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Can National lose Northland?

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, March 23rd, 2015 - 99 comments
Categories: by-election, national - Tags: , ,

Like Danyl at Dim-Post I find it hard to believe that National could lose Northland. They have huge resources to throw at it, both as a party (massive polling, phone banks, transport, hordes of “Key people”) and as a government ($69 million for bridges any one?). They have a PM who is unencumbered by scruples and will say and do anything for power. Surely they are going to safely beat one old codger in a bus?

Having said that they truly are making a mess of things. If this Claire Trevett column accurately reflects the Northland mood then people are seeing through the Nats:

National Party’s beeline for Northland

This is what scrabbling for survival looks like. It’s a lazy Sunday in Mangawhai and there are few locals about. There are, however, a lot of National Party people about.

They have been at the market, grabbed lunch and hit the shops. … There is National Party president Peter Goodfellow, another couple of board members, and the minister for the day, Amy Adams. MPs Scott Simpson, David Bennett and Jian Yang also pop in. Neighbouring Rodney MP Mark Mitchell is a constant presence. Adams observes they are wearing matching outfits: “The two Marks are starting to couples-dress. You must be spending too much time together.”

When they hit the shops there are more blue shirts than voters. An elderly couple is watching and Scott Dalziel tells Osborne “My gosh you must be worried. Look at them all.” Osborne recites his line about being a team, and the man replies, “A team? You’re a bloody army”.

“Scrabbling for survival” – ouch. Nor did Osborne’s handlers do their cause any favours this weekend by trying to hide him from a face to face debate with Peters:

Q+A: National’s Mark Osborne denies scaredy cat claims

National’s Mark Osborne denied claims that he’s too scared to debate his main rival Winston Peters in person. Speaking from Mangawhai Mr Osborne told TV One’s Q+A programme, “Oh, not at all. Not scared at all. Not one bit. We’re out here talking to voters in the electorate.” Both the leading candidates of the Northland by-election were invited to a face to face debate in our studio however, Winston Peters was the only one to accept.

So Mark Osborne phoned it in. That’s a very bad look – but it got worse. From the transcript (NBR paywall):

MICHAEL But are you scared to take on the man you are going head to head with in this contest?

MARK Oh, not at all. Not scared at all. Not one bit. We’re out here talking to voters in the electorate.

MICHAEL Can I just ask you? Steven Joyce, I understand, is in the room there. Could you just point out for me where he’s standing at the moment?

MARK Uh, just back there.

MICHAEL Just behind the camera? Is he giving you a bit of information, a few tips, is he?

MARK Not at all. Not—Not at all.

So not only did Osborne not face Peters in the Studio, they had Joyce there supervising. Commentary on twitter at the time was brutal, and had Osborne glancing to the side before answering questions. It looks like a puppet, and sounds like a puppet, and they have ten bridges to sell you!

Personally, I still believe that National will win Northland. But they don’t deserve to. Could they have made a bigger mess of it?

99 comments on “Can National lose Northland? ”

  1. infused 1

    probably.

    slightly off topic, but I just noticed with this northland by-election how fat a lot of our mps are. not a good look.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    NATs will win by around 1,500 votes I think. But for Winnie, that slashed blue majority is a win as well. He’s already worked this all out, the old sea dog.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      What about Focus NZ backing Winston? They got 1700 at the GE.

      • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.1

        I only just realised that was a thing. National have a very very hard road to hoe now. Which is why I suppose they are playing their urgent game of a Cabinet Minister a day up there.

        • Robert Glennie 2.1.1.1

          Any loss of votes and/or seat to an opposition party is going to hurt National. When Winston decided to campaign, that wise old fox knew – or least had a pretty good idea – of what the potential outcomes are.

  3. swordfish 3

    I’ve just created a map of the Booth-by-Booth 2014 Party-Vote in Northland. It’s not particularly useful for predicting whether or not Peters will win, of course, but might provide some interesting contextual information.

    I’m doing it for an upcoming blog post where I also set-out the combined Northland / Te Tai Tokerau vote*** and ask whether claims that the overwhelming majority of Northland Maori are on the TTT Roll are actually true.

