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Assessing Labour’s Mana result

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, November 21st, 2010 - 92 comments
Categories: by-election, democratic participation - Tags: , ,

Labour can be reasonably pleased with the Mana result. The majority is small but that does not mean anything for the wider party. To win Labour had to overcome 1) a weak candidate 2) a ferocious Key-centred National campaign 3) a threat to its left 4) a media narrative that damned it thrice over, and 5) a very low turn-out.

A 1,000 vote majority is not huge but that is no reason to think that Mana has suddenly become a marginal seat and it is certainly not a bad omen for the Labour Party as whole going into next year. The factors that worked against Labour in the by-election will not be present again with the same force at the general election:

1) Kris Fa’afoi was not stellar by any means. He appeared to lack conviction in his public appearances and to be repeating lines from others too much. That’s, perhaps, the inevitable result of going from newsman to press sec to candidate in record time.

Fa’afoi was not the asset in the campaign that, for instance, David Shearer was in Mt Albert. But he now has 8 months to get the measure of his new position and he will. A quick learner with good underlying values, Fa’afoi will grow as an MP and will be a much stronger player come the general election.

2) Even the Tory rag the Trans-Tasman made a point of how hard the Nats were running in Mana. For National, this by-election was about testing the durability of their one asset – John Key. Hekia Parata pretty much hid in the background. Her job was simply to laugh when Key made a joke. Often, media coverage had a comment from Key vs a comment from Fa’afoi.

Make no mistake, National was seriously hoping for an upset result.

Fa’afoi won’t be up against Key in 2011. It will be just him vs Parata. National is not going to expend so much of their one asset’s time in Mana again.

Parata also got endorsed by United Future and the Maori Party. Again, don’t expect that in 2011.

3) Matt McCarten will be disappointed with the 816 votes he won. It’s less than 4% and it came from him campaigning directly and intensely, if only for three weeks. I don’t think it will kill the idea of a new Left Party but it’s a set back.

Most of those votes must have come from Fa’afoi, which nearly halved his majority. McCarten won’t be running in Mana next year.

4) There are essentially three election media narratives. The first is the train wreck/deserved defeat (Bill English, Don Brash, Melissa Lee, Labour 2008). The second is the heroic underdog (Celia Wade-Brown, Len Brown, Winston Peters and Jim Anderton in the old days). The third is the nailbiter.

They all worked against Labour in Mana. The media narrative of Goff’s leadership as a train wreck was established almost before the poor bugger had got into the big seat and hasn’t (yet) been wiped by the closing polls. As Goff’s man, Fa’afoi’s campaign was always tainted with that – notice all the articles about how he had to win a huge majority or it would be a defeat for Goff. And Parata got to play the underdog because she never really had any chance of winning. Her coverage was almost entirely sympathetic. The nailbiter that was created as a media narrative further dis-stablised Fa’afoi as the de facto incumbent.

That it was such a boring campaign that small mistakes would be picked up on by the media desperate for something resembling a story and the only ones were made by Fa’afoi’s side didn’t help.

5) Turn-out was incredibly low at less than 50%. National wanted it that way, of course. We all know a low turn-out hurts Labour the most. Low turn-out alone has cost Fa’afoi thousands in his majority, and that will be reversed next year.

Bear in mind, too, that Parata’s supposedly successful campaign actually saw her win fewer votes this time than she did in 2008.

So, the Labour election organisation had to overcome all these obstacles. And they did, convincingly in the end. It was a game with the conditions stacked against them, albeit one fought on home ground.

Of course, next year Fa’afoi and the local party will have to succeed without so much support from the rest of the party but they’re now up-skilled and ready.

One thought on Parata. She’s one of several new Nat backbenchers who is so full of themselves they are already talking about being PM some day. This is her third defeat in an electorate race but I doubt that will knock the chip off her shoulder.

r0b update:

One thing missing from all analysis I’ve seen so far. Yes, Winnie Laban has a 6,000 vote majority in 2008. But that was a personal vote. Looking at party vote Labour’s majority was just 2,500 (Mana was never a safe Labour seat it was a safe Laban seat).

So take Laban’s personal vote out of the picture in the by-election and the Labour candidate starts with just a 2,500 majority. By election turnout 65% compared to 2008, so reduce the expected majority to 1,600.

And Faa’foi actually got 1,080 of that, campaigning against the PM. Bloody good result for Kris and for Labour!

92 comments on “Assessing Labour’s Mana result”

  1. 5) Turn-out was incredibly low at less than 50%. National wanted it that way, of course. We all know a low turn-out hurts Labour the most.

    We all assume a low turnout hurts Labour most. The assumption is false. It is probably the case that a low turnout hurt Faafoi in this case, but low turnout hurts both parties at different times. The low turnout in 2002, for example (76.98% vs 84.77% for 1999 and 80.92% in 2005) hurt National much more than it hurt Labour.

    Low turnout generally hurts the losing party – the party whose voters don’t have enough reason to come out. In 2002, this was National voters staying away, in 2008, it was Labour voters staying away.

