More on Manukau East…

Two things stood our with my initial post on the names put forward so far for Labour’s selection in Manukau East.

Firstly, there were no current List MPs looking to take the seat. In recent years we’ve seen a few list MPs in the twilight years of their careers trying to snatch a safe seat in the hope extending their time in Parliament (in late 2010 Ashraf Choudhary stood for the Manurewa selection, and Rajen Prasad for Te Atatu)

Secondly, there were no women. Given Labour’s recent rule changes to encourage women to stand for electorate selection, it seemed very odd that none had put their name forward.

Now of course, this all has to be taken with a big grain of salt. As of yet, Labour has not released a list of nominees, and nominations are due to close in a few hours.

A very well placed source has just sent me through three more names which are apparently in the mix…

All three are woman, and all three are very strong candidates.

Anahila is Tongan and has been a long standing activist in Labour circles. Her length of dedication to the cause will certainly not go unnoticed.

Lydia Sosense is Su’a William Sio’s electorate office secretary, and can probably count on strong support from the Samonan sub-faction of the Pacific sector. In addition, last year she was very comfortably elected to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board – the party would be stupid to ignore her electoral success. [Update – It has been pointed out that Lydia is also the chair of the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board.]

Dr Jennifer Salesa is yet another strong candidate. Of the three she probably has the strongest CV – with a strong background in community health and education. She also has some electoral success under her belt, last year she was elected to the Mt Wellington Licensing Trust.

It looks like the race for Manukau East has really heated up. Jerome Mika can no longer be considered the front runner, especially with these three very strong female candidates in play. It’s likely that the party rules that automatically favour a female for electorate selection when up against an equally qualified male, will come into play. I’d hazard a guess that it will be Lydia Sosene that ultimately gets the nod, though it seems very close to call at this stage.

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