This week NZ First released their full list of candidates. Sam Brooks took a deep dive into the trenches of the internet to find out who these people are, where they came from, and what they bring to Team Winston.
Like many people, I see New Zealand First as synonymous with Winston Peters, much in the way Destiny’s Child is synonymous with Beyoncé. There’s a chance that the band existed without Beyoncé, and could exist without Beyoncé, but you can’t imagine a world where it ever happens. (In this metaphor, Destiny’s Child did not dissolve immediately and mutually in 2005.)
With New Zealand First still on track to hold the balance of power, I decided (read: was told to) to go on a journey past Winston Peters and down the list. The most fascinating thing I found that there are 56 people on the New Zealand List party list. That’s enough people to fill a bus, and then some.
To compare, National, the party who are currently in government for those of you playing at home, has 75 people on their list. Labour has 75, too. The Greens have 42. Act has 41 (which seems a little bit like the kid with a learner’s license putting a down payment on an 18-wheeler, what’s he gonna do with all that?). And the Māori Party has 25.
Based on current polling, NZ First would get 11 or 12 MPs. But the party has tended to outperform it s polling. (Remember how they shot up to about 8.6% in 2014, and had to fill parliament with 11, and I will use some political jargon here, randos?)
Who knows what will happen in the next four weeks of Jacindacane. Will there be a mother of all scandals? An aunty of all scandals? A dowager of all scandals? Life is full of endless and unknowable possibilities, you guys. NZ First could collapse. Or they could surge again, taking a small army of Little Winstons into the House of Representatives.
For your education and mine, I’ve gone through the list and taken a sampling of the people we might see in parliament sorted into the highly sophisticated stratas of: Will Probably Get Into Parliament, Depends on What Happens In The Next Four Weeks, If Hell Freezes Over, and Not Even If Hell Freezes Over.
Will Probably Get Into Parliament
Mark Patterson (7th)
Mark Patterson, a fourth generation sheep and beef farmer at Lawrence is New Zealand First’s Clutha-Southland candidate for this year’s election.
Pretty brave of NZ First to elect a fourth generation sheep, but minor parties get votes wherever they can, I guess.
What Winston says: “Mark has a wealth of farming and business experience and is well known through his family and sporting connections in the region.”
Shane Jones (8th)
A shock low-ish placement for the former Labour MP and Whangarei candidate, according to the internet and people more qualified in talking about these things than me. Wikipedia tells me he ran three times for the Labour Party, got caught using a ministerial credit card to pay for pornographic films in the year of our lord 2010, and has spent a lot of time in the Pacific.
For some reason, he is high up on the list despite having two subheadings on Wikipedia that say “controversy”.
What Winston says: “The song goes like this: The whole town’s talking about the Jones boy.”
Jenny Marcroft (9th)
Jenny Marcroft was a broadcaster, newsreader and held other jobs in media for over three decades. The only clip I can find of her performing these functions is below:
She has 50 likes on Facebook.
What Winston says: “Jenny Marcroft is a most talented communicator.”
They Might Get Into Parliament, Depending On Who Shits Themselves In The Next Four Weeks
David Wilson (14th)
Dr David Wilson is the CEO of Northland Inc, which sounds like a company run by the bad people in a Pixar film. He has a lot of qualifications like BAs, MAs and business degrees and is standing in Te Atatu.
What Winston says: “He will bring to the party and the parliament an economic perspective and acumen of real force and. He is a leader of international repute in his field and his entry into national politics and policy making is a momentous step.”
Stuart ‘Stu’ Husband (17th)
Stuart, hereafter referred to as Stu, is a dairy farmer and regional councillor in the Waikato region, which seems like a pretty big region to be an MP of, but who am I to judge? He has 179 likes on Facebook, and a photo that proves that he has, at least once, met Winston Peters.
What Winston has to say: “He has witnessed the good and bad side of farming, having managed an outbreak of TB on his farm in 2013. “
Andy Foster (18th)
Oh, this is exciting (comparatively speaking). Andy Foster even has a Wikipedia page, which tells us that he volunteered for the National Party, worked as a parliamentary researched for them for three years in the 80s, has stood for council a few times, ran for mayor a few times, and self-defines as a ‘Bluegreen’ which is a right-wing environmentalist, a term which I am delighted to forget almost immediately after finishing writing this piece.
Foster is standing for New Zealand First in Wellington Central, also known as Robertsonville.
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt (19th)
Melanie Mark-Shadbolt affiliates herself with Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa, has a BA in Maori and Political Science, a postgraduate diploma in Social Science, and currently works at Lincoln University. She notably walked out of the National Māori council as chairperson of her district, Te Waipounamu, which appears to be quite controversial.
She is also, likely not coincidentally, the daughter of New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark.
What Winston says: “Melanie Mark-Shadbolt is a tireless worker for her community and her region.”
If Hell Freezes Over
Julian Paul (33rd)
To quote directly from NZ First’s website: “A sales specialist and martial arts teacher Mr Paul has played a major role in developing the youth electorate of New Zealand First and has been a driving force behind the emerging New Zealand First support in Auckland.”
He is being run as the candidate in Epsom, also known as Seymourtown, and I can only hope that his campaign involves lots of challenging David Seymour to fights.
What Winston says: “His entry into the Epsom election fray will put other parties on notice that New Zealand First is in Epsom with serious intent.” I can only assume this is a euphemism for karate chops.
Kym Koloni (37th)
Kym Koloni is standing in Northcote.
The New Zealand First website says she has served as Chair of the Howick and Pakuranga Toy Library, the Botany Plunket Committee and is an active member of the Drury Rotary Club. If nothing else, that’s an impressive amount of mileage to rack up, and I fear for her commute. She also self-identifies as a “laughoholic”.
What Winston says: “We know that she will run a strong campaign for the party vote in the Northcote electorate.”
You’d hoped that would be a given for someone running in their location, but I’m no political expert.
Not Even If Hell Freezes Over
Ilja Ruppeldt (49th)
Ilja Ruppeldt is a linguist who is fluent in SIX languages, and is also a New Zealand First candidate. Humans contain many multitudes! He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Academy of Performing Arts in Czechoslovakia and is the proud owner of an iHug email in 2017.
What Winston says: “Ilja Ruppeldt is a highly qualified digital media producer. He has serious international experience with a depth of knowledge of politics and commercial activities across the global spectrum.”
Susan Sara (54th)
Susan Sara does not exist on the internet and in fact may be a ghost, and a very strategic play for New Zealand First to get the elusive ghost vote.
Ken Mahon (55th)
Ken Mahon in the NZ First candidate for Maungakiekie, is a business mentor and has a hotmail email account.
What Winston says: “He has a valuable contribution to make to the public life of New Zealand.”
I figure once you get down to making comments on the 55th person your list, you run out of compliments real quick.
Lindy Palmer (56th)
Lindy Palmer is a former flight attendant, WINZ case manager and current fashion brand sales manager. She is NZ First’s Selwyn candidate, has 120 likes on Facebook and wears blue eyeshadow in her profile picture, which is a strong offer.
What Winston says: “She has strong connections with the electorate, has an empathy for its quite distinctive characteristics and will be a forthright and effective advocate for the Selwyn communities.”