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The Christchurch East by election gets weird

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, November 28th, 2013 - 60 comments
Categories: by-election 2013, conservative party, greens, labour, national - Tags: , ,

Poto Williams

As the Christchurch East by election draws to a close National’s candidate Matthew Doocey has done something quite unusual, he has not fronted up to an important public meeting to discuss that most vital of local issues, insurance cover for earthquake damage.

From the Christchurch Press:

National’s Christchurch East by-election candidate has been slammed for deciding to put family ahead of a critical election debate tonight.

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.

But his main rival, Labour’s Poto Williams, said she was “staggered” to learn Doocey would be a no-show at what she was probably the most important debate of the campaign.

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.

“It feels a bit like avoidance to me.”

Doocey has stated that a family commitment that he entered into some time ago is the reason for his not attending the meeting.  At one level I can understand the desire to have some private time.  But you have to wonder why he would not take the opportunity to state what the Government’s position on this issue is so close to polling day.

He and National may have some further explaining to do after a young National Activist was caught trying to remove a Poto Williams sign.  Such hair brained activity by young activists is not unheard of.  Poto Williams was relaxed about it but Matthew Doocey’s campaign manager has begrudgingly ruled out an apology.  I am interested in whether Nicky Wagner’s van, which was used in the commission of the offence, has any Parliamentary Services funding and if so why it is being used for campaign purposes.

Nothing National did could match the weirdness of the Conservative Party’s antics however.

Colin Craig hit the area and created something of a twitter storm.  When asked he stuck by an earlier statement that “I am aware of the theory that chemicals are being released at high altitude for some nefarious purpose but don’t know whether there is any truth in this or not.”  He does not believe in anthropogenic climate change despite the masses of evidence and studies in support but refuses to rule out the existence of chemtrails despite the complete absence of supportive evidence.  Go figure.

If at all possible it got worse for the conservatives.  TV3 discovered that the pictures of supporters in a conservative brochure were actually people in overseas stock photos and, shock horror, the legs in local conservative candidate Leighton Baker’s billboard “[w]hich of these legs would you rather vote for” were not his.  Surely there is a commandment against this?  Supporters of the legs in question would be voting for someone who was not actually a candidate.

Conservative billboard Baker legs

And to round the weirdness off Colin Craig announced his undying affection for Sarah Palin.  Apparently she took on the big oil companies in Alaska and bet them and we should have the same attitude in New Zealand.  I wonder how John Key feels about this?  It seems that his position on the oil companies is supine whereas Colin Craig wants a Hockey Mum approach to the industry.

With two days left to election day the choices are becoming stark.  You can vote for the conservative nut job, the National candidate who seems to want to be the MP for another area, the apparently decent Green candidate who will not win or you can vote for Poto Williams who I would be proud to vote for.  To all Green voters can I suggest that you hold your breath, vote strategically and party vote Green in 2014.

This election will be close.  Be strategic.

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

60 comments on “The Christchurch East by election gets weird ”

  1. karol 1

    micky, a very good post on the by election.

    But did you need to add in the bit telling suggesting to Green voters what to do? I’m am already a bit annoyed with Labour people telling me how I should vote.

    I don’t see the same coming from Greens providing guidance for how Labour voters should vote next year.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      You’ve got to get the tactical instruction out there somehow karol, hopefully without irritating potential supporters. I don’t see any other way of doing it.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Thanks Karol.

      I think that strategic voting is an important issue for the left. The right has perfected the art and get a decided advantage from it. The left is still struggling with the concept.

      It would no doubt help if there was a Coromandel seat where Labour could send a bit of the love to the greens. But right now the only strategic advantage to be obtained involves green supporters electorate voting for the Labour candidate. I agree that it looks one sided but I do not know how this could change.

      • karol 1.2.1

        Well, CV and micky, it is certainly looking like some sort of coordinated approach by Labour. And this little side line isn’t actually relevant to the topic of the post. It was unnecessary at this point.

        Clearly Labour thinks it needs to do this in order to gain power. I would like to see more respect for Green voters. It is now making me really annoyed every time I see Labour people repeating this line. It makes it look like Labour people think they are entitled to green votes – in reality, it is the case that Labour needs to Greens to gain power.

        How about you leave the Greens to talk with their voters?

        PS: the right (Nats) directs their people to vote strategically by talking to their own voters: eg Nats in Epsom.