    • Marty G 1.1

      in exceptional circumstances, rightwing voters stay away – 2002, Mt Albert – but in general it is people in Labour’s core demographics who are less likely to vote.

      • yes … but that happens anyway. Turnout among Labour’s core demographic is lower (than National’s) at both elections with high overall turnout and those with low overall turnout.

        When you’re talking about overall turnout affecting the result, it’s the changes from the norm that are important. If at an ordinary election turnout in National’s demographic is 85%, and Labour’s 70%, the fact that at some National’s turnout has dropped to 75% while Labour’s had stayed steady is bad for National, even though “their” turnout may still have been higher.

        It’s not about right-wing or left-wing people staying away from the polls, it’s about right-wing and left-wing voters who would ordinarily vote staying away. And this affects both parties at different times.

    • lprent 1.2

      It definitely does hurt Labour far more often than National.

      In the 2002 election, from the canvassing and the results, I suspect that the tory vote did get out. But a lot of the soft tory vote voted for Labour rather than voting for the Nats who were in quite a disarray. The turnout was pretty low overall but we also saw a lot of Labour voters not vote that election because it looked like a forgone conclusion.

      Melissa Lee – well poor candidates don’t get good votes in electorates – especially mine.

      The vote in Mana has an incredibly low turnout even for a by-election. Looks to me like that was the single biggest factor overall.

  2. felix 2

    The factors that worked against Labour in the by-election will not be present again with the same force at the general election:

    1) Kris Fa’afoi was not stellar by any means. He appeared to lack conviction in his public appearances and to be repeating lines from others too much.

    Do I need to spell out the problem here?

  3. joe bloggs 3

    All that angst about McCarten splitting the vote on the left came to nothing.

    Only 800 votes for McCarten yet Labour’s majority was slashed from 6,000 to 1,000.

    A 6.5 point swing away from Labour and a 6.7 point swing towards National.

    Frankly, Eddie, you’re over-analysing again. The numbers speak for themselves. Faafoi and Labour were slaughterated and barely hung on by their fingernails to what was once the safest of Labour seats.

    Goff’s strategy of parachuting Faafoi in backfired. Bet he doesn’t run that risk again.

    All the cloth-cap smugness on The Standard and Red Alert about Parata being in the house while Faafoi and co were out treading the pavements? Hollow words.

    Here’s your victory Eddie – it’s already up on Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrrhic_victory

    • Eddie 3.1

      Parata won fewer votes this time than in 2008. Do those numbers speak for themselves too?

      Or do they require some analysis?

      • gingercrush 3.1.1

        And that is one of the most stupid statements to make. Of course her numbers were lower it was a fucking by-election. Jesus christ. More importantly her percentage numbers were much better.

        • Eddie 3.1.1.1

          and to understand why that happened, you need the analysis I did above.

          your buddy joe bloggs was claiming the numbers speak for themselves, as you say, that’s stupid

      • joe bloggs 3.1.2

        A 6.5 point swing away from Labour and a 6.7 point swing towards National.

        No analysis required there, Eddie, just a handful of paper towels to wipe Labour’s blood from the floors.

        • joe bloggs 3.1.2.1

          and three more numbers that also don’t require a hell of a lot of analysing to point out the caning that Labour just received – in a mid-term by-election, no less:

          Total electorate vote was down by 27%
          Hekia Parata’s vote was down 15%
          Labour’s vote was down by 36%

          despite Labour putting MPs on every street corner

  4. ak 4

    Well done to all those who turned out delivered the win for Labour. It’s quite evident that NACT poured massive resources into this after being severely stung in the Local Body rout, and going by the prepared celebrations and statements, probable that their internal polling indicated victory.

    Only off-the-cuff comment from NACT is the classic Keydubya howler: “Sometimes losing is winning, and this is one of those”.

    Lesson for Labour: turn-out is everything, so start earlier and work even harder. Shoe-leather and face-to-face is the antidote to apathy.

  5. Bill 5

    Maybe Labour are happy.

    But what about Labour supporters? Seems to me that with Goff arguably fronting a ‘National Lite’ Labour Party and Key arguably fronting a ‘Labour Lite’ National Party, that many people won’t see anything substantial to hang their vote on. In such circumstances, votes fall on personality based platforms.

    Skip the fact that Key is seen as more personable than Goff. Are Labour supporters happy for the Labour Party’s perceived point of difference degenerating to be not much more than that which might determine a ‘happy campers holidaying at the seaside’ popularity contest?

  6. SHG 6

    Mana just went from being a safe Labour seat to being a knife-edge marginal with a New Guy. Labour will have to campaign hard for it 2011, and those are resources which are dearly needed elsewhere.

    • Eddie 6.1

      you’ve missed all the reasons why it won’t be marginal next year.

      • Daveski 6.1.1

        And eddie you’ve missed the key point here, I suspect quite deliberately as it contradicts your core narrative and one that many here subscribe to.

        By elections are traditionally difficult for the current Govt – people have the freedom to expression dissatisfaction without upsetting the apple cart.

