Nominations close for Labour’s Christchurch Central candidate today, and so far two people have publicly put their name forward: Tony Milne and James Dann. I know both of them, and they’re both top blokes who’d make great MPs.
Central is a very winnable seat for Labour. Boundary changes, even a slight nationwide swing towards Labour, and an aggressive, solid campaign could result in a Labour pick-up. However, even with those factors, it will remain very marginal.
Tony Milne is a party stalwart, if you can be a stalwart when you’re in your early thirties. He’s been involved in Canterbury Labour circles for the past ten or so years, including a stint working for Tim Barnett in Parliament, as well as heavy involvement in several key campaigns. Outside of the party, he’s active on queer issues, and was involved with the campaigns for civil unions and marriage equality, and is currently employed by the Problem Gambling Foundation.
James Dann (who also blogs here) is a very smart guy, with a touch of the showman. He’s got links to the transitional city folks, has a top-notch twitter account, and good relationships with media figures. The most important thing James brings to the table is a really serious engagement with the post-earthquake environment. His blog has been one of the key sites for analysis and critique of what’s going on in the Christchurch rebuild.
The selection is in just over a week’s time, on the 8th of March. At the moment, I would say that Milne is the front runner. However, whoever gets selected, I am sure we’ll hear a lot more from both these candidates.
Edited to add: I understand the third candidate is Gavin Smith. Will update with the nominee when we know who it is.
Further edited to add: Tony Milne was selected — congratulations!