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Chloe Swarbrick should stand strong in Auckland Central

Written By: - Date published: 6:07 am, July 17th, 2020 - 63 comments
Categories: greens, labour - Tags: , , , , ,

The MMP-savvy Green Party know that campaigning in the electorates increases their party vote. While it’s likely that their vote will increase this year as a result of rebuilding trust with voters after 2017, their solid policy platform, and 2017 Labour voters wanting to pull Labour leftward/greenward, it’s not a year to be complacent. And why would the Greens want to lessen their party vote anyway?

The Greens also tend to have key electorates where they run strong candidates for their own sake as well as I think working on the long game of having electorate MPs in the future.

In the past day many of the issues with vote splitting between Labour and the Greens has been covered elsewhere, I want to raise another point: having two strong left wing women standing in an electorate where the incumbent National MP has stepped down due to the own goal dumpster fire that National are still warming their hands around is potentially gold.

Demonstrations of how to do clean politics that are based on humans being respectful to each other is something we desperately need right now, and I’m hoping will be in stark contrast to the kind of politics we are most likely to get from a Collins-led National. I hope both of the leftwing women can hold that balance between competition and allyship.

Having two left wing women campaigning also increases coverage of left wing policy and values, and is another tug on the Overton Window. We should be welcoming the opportunity.

We’ve seen both/and campaigning in the Greens’ female co-leadership contest in 2018 between Marama Davidson and Julie Anne Genter, where they were in competition but that competition brought out the best of policy and both women (witness also how adults do leadership changes).

Jacinda Ardern and Julie Anne Genter in the Mt Albert by-election in early 2017 was similar. Women in particular benefit from seeing strong female representation on the left, especially where that representation isn’t in the perpetual conflict of macho politics, but this is good for all of us.

Ardern in that post-election interview,

This idea of running against someone doesn’t have to be adversarial. We both had the absolute same view that there was nothing wrong with our parties contesting – we are separate parties. But the way in which we were going to do that was in a really collegial, constructive way.

You don’t have to resolve everything, you can just agree that you’ve got different ideas. That’s OK.

Genter,

One moment that was quite funny in the campaign was when I showed up at the Mt Albert train station with a bunch of volunteers, and Jacinda was there with a volunteer handing out leaflets. Initially it was a little bit awkward, but actually it worked really well. We had a great time, [Green Party co-leader] James Shaw joined me and the three of us did some selfies and handed out leaflets and engaged with the commuters.

Even though obviously both of us are campaigning for our respective parties, the reality is Jacinda and I have very similar values and vision as to what New Zealand can be like. We’re both driven by the idea that government has a key role to play in protecting and empowering people and making sure that things are fair.

That relationship and willingness to work together was further demonstrated in the 2017 campaign where Labour finally stood up with the Greens and worked to change the government. It was co-operation, not conflict-based adversarial politics, that gave us the right government at the right time for 2020.

I don’t know the Labour candidate Helen White, nor anything about whether White and Swarbrick get on or not. This doesn’t have to be a Kumbayah fest, there’s no contradiction between being strong and independent and working respectfully, it’s about offering up a different way of doing politics based in human relationships and a shared understanding of the wider good.

Swarbrick’s campaign is good for the Greens, good for women, and good for the left.  Not that  Swarbrick isn’t coming out fighting,

I’d vote for her. This is how I want politics to be done,

63 comments on “Chloe Swarbrick should stand strong in Auckland Central”

  1. The greens should stand a candidate in all seats, as you say, to campaign for the party vote. I don't think there's a constituency they can win, even with a modicum of tactical voting from labour voters (with no close second places), but green voters can, like me, affect results in a few by selecting the labour candidate in some seats.

    • Andre 1.1

      The only electorate I can see where there's enough combined Labour and Greens party voters to possibly make an electorate lifeboat work for the Greens is Wellington Central. Only about 35% of Labour party voters would need to tactically vote for James Shaw to make it work, assuming the vast majority of Greens voters vote for Shaw rather than a significant portion tactically voting for Robertson like they did in the last few elections.

      https://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2017/statistics/split-votes-electorate-60.html

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington_Central_(New_Zealand_electorate)

    • RosieLee 1.2

      And, surely, that is the whole point of MMP. It should not be used as a way of manipulating and gerrymandering (?!!) the vote. Let's have some honest numbers.