    Then I’ll look at the geography of the 2014 Party-Vote using this map and a few other graphics. You’ll notice that, although Northland is a solidly Blue seat (though not, I’d argue, quite the stronghold that most pundits suggest), there is a decidedly Red area in the west. No coincidence that it’s also a largely Maori region. I’m thinking of calling it (somewhat ostentatiously) the Hokianga-Kaikohe Red Belt.

    ***Just those TTT votes from people within the Northland boundaries.

    Map here…http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/Northland%20Party-Vote%202014:%20Booth-by-Booth/O0LSZEvYA5

    • veutoviper 3.1

      That map is fascinating – thanks Swordfish!

      I look forward to your blog post and hope you will post a link here when it is ready.

      • swordfish 3.1.1

        Cheers, veuto. Scribblemaps doesn’t seem to have a Map Legend facility but I’ll stick an explanation of the colours/data/circle sizes on my blog post (once it’s published in the next few days). Note, too, that (in bottom right corner) you can change background from Satellite to Terrain, Road or Hybrid.

    • Tracey 3.2

      fab

    • Murray Rawshark 3.3

      All the areas of property development and speculation give a Tory majority. What a surprise.

      I think Winnie can win.

  4. saveNZ 4

    I hope Winston Wins.

    It is not just the bribes and threats, but it is clear that National has no talent. Why choose Osbourne? What criminal charges is Sabin facing they want to hide?

    The National MP’s are just vegetables of ideology, run by Key, Joyce and Brownlee and the master chief is somewhere in the US by the looks of things.

    National are selling off the state houses.

    Under the Supercity they are stealing our wharves.

    They are propping up gambling and selling off public land with SkySore.

    They are wrecking the country with the RMA.

    Selling off NZ with TPP.

    They are absolute traitors to NZ.

    I just hope Northland ‘sends them a message’.

  5. Ffloyd 5

    It’s not really National though, is it? It is now #team key. Why else would Osborne be chosen who has obviously taken the blood oath with key and sworn undying allegiance to him. He comes across as very dim, so malleable! (i.e. “I can’t name all the bridges because they have different names⁉

    I can’t see any of the other candidates being as biddable as ossie is.

    National has been hijacked!

    • Emalitza 5.1

      He also named John Key as his ‘Political Hero in a question posed to him by the Herald on Sunday.

      Who is your political hero and why?
      John Key, because he is truly backing all New Zealanders to succeed and is a great example that through hard work and a positive attitude, anything is possible.

      Urgh.

  6. mickysavage 6

    The “debate” was a train wreck. As Felix said yesterday in open mike:

    “Jeebers.

    After watching that video I’m convinced that Mark Osborne has been abducted and is being held by Joyce, Key and Farrar against his will.

    He almost certainly has a shotgun pointed at his face through that whole debate.

    They won’t let him go to the tv studio in Auckland because they can’t control the hostage there.”

  7. fisiani 7

    National versus NZF/Labour/Greens/Mana. Of course National will lose. Do you really think National are invincible?

    • felix 7.1

      I think you mean “National/ACT/United Future/maori Party/Conservatives”

    • b waghorn 7.2

      Whats this !!you giving the 4 parties with integrity a chance against god key his 2 lap poodles and the invisible Maori party??

    • Lanthanide 7.3

      Is this a prediction for the next election, or what?

      Very odd comment.

    • Skinny 7.4

      This by election is a fraud and should be held again when the facts are put in front of voters to make an informed decision. Already I know of 2 church people that have voted National/Osbourne and have since heard from a respected person the rumours surrounding Sabin’s resignation. They are disgusted and feel let down that they have voted for a man (Osbourne) closely linked to Sabin. So expect the by election to be staged again if Osborne wins under false pretenses. In other words Peters may get another bite at the cherry.

      • b waghorn 7.4.1

        @ skinny “So expect the by election to be staged again if Osborne wins under false pretenses”
        Is that a real possibility.

        • Maui 7.4.1.1

          Agree Skinny, this election is a sham. How can people make an informed choice on who to vote for when all the facts aren’t in the public domain on why the last guy resigned.. Democracy has been dictated to the people of Northland by the ruling party.