        • bad12 1.2.1.1

          As a fellow Green Party member i tend to agree with those who say the Green Party should ‘get smart’ in the Christchurch east by-election,

          A heavy push by the Green Party in such electorates could if highly successful result in only one outcome which would be to split the ‘left’ vote and allow the National Party candidate,(who looks to have conceded already),to capture the seat,

          On a national level i would like the Green Party to examine all the electorate seats and deliberately devise a campaign around such seats that are marginally Labour with a view to campaigning heavily for the party vote only,

          My view is that the Greens should point extra resources toward the provincial cities and bigger towns which are currently held in the main by National, the growing ‘Green awareness’ seen in a number of National strongholds within the Auckland City electorates i believe is a nationwide trend set firmly in the psyche of many and has as yet not been fully exploited by the Green Party,(remembering that pulling a Green Party vote out of provincial New Zealand is really 2 votes toward a Labour/Green government,

          Having said all that, Labour supporters should be pushing the Party toward cross party talks of where parties of the left can strategically manage the 2014 election to ensure a Government of the left is the result rather than simply instructing Green Party voters on what are essentially First Past the Post politics…

          • weka 1.2.1.1.1

            I agree in theory, but there are two problems.

            One is that the GP are raising their profile via the electorate campaigns and thus their party vote. Having been treated like shit by Labour for so long, it makes sense to me that they are going for two ticks.

            The second follows on from that. Until Labour are willing to treat the GP as serious partners, then what advantage is there to the Greens to cut Labour some slack?

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Well weka, what you are talking about here is ‘where is the reciprocity’ from LAB to the GP. Ad below already suggested that LAB vacates Wellington Central (not likely IMO.) Policy and Cabinet concessions are other possibilities. Various options need to be thought through further, but I agree in general that LAB has not always treated the GP as serious partners.

          • Fisiani 1.2.1.1.2

            Speaking of tehe virtual concession by National. National is so far behind in Christchurch East that it is quite safe for Green supporters to cast their vote for the Green candidate. Poto Williams is not 5,000 votes ahead like Dalziel but at least 3,000 votes ahead in private polling.

        • weka 1.2.1.2

          I get where you are coming from karol, although I think the solution is for GP voters and teh GP to tell Labour voters how to vote 😉 (or best, Labour and the GP start working together).

          But I’ll be pretty pissed off with GP voters and the GP, if Green votes cost Williams the seat. If I were voting in Chch East I would be having to think hard about where to place my vote.

          Here’s the figures from 2011

          Lab/Dalziel 15,559
          G/Mathers 1,347
          Nat/Gilmore 10,225

          What I would be unclear on is, whether Lab will lose voters who were voting for Dalziel (which makes the contest closer), and whether the GP candidate is more or less liked than Mathers. I think there will be many voters in Chch East who won’t know those things, and who will vote for the party they like. That could split the vote.

          I don’t know if mickey is correct that this is a close election but of all the electorates to do a concession in, Chch East would be the one.

          • karol 1.2.1.2.1

            I would like to see Williams win.

            I have split my votes between parties in recent years.

            But I think left parties should focus on their own campaigns and instructions to their potential voters.

            And I agree that members of the 2 parliamentary parties should be talking to each other about such issues.

            • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.2.1.1

              Clearly Labour thinks it needs to do this in order to gain power. I would like to see more respect for Green voters. It is now making me really annoyed every time I see Labour people repeating this line. It makes it look like Labour people think they are entitled to green votes – in reality, it is the case that Labour needs to Greens to gain power.

              How about you leave the Greens to talk with their voters?

              Labour has better voter intention data than the Greens, and can get more boots on the ground than the Greens can. The weekend of the Labour Party conference there were 5, maybe 6 bus loads of Labour activists door knocking in Christchurch East.

              Further, has anyone from the Greens has written up a post on The Standard on Christchurch East saying vote red? I may have missed it.

              Lastly, the politics of Labour activists saying “Vote Labour” is far easier than the politics of Green activists saying “Vote Labour.”

              • karol

                CV, there are ways of going about things. Is there actually a Green Party TS author with knowledge of the by election?

                All that Labour people need to say is vote Labour and the reasons for it. It doesn’t require singling out (potential) Green voters.

                The talking with the Green Party organisers/officials and those of Labour would be more effective going on behind the scenes, so they are on the same page in terms of how they campaign.

      • Rich 1.2.2

        WE HAVE MMP!

        Sorry to shout, but some people just don’t get it. At the general election, it *doesn’t matter* if the vote splits and National win Christchurch East, it just comes off their list total, as would any seat Labour *gifted* to the Greens.

        At a by-election, the list is unchanged, so it’s worth Green supporters voting Labour to stop them going down one MP, although it doesn’t really make that much difference – unless Banks gets convicted and the Maori Party decide to pull the pin early, or one of them dies.