      • Rae 1.2.1

        It has been for a long time in Epsom. If the darling of the moment, one J Collins, had not summarily binned the recommendations for change to MMP that came out of the 2012 review I believe it would be far more conducive to honest voting.

    • Rae 1.3

      And if all left voters voted for Goldsmith in Epsom, bye bye Seymour. Nelson is ripe for the picking if tactical voting were employed bye bye Nick Smith. Kelston will need left voters to rally around Deborah Russell as there are a reasonably hefty number of NZF voters from last election not likely to vote for them again and Russell's majority is quite slim.

      With the name recognition I believe Auckland Central is sewn up for Swarbrick

  2. observer 2

    " The MMP-savvy Green Party know that campaigning in the electorates increases their party vote."

    When I handed out bumf for the Greens near Auck Uni and AUT, the message to students was not just "party vote Green" but "have you enrolled yet"?

    A soggy leaflet in the junk mailbox won't reach those voters, but Chloe and her profile on campus will – and did. Thousands of party votes, right there. 4.9% on election day = 5.1% on specials.

  3. Darien Fenton 3

    I'm surprised you don't know Helen White. She has an impressive record as an union/ employment lawyer with some of the most difficult bosses, including Ports of Auckland. She used to work for the SFWU. She is rated by the blue collar unions. I agree Chloe should continue to stand, but what is irritating are the calls from some that Helen should stand aside for Chloe. I understand no one is seeking that from the parties, including the Greens. Also look at the numbers ; Helen came within 1500 votes of beating Nikki Kaye last time around. The Greens got around 2000. Helen has kept on organising in Auckland Central ; It would be heroic to assume that Chloe could make up the difference of 8,000 to 9,000 votes plus gain some from the Nats. Even with tactical voting not all voters just obey ; in this instance it would just hand the seat to National.

    • observer 3.1

      "what is irritating are the calls from some that Helen should stand aside for Chloe. I understand no one is seeking that from the parties"

      Agreed. The calls are mostly from media commentators who can't be bothered to do any maths homework.

    • Enough is Enough 3.2

      Don't underestimate name recognition. In 2020 Chloe is a high profile, and strong performing Green MP that is in the main stream media often. She is well respected on both sides of the house.

      Most Auckland central voters would struggle to name a blue collar union, let alone who their lawyer is.

      Helen will benefit from being the Labour candidate, but I think Chloe being the more recognisable person will suck away enough votes to again gift the seat to whoever National puts in there.

      • Andre 3.2.1

        again gift the seat to whoever National puts in there.

        Which would mean that someone fairly high up on the Nats list that doesn't win an electorate misses out on going into Parliament on the list. Is that a bad thing?

        • Enough is Enough 3.2.1.1

          I don't really care who misses out on National's list. There is no scenario in this universe which has National winning the election. So who is in or out on their list is irrelevant to me

          I do care about who wins Auckland Central though.

        • Rae 3.2.1.2

          Remember Auckland Central while going to a Nat did not register the highest party votes for National. Much of the reason it was the Nats seat was because of Kaye herself. Without her, I can easily see it changing

      • Bearded Git 3.2.2

        I find myself agreeing with you Enough….a painful experience this early in the day.

        Checkpoint did a walk down a street in Auckland Central last night….EVERYBODY recognised Swarbrick….few if any recognised White. Well worth a listen.

      • Darien Fenton 3.2.3

        I think Chloe has had a couple of goes at name recognition. In the end, it comes down to who lives in Auckland Central, and people make the mistake of thinking they are all progressive green types. They are not,

    • weka 3.3

      I agree Darien, neither party appears to want to do concessions and calls for either side to unilaterally give to the other just fosters unconstructive conflcit.