        • Skinny 7.4.1.2

          I believe so, and rightfully so there will be a public outcry should he win. Osbourne or any other executive on Nationals Northland comittee should not have been allowed to be nominated in the run off to becoming the party candidate.

          The calculated last day continuation of name suppression is not good politics it is corruption. Key should have done the decent thing and insisted in transparency, and let their political fortunes rest on coming out, all be the timing being belated but still time enough for voters to .make an informed decision.

    • Murray Rawshark 7.5

      National vs human decency and respect for the sexual safety of minors. National had better bloody well lose.

  8. jenny kirk 8

    Osborne didn’t appear on Willie Jackson’s Marae TV programme either : its difficult to link to, but you can find it (I think) on TV on Demand. A really good backgrounder not only on the buy-election, but also on Northern Maori and the strength of Ngapuhi in Parliament over the years.

  9. Bill 9

    This early voting stuff…

    …from the scattered attention I’ve been paying, ‘everyone’ seems to assume that early votes are going to National, but is it not as reasonable to assume that early voters know damned fine well that they don’t want National and so have gone out and voted for the only sensible alternative?

    • Skinny 9.1

      A good share of the early votes will have gone to Prime some loyal voters will have made that choice in case they were told to vote for Peters.

  10. Bearded Git 10

    My back of envelope calculation, taking into account Greens and Conservatives not standing and 2/3 of Labour’s votes and most of FocusNZ’s votes going to Winston is that around 25% of the 18,000 that voted for National at the GE need to vote for Winston.

    This is entirely do-able because of:
    1. Winston effect
    2. Sabin effect
    3. Lacklustre and arrogant National since GE (Sky City, RMA ramming through etc)
    4. Terrible campaign by National
    5. Poor candidate for National
    6. High level of enrolement and early voting now taking place

    • Phil 10.1

      1. Winston effect
      You’re assuming that every single voter on ‘the left’ dislikes Winston less than they dislike National. That’s a big assumption.

      2. Sabin effect
      Sabin is gone. That’s why we’re having a by-election. I haven’t seen any evidence that the new guy is ‘tainted’ by Sabin in the eyes of voters.

      3. Lacklustre and arrogant National since GE (Sky City, RMA ramming through etc)
      Yeah, but any third-term government is going to look lacklustre and arrogant.

      4. Terrible campaign by National
      Through the lense of a wellington voter, yes. It looks like a fiasco. However, the boots on the ground that the Nats can deploy will be working in their favour.

      5. Poor candidate for National
      There are a lot of poor candidates up and down the country at a general election. They tend not to get much attention, but the media can focus a lot more energy on a single candidate in a by election.

      6. High level of enrollment and early voting now taking place
      It’s impossible to know one way or the other what early-voting means for the result. You could make a plausible case that early-voters are the ones with the strongest affiliation to a specific party, which would tend to favour National ahead of NZF.

      All in all, the characteristics of this by-election don’t look especially different from any other third-term by-election.

      • rawshark-yeshe 10.1.1

        you overlook the ‘characteristic’ that is the fraud perpetrated on Northland and the country by John Key covering up and ignoring allegations against Sabin since prior to the 2011 general election, according to NBR, whom, to date, have not been sued.

        let’s call it the ‘corruption characteristic’ and agree it is unknowable at this point. but does it remain so until Saturday ?

  11. Lanthanide 11

    “Could they have made a bigger mess of it?”

    Yes. Just look at Melissa Lee running in Mt Albert: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2410051/Lee-issues-full-apology

  12. fisiani 12

    If you look at Ipredict the chance of Osbourne winning are just 28%. I expect Winston to get a 2,000 majority.

  13. saveNZ 13

    Lets hope that Labour does not get the votes that make Winston lose, and let Osbourne through.

    It will benefit Labour if Winston wins, and depress many of those in Labour if he doesn’t and Willow-prime’s votes are why.

    • Maui 13.1

      Labour should have to pay for grief counselling for left voters if that happens. And Andrew Little should be made to ride the NZ First Bus to work.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 13.1.1

        Northland By-Election March 2015:

        Vote Labour, get National.