        For the opposite to happen in the safest of safe Labour seats surely deserves some more robust analysis.

        Does this bode well for National?? Possibly not as it is after all a one off.

        Does this bode well for Labour. Hell no. The result from a Labour perspective was as convincing as your spin effort.

        • Eddie 6.1.1.1

          by elections don’t traditionally have the pm out there shaking babies and kissing hands every day either.

          he’s spent more time on mana than the economy in the last month, and all he gets is a reduced majority due to low turnout

          • Bob Stanforth 6.1.1.1.1

            Lets test that statement Eddie. “the pm out there shaking babies and kissing hands every day either.”

            So, the whinging on here when Key was overseas “on holiday” , does that mean he flew back to Mana every single day? Or is it time for someone – maybe me – to call bullshit on your statement.

            Yes, National worked hard, good on them; Labour won the seat, barely; good on them. As your Mr Goff said, this by-election was a chance for the electorate to make a statement to the Government. Appears to me that happened. They also appear to have made a statement to Labour, but then your hilarious spin provides me and most of the thinking electorate with evidence of that, and the fact that you really cant handle the truth. :)

        • Fisiani 6.1.1.2

          The talk over the summer barbecues after this stunning result will be about the inevitability of the popular National goverment winning Nov2011 on the back of a resurgent economy, rising employment, better information about education and a glorious World Cup win for the All Blacks.

          [You are rapidly wearing out your welcome fisi. Another of these idiotic, content-free trolls and you will be out of here…RL]

          [lprent: agreed. The only thing I find funny about F these days is predicting how sycophantic his comments will be the next time. But he seems to have lost all trace of any critical analysis – which makes him rather pointless to have around on a political blog. ]

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.2.1

            about the inevitability of the popular National goverment winning Nov2011

            Actually a July election is more likely, one that National is going to lose as their economic directionless becomes clearer month by month.

            Oh, unless the whole Botany situation falls over in which case a May/June election is up.

  7. Sean Brooks 7

    Surly the Labour party is concered with this

    • swordfish 7.1

      Blimey !, I mean Blimey, Blimey !!!

      I’ve got so much to say about these results, so much suburb-by-suburb analysis to spew out over the next few hours, and so many completely, utterly wrongheaded assumptions by one or two people to put right. In fact I’m becoming so overly-excited I’m beginning to understand exactly how Nick Smith felt after being made deputy leader…rapid eyelid movement, gibberish chatter, hysterical laughter… But, for the moment, just 2 points:

      (1) R0b is ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY ON THE MONEY !!!

      It’s what I, and one or two others like Phil Quin, have been arguing for 6 weeks now (me, on a number of blogs, but especially The Standard, Quin on his Irredeemable blog). The benchmark is NOT Laban’s 6100 Candidate-Vote majority (and even less the 7000 figure that some people have – for reasons known only to themselves – been throwing about with wild abandon), the TRUE BENCHMARK is THE 2008 PARTY-VOTE.

      Labour won that, as R0b so rightly points out, by a mere 2500 votes over National. Taking into account the lower turnout, that means the TRUE BENCHMARK – the majority one should expect for Fa’afoi all things being equal – is 1700. Not 6100, not 7000, but 1700. (R0b says 1600, but I think he’s overlooked the special votes in his calculation). I calculate turnout as (i) 68.5% of the 2008 Mana turnout and (ii) 55.9% of all registered voters (Although I’m basing the second calculation on the 2008 master roll).

      I haven’t analysed the usual special-vote pattern yet, but I guess it’s common knowledge that the Greens tend to do particularly well with this vote. I also suspect the incumbent Party (the Party that wins the Candidate-Vote) does well. Wouldn’t be surprised then if Fa’afoi’s majority creeps up to 1200 or a little more.

      (2) Which leads me to my second objective:….. shameless self-promotion:

      2 weeks ago (reiterated again on Friday, the day before the by-election) I predicted on Quin’s Irredeemable blog that Fa’afoi would win by 1200 votes. Also got the Green (Logie) vote right and the % margin between Fa’afoi and Parata right. And once the special-votes are counted, I’m expecting my predictions for Fa’afoi and Parata’s raw number of votes to be very close: I predicted: Fa’afoi 11,100…….Parata 9900.

      My mistake, however, was to over-estimate Matt McCarten’s vote. 2 weeks ago, I said 1400, and unfortunately on Friday I upped it to 1800. Bad, bad mistake.

      But generally, I’m feeling pretty bloody satisfied with my predictions. Perhaps, without knowing it, I’ve become a forceful and ruthless campaign strategist with the midas touch when it comes to the deeply cynical dark arts of electoral calculation. Then again, perhaps not.

      • mickysavage 7.1.1

        Well done Swordfish. I have enjoyed your sophisticated analysis of the electorate which reads like someone who lives in and breathes the area. Have you thought about contributing your skills the party as a whole?