      I'm out of the loop of a lot of mainstream things. I live in the rural South Island (Auckland is like another country) and am a long term beneficiary. I was raised by a mother who was a life long member of the PSA, so I grew up pro-union, but it's not been something I've been centred in. My focus is the deep green and regenerative subcultures. I didn't know Helen White, but I can tell you who Kay Baxter or Robina McCurdy or Kay Brereton are.

      Looking forward to learning more about Helen White though, and hope both women get a good run at this.

      • Darien Fenton 3.3.1

        Yes I agree totally. I am feeling a bit wearied by the blokes telling two women what they should do. They should both stand ; their parties should campaign and hopefully, both will be in parliament.

  4. Visubversa 4

    The Green voters put Nikki Kaye into Auckland Central the last couple of times. They could cut National out of the seat entirely and have 2 good women MPs if they were smart enough. However, there is good evidence that they are not that smart.

    • observer 4.1

      I think you just provided the evidence that they are smarter than you.

      I'm not going to spend another day explaining MMP for Beginners, so just read the other thread, there's all the solid evidence you need.

      • Sabine 4.1.1

        actually they did.

        you might not like it, but the Green voters did not vote for a Labour Candidate but rather voted from whom ever was nominated – if anyone can still remeber – and as a consequence in 2014 Jacinda Ardern lost by about a 1000 votes – pretty much the number the Green Party member got.

        Once can argue that they voted for purity and such, but then we have seen what purity brings, it got us another few years of John Key.

        numbers per 2014

        KAYE, Nikki (NAT)12,494 45.84

        ARDERN, Jacinda (LAB)11,894 43.63

        ROCHE, Denise (GP)2,080 7.63

        and sometimes MMP simply means to support the one that has the biggest chance of getting it, and the Green Party Member stood no chance at all. But purity feels good. 🙂

        • observer 4.1.1.1

          Yes, I know the numbers. I was responding to the claim that " there is good evidence that they are not that smart."

          If we accept that measure of smart (and I don't), then Labour voters must be at least twice as stupid as Green voters.

          In Auckland Central, some Green party voters ticked the Green candidate. If none of them had, and they had all ticked the Labour candidate instead, then Nikki Kaye would have been a National MP on the list, instead of a National MP in an electorate.

          In Epsom, more Labour party voters ticked the Labour candidate. If none of them had, and they had all ticked Goldsmith instead, then ACT would have been out of Parliament altogether.

          So: 1) no change to National party vote and number of MPs, or 2) total destruction of ACT.

          I'd say one is a lot worse than the other, but then I ain't "smart".

    • Darien Fenton 4.2

      Um no. Denise Roche was the last Greens candidate. Anyway there will be no deal. So if Chloe thinks she can win she should go all out. My prediction is that Auckland Central will be a strengthened National seat. Some people should read the demographics of this seat.

  5. Andre 5

    Chloe absolutely should go hard in Auckland Central, TRP's wind-up from yesterday notwithstanding.

    But here's the challenge to everyone that thinks Labour should try to gift the seat to Chloe to give the Greens a lifeboat: explain how it could possibly actually work out, using real life numbers of the numbers of voters for the different parties and actual real-life split-ticket voting patterns. Particular attention needs to be paid to the possibility of some Labour party voters being sufficiently opposed to the Greens that they would vote for the Nat specifically to deny the Greens the lifeboat.

    To start you off, here's some of the real-life data needed for this challenge:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland_Central_(New_Zealand_electorate)

    https://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2017/statistics/split-votes-electorate-1.html

    https://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2017/statistics/split-votes-electorate-12.html

  6. gsays 6

    Thanks, Weka. Couldn't agree more. I figured yesty's post was an anomaly.

    I did finally get why Labour shouldn't stand aside to 'gift' a seat to The Greens. It would mean The Greens would be owned.

    I figure with the next intake of younger voters, The Greens will have a bigger voice in the next parliament.

    Legitimately.

    Looking at you Mr Brittas.

    • weka 6.1

      there's probably a psychological thing about being close to 5% and gaining a seat and then being dependent on it to stay in parliament. Better for the Greens to seriously go for electorate seats when they're on 20% and in the meantime play to their party list strengths.

    • Sabine 6.2

      The Greens are owned one way or another, as is any other Party for that matter.