  14. Michael 14

    Labour and the Greens must actively campaign for Winston and turn out their voters. It’s probably true, however, that people in Northland have very low expectations of their political representatives (they’ve been let down many times before); if so, they’ll put up with Osbourne. After the 28th, the Nats will ignore Northland again and the region will go back to sleep. Unless WInston wins, of course.

  15. Jay 15

    Some hilarious comments here very entertaining, especially from Mickey Savage.

    Has anything not gone wrong for national?

    First Sabin going, then the PM boldly proclaiming Winston had “zero” chance, then Osborne getting the nomination in the first place, then the bridge bribe/blackmail, the army of MPs/babysitters, not knowing the names of the bridges, now this debate farce with Osborne performing with a pistol clapped to his head. It’s a bloody embarrassment.

    It’s been such a cluster I am starting to hope Winston wins. Which I expect he will for a number of reasons, not the least of which may be the constituents wanting to give National a pasting for being so inept.

    It’s literally a comedy of errors, John Key must have his head permanently in his hands. What on earth is next?

  16. Treetop 16

    To get a list seat and an electorate seat which would leave the government a vote short, just might be enough to get many erratic voters to the booth.

    Winston by 383 votes.

    The only good thing that National have to look forward to this week is the cricket.
    Todays 3 strikes: housing flop, GCSB micro management and hand holding of Osborne; it’s a duck of a day.

    And I suppose no televised cricket tomorrow for the poor people.

    Stupid Nats could have milked the cricket and got a few more votes had TVNZ televised the first time NZ have reached a semi final.

    The reason for more early voting for the by election is the cricket final.

    Note: I need to check if Prime are not televising and if the final is on Saturday.

  17. Disabled Liberation Aotearoa NZ DLANZ 17

    Hope you are wrong Anthony about the result as when the resignation of Mike Sabin came up DLANZ ‘jumped’ with glee at the prospect of a bye election, given the close call in Parliament should there be a change….A Hung Parliament until 2017 needs a cohesive strategy by Opposition parties for this to come about..

    Winston certainly has taken up the ‘mantle’ with zeal and National will have to lift their game, if they wish to retain this Seat. DLANZ encourage all voters with or without disabilities to get out and vote early and for those not yet registered, to do so.

    Good Luck for Change and keep smiling
    Doug Hay
    Coordinator

    • Anne 17.1

      Look what happened in Queensland. All the expert pundits were calling it for the Liberals and Labour – against all the odds – won in the end. Replace Labour with NZFirst and we might have another electoral upset.

  18. AUDNZD 18

    Very much so. National will possibly lose the seat as a result of its dreadful mistakes.
    The downside will be the elevation in popularity of that snake-oil seller, Winston Peters, an unprincipled individual.

  19. AUDNZD 19

    The spectacle of Green Party supporters swallowing a big rat and voting for Peters, their avowed enemy, must be the supreme irony of 2015.

    • Lanthanide 19.1

      Or, they could just not vote.

    • Macro 19.2

      And just why do you think the Greens could not work with NZF? Only those with little knowledge of the Greens would post a comment such as yours.

      • Chooky 19.2.1

        +100 Macro

      • Phil 19.2.2

        Because Winston has made it pretty clear he’ll never work with the Greens?
        It’s pretty much the one thing he’s never been duplicitous or facile on.

        • Macro 19.2.2.1

          Maybe Winston won’t work with the Greens – but that doesn’t go for the rest of his party. Nor does it explain away the fact that the Green’s work issue by issue. A fact most here (including you) fail to understand. Take for instance Tracey Martin’s recently failed Bill on Rental House Warrants of Fitness. That is an Issue that would have gained full support from the Greens. Winston’s proposed rail link will also gain full support from the Green’s. Winston’s free health care for all children is another issue that gains full Green support.
          It really isn’t rocket science. If the issue is one they can support then the Greens will support it. And as they have proved in the past, they will work with any party to further their policies, for the betterment of NZ.

  20. McFlock 20

    I initially thought that (despite their contemptible nature) the nats were a walk in, and thought that peters might give them a bit of a fright by cutting their majority.