      • r0b 7.1.2

        Hey swordfish, I knew I’d read those party figures somewhere but I couldn’t think where to look for it. Must have been you. So a late hat tip and thanks! Good work on your predictions…

  8. Gotham 8

    I would be interested to know what people think of the Green’s performance in the election. Here’s my amateur political commentary on it:

    I think the result should be a bit worrying for some people in the Greens. Considering the amount of time, effort and resources which went into the campaign, I am not impressed that we couldn’t pull off any increase from the 2008 general election result.

    What worries me personally, as a Green member, is that there is so much emphasis on pulling in the ‘mainstream’ vote. But, it appears to me that we lost votes to McCarten – so, we lost votes to a more left party, not a more centrist one. This is going to be an even bigger concern if McCarten pushes ahead with a new left party.

    The bigger crisis was averted, it would have been DISASTER if McCarten had beaten Logie. But although I was pretty impressed with Logie and what I saw of her campaign, I am concerned that didn’t translate into a bigger vote.

    • Shane Gallagher 8.1

      Well – look at it this way – even as a Green party member I would hesitate to vote for a Green candidate if it meant that a National party candidate would get in. We spend a lot of time hammering the “Party Vote Green” message out there so people are not really used to voting for Green candidates this way. And Jan got the same percentage (apporx) as Michael Gilchrist did in 2008 so I don’t think that is a bad result at all, esp. as there was a drop in the Labour vote.

      Which by the way is not good – no matter how you spin that out. They should have run a strong left wing candidate (like Matt McCarten) except that I doubt that there are many in the Labour party. They should have used this to test run the next election with a strong left wing agenda but they tried to play safe. Playing safe will lose them the next election.

      • Gotham 8.1.1

        I agree – I think the left (and especially Green-left) need to get bold about their campaigning before the next election.

        I am sick of lack-lustre, pandering to the masses politics. It would be great to see a bit of inspiration for once.

        I just hope there is a lot of behind the scenes discussions on why the Greens’ campaign in Mana wasn’t a success, rather than all this ‘happy with the results’ bs. Being ‘happy with those results’ will definitely lose us the next election.

    • Rebecca 8.2

      I think the Greens did well – Jan is an excellent candidate and she did well to maintain third place and hold the votes in the face of the Matt McCarten campaign. And yes, I am one of those Green party voters who voted for Faafoi, and bloody glad I did looking at the results. Jan deserves a good list place – she\’s done very well and would make a great MP.

  9. Redbaron77 9

    The turnout was down by 11,669. An analysis of the raw pollings figures show Kris and Hekia were both affected by the lower turnout however it hit Kris harder. In particular Kris was 7673 from Winnie’s 2008 vote (securing only 57.5% of the 2008 Labour electorate vote) whereas Hekia was 2,598 down on her 2008 poll or 78.2% of her 2008 vote. Whilst some of Winnie’s 2008 vote may have gone across to Hekia it also suggests is that a considerable proportion of Labour’s vote did not turnout yesterday. This should be able to be confirmed from a cross-analysis of the polling booths; against the 2008, 2005 results. If the lower vote for Labour and Kris is due to voter’s staying away this question then is why did they fail to go to the polling booths yesterday?

    • Anne 9.1

      While there maybe the odd exception to the rule (eg. Mt Albert where there were special factors at play), Labour voters have historically stayed away from by-elections in larger numbers than National voters. Add to that the recently held local body elections which caused voter confusion, and the fact that most knew their vote wasn’t going to change anything anyway, then you had a recipe for apathy.

      As has already been said, the only lesson for Labour (which they know anyway) is that they have to work twice as hard as National to get their people out to vote – especially in by-elections.

    • pollywog 9.2

      If the lower vote for Labour and Kris is due to voter’s staying away, the question then is, why did they fail to go to the polling booths yesterday?

      cos they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for someone disconnected from their community and they sure as hell weren’t going to vote for national instead…

      ..faced with a choice between the lesser of 2 evils, they chose to do nothing.

      apathy FTW !!!

    • I have had a really rough go at the booth by booth changes in turnout. For the most National supporting booths the by election vote was 83% of the 2008 vote, more marginal 72%, marginal to moderate Labour 66% and the bedrock Labour 75%. Certainly there is evidence that the drop in turnout in the wealthier areas was lower than in the marginal areas although the turnout in bedrock Labour areas suggests that the party machinery was working well.

      One other comment, many Kiwis use their MMP votes consciously to support the party and the MP that they want. Do not read too much into this result as far as party support goes.

      • swordfish 9.3.1

        Interesting booth-by-booth turnout analysis, micky. I’m just about to begin a little similar analysis myself, though with a focus on the candidate vote percentages on a suburb-by-suburb basis.

        • mickysavage 9.3.1.1

          Mine was rough and ready just to get a feel for what happened. Booth by booth they are all over the place but grouping them together gives a bit more clarity. You should submit yours to the usual suspects.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Will the National supporters be making the same arguments when the numbers for Botany are announced.

    There it is their majority that will be under attack.

    Could it be some are using every trick to avoid a bye election.
    They only have to get her to stay till late march and the problem will go away

  11. just saying 11

    Prediction: the specials will take the McCarten vote comfortably over five percent.

