Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University. Wellington Vol. 23 No. 6 1960
Both parties have got well started on selecting candidates for the election. Labour are at a disadvantage here, for several of their older men, including the Prime Minister, obviously do not intend to retire, and the party does not seem determined enough to give them the necessary gentle push.
Labour's longest-serving member, H. G. R. Mason, has been in the house since 1926, while Clyde Carr and Mr Nash have served since 1928 and 1929 respectively. The latter two definitely intend to stand again. Three of the victors of the 1935 landslide, two of them ministers, still hold seats, and only one has so far announced his retirement. By contrast, only two National members have served since before 1940. To make matters worse for Labour, Mr Holloway, one of the best of the younger men, is leaving politics.
National will have a younger, fresher team. They are certain now to have the services of H. R. Lake, who has been nominated for the safe Fendalton seat vacated by Mr Watts. Mr Lake represented Lytteiton from 1949 to 1954, which was quite an achievement for any National man, and would be in line for a ministership if National win the election. Watts, a good businessman but no politician, is worth losing if a member of Lake's calibre is gained. There has been keen competition for the Otaki the selection committee had to deal with nine candidates. Expectation of a National victory seems to be great in some quarters. In Hawke's Bay the sitting member, usually automatically endorsed, suffered the unusual indignity of having to submit his name to a local party selection committee.
The Social Creditors remain an unknown quantity. No one can tell exactly where they get their votes from, and no one can forecast what their vote will be this year. The League has remodelled itself lately. Wilfrid Owen, after resigning the leadership, has now left the League, ostensibly on grounds of policy disagreement. The new leader, P. H. Matthews, is comparatively unknown; the man to watch is the vigorous and articulate secretary, C. W. Elvidge.
Social Credit now seems to have a hard core of voters, and in time this core should gradually build up until seats are gained. This was the pattern of Labour's rise. The only question is whether Social Credit will survive until the process starts bringing results.