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Williams selected as Labour’s Christchurch East Candidate

Potu Williams selected as Labour’s Christchurch East Candidate

Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth has announced that Potu Williams will be the candidate for the Christchurch East by election following the resignation of Lianne Dalziel. We had a robust democratic selection process with hundreds of local people in a packed rugby club hall in the heart of the electorate, where a very strong field of candidates discussed local issues.

Moira Coatsworth said "We said the Christchurch East electorate needs an MP who understands what people have been through, and our process has given us a very strong candidate to make things happen for local people. She comes from a community background and will advocate strongly for the people of Christchurch dealing with insurance companies, EQC, housing shortages, new schools, and a range of other issues. The campaign will now be in full swing as we continue talking to the Christchurch East Community to ensure we're representing their views."

Potu is committed to rebuilding for the long road ahead, and working alongside the people of Christchurch East. "I encourage people to take interest in the by election to make sure our needs and priorities are heard and understood. Christchurch East is a fantastic area and I look forward to the coming weeks and a campaign where I can meet and talk to more people about how we can best take take the views of the electorate to Wellington to get things done. I am working in the rebuild effort in New Brighton and have worked on local housing for families and connecting the grass roots with the democratic process."

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

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 labour.org.nz/about-us 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:
ü I am 15 years old or more
ü 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)
ü I am not a member of another political party
ü I have filled in a Labour Party membership form (personally or on line), and
ü 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 www.labour.org.nz. 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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