    This from an unknown (to most locals) outsider in three weeks with stuff-all resources.

  12. Olwyn 12

    Under the present circumstances, with wages dropping, prices rising and employment increasingly precarious, along with the public vilification and harassment that attends unemployment under a right wing government, Labour should be more concerned about the low turnout than the comparative percentages. Even if it is common for by-elections to generate a low turnout, this ought not to be the case in this particular area and under these conditions. It suggests that Labour’s message failed to come across as compelling enough to fire up potential voters. Len Brown’s Auckland campaign is the one to learn from: Len did not offer salvation from all of life’s woes, but people did trust him to take their concerns seriously, and to do what was possible to meet them, within the scope and capacity of a mayor. People responded by caring whether he won or not, and voting for him.

  13. r0b 13

    One thing missing from all analysis I’ve seen so far. Yes, Winnie Laban has a 6,000 vote majority in 2008. But that was a personal vote. Looking at party vote Labour’s majority was just 2,500 (Mana was never a safe Labour seat it was a safe Laban seat).

    So take Laban’s personal vote out of the picture in the by-election and the Labour candidate starts with just a 2,500 majority. By election turnout 65% compared to 2008, so reduce the expected majority to 1,600.

    And Faa’foi actually got 1,080 of that, campaigning against the PM. Bloody good result for Kris and for Labour!

    • ak 13.1

      Extremely pertinent point r0b – ta. Chuck on Matt’s votes (almost all from Lab) and allow for the lower turnout, and it’s quite a gain to Labour – also explains why NACT went so hard, and emphasises the importance of candidate er mana when both sides go hard on the ground. Take off the Hekia factor and it’s an even further gain to Lab.

    • And National’s incessant comments that the seat was safe was designed to drive down turnout in the hope they would then sneak through. If you add McCarten’s votes to Faafoi he did ok.

  14. deemac 14

    McCarten managed to make a popular policy – the $15 minimum wage – look like a marginal idea. Genius.

  15. BLiP 15

    Labour can be reasonably pleased with the Mana result. The majority is small but that does not mean anything for the wider party.

    If that’s the sort of casual arrogance of Labour, there goes 2011.

    • Craig GlenEden 15.1

      How’s that arrogance Blip? Me thinks you suffer from an inferiority complex, like the little brother complex.

      • BLiP 15.1.1

        I perceive arrogance in the statement that a significant drop in votes in what should have been stroll in the park is “meaningless”. It implies that Labour finds there’s nothing to be learned from the experience in Mana. I disagree.

        I’m not sure what you mean about my alleged inferiority complex. Sure, I’m disappointed with the Green vote, if that is what you are referring to? However, the disappointing result is to be expected given the Greens’ abandoning core principles in some sort of naive attempt to please the media, cross boundaries, and appeal to the twin-set-and-pearls gardening group constituency. If anything, McCarten scooped up much of what should have been our vote. Good on him.

  16. Fisiani 16

    Correct Blip .I laughed out loud when I read those opening lines.

  17. millsy 17

    The spin on this from both sides is rather disconcerting.

    National are behaving like England did back in 1997 after losing by ‘just’ 17 points to the All Blacks, with our Great and Glorious Leader painting it as a vote of support for the governments policies.

    Meanwhile, in the Labour camp, they dont seem to see that bringing in outside candidates who look as if they want to build their CV’s more than anything else is in actuality a turn off for the voting public.

    In any case, a win is a win and a loss is a loss, and that is what matters. It would have been way worse if Labour had lost this one. Now Kris needs to prove himself as an MP, and show his people that he deserved their votes – his re-election campaign starts tomorrow.

    • Meanwhile, in the Labour camp, they dont seem to see that bringing in outside candidates who look as if they want to build their CV’s more than anything else is in actuality a turn off for the voting public.

      The problem they have is that the people making the decisions are living in a bubble (maybe the same one Litea Ah Hoi kept advising us to blow away). The old line about politics being showbiz for ugly people holds true; they see themselves as celebrities, not servants, and thus think the only people suitable to join them at the top table are other celebrities.

      It’s asking more than just that they take a long look at what makes a good candidate, it’s asking them to fundamentally re-evaluate their own status. And I don’t see it happening. Ever.

      (And, as Herodotus points out below, the above is equally applicable to National with their fatuous courting of boofhead sports “stars” etc.)

      • M 17.1.1

        ‘The old line about politics being showbiz for ugly people holds true; they see themselves as celebrities, not servants, and thus think the only people suitable to join them at the top table are other celebrities.’

        Rex, that should get the Nutshell Award.

  18. Santi 18

    I’m delighted to see the ridiculously low number of votes McCarten got. It’s a pathetic display from a pathetic candidate.

    Time for the delusional Matt to bugger off national politics.

  19. DS 19

    >>>Labour voters have historically stayed away from by-elections in larger numbers than National >>>voters.

    Exactly. Even in by-elections where you see a big swing against National (1998 Taranaki-King Country, 1994 Selwyn, 1992 Tamaki, 1980 East Coast Bays, 1978 Rangitikei), the vote doesn’t go to Labour – it goes to third parties.