      First – the voters who own them, as without them the dears in beige suits go nowhere.

      Secondly – the donors own them as without them the dears in beige suits go nowhere.

      Thirdly- in MMP any small party is owned by the biggest party that leads the coalition.

      Which is the eternal problem of the Greens. In all these decades they never grew any further then what they are now, and thus need a larger party to give them a seat at the table. And thus they are not 'free'.

      • Sacha 6.2.1

        in MMP any small party is owned by the biggest party that leads the coalition

        Because Winston First is so 'owned' by Labour, eh.

    • Incognito 6.3

      Nope, yesterday’s post was not an anomaly. It happens all the time here on The Standard that Authors disagree and sometimes strongly. They write in their own personal capacity and have their individual opinions. Some write deliberately provocatively to stimulate the commentariat. Today’s post is just a counter-view by another Author. No bad blood between the two, they’re almost like Ardern and Genter 😉

      • gsays 6.3.1

        Roger.

        You're right it wasn't an anomaly. TRP regularly has me spluttering the muesli with his reckons. Great stuff. Something that gives you pause for thought.

        I've navigated these waters long enough to not expect the view, from TS.

        Listening to the tranny this arvo, the idea of Labour and Green voters voting for Goldsmith in The Brittas Empire was explored. Sometimes you can be too tactical.

        • Incognito 6.3.1.1

          I've navigated these waters long enough to not expect the view, from TS.

          Good one; don’t even go near it because you’re almost guaranteed a harsh telling off comment from the one who shall not be named 😉

  7. mauī 7

    It is a bit of a worry that after more than 20 straight years being in Parliament the Greens are still fighting for their electoral survival. Part of the blame should go on Labour for not helping them win an electorate seat. All of those Green voters who vote for a Labour candidate and they get a big FU in return. Labour aside the Greens should have a formula to win an electorate by themselves already.

    • observer 7.1

      If a party depends on an electorate seat, they become defined by that one MP and that electorate (imagine trying to change the leader who holds the seat, for example). That is an unhelpful position for any party, but especially for the Greens with their kaupapa. The best formula is lowering the threshold. Anything else is a band-aid.

      • gsays 7.1.1

        Lowering the threshold, what is the most likely way for that to happen?

        A private members bill?

        • Ed1 7.1.1.1

          I believe the coat-tailing rule is inconsistent with the threshold. If the coat-tailing rule did not exist, there would still be some incentive to play games as in Epsom, but it would not manifest as fundamental unfairness for a party to gain MPs when a party with a higher level of party votes but not enough to meet the threshold gets none. The threshold should be reduced at least as was recommended in the most recent review of the system.

  8. Brigid 8

    "Labour’s Candidate, Helen White, and I were both invited on TVNZ Breakfast tomorrow morning to talk Auckland Central. She declined, and the segment was pulled.

    I remain very keen to debate the representation our city deserves, and the issues we face. Nobody is entitled to anything, and politicians must be accountable to the communities they seek to represent."

    Chloe Swarbricks facebook post yesterday

    • Breanna 8.1

      Ignoring that National and Labour have been knocking on doors and making phone calls for weeks while the greens have hardly been seen, or that there are already more than a handful scheduled debates for the community of Auckland Central (rather than fuelling Chloes need for a national ego boost).

      Perhaps Helen thought it was bad taste to start picking the carcass of a widely liked local MP the day after her resignation? But I guess Chloe as a career politician wouldn't care if it got her views…

      • solkta 8.1.1

        while the greens have hardly been seen

        Oh gosh that's terrible, how many observers do you have in the field?

        • Irene 8.1.1.1

          I'm in Ponsonby and I haven't seen a green doorknocker this election or the last – kinda unimpressed, tbh

      • Brigid 8.1.2

        "National and Labour have been knocking on doors and making phone calls for weeks"

        Have they? How do you know that. Are you a member of both parties?

  9. Breanna 9

    I appreciate your hopes for a friendly campaign, but given that Chloes commentary has already turned nasty, calling Helen entitled, lazy and unwilling to say the same thing on the doorstep as she would in parliament, perhaps the greens need to take a look at whether or not they actually want to run a friendly campaign?

