Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 8. Monday, July 1, 1963
How Election Candidates are Chosen
How Election Candidates are Chosen
Few people know how the candidates they will vote for in the next General Election are chosen. Of 100 people questioned in a Wellington street only six had any idea. Salient sent a reporter to various party headquarters to find out.
Each party has a different method.
As the National Party is in power our reporter first went to their headquarters to ask about the method they use in selecting their candidates.
The president explained the system of selection. Any person who is a financial member of the party can offer his services as a candidate for any electorate regardless of where he or she lives. Ten financial members of that electorate are required as nominators. A call for these nominations is put out during the early part of the election year. More than one candidate is nominated in most cases.
It would be both inconvenient and expensive to hold a postal ballot so that each member of the party could vote in the selection. Therefore a different system is adopted. Each branch in the electorate appoints one selection delegate for every 20 members. The delegates are called to a meeting at party headquarters at which they are to select the candidate to represent them. At the meeting each candidate is allowed to address the meeting for a time which is determined by the selection committee, but which must be either 10 minutes or more.
After the addresses the committee of delegates, with two chosen scrutineers holds a ballot. The result is announced at the same meeting. The number of votes for each candidate is not revealed and the ballot papers are burned.
There is one other factor. Before the selection meeting is arranged the candidates have to be approved by both the divisional committee and the dominion executive.
The Labour Party's method differs in one respect.
Nominations are called for and it is necessary for the candidates to be resident in that particular electorate. They must be nominated by six financial members of the party in that electorate. The selection committee has three members, appointed by the National Executive of the party. There are also three members (who must be resident in the electorate concerned) appointed by the Labour Representation Committee which has jurisdiction over (hat particular area.
The committee selects the parliamentary candidate from those nominated. The candidates do not address the committee but are chosen on their record of activity in Party affairs.
The Communist Party has an entirely different method of selection. When the date of the parliamentary election nears, the candidates to represent the party are "selected by the committee concerned." There is no nomination or selection meeting. The candidate is selected from the members of the party by a special committee. The Party Secretary told Salient that the size and regulations governing this committee are not available.
The Social Credit League selects its candidates similarly to the National Party. Nominations are called for in the same way but only four signatures are required. When nominations have closed the candidates must be confirmed as financial members for at least two years previous.
A selection meeting is called which all members of the local group may attend and vote at. This method will apply until the party finds it has more members than it can fit into a hall in the electorate concerned. In such a case a delegate system would probably be adopted.—J.P.