”

“Only Labour can deliver the strong, local, effective representation that Christchurch East needs, and we have a large, grassroots organisation that will be working hard for every vote”.

Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth said “We are excited to have an outstanding line up of candidates; all of whom are local people playing an important role in Christchurch’s recovery.”

“The Labour Party’s process for selecting its new candidate will be transparent and democratic, following on from the open and engaging process used for selecting its new Leader.  All local Party members have a vote in the process.”

“Our new Labour Leader will play an important role in the Christchurch East by-election, as we prepare for the campaign for Government in 2014”.

General Secretary Tim Barnett will host a meeting of local Labour Party members and supporters on Wednesday 11 September, to outline the process for selecting a candidate and give local people an opportunity to discuss the skills and attributes needed in their new Member of Parliament.  A public meeting will be held on Tuesday 17 September for Christchurch East residents to meet the nominees.  This will be followed by a formal Question and Answer meeting on Friday 20 September and the selection meeting itself on Saturday 21 September, where each candidate will deliver a formal speech and voting for a preferred candidate will take place.  The formal meetings are democratic in nature and prescribed for in the Labour Party’s constitution.

The Labour campaign for Christchurch East is being led by campaign manager and former Christchurch MP Jim Anderton.

Information on Labour Party nominees – Christchurch East

James Caygill

James Caygill is a Christchurch born and bred young man who is currently employed by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu as General Manager for Tribal Interest.  James has a strong employment background in the areas of Government, Community Development and the Arts. James studied at the University of Canterbury, where he graduated with a BA First Class Honours and a MA with Distinction in Political Science.  James continued academic studies in Australia at the Australian National University.  James has previously been employed as a Prime Ministerial Advisor to Helen Clark and her Cabinet Members before returning to his hometown Christchurch where he resides today.  In James spare time he enjoys watching football and is a keen Arsenal supporter.

James is no stranger to the Labour political family, his father David Caygill was a Christchurch City Councillor and later elected as the Labour Member of Parliament for the then St Albans Electorate where he was appointed to Minister of Finance in the David Lange Cabinet.

·                     General Manager Tribal Interests, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu

·                     Chief Executive, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra

·                     Chair, Environment Labour Sector Council

·                     Chair, Port Hills Environment Labour Branch

·                     former Vice President of the University of Canterbury Students' Association Inc.

Karen Hayes

Karen’s parents were Salvation Army officers and she grew up with a strong sense of social justice, aware that although her family had little, there were others with less. She learned that you should never judge someone else's situation from your own perspective, that the really important things in life are intangible, that for some people meeting basic human needs overwhelms any grander aspirations and that addressing social inequality is a collective responsibility. “These are values I believe line up squarely with those of the Labour Party, and that's where my political allegiance has always firmly been”.

Over 25 years as a Registered Nurse and Midwife Karen has worked in Neonatal Intensive Care, research, tutoring, as a Public Health Nurse and an Independent Midwife. She also holds a BSc (First class honours) in Psychology and a law degree, study undertaken “with the realisation that most often real change comes only with fundamental changes in people's wider situations”. 

Karen has been privileged in the last few years to be able to care for her elderly parents, her father suffered his final years with dementia, and she nursed her mother at home following a severe stroke. She now divides her time between her family (my partner and two teenage children), her dogs, nursing and volunteering at the Community Law Centre on the Employment Law and ACC teams.

Christina Laalaai-Tausa

Christina Laalaai-Tausa is of Samoan descent, she is a part time tutor and lecturer, as well as a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Canterbury. She holds a MA (Hons) International Law and Politics and a BA (Hons) in Political Science both from Canterbury University. Furthermore, she has lectured in Political Science at the University of Samoa. She has been a recipient of various local and national scholarships in tertiary education in areas including Good Governance, Human Rights and Democracy. In addition she is an active member of the Samoan and Pacific community in Christchurch and a youth member of the Samoan Methodist Church in Addington.

Christina has a proud history of community activism which has been demonstrated in her previous work as a United Nations Youth Association member, mentor and is actively involved in progressing academic excellence and grass-root level development. When she isn’t critically analysing policies and its effects on society, she spends time with her family, playing touch rugby in New Brighton and volleyball in Aranui. Christina strongly believes in the importance and effectiveness of community and grass-root level engagement, participation and involvement. Moreover, she is a firm believer in the tenets of social democracy, which also govern and shape the values and policies of the Labour Party, enabling social change, equality, freedom, opportunity, solidarity and sustainability.