    By-elections, due to turnout, are practically meaningless in trying to read the tea-leaves for a general election.

    Incidentally, in case anyone is curious, a Government *has* gained a seat in a by-election off an Opposition in this country before. It last happened in 1921 (Reform gains Auckland East at the expense of the Liberals), but it has happened.

  20. gobsmacked 20

    DS is right.

    Selwyn was a great by-election for the Alliance. Taranaki King-Country was a great by-election for ACT. They each came a very good second, and then … nothing happened. Not for the parties, nor for the candidates. Nobody even remembers the names of their heroic runners-up. They certainly aren’t in Parliament today. (But here’s the thing – those by-election winners still are. The loser gets headlines for a day, the winner gets a career for decades).

    Hekia Parata will remain a list MP, and will now start searching for a safe National seat. She’s not stupid, she knows there’s no job security in coming second.

    Was Mana a good result for Labour? No. A total contrast to Mount Albert. That was a dream result for Labour, and … it had no effect whatsoever on wider public opinion. The polls didn’t move at all.

    So, not very good, and not very significant. Um, that’s it.

    • J Mex 20.1

      I’m with you, Gobsmacked.

      This is bad for Labour insofar as they would have liked to do much much better against National. It is not bad for Labour insofar as it is absolutely irrelevant as to their performance in next years election.

      National should be justifiably happy with their result. I doubt there was one person in NZ that thought National would win. However, there would be few that picked it being so close. In that regard, better for National than Labour. Relatively insignificant otherwise.

  21. M 21

    Happy the left triumphed and Labour got the necessary scare it needs courtesy of Matt but Kris will really need to work his butt off over the next year.

    I don’t know that Kris is going to

    • Anne 21.1

      Why M?
      I had the distinct impression that Kris Faafoi worked his butt off in Mana, but the media chose to give more publicity to Key and Parata smiling and waving to anything that moved.

      Faafoi by his own admission was new to the political game, and as he said on Q&A this morning “it was a steep learning curve”. He comes across to me as someone of intelligence and integrity, and I believe he will work hard to gain the confidence and the support of the Mana voters.

      • M 21.1.1

        Anne

        Submitted comment before I’d finished post in error as I was trying to concentrate on something else at the time as well – here’s what it should have read:

        Happy the left triumphed and Labour got the necessary scare it needs courtesy of Matt but Kris will really need to work his butt off over the next year.

        I don’t know that Kris is going to set the electorate on fire next year given the negativity surrounding his selection shoe-in and it may be that he is perceived as having a too-polished, well-practised patter and maybe not enough grunt. I think Phil also suffers from the same perception as not having enough grunt.

        Phil after his speech at the conference needed to keep up the momentum and he needs to get as many media releases as he can, after all Key will do just about anything for a smile and wave photo-op short of lying down on railway tracks so why shouldn’t Phil be out there?

        Kris and Phil need to display some mettle, not being out and out nasty but showing that they are not to be trifled with and need to have some good ripostes that give their detractors nowhere to go.

        • Anne 21.1.1.1

          We’ve all done that with much gnashing of teeth at our own stupidity 😉

          • Anne 21.1.1.1.1

            @M
            You won’t believe this mate but I’ve just done the same thing. Jeepers!

            Wanted to add that I agree wholeheartedly with your latter comments. Goff in particular needs to up the ante from now on. Too bad if he upsets a few people along the way. It’s time for the risk taking to start!

  22. Herodotus 22

    I hope that these 2 by elections are the last of fly in, party appointed canditates. How can an electorate feel connected with “their” local Mp. Sure with boundary changes there are cases for the MP not to be able to vote for themselves.
    Or celebrity canditates head hunted by head office case in mind Anton Oliver. (I remember Marc Ellis was mentioned in despatches with Don Brash) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3427685/Political-parties-woo-former-All-Black-Anton-Oliver
    Labours disconnect with the people is still remains unanswered. Nat are the same.
    From what I have read there was no policy why we should vote for Lab only why we shouldn’t vote Nat. Labour by default is not the answer.

  23. Tanz 23

    Te Atatu will be interesting, won’t it. Time for some more women candidates, as Audrey Young pointed out, to even out the score. Or a safe bet for Phil Twyford, still looking for a seat? What an interesting political year this has been.!

  24. smhead 24

    I’m waiting for the pictures of david shearer and darien fenton walking down the street on election day knocking on doors and telling voters to go vote faafoi.

    Eddie forgets labour threw everything at holding mana. So stupid of goff to call it a referendum on the government and then get egg on his face when there’s a huge swing to the government. By elections NEVER swing to the government. Except this one. Faafoi is a nice guy but he was only there because he has a brown face and close to goff. We’ll never hear from him again.

    • lprent 24.1

      smhead: You’re an election idiot aren’t you….

      You can’t tell people who to vote for on election day – it is illegal in the electoral act. All you can do is to help get people to the polls. Of course there is an art in selecting who you want to go to vote…

      BTW: I’m guessing the sm means small? right?

