Two Clarks for Labour
Embargoed until 8:30pm, 29 November 2010
29 November 2010
Keeping it in the family
For many the name Clark is synonymous with the Labour Party. And the name looks to have a promising future.
Dr David Clark is the Labour Party’s candidate for the Dunedin North seat due to be vacated when sitting MP Pete Hodgson retires at the next election. In a rare double, younger brother Ben was today confirmed as the Party’s candidate for the North Shore electorate in Auckland.
The brothers have much in common. Both David and Ben studied in Dunedin. They are both married with young families. They both describe their values as traditional Labour.
But in politics they face quite different challenges.
David has the challenge of maintaining a strong Labour vote in Dunedin North. He faced stiff competition just to win the Labour ticket.
By contrast, brother Ben was the only Labour nominee for the North Shore electorate. Incumbent National MP Wayne Mapp holds a 14,000 vote majority and Ben light-heartedly describes his task as “an uphill battle”.
Brothers in politics are not unknown. Ben has been amused by recent comparisons to the Miliband brothers in Britain. “It’s a story of the younger brother beating his older brother David to the Labour Party leadership” he says.
Neither brother is yet in Parliament. Dunedin North might be a safe Labour seat, but David says he takes nothing for granted.
“Labour is strong in Dunedin because local people have strong community values. It is also true that we’ve had good MPs. I want to carry that tradition forward” David says.
Younger brother Ben will be hoping a bit of the magic associated with the Clark name rubs off at the next election. Maybe then he’ll get to air his Miliband one-liners in Parliament.
Ben Clark (35) is a computer programmer trained at Otago University. He has settled in Auckland after returning from England with his British wife. Living in Devonport suits the couple well. A full 40% of Devonport locals are UK born.
Dr David Clark (37) is currently Head of Hall at Selwyn College in Dunedin. He serves on the Otago Community Trust, Otago Forward, and the University Vice Chancellor’s Alcohol Taskforce. David is also a Presbyterian Minister with a PhD from Otago University.