David Shearer too old for Mt Albert

by Jake Quinn

The NZ Herald reports that a “top-ranking United Nations official in Iraq is returning home to New Zealand to try and win the Labour nomination for the Mt Albert by-election”. It’s good to see so much media attention of this by-election, with the addition to the race of a candidate who failed in 2002 in Whangarei being listed in the website’s current ‘Top Stories’. I also understand he tried to run for Labour in Waitakere but was beaten to the spot by Lynne Pillay.

He sounds on paper like a sound Labour candidate; he’s got international social democratic organisation experience in his background, worked closely with current leader Phil Goff in Parliament (as his advisor when Phil was Minister of Foreign Affairs) and is from Auckland (well kinda).

However, I think his age at 50 is a negative factor. This seat is seen as fertile ground for bring in new young blood, hell that was poor old Twyford’s reason for standing aside. Some would say that 50 is young enough for renewal, but I disagree. There is the likely prospect of more than just a term in Opposition for Labour (iPredict has ‘There will be a National Prime Minister after the 2011 election’ at over %66), so candidates will, in all likelihood, get at least 6 years practice before being unleashed on the treasury benches, meaning a candidate now in their 50’s will be nearing their 60’s and that aint so fresh.

For that reason this contest is still a two horse race between two young candidates Meg Bates and Connor Roberts.

[Edit: I’m told Connor has withdrawn]