  25. TV presenter or politician, what’s the difference ? Both feed from the same trough.

  26. JRM 26

    “National are behaving like England did back in 1997 after losing by ‘just’ 17 points to the All Blacks, with our Great and Glorious Leader painting it as a vote of support for the governments policies.”

    England did a lap of honour to thank the supporters for coming as they were playing at Old Trafford, an area of Manchester United football stronghold where rugby visits by the national team were few and far between.

    They weren’t celebrating a win, they were thanking the crowd.

  27. Jeremy Harris 27

    I think this post is polishing a turd really…

    I don’t think there is going to be too much champagne being downed at Labour HQ tonight…

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      I don’t think there is going to be too much champagne being downed at Labour HQ tonight…

      Probably a Speights or two mate, well earned at that 😛

    • Jeremy Harris 27.2

      Not if Tizard is there… She likes a bit of the champahs…

    • lprent 27.3

      Beats me where you get these ideas. I’ve never seen champagne at any Labour party function.

      Perhaps you were talking about the Nats?

      • Colonial Viper 27.3.1

        Hey doesn’t Lindauer = champagne?

        Oh on reflection, probably not 😛

      • Jeremy Harris 27.3.2

        I’m guessing it’s only on the menu when the taxpayers are paying for it then…

        • Colonial Viper 27.3.2.1

          No doubt, but I wouldn’t begrudge Key serving tax payer funded champagne to Clinton at their recent BBQ.

        • Jeremy Harris 27.3.2.2

          I do…

          Surely he should have said, “I’m sorry we’d offer you champagne but for a $200 bottle we figured someone on the minimum wage would have to work 60 odd hours to earn enough for us to take the taxes to pay for it”…

          That’d shut her up, unless socialism is just a ruse to get access to the trough..?

        • lprent 27.3.2.3

          Ah, but you were quite specific about Labour HQ. Now you’re slithering off into diversionary tactics talking about Judith.

          Perhaps you should be looking at the hundreds of thousands that Bill English has rorted from taxpayers for his house, or that Rodney attempted to rort while on a baby making exercise.

          But with your typical tory lack of proportionality, you are concerned by a bottle of wine (not from champagne) by a minister who from memory was associate minister of the arts – who do drink the stuff.

          Do You realize how much of an ignorant idiot it makes you look?

          • Jeremy Harris 27.3.2.3.1

            I’m not a tory, I dislike the Nats, probably more than you…

            Feel better now you’ve thrown all the toys out of your cot..? Do you realise how much of an ignorant idiot being an ignorant idiot makes you look..?

            • lprent 27.3.2.3.1.1

              I didn’t say Nat. Tory is more general to the whole spectrum to the conservative right of the economic/social political sphere. It is more of an attitude than a political party.

              What I do notice about tories like yourself is that they tend to lack a sense of proportionality. That was what I was pointing out with a bit of a needle embedded.

              • Jeremy Harris

                You attack anyone who doesn’t agree with you, the domain of those who lack the depth of argument to even attempt to change minds and is worried everyone will find out…

                The point was about whether Labour would be celebrating much over the result, the answer is seemingly a resounding, “no”… The commenting then headed off in a tangent because I used the word champagne, possibly quite flippantly, I could see CV was implying that no one from the left would ever drink anything so extravagent, so I brought up Tizard…

                I enjoy debating CV because he has a brain but you had to come in with your abusive, mindless, over sensitive bollocks and waste my time…

                If you really think I approve of English’s or Rodney’s rorts your as stupid as you are boorish, if you don’t realise that I understand that English’s effective theft of over $30,000 is many orders of magnitude larger than Tizard spending a few hundred dollars on wine you are dense, I didn’t bring those things up because they have nothing to do with the conversion at hand, if I lack a sense of proportionality then you lack a sense of relevancy, according to you on a post about Labour’s results in a by-election I should have posted:

                “I disapprove of Bill English’s double dipping uncovered two years ago and Rodney using tax payers money to take his girlfriend to the UK eighteen months ago”…

                • lprent

                  …no one from the left would ever drink anything so extravagent, so I brought up Tizard…

                  You used a classic troll line. It was done in the typical way to divert a thread (inadvertent or not). When challenged you attempted to avoid…. All classic troll behaviors.

                  If you hadn’t noticed (or haven’t read the policy), I land really hard on people doing troll behaviors on this site.

                  Sometimes I warn them. Sometimes I ban them. And sometimes when I have time and I feel that they’re merely drifting into irritating behaviors then I will needle them about whatever they said. The objective is that they get to an apoplexy as fast as possible by doing the classic troll behaviors of misconstruing, misinterpreting, diversionary tactics, unsubstantiated assertions, and even misinformation. It is a very ungentle warning about behaviors that draw my attention.

                  It wastes less of my time to do it by example of what it leads to (ie flamewars) rather than explaining nicely. It is also more fun and it allows me to exercise skill-sets that would otherwise get rusty (ie how to be a nasty sysop). It is also public which means that I have to do less of it in the future for other people reading the thread.

