Lianne Dalziel has finally announced her intention to run for the mayoralty, which is not only great for those of us that want to remove Bob and have a more open, transparent, inclusive council – but it also guarantees that we will at least have the well-fought race that the people of Christchurch deserve. This move has been on the cards for some time, and there has been much jostling behind the scenes as potential replacements are sounded out.

While by-elections are expensive, and possibly an expense that a cash-strapped Labour Party can not afford at this time, it would also be a good opportunity to campaign on the hardships that the people in the east are suffering. These issues could be raised to the fore, on a national level, so that the rest of the country can see what government mismanagement really looks like. Imagine Campbell Live-style coverage, every day for six weeks.

So I was a little confused to see that former Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove may be dropped into be seat from up on high. From the party’s point of view, this would see Cosgrove given an electorate seat, freeing up a space on the list. This could then go to Kelvin Davis, or Carmel Sepuloni if he declined. The rationale being that these people would support Shearer in caucus.

I don’t know anything about that, but I’m a little concerned that the party would try and snuff out a perfectly good contest for a seat. We need fresh faces. We need new ideas. We need a contest of ideas, for how the party could better respond to problems with EQC, CERA, the CCDU. With the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election, a keenly-fought candidate selection was great for the party. We could have an open selection, with a range of candidates putting forward their ideas for the east, for EQC, for what to do with the red zone land. Surely that is an opportunity that we can’t afford to miss.

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