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Bhatnagar to knock out Hide?

Written By: - Date published: 12:46 pm, January 16th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, C&R, local body elections, supercity - Tags: , , ,

There is a story in today’s Herald noting that current C&R Hobson councillor Aaron Bhatnagar is not going to stand for the new super-council. He is taking on the running of Banks’ faltering mayoral campaign and has been offered a job in the new mayoral office should they turn around Len Brown’s momentum.

But the other buzz is that Bhatnagar is eyeing up national politics – and that could cause big problems on the right.

Bhatnagar, aka Barzini the bizarre late night Wikipedia vandal, is a likely front runner for the traditionally National held seat of Epsom (following Richard Worth resigning). Aaron is now the current chairman of the National Party Remuera branch. And there is no love lost between Bhatnagar and the seat’s current occupant Rodney Hide. He ran Worth’s failed electorate campaign in 2008 and was openly scornful of ACT’s campaign in 2005.

Why the animosity? Bhatnagar used to be a board member of ACT but fell out with the leadership. Here he is saying: ‘If you knew the reasons why I left ACT, I think you might have a slightly different tune, but I will not be telling that story as long as there is a Rodney Hide in Parliament.’

And later on the same blog saying: ‘I wouldn’t dream of offering a merger to ACT. I think ACT should simply wind itself up and fold itself into National’, perhaps hinting at his future intentions.

Now that Hide’s credibility has taken a huge hammering with revelations he’s been rorting the taxpayer with dodgy trips abroad, Bhatnagar could be sniffing his chance, with true blue National voters in Epsom fed up with Hide’s antics (he also dismissed John Key as a ‘do-nothing prime minister’). Even Rodger Douglas and Heather Roy spotted the writing on the wall when they tried to oust Hide from the leadership last month.

Bhatnagar has big name recognition in the electorate from his time as a city councillor and has a huge chance to take the seat back from Hide.

Why do the Nats want Angry Aaron Bhatnagar to knock out Hide? How will ACT respond to this given Epsom is their only chance to stay in parliament? How will this affect the current uneasy working relationship between ACT and National in the local body elections later this year?

22 comments on “Bhatnagar to knock out Hide? ”

  1. zelda 1

    Not to mention the Bhatnagar money. All ways a factor in selecting a candidate, whether it was for Helensville or the NP Presidency .

  2. Victoria 2

    I thought the Nats ran a party vote only campaign in Epsom? If so, Bhatnager did pretty well, the Nats party vote was above 63%, it might have been the highest for any party in NZ.

    National is almost certain to run a party vote only campaign in 2011 to keep ACT in Parliament, and whoever is candidate will surely be given a high list ranking to compensate.

  3. I would bet anyone $1000 that Aaron will not run in Epsom at least until 2014.

  4. PT 4

    if you want an inside tip into national party activities in epsom you should always ask a standard writer

    • prism 4.1

      pt You are so Right. You can’t trust what National members say in public. Come to where the encryption breakers are reading between the lines.

  5. Gooner 5

    There’s always Tamaki for Aaron.

    Aaron would make a fantastic MP whether it was Epsom or Tamaki and 2014 is a long, long time away.

  6. Rich 6

    I’d say that putting up a candidate like Bhatnagar or anyone else from the juvenile wingnut blogger tendency pretty much equates to a no contest.

  7. I was pretty sure that despite Bhatnagar’s issues with Act he and Hide are still mates? Like Gooner I suspect Aaron is waiting for Tamaki instead.

  8. peteremcc 8

    National didn’t think risking losing one seat from Dunne was worth getting rid of him, they’re not going to risk losing 5 seats from ACT.

    This is just a wet dream by Labour MPs/supporters as it’s about the only way you’ll get anywhere near the treasury benches next year.

    • lprent 8.1

      It must be hard for ACT supporters. Their party is entirely dependent on the goodwill of National in not standing a candidate in Epsom, or standing one that is as Worthless as the previous one. That must be very limiting for the activist programme from ACT.

      Besides – 5 seats? What dream world are you living in. The trend in the polling indicates that ACT is likely to head towards being a 1-2 seat party next election if and only if National throws them a seat for their favorite poodle. Even then I’m not sure that Hide would win Epsom.

      • PT 8.1.1

        same for anderton supporters

      • peteremcc 8.1.2

        What world do you live in?

