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The Christchurch East by election

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, November 25th, 2013 - 44 comments
Categories: by-election, david cunliffe, greens, john key, labour, national - Tags: , ,

Poto WilliamsThe Christchurch East by election has entered the final week and this time next Sunday the result should be known.

The campaign has been lower key than some other recent by election Campaigns.  The Mount Albert by election in 2009 had intensive media coverage but with four other by elections occurring in the last four years their novelty has diminished.

There has been some attempt to write the election as being in the bag for Labour but nothing can be further from the truth.  Bunji is right and the seat is up for grabs.

The result at the last election was less than pleasing.  Although Lianne Dalziel won the electorate vote handsomely by 5,334 votes, she was competing against Aaron Gilmore.  And the party vote was lost by Labour to National by 4,152 votes.  The default position should be that this election is National’s for the winning.

Kiwis can be sophisticated political consumers.  The MMP environment has taught them that they can get the MP of their choice and the party of their choice.  And they want to guard their rights to preserve these choices.  This is why in 2009 David Shearer won so handsomely against Melissa Lee.  He ran a competent on the ground get out the vote campaign using some of the best Auckland activists that Labour has while Melissa Lee had a shocker of a campaign.  The polling at the time should have seen National cruise home.  The fact that Labour won so convincingly showed the strength of the on the ground effort, the quality of the candidate and the fact that Mount Albert residents wanted to exercise their own choice about who should be their MP.

And if you need any further proof of the sophistication of the New Zealand elector bear in mind that last election 30% of voters split their votes between candidates of one party while party voting for a different party.

The second feature that is making this by election so difficult is that Christchurch East has been the electorate hardest hit by the Christchurch earthquakes. This was brought home to me very strongly when I did some door knocking in the area recently.  Of the streets that I door knocked about 10% of the sections either had houses that were boarded up or had been demolished.  And perhaps a third of the doors that I knocked on had people who had moved since the last election and were not on the roll for that property.

The trip out was very sobering.  We drove past the suburb of Bexley where parts were red zoned because of the inability to restore infrastructure and the sight of street after street of boarded up houses which otherwise looked habitable was chilling.  The recently released draft electoral boundaries shows the extent of the dislocation that has occurred in Christchurch East.  The electorate is now 13,700 under quota which means that a shade under one out of every four electors has left the electorate.

The response that I received while door knocking was pretty good but this was in a Labour part of the electorate.  Pretty well everyone had heard of Poto Williams and most thought highly of Lianne Dalziel.  There is very obviously a need to convert knowledge into support though and the job of Poto is to persuade locals that she is a competent and able representative.

I was impressed however by the local organisation.  I had the sense that the local Labour team were a group of dedicated knowledgable activists and this was a feeling that I last felt during the Mount Albert by election.  I am sure they will have a similar get out the vote election day effort but obviously they need as many volunteers as possible.

The Greens appear to be running an energetic campaign although Mojo Mathers was their candidate last time and you wonder why she is not the candidate now.  David Moorhouse sounds competent if somewhat negative but I suspect that most electors will see this as being a Poto Williams v Matthew Doocey battle.

Doocey has his problems.  He appears to be eyeing up the possibility of standing for the safe Waimakariri seat and does not live in the Christchurch East electorate.  There is also an abrasiveness to him which is bound to turn ordinary people off.

The approach of the leaders is interesting.  John Key is trying to downplay National’s chances and suggesting that it is in the bag for Labour.  David Cunliffe is saying that turnout is critical.  David is right, a low turnout could see National squeak through.

There is a sense of change in Christchurch.  The recent local government election results saw a progressive mayor and council elected and there seems to be increasing despair at the Government’s handling of issues surrounding the earthquake.  There was patience but this seems to be changing to despair as the rebuild takes longer and longer to happen.  And I believe that Poto is the ideal candidate for the time, approachable, compassionate and caring as opposed to Doocey’s rather abrupt style.

But time will tell.  And turnout will be vital.

Update:  Comments will be moderated until 7 pm tomorrow because of election day restrictions.

44 comments on “The Christchurch East by election”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    “The Greens appear to be running an energetic campaign although Mojo Mathers was their candidate last time and you wonder why she is not the candidate now…”

    The answer is , as usual, when the going gets tough, the Green Mps find any excuse to cop out.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      That’s a pretty crappy thing to say gwwnz. Having a well known sitting Green MP (as opposed to a relative nobody) run against Poto Williams would suck an extra 500-1000 votes from Labour.

      In other words, the Greens are doing all of us a big favour, so say “thank you.”.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        You might be right CV. I have been impressed by Mathers and her presence would have made things more difficult.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        So maybe Greens – Labour are starting to work together. Think there’s been any formal overtures or acknowledgement of this strategy, or is it just the left hand doing whatever it wants without talking to the right hand?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1

          There’s the relationship between the MPs, between the leadership and between the staffers to consider.