    [You are new here and in all of your comments so far you have been sniping at the Greens, which is tolerated here. However, we don’t tolerate people making up shit to suit their opinions and/or personal agendas. You can back your accusations with a link or withdraw your comment. What you do next will influence for how long you can keep your commenting privilege here but I should let you know that in Pre-Election time tempers are frail and Moderators have increasingly less patience for dealing with recidivist behaviour – Incognito]

    • Sacha 9.1

      Chloes commentary has already turned nasty, calling Helen entitled, lazy and unwilling to say the same thing on the doorstep as she would in parliament

      Can you please link to places she has said that. Does not sound like her.

    • Brigid 9.2

      "calling Helen entitled, lazy and unwilling"

      No.

      Chloe hasn't said that.

    • Peter 9.3

      Please give us evidence of that. If you cannot you should apologise.

      I know the parties are different but we need internecine bullshit like we need a hole in the head.

      If that's going to happen the Labour and Green candidates may as well pull out and leave Auckland Central to National.

    • Incognito 9.4

      See my Moderation note @ 1:42 PM.

    • Just did a quick search and it appears that Chloe Swarbrick did unintentionally slight Helen White in an interview in the Herald, but quickly corrected herself:

      "She pointed to her track record of the past three years and said that White's voice might be stifled by her own party.

      "It's really important for Auckland Central to have someone who says the same thing on the doorsteps as they say in Parliament. There's a massive distinction between fighting words on the ground and taking that fight into the halls of power."

      She clarified that she wasn't talking about White, in particular."

      Re: entitlement, from the same interview:

      "But Swarbrick is also door-knocking in what she describes as the party's biggest push in Auckland Central.

      She didn't think Kaye's retirement would necessarily benefit White.

      "It's difficult to say where those votes will sit. Like I said back in 2016 [when Swarbrick ran unsuccessfully for the Auckland mayoralty], nobody owns votes, nobody can think they are entitled to those votes."

      I can't find anything that suggests Chloe called Helen lazy and I doubt I will, because the immediate clarification she made in the first section quoted above suggests she's thoughtful and careful with her words. However, I suppose that if a person was two faced and entitled, it's not a big jump to suggest that equates to laziness.

      The takeaway here is that Chloe Swarbrick's words were not intended to be provocative or disparaging. Sadly, her recent tweet about Helen White's unavailability to do a radio interview was not really in the same generous spirit.

      • Incognito 9.5.1

        Ta

        I would have like Breanna posting an explanatory comment like yours but that now seems unlikely. Still, Breanna could comment on the alleged accusation by Chlöe of calling Helen White “lazy”.

        The floor is your, Breanna!

      • Pete George 9.5.2

        …her recent tweet about Helen White's unavailability to do a radio interview…

        "…a bit of a misinterpretation, but ok"

        • Robert Guyton 9.5.2.1

          Says Nick, but Pete, what does that mean??

          • Peter 9.5.2.1.1

            What does it mean? Top me it suggests that trivial points can become headlines, can become issues can become the sort of mindless petty crap approaches we criticise the MSM for. In terms of the big picture it's nothing but fractious tetchy sweating the small stuff.

        • te reo putake 9.5.2.2

          Thanks, Pete. The tweet did leave an unfortunate impression, as does the article I quoted above which was headlined 'gloves off', which suggests a macho slugfest in AK central. As this post makes clear, that's not going to be the case.

          (Robert – the tweet seemed to be suggesting that a debate had been agreed and the Labour candidate pulled out. The producer is clarifying that the discussions never went that far.)

    • weka 9.6

      another mod note for you here Breanna (comment moved to OM)

      https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-17-07-2020/#comment-1731433

  10. Richard D James 10

    Either labour and the Greens need to do a deal on Auckland Central—I reckon in a months time the polls will be neck and neck between Lab/Nats and if the seats falls over a split vote we will have a change of Govt.
    As labour have already started putting the billboards up with Helen White I’m guessing they don’t want to do a deal at this point in time?

  11. Cinny 11

    I'd vote for Chloe in a heartbeat. She's a stand out MP.

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