    But the nats are shitting themselves. Even fizzianus is foretelling a glorious defeat. Unless this is a sophisticated double-psych by the nats, hoping to sow despondency amongst a resurgent Labour and Left (that look like moving forwards with new leaders and new certainty) by having a nat victory in a northland seat that was always safe. But I don’t think “pretty competent” joyce would be able to manage a plan of that sophistication.

    Touch wood – we might see a snap election yet…

  21. Tautoko Mangō Mata 21

    There were scores of blue National Tshirted people at both ends of Wellsford, doing the Pizza shake of posters. National appear to be striking out their candidate by putting an orange sticker diagonally across their billboards. Just needs another diagonal to complete it!

  22. coaster 22

    i dont think winnie will win due to shear invincibility of key.

    i realy hope winston does win, irrelevant of the disaster for national i think winston wants to win for the right reason. he grew up in northland, his family is from and lives there, its his home, irrelevant of where he lives now.

    i felt realy sorry for osbourne during the q ans a debate, he sounded desperate, scared and like someone who has been bullied and is now sticking up for the bullies. how would he ever represent northlands best interests in parliament?

  23. Sookie 23

    Young Nats were infesting my town yesterday, the one with the angry ratepayers. The angry ratepayers think Winston’s going to get them out of paying their rates arrears magically somehow, hence the reason Osborne and the strange Young Nat Borg People were here. Haven’t been in Northland long but folk up here are pretty conservative. It would be hilarious if Winston won but I’m not counting on it.

    • Murray Rawshark 23.1

      Mangawhai is one of the more conservative areas of Northland. It’s the only place I have ever stumbled across anyone having sex with an animal. Not all of Northland is like that.

      • felix 23.1.1

        Fucksake Murray, finish the story!

        • Murray Rawshark 23.1.1.1

          I was just walking along a country road to my mate’s place at the beginning of 1974. I heard strange noises through the scrub and investigated. A local was being tender with a young calf at the edge of a paddock. I left him to it and have no idea whether he subsequently stood as a National candidate or not.

          • felix 23.1.1.1.1

            Probably not, wrong species of juvenile.

          • rawshark-yeshe 23.1.1.1.2

            Murray … in this strange old world, how can you even euphemistically refer to the rape of a young female calf as ‘being tender’ ?

            I don’t understand. It seems so against everything I have read and understand of you here on these pages.

            • Anne 23.1.1.1.2.1

              I think he was trying to put it in a delicate/diplomatic (albeit with disdain) way.

              • rawshark-yeshe

                Yep, I realize that Anne — but there were better ways than that, especially in the current climate of the whole series of rape and sexual assault and secret cases we have been discussing over the last few days. For me, it is especially jarring from Murray who uses great skills and integrity.

            • Murray Rawshark 23.1.1.1.2.2

              I didn’t want to get graphic and couldn’t think of a more relevant, but entirely sarcastic, euphemism. Probably shouldn’t have said anything.

              • rawshark-yeshe

                thx for replying Murray. In terms of saying nothing ? Wise maybe. But we all enjoy a Masters Degree in Hindsight ! Hope you didn’t mind the question too much, but it matters to me.

            • felix 23.1.1.1.2.3

              No-one mentioned the gender of the calf.

              • rawshark-yeshe

                true. and no need for it to be specified. it is rape regardless of gender.

            • felix 23.1.1.1.2.4

              No-one mentioned the gender of the calf.

        • rawshark-yeshe 23.1.1.2

          no ! please don ‘t Murray !

          • Chooky 23.1.1.2.1

            i couldn’t possibly comment…i got into enough trouble defending Assange on non existent rape charges…i am a branded “rape apologist”…and I dont really find it funny

  24. SMILIN 24

    Yeah well this is typical National capitalise on as much bs as possible but no one in northland is buying into it, the age of the ignorant hick is over in the north
    I was talkin to a small business owner up there today he says his accountant tells him hes not to have any new outstanding debt with accounts to customers, hes been in business 30 plus years first time ive heard that from him . you see the real truth about this TPPA NOW and its not even official .ITS A SELLOUT OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY
    All the sharemarket richest are warning theres about to be a huge collapse of the financial system far bigger that what happened in 2008
    which there will be no political bs way out of it because it depth of corruption wont get fixed it will require a complete re think of financial management globally
    Key is corrupt and so is National they should be up for treason and NO THEY DON’T DESERVE THE NORTHLAND SEAT
    Its not theirs it belongs to the voters not the national party