          I’m a bit out of date with how that’s progressed since the Labour Leadership changes. The senatorial games of Rome are a long way away from the outer provinces.

      • Ron 1.1.3

        I think a look at who is next on Green List might be more enlightening. Shaw is unlikely to come back from UK for a year which leaves Hay.
        SO play safe and leave Mathers on list

    • tinfoillhat 1.2

      Typical tribal Labour arrogance.

      The Greens have been busy being leading the parliamentary opposition for the last several years during the time that the Labour party has been busy naval gazing and playing internal party politics and in the next left government hopefully they’ll be the largest party so we can finally have some change from the labour/national paradigm that the country has been trapped in for so long.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        Coastal defence and force projection into the Pacific is very important, and Labour realises this.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.2

        The reality is that the Greens would be playing the same games. Do you think they are so pure ?

        Your niavety is breathtaking, the old adage about power corrupts applies to all who go to Wellington. Ask Sue Bradford about internal Green politics.
        As for the Greens being the largest party in the next left government ? Its too silly for words. They cant govern full stop.

        • grumpy 1.2.2.1

          You just need to look at the destruction of Australian Labor due to it’s association with the Green Party when in Government. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. Leopold 2

    [deleted]

    [lprent: Already banned. Another IP for autospam. ]

  3. Will@Welly 3

    Cut the crap. One negative comment gives 10 votes to National. And John Key just loves the B.S. Not only do Labour/Greens have to win the battle – the East – they have to win the war – next year’s general election. Key, Joyce & co are looking for any sign of divisiveness, leading up to next years election. Screw the bastards.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      I certainly did not intend the post to be anti green. There is obviously a certain amount of tension in a by election because the parties are in direct competition for the same votes. But yep there may be subtle signs of some cooperation.

      And I agree next year both parties need to maximise support.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      How very Stalinist of you W@W. Sending us off for re-education will you ?

      If Mojo cant do a by-election , we should know about it. My feeling is that shes ensconced in Wellington -allready

      • Will@Welly 3.2.1

        I don’t really care who you vote for – Labour or Green – but publicly slagging off at each other just gives National ammunition. It’s time to corral the wagons, present a united front, and kick Key & co into the boom-docks where they belong. NZ Inc cannot afford another 3 – 6 years of this sort of treatment. I thought Muldoon was a fascist. John Key makes him look like a libertarian.

  4. Philj 4

    The Greens may not be the majority party but they could make an invaluable partner to Labour. If only Labour are sophisticated enough to compromise and provide some real, threatening vision. Otherwise we’ll get The Nats or Nat Lite (Labour) and same old again. Cunliffe speaks well but can he handle NZ INC. and the corporate business interests which wish him ill. Yeah right!

    • Ake ake ake 4.1

      Speaking of which, who are leading and involved with Labour’s campaign strategy team for 2014? Any work commenced on that yet, does anyone know?
      Let’s hope Cunliffe will not be promoting, or even retaining, the failures of 2008 and 2011.

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        The 2011 result is weird. Labour’s worst result in a long time, but actually not that far off being able to form a government if NZFirst had helped out.

  5. NickS 5

    Anyone seen the Conservative’s candidate’s advertising signs yet?

    I can’t remember the exact wording, but it translates roughly to “me builder, me better than others!”.

  6. Fisiani 6

    Poto Williams is a strong Labour candidate and polling suggests she will win the seat easily just as history predicts. No Government party has ever won a seat from an opposition in a by-election.

  7. Rogue Trooper 7

    It is possible that flow-on effects of the quakes have drained the East of Left-wing votes disproportionately; uninsured, low-income, transience, school re-locations.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Christchurch earthquake affected electorates were smashed in the 2011 election; they all had massive swings blue way beyond the nationwide avg. 2 Labour incumbents fell. The only comparably poor performing electorate for Labour was Dunedin South and possibly one or two others.

  8. Please Labour will and should win this seat easy.

    Any attempt to say, “WOW Labour won what a great victory for the left” puts you on the
    same level as Faux News celebrating a GOP victory in texas as a major upset.

  9. weka 9

    I just posted this in reply to something in OM. It’s the numbers for Chch East in 2011. Bad12’s point was that the GP could split the left vote enough to give National the seat. I will be interested to see how smart the GP voters are this time.

    BAKER, Leighton CNSP 522
    BRITNELL, Michael ALCP 254
    DALZIEL, Lianne LAB 15,559
    GILMORE, Aaron NAT 10,225
    MATHERS, Mojo GP 1,347
    MILLER, Johnny UFNZ 108

    Labour Party 9,100
    National Party 13,252
    Green Party 3,359
    United Future 160
    ACT New Zealand 101
    Alliance 28
    Democrats for Social Credit 22
    Libertarianz 17
    Mana 63
    Māori Party 84
    New Zealand First Party 1,801

    http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2011/electorate-5.html

  10. Nicolas 10

    People are forgetting Williams has been in Christchurch for about 8 months, while David grew up in Christchurch East. If you ask me, he is the one who understands the problems of the region better than anyone else. Yeah, I’m pretty biased, having contributed as much as possible to David’s campaign in the past few weeks, but I can tell you things may not be so predictable as you think on Saturday.

