There is a very long but worth reading post over at The Political Scientist. If you’re serious about campaigning in NZ at present, then it is definitely worth setting aside the time to ponder it. In particular the demographics and the occupational changes across Christchurch that may affect this years election outcome.
I’ve ‘borrowed’ the new-fangled abstract that Puddlegum is testing as our teaser (and that is long enough!).
One of the interesting questions waiting to be answered on 20 September this year is how Christchurch voters will respond to the government’s efforts over the last three years in the earthquake recovery process. A significant feature of the 2011 election was the collapse of the Labour Party vote. When the voting patterns of that election – and the 2005 and 2008 elections – are examined in detail it’s clear that a significant number of previous Labour voters simply stayed home, right across the city from east to west.
Since 2011, the government and its institutions (e.g., CERA, EQC, CCDU) have come under immense criticism; red-zoning decisions, including over bare land sections, have led to court case losses for the government and huge stress for individuals and families; insurance payouts have ground out slowly and ground people down in the process; the central city ‘blueprint’ has been fraught in its implementation, increasingly unpopular, has scared off some investors and has been interminably delayed; the cost-sharing agreement reached with the previous council – and which includes significant costs for highly controversial ‘anchor projects’ in the central city such as the stadium and convention centre – has strapped Christchurch people into a financial strait-jacket; there have been accusations of mismanagement of asbestos during the demolition and repair process; rents have headed skywards and there’s been repeated flooding.
But some people have benefited: those who have bought cheap rentals and benefited from the hyper-inflated rental market; businesses and workers involved in the repair and demolition process and, now, the rebuild; some major central city landowners who have effectively had their sunk capital in the city centre bailed out by the imposition of the Central City Recovery Plan. To state the obvious, what’s happening in Christchurch is complex.
But it’s hardly a brave prediction to suggest that, electorally, the National Party reached its high water mark in Christchurch at the 2011 election – the only question is how much, and how fast, the tide has changed since then.
Looking more broadly, there’s also the other as yet unanswered question; a question that, if it was possible to answer, would shed light on the nature and values of New Zealand society: To what extent will the government’s performance in Christchurch since the earthquakes affect what New Zealanders outside of Christchurch and Canterbury do in the privacy of the polling booth? And, the really provocative and revealing corollary: To what extent should it affect how people outside of Christchurch vote?
Tony Milne also has a good post at The Daily Blog “The moment the housing crisis in Christchurch could have been averted” that deals with the incompetence about housing that Gerry Brownlee has been displaying down there.