Labour go looking for candidates… Clock ticking for Lester

Things are really starting to get underway with Labour sending a broadcast message out to all and sundry to try and unearth new candidates for the Wellington local body elections next year. Most interest will centre on whether or not Deputy Mayor, Justin Lester, will run for Mayor on the Labour ticket – and unfortunately for him, there are only a couple of weeks till D-Day.

The email that went out informs members that nominations for Mayoral candidates open today (28 October) and close on November the 19th. In other words, if Lester wants to finally reveal his Labour credentials and stand for the Party, then he has to play his cards in the next month.

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Lester has made no secret of his desire to be a heroic Labour Prime Minister, but his unwillingness to be open about his membership has irked many in the Party, as has his refusal to pay the staff of his company a living wage, despite voting for ratepayers to fund living wage increases for council staff.

But Lester needs Labour. While the voters of Tawa and Churton Park may not like a red-washed Lester, he knows full well that he isn’t well enough known in his own right to run without the Labour Party machine behind him. Celia Wade-Succession Plan has sprung into action to help build his profile, but she is hardly regarded as having the Midas Touch.

It will also be interesting to see who else Labour can dredge up to run in the wards. We understand the Party is in turmoil over its inability to find any decent women candidates. There is concern that few, if any, electable women have approached the Party to run and that it may again be forced into allowing borderline candidates to make up the numbers again. By all accounts the Party is facing the very real prospect of having Paul Eagle as its only elected member in Wellington local body politics.

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