    Not sure what you mean when you say David is “somewhat negative”… While Williams is definitely a better candidate than Doocey, I’m pretty sure you don’t know enough about David to argue she is the “ideal” candidate for Christchurch East.

    Labour and National have held power in recent years, at a time when many people in Christchurch East did not see very positive results in their lives (as is the case for many others around New Zealand). For far too long, many New Zealanders have seen their democratic input as consisting of a choice between a rock and a hard place, and I think that is where much of what people call “voter apathy” is derived from today. I think a new face would be THE good (not the least worst) outcome for Christchurch East.

    • greywarbler 10.1

      Good luck with that Nicolas I hope your hard work meets with success and the resultant improvement in consideration and results for the Easties.

  11. Redrobin 11

    Again with the lie about Waimak.?

  12. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 12

    For Christchurch By-election and should have been a General…Good luck to Greens or Mana…hood bye and no thanks Labour / Maori Parties….Too much Te Ao Rawa…Materialist world (paraphrase)

    Valedictory speech for Labour Good riddance Quoting “The death of Brittany Abbott – is as a result of Lianne Dalzell in her role as Minister of Immigration during its introduction. “Dalzell should have listened to her arrogance on the ‘Holmes’ on radio NEWSTALK ZB, as she just thought of these kids as akin to HIV germs, and no country should have done to kids like Brittany, what Dalzell introduced.”

    NZ Labour’s Ruth Dyson and Lianne Dalzell Responsible for Demise of NZ Disability Strategy 2001 – Aotearoa Media Centre http://archive.indymedia.org.nz/article/76888

    Doug Hay
    DLANZ

  13. Red zone 13

    Don’t fret its Potos for the taking. Doocey won’t come close. I sense a noticeable mood change here the last 6 months as the rebuild myth breeds more disillusionment and Brownlies cera circus fails to deliver. Dalziels election is the start, and with key boundary changes like Chch central watch more of Chch return to red( and a bit more green) next election. And yes the left must get smart and start collaborating fast. A Nat-Con alternative makes me want to puke!

  14. greywarbler 14

    Latest on dicey Doocey. There will be a meeting at 7 pm Roy Stokes Hall, New Brighton tonight, Wednesday 27/11. But Mr Doocey won’t be there. He has attended another meeting already and is not prepared to put his candidacy for the job in this vital pre-election period first before optional family matters.

    Matthew Doocey said the invitation to speak at tonight’s WeCan earthquake recovery debate came in “at the last minute” and he had already agreed to watch his godchildren’s end of school year production….
    WeCan organiser Reverend Mike Coleman, who had planned tonight’s debate, was also angry Doocey would not be there, especially as he left it very late before responding to his invitation.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/the-east/9448712/No-show-from-Matthew-Doocey

    • Tracey 14.1

      godchildren… just dropped that in for those still suckered by the good christian man facade.

      He’s already learning from Key. Couldn’t be bothered looking at an invitation or deliberately not looking at it so he can claim he only saw it today…

  15. Will@Welly(ex-Eastside Resident) 15

    Apologize to your godchildren.. Tell them you love them. Promise them you give them a nice treat. You take them where ever they want to go – locally. And they will forgive Mr Doocey.
    But not fronting up to the people of the East is unforgivable. Obviously your heart is not in it. Stop treating the people of the East with contempt, and playing them for fools – they deserve better than this, after all they’ve been through. Step down now, and at least people won’t waste their votes on a loser.

  16. bernard 16

    national sides with the insurance companys against the people and the people vote national in return i dont think so . the feeling of anger at the govt over the quakes and theyir bully boy mr brownlee is way under estimated and labour will hold this seat easily on saturday night .thats a real feeling out their now national always sides with the corporations against the people like the big insurance companys . had enough yet christchurch east i know i have im voting labour .

  17. bernard 17

    Gilmore got thrashed by 50% points he is not wanted go away goomer as if you would ever have anything good to say about labor . do you think i am stupid gilmore . even your own party cant stand the site of you .lab against national mp vote Gilmore lost by over 50% points they hate him .so dumb he cant take a hint .no not national its labour national have sided with the big insurance company’s against the poor people of Christchurch like haven’t they been through enough .

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    2 weeks ago
  • Continued pressure at heart of sacking
    News that the Government has appointed a Commissioner to replace the Southern District Health Board is hardly a surprise given the mounting pressure it has been under to do more with a lot less, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson David… ...
    2 weeks ago

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