Tina Lomax

From 2004 to 2010 Tina was proud to be a Labour 2021 elected representative on the Burwood/Pegasus Community Board. “I know Christchurch East from the grass roots having liaised with Golf Links, New Brighton and Windsor/Westhaven Resident Associations and other local groups during my time on the Community Board”.

Tina has been Principal of Kingslea School for the past 15 years and has spent most of this time advocating for New Zealand's most vulnerable children. Kingslea School delivers education to children in Child, Youth and Family residential care on four sites around New Zealand. One of these sites is in Burwood. Her teaching career has also included time at Aranui High School.

Having advocated to successfully prevent the closure of Kingslea School in 2004 Tina has a deep understanding of Government policy and regulations. “I will harness these skills to help families in our area facing the challenges of school closures and mergers”.

Tina grew up in Shirley, attending Quinns Road Primary, Shirley Intermediate and Avonside Girls High School. She attended Christchurch Teachers College and has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Canterbury. Her most recent qualification is a Post Graduate Diploma in Child Advocacy from the University of Otago.

For the past 15 years Tina has lived in Lake Terrace Road, Burwood, in a TC2 house opposite the red zone. “Although I consider myself fortunate that my house isn't badly damaged, most of my family has been affected and some have now relocated out of Christchurch East.

Deon Swiggs

Deon Swiggs is a 27 year old man living in Christchurch who has been actively involved in Christchurch advocating for people and communities since the earthquakes of 2010.  Deon was born in Nelson a with a strong family history in Christchurch and Canterbury, and has made Christchurch home.

Deon enlisted into the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2005 as a General List Executive Officer. At the time of the Christchurch earthquakes Deon was in his own business and completing tertiary education at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, where he graduated top of school with a Bachelor of Applied Management in Sales and Marketing and also a Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Since the earthquakes Deon has played a key role in the recovery with the set-up of Rebuild Christchurch and the Rebuild Christchurch Foundation, which for 3 years has provided a one-stop earthquake information shop and facilitated donations and thousands of hours of volunteer support to vulnerable residents affected by the earthquakes. Deon is a founding member of the Canterbury Insurance Assistance Service to support those with on-going insurance issues.

Deon has won several community awards including a youth community service award from the Council, a volunteer award from Volunteer Canterbury, a local hero award from New Zealander of the Year awards in 2012 and was nominated for Young New Zealander of the Year 2013.

Poto Williams

Poto Williams is a 51 year old resident of New Brighton, she is Regional Manager of St John of God Hauora Trust, managing the Community , Youth and Child Service (Southern Region), based at the Waipuna site in Pages Road in Wainoni. Living and working in the Christchurch East provides a very real understanding of local issues on a daily basis, people wanting a life with a positive future for themselves and their children.

Her current role is the latest in many community based roles, having held senior management positions in the Community Mental Health, Community Health, Disability services and prior to her current role, in the Family Violence sector.

Her community work has included being involved in issues of homeless ness through the LIFEWISE Big Sleepout, being active in the Auckland and Christchurch launches of the Living Wage Campaign, being a member of the Community Child Protection Review Panel and holding governance roles for Waitakere Community Law Service and Community Waitakere.

She is of Cook Island descent, part of a large extended family in New Zealand and Australia, holds an MBA from Southern Cross University and is currently writing a Doctoral Thesis on Pacific Women’s Leadership. Poto and her partner Ken, have three grown up children.

Candidate Selection Process

To lead governments which make our values into laws and policies, the New Zealand Labour Party needs the very best people to represent us in Parliament.  Labour chooses its electorate candidates through a rigorous selection process, and that process includes significant chances for Party members to be involved. By understanding how the process works you will be able to make the most of your voice as a Labour Party member. This two page document gives a brief outline of the process and more details on the rules can be found in the Labour Party Constitution (available at or by phoning 08004labour).

Who can take part in the selection process?

The selection process is run by the New Zealand Council (national executive committee) of the Labour Party, working with the Christchurch East Labour Electorate Committee (LEC). The only people who can take part in any stage of the selection process are people who are Labour Party members enrolled to vote in the Christchurch East Electorate; or people who are members of one of our affiliated trade unions (Dairy Workers Union, EPMU, Maritime Union of New Zealand; MeatWorkers Union; RMTU; Service and Food Workers Union) and are enrolled to vote in the Christchurch East Electorate, and who are not members of another political party.