        • weka 1.2.2.1

          I think Chch East deserves a Labour MP who gives a shit rather than a NACT bod who serves Key’s paymasters. Irrespective of by- or national election.

        • Te Reo Putake 1.2.2.2

          Rich, it’s you that doesn’t get MMP. Electorate seats are vital for representative democracy and having a local MP who actually cares about their community and will work for the people of the electorate is vital. One of the reasons Chch’s new mayor is so popular is because of the work she did as a local MP over many years.

          Out in the provinces, we only have two MP’s prepared to battle for the battlers. Ask a beneficiary in Palmy if they’d rather have a Tory who didn’t give a toss about them for an MP or the incumbent, Iain Lees Galloway, who has a fantastic reputation for getting stuck in when his constituents need help. It’s not all about the numbers, it’s about the people too.

          • Rich 1.2.2.2.1

            Nope, another feature of MMP is that most list MPs provide a constituency service in their local area, so people have a choice of talking to an electorate MP or a list MP from another party.

            • Anne 1.2.2.2.1.1

              most list MPs provide a constituency service in their local area, so people have a choice of talking to an electorate MP or a list MP from another party.

              That’s right and given the size of electorates under MMP there’s usually no shortage of ‘constituents’ wanting assistance from MPs other than their electorate MP. List MPs have electorate offices in the same way as the electorate MPs and most of them have a Saturday constituency clinic.

              I think it’s a huge advantage of MMP that one has a choice. If I had a problem requiring the services of an MP there’s no way I’d go to my electorate MP, Maggie Barry. 😯

      • Ad 1.2.3

        Wellington Central.
        Get Robinson to withdraw, or at least shut up.

        Certify the Greens into coalition.

      • David H 1.2.4

        Well if the Greens and Labour fight it out, and the Nats squeak up thru the middle, then I’ll go vote Mana. Because it will prove that Labour don’t really want to win. If they really wanted to win, they would learn to be humble and work out a deal. It’s not hard you just have to TALK to someone from the other camp.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      Micky clearly just doesn’t get it.

      I too think that him adding that to the post was completely unnecessary and unwarranted.

    • Naturesong 1.4

      I can’t speak for other Green party members / supporters, but I’m over the abysmal way Labour has treated the Green party, and any pundit or commentator opining that the greens should do this or that.

      Despite Labour being an embarrassment as an opposition party if the electoral boundaries had not changed, I was still going to give my electoral vote to Labour (party vote Green).

      I would like to see the Green Party win an electorate though. As list MP’s they have done incredible work, and I’d like to see that same dedication and work ethic on display in representing an electorate.

      One of the things we still battle against is this constant framing that our policies are somehow extreme, which is pretty a odd conclusion to come to if you actually read them.

      Note: I’m a just a normal green party member, and not in any position of responsibility

  2. vto 2

    Whose legs would you vote for?

    Fuck I hate negative advertising – stuff that disparages some people to try and gain an advantage. In this case, quelle surprise, it is people in suits …

    Always avoid businesses, politicians and people who promote themselves by pulling others down. It is negative, they are negative. Only ever go backwards with negative.

    What a dick of an organisation

  3. Chooky 3

    So…”Colin Craig announced his undying affection for Sarah Palin.”!…..hah I thought he had Moral Majority Teeth !…this is where Colin Craig is really at …all the rest is subterfuge to cheat more votes from the other side…. and win the next election as a coalition party for National

    If I were a Green in Christchurch East I would be voting strategically ( unfortunately for the Greens)

    …..however i do think that the Labour Party should be approaching the Greens and offering them strategic deals for the next election as it will be such a close call…..ie Labour will hold back where your Green candidate is strong or equal

    eg. there needs to be a concerted effort to oust Peter Dunne

  4. Bearded Git 4

    There needs to be strategic voting in Dunne’s electorate, in the Maori seats and wherever Crazy Colin stands. The Greens should not put forward a candidate in all 3 situations, and I vote Green.

    • weka 4.1

      “The Greens should not put forward a candidate in all 3 situations, and I vote Green.”

      The Greens should not put forward a candidate in all 3 situations where Labour are also willing to do concessions, and I vote Green.

      fify

      I vote Green too.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    The Christchurch East by election is getting really weird. We have a National candidate who does not turn up to possibly the most important public meeting of the campaign

    (From the blurb on the main page).

    This meeting was attended by about 50 members of the public. Hardly seems the “the most important public meeting” to me.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      All about perceptions-Morning Report was highlighting the no-show this morning.

      During this term National has lost Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and the East Cape. If Labour can turn its Auