The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Field of Dreams

So Taito Field's days on the Red Team are over. Surely this must be the beginning of the end game regarding the Mangere electorate?

Others (see below) have already written good stuff, but I wanted to add a little bit more to the blog debate about his options from here.

To start with, I don't think he's going to join the Maori Party. It's pretty clear to me that the visit from Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia was about being nice, not being teammates. Sharples made it pretty clear on Nat Rad that he'd done the same thing for (Labour MP) David Parker when he was in the schizen, and there was certainly no suggestion of Parker being invited into the wharenui. Sharples made the point that if Field was to join the Maori Party the invite would have to come from the Party itself, not the co-leaders. That seems pretty unlikely I would think.

Another option that has been thrown around is the Family Rights Protection Party (or whatever it is called, sorry I can't remember exactly). What little I know about this party is based on the fact that they turned up to a City Vision meeting a few years back. I recognised at least one of the key people speaking for the FRPP that night - I knew her from a distance when she was one of the leaders of the Alliance's Pasifika wing back before the 2002 split. They were very loyal to Matt Robson and left with Jim Anderton, but the one thing I remember very strongly about this woman was that she was supposed to have been on a 20/20 documentary (or was it 60 Minutes? nevermind). The doco was about violence towards children, and there was allegedly some pretty damning footage of her engaging in said activity. Could well be she's changed, could well be it was made out to be something it wasn't, could well be that they aren't really extant anymore and Field wouldn't go there anyway. I'm just sayin' is all.

Now that Field is an independent I think that makes it a bit more likely that he will seek re-election (assuming he isn't convicted of course). Mangere could become a bitter place in 2008, as we have seen in the past when MPs have split from their parties and still run in the same seat. Having been rather up close and personal during the Alliance split in 2002, I know that there may already be a lot of fractured friendships within Mangere's LEC*. Just wait until the heat of an actual election campaign to see things really meltdown, if Field runs again.

What will Field need to succeed in Mangere as an independent?
  1. No charges by the police (or no conviction plus a certain amount of vindication), and;
  2. Money to mount a campaign, and;
  3. Volunteers to run that campaign, and;
  4. Something he can promise the locals, something that could compete with the promises of a Labour candidate who would potentially be part of the Government, and;
  5. A weak Labour candidate, particularly someone lacking vital links to the local community.
I don't see Labour making the mistake necessary to deliver 5. Su'a William Sio has already been mentioned by many bloggers and journos. He's not that far off being an MP in this term (two more List MP resignations and he is in) and he's currently on the Manukau City Council. He's an obvious pick, but I'm sure there are others waiting in the wings as well. For a start there are several List MPs who could run there with a certain amount of cred, possibly Shane Jones or Dave Hereora.

It would be an uphill battle for Field to win again, and Labour will fight hard to avoid relinquishing a previously safe seat. But at the same time this is the last thing the Labour party machine needs to win another term on the Treasury benches - a desperate fight in South Auckland, sucking up media, effort and money.

And so to the last option that I don't think anyone else has canvassed (?). Field could resign (soon or next year) and not seek re-election. He could simply say "flag this for a game of soldiers I'm going back to Samoa (after all, the tiling on my house is exceptional), why bother with this malarky?"

From what we know of him to date this doesn't seem the logical outcome. But you never know, politics isn't like war - in politics you can get killed more than once.**

Related links:
Maramatanga has a good post on Field, looking at his options (he has now picked to go it alone as an independent.)
Carl at SMSD expresses the sentiment shared by many on the Left (including within Labour).
Idiot/Savant covers Field's decision to go his own way, and is scathing about the Maori Party co-leaders' visit.

(Feel free to add a link to your own post on this in comments)

Update, 19th Feb 1.35pm: Maramatanga has written a further post on the Field situation, including the (outside) possibility of Destiny joining the fray...

* Labour Electorate Committee for those not in on the lingo.
** Bonus points to anyone who can name the telly series I've cannibalised this from.

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