To be a Labour Party member in Christchurch East for the purposes of this selection process you must be able to tick all these five points:

I am 15 years old or more

I am enrolled on the general electoral roll at my address in the Christchurch East Electorate (or I am 15-17 years old and intend to go on the General Roll)

I am not a member of another political party

I have filled in a Labour Party membership form (personally or on line), and

I have paid my membership fee (koha when joining for the first time).

You can also take part if you are a member of one of Labour’s affiliated unions and:

a)       on the Christchurch East electoral roll; and

b)      not a member of another political party.

How do nominations work?

When people decide they want to try to become a Labour candidate, they organise a nomination (like a job application). For the Christchurch East by-election selection, he New Zealand Council decided that nominations opened from Monday 29th July 2013 and closed at 5pm on September 4th 2013. Nominations were advertised by a mailing to members, and in local media.

Preparing a nomination is straightforward. If someone wants to become a Labour candidate, they do three things to be able to nominate:

1)       Be a member of the Labour Party.  If they have not been a Labour member for more than one year before the nominations opened, they will need to also include with their nomination form a letter to the New Zealand Council asking for a waiver of rule 251 of the Party Constitution, with reasons why.

2)       Fill in the nomination form, available on  The form will need to be signed by at least six (6) members of the Party enrolled in Christchurch East OR by the Chair and Secretary of the Christchurch East Labour Electorate Committee (LEC), so long as a meeting of the LEC agrees to them doing that in their role as officers.

3)       Fill in a biographical questionnaire which will be attached to the form, and include a curriculum vitae / resume about themselves, with a photo.

When nominations are in, what happens in the selection process?

Once the nomination period has closed, the nominees with properly completed applications will go on to the next stage. If there is only one (1) person nominated, which isn’t the case in Christchurch East, there is then a confirmation meeting. If there is more than one (1) nominee, which is the case in Christchurch East, then there will be a question and answer meeting followed by a selection meeting.  In Christchurch East the Question and Answer meeting will be on the evening of Friday 20th September and the Selection Meeting will be on Saturday 21st September.

All Party members, including those have who joined recently and the members of the affiliated unions, can come to those meetings. To make things easy you will need to bring along:

• your  current Party or affiliated union membership card, or a receipt if you have just joined; and

• a copy of your voting enrolment form, if you have recently changed electoral rolls, or recently enrolled to vote.

The Question and Answer meeting will involve all nominees, with all Party members being able to ask questions (time allowing!).  At the Selection meeting each of the nominees will give a 10-15 minute speech.

When you arrive at the Selection meeting, you and all other Party members will be given either a red card (for people who have been members for more than a year before the day that nominations were open) or a green card (for people who joined more recently than that).

A red card will mean that you will have two votes:

i.            one vote for someone from the meeting who has been a Party member for more than a year to become a member of the selection panel  - that secret vote happens before the speeches from the candidates; and

ii.            one vote for the candidate you support - that secret vote takes place after the speeches, the result is given to the selection panel and counts as one vote in their decision-making.

No proxy votes are allowed.  You have to be there to vote.

A green card will mean that you will have one vote – that is what we call the indicative vote process, with a secret vote being held after the speeches, counted and the result given to the selection panel to help them make their decision.

The Selection Panel will be made up of six votes as follows:

1)       One (1) representative elected by the Christchurch East Labour Electorate Committee (which is made up of delegates elected by the Party membership, and the affiliates).  The number of LEC representatives depends on how many members there are, and on how often the LEC has met in the last year; in this situation the LEC will have one (1) vote.

2)       One (1) local Party members’ representative elected by and from all people with a red card who are at the selection meeting (see i) above).

3)       Three (3) people selected by the New Zealand Council, at least one who must be a woman. They are usually members of the New Zealand Council.

4)       The result of the second red vote (see ii) above), which counts as one vote on the panel.

Once they have finished meeting, in private, the Selection Panel could do any of the following:

1)       Announce to the people still around from the selection meeting the name of the candidate who has been selected from those nominated.

2)       Announce that no candidate has been selected as it could not agree, with New Zealand Council making the final decision.

3)       Announce that none of the candidates made the grade, and selects a suitable Party member as the candidate, or refer the selection back to the New Zealand Council.

Then, with a great candidate, we campaign together to get them elected!

What would happen if there are problems?

If there is a dispute in the process, the General Secretary of the New Zealand Labour Party will work with the Christchurch East LEC on how to best sort it out. If it can’t be solved, then it will go to the New Zealand Council. They could, in very unusual cases, call for a new selection if there is evidence that the Constitution has been seriously broken. The New Zealand Council can also reject a nominee or candidate if they submit an application which includes information that they know is wrong or misleading.


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