        First, that reliance depends on ACT getting less than 5%. It’ll be tough, but I think ACT can get higher than that.

        Second, hang on, The Standard look at polling now? ACT are polling between 1.5% and 2% at the moment. Sure I’d like it to be higher, but everyone knows smaller parties do worse between elections and then pick up support during the campaign.

        Between 05 and 08, ACT polled an average of 0.5%, and received 3.75% at the 08 election.

        I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what we get in 11.

        • lprent

          If you’ve ever looked at what I write (The Standard is a program – ascribing an opinion to is is simply stupid), you’ll find that I look at the results of individual polls or the absolute values of polls with enormous skepticism. There are a number of reasons for that, and you can lookup my comments to find out why. Internet polls on the other hand are just crap.

          However a number of instances of the same poll are of interest because they show a trend in the polling sample technique even if the values themselves are crap.

          Now when you look at the last decade, when was the last time that ACT managed to get more than 5% in a general election? When did they get more then 5% in any of the polls for more than say 3 of the same polls. That is pretty strong trend that you’re wanting to change in less than 2 years.

          There is only one poll that counts for absolute values – that in 2011. However it looks to me like the ACT party survives in parliament only with the grace of the National party in 2011.

          • peteremcc

            And i could have predicted that you would say “look at the trend”.

            Unforunately, as we know with the whole global warming debate, trends depend hugely on when you start measuring them.

            If you measure the trend from when ACT was formed, then it’s slightly downwards:

            96 – 8 seats
            99 – 9 seats
            02 – 9 seats
            05 – 2 seats
            08 – 5 seats

            If you measure from 02 then it’s very downwards.

            If you measure from 05, then it’s very upwards.

            If you measure the last 3 years (mid-election to mid election) it’s slightly upwards (as i said earlier, 1.5-2% now instead of 0.5%).

            If you measure since the 08 election then it’s hugely downwards, 4% down to 1.5-2% in just a year.

            Just saying “look at the trends” is as useless as an individual poll.

            What is clear is that:

            1) ACT have more than double the MPs they had 3 years ago.
            2) ACT’s internal organisation and external activity is much better than 3 years ago.
            3) ACT’s polling is much better than it was 3 years ago.
            4) The political climate is much more favourable to ACT now than it was 3 years ago (people voted National just to get rid of Labour, now they’ll be asking why National hasn’t changed Labour’s policies).

            As I said earlier, I don’t expect to convince you, but i’d say the evidence is clear. You could even say the science is settled.

            • lprent

              Percentage party votes would be a better basis than seats because of the stepping issues and that percentage threshold.

              ACT has avoided that threshold pothole for the last two elections because of Epsom. I suspect that it not going to happen this time. The centrally imposed super-shitty which has no mandate apart from Rodney Hide and his ‘judgment’ is highly unpopular in Auckland and even in Epsom. If he’d bothered to follow some of the major recommendations of the royal commission then he’d have probably gotten away with it. However Rodney and ACT are now directly associated with imposing a very stupid Wellington solution on Aucklanders.

              I suspect that ACT really need to hit the threshold this time or they’re toast.

            • Pascal's bookie

              It’s all still margin of error stuff though, innit?

      • Clint Heine 8.1.3

        This is coming from a party that has no electorate support whatsoever. 🙂

        The Greens are entirely list based and their relationship with Labour makes ACT and National look like star crossed lovers – and Anderton has given up any illusion that he has a political party. You lot scared off the Maori and it seems everybody wants to be in bed with the only show in town.

        Must be hard being in opposition Lprent. You might want to know something about a subject before you write it eh?

    • felix 8.2

      I tend to agree with peter. The Nats likely wouldn’t be in govt without ACT’s presence.

      If Rodney was causing any major problems, perhaps, but so far he’s been easy enough to control.

      As long as the Nats give Epsom to Rodney they get 5 right-wing MPs for the price of one. I can’t see them throwing that away in a hurry.

    • lprent 9.1

      Yeah – already seen that (someone thought it would amuse me).

      Of course it does rather avoid the question raised in the posts. But avoiding things that are actually critical is such a substantive part of National party politics that he really does look like a Nat politico.

      • Parnell Boy 9.1.1

        Some enterprising journo might do well to ask Hide if he’s worried about the Nat threat in Epsom and ask Bhatnagar if he’s considering running in Epsom next year.

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