    • Colonial Rawshark 24.1

      GFC 2 is not faraway…6 weeks or 6 months it’s hard to tell, but it’s coming. After 2008/2009 all the financial elite have done is used tax payer and government central banking bailouts to double down on their insolvent investment banks and over-leveraged bullshit activities.

      BTW Cunliffe is the only guy I would trust as Finance spokesperson to take Labour through GFC2. Everyone else that I can see would be too captured by orthodoxy pressure from the RBNZ, Treasury and the big trading banks.

      • Chooky 24.1.1

        + 100 CR …..yes Labour did themselves in by not standing by Cunliffe…he was their best talent and the Nacts knew it

        …anyone who tried to undermine and slander Cunliffe as a liar is suspect imo…(and there were some on the purported Left who did this )

        • Anne 24.1.1.1

          I heard a rather sad story today. I was told the Cunliffes have separated. If it’s true then I hope Paddy Gower and certain other journalists are hanging their heads in shame. Oh, and the sleaze bag Slater might like to reflect on the role he played…

          Edit: I hope its okay to mention it. There’s certainly no gossipy intention. Its often what happens when individuals are smeared, vilified and lied about.

          • rawshark-yeshe 24.1.1.1.1

            very sad to read that. awful costs.

          • jenny kirk 24.1.1.1.2

            That’s really sad …. and upsetting, Anne. They went through a lot of shit together. I hope its not true, or if it is : that its a temporary thing while they sort themselves out.

            • Anne 24.1.1.1.2.1

              …that its a temporary thing while they sort themselves out.

              Indeed. That’s what I hope.

              • Olwyn

                +1 Anne. The treatment they have been subject to, from both inside and outside of the Labour Party, is just appalling. Kia kaha, David and Karen.

          • veutoviper 24.1.1.1.3

            I am so sad to hear that if it is true, Anne. I have read a couple of inferences over the last few days on certain “other side’ blogs and twitters, but did not want to ask here in order to avoid bringing it to notice.

          • Colonial Rawshark 24.1.1.1.4

            🙁

            and some sections of the Labour caucus also have much to answer for.

          • Murray Rawshark 24.1.1.1.5

            David Cunliffe was put under a lot of pressure and could not rely on his colleagues for support. If what Anne says is correct, I am saddened but not overly surprised. I wish both of them more luck in the future.

            • saveNZ 24.1.1.1.5.1

              Good luck David and Karen. Hope you forget all the dirty politics and disgusting attacks and take time to sort out the important things in life. 30 years is a long time and with young children, I only hope you both make it through together.

          • aj 24.1.1.1.6

            There was a short report on this on the stuff website last night

  25. Penny Bright 25

    What would be GREAT are placards that could be held as close as possible to John Key when he (desperately) flies in to Northland and flaps around – BEGGING (former) National Party members / supporters to vote for ‘newby’ Mark Osborne?

    “When EXACTLY did
    the Police advise the
    Minister of Police –
    that Mike Sabin was
    being investigated?”

    “Where’s the
    TRANSPARENCY
    over Mike Sabin
    John Key? ”

    … sort of thing?

    Watch John Key get his ‘squeaky’ voice – when he gets asked the Mike Sabin questions!

    Looking forward to every possible Northland voter getting out and voting Winston Peters to ‘send National a message’!

    The rest of New Zealand are depending on you to clip the wings of this John Key led National Government!

    Please ‘SEIZE THE MOMENT’!!

    Penny Bright

  26. Enough is Enough 26

    Anyone who does not want to see the RMA washed away or the Employment Relations Act repealed must vote Winston.

    A vote for Labour is a vote for the status quo.

  27. Leftie 27

    After all the negative analysis, it is somewhat contradictory to say National will win and keep the Northland seat, how? Will John key fiddle it?

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