                  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do some training.

                  • Jeremy Harris

                    Ha ha, so you deem anyone who doesn’t share your point of view as a troll and then, because being a troll is so reprehensible, you go straight and push your personal nuclear troll button… Nice logic there…

                    I do note you have no response for the body of my last post – pathetic… Hard to believe your a mod and that you are is a sad commentary on this blog…

                    • lprent

                      No.

                      I did answer about the substantive part of your comment. I’m really only interested in your behavior. I really couldn’t give a shit about your juvie philosophies and I haven’t seen anything you’ve written that is particularly interesting. Mostly looks like stuff I thought about before you were born. Hell I’ve been probably been moderating out the anti-social from before you were weaned. It is pretty tedious watching the same old tactics wheeled out by every newbie…

                      But you’ve been warned. It will be interesting to see if you earn yourself a Darwin award. Arguing with the sysop or any moderator about their site rules isn’t exactly a good indicator. We get tired of making the effort really fast.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      Warned for what, my imaginary troll behaviour..?

                      I don’t dispute your right as an admin to moderate posts, I dispute your ability to do rationally…

                      [lprent: The rationality is to protect this site from rubbish comments that cause flame-wars or people who don’t add to the conversation. This makes having to read the site more pleasant for all concerned – especially for the moderators who have to read it all of the time. The secondary objective is to reduce the amount of work required to achieve that objective.

                      Neither objective means that we have to or indeed should be nice whilst doing it. In fact the opposite is true. We should be outright nasty when infractions or suspected infractions are detected. This reduces the workload because it stops people lawyering the system and encourages people to self-moderate well within the bounds.

                      We’re reasonably consistent about what we don’t want to see (and I suspect that I’m probably the most consistent moderator in style) and generally we don’t give a shit about what you think should be permissible. There are many other sites available so you can probably find your own level without problems (read No you must..).

                      This is our site, we make the rules, and our measure of success is the steadily rising numbers of interesting comments that we read. You don’t do the hard work required to make the site work at its various levels. That makes you a guest and a relatively recent one still learning the local culture. Act like one and I’ll ignore you when I’m moderating. Don’t and as a moderator I’ll either torment you or ban you to protect the site depending on what I feel is an appropriate use of my time.

                      It is your choice, and incidentally arguing about it is wasting my time. ]

  28. happynz 28

    From the media reports it would seem as if Labour had lost the seat. The images I saw on the box were of celebrations by Hekia Parata and a smiling (what else) John Key.

    Weird…

  29. if Fa’afoi he were a white ex TV journo and former press secretary who jumped on the Labour bandwagon pretty late in the game, would he still have gotten in on the ‘safe’ Labour seat buzz ?

    would the media have ridden him harder…would the voters ‘connect’ with him even less…how much of the vote was because he was brown rather than he was ‘Labour’ ?

    does it matter that he’s appears brown in skin only with no real connection to the electorate ?

    i wonder how Mana would have voted if Parata were also a Pasifikan male, except one who lived and worked and socialised there.

    one can only assume Mana got the MP they deserve. i reckon they deserved more, regardless of the party the candidate represents.

    if National sourced a local candidate and said, ‘look Hekia, you’re 3 and 0 in the batting stakes, time for a spell on the bench cos you got a safe gig on the list team anyway’…

    …we’d find out how much being brown, male and local truly means to Mana when deciding who they want repping for them in the big house, and Fa’afoi, Goff and Labour would be in for a rude awakening

  30. tankyman 30

    They say perception is reality.

    The perception everywhere apart from here and red ablurt is that Nats have done very well. Labour – not well at all.

    See Audrey Young in the Herald “Some in Labour who should know better are creatively suggesting that Labour actually did better in the byelection than the last general election, despite having its majority slashed from 6155 to 1080.

    From three senior figures has come the suggestions that Kris Faafoi winning 47 per cent of the candidate vote on Saturday was a better result than the 43.9 per cent party vote that the party got in 2008, when Winnie Laban stood.

    That is like comparing raisins and sheep droppings.”

    Sorry guys – spin it all you like. Its not working anywhere at all apart from people who want to believe you. Labours Mana results is nothing short of a total FAIL!

    *spam word “wonderful” – and it is.

  31. Tiger Mountain 31

    Unlike wankyman above I say reality is reality, and Mana has elected a Labour MP. Various thoughtful qualifications and examinations of that result have occured in this post and subsequent comments. To have JFK (John fucking Key, must stop using that term) parked up in Mana for days on end holding hectoring Hekia’s hand looked more the fail.

  32. randal 32

    the perceptiuon is not the reality.
    the dompost have had two ediorials in the last two days trying to minimize the Mana result.
    they just cant handle getting a licking and they bleating up large.
    when leighton smith opines on his radio show that national look like being a one term government then the fat is well and truly in the fire.
    this government is made up of the inept and the last known remains of neanderthal man.
    thats why they dont let the backbenchers be seen in public but the truth is they are on the way out because while they may have the numbers they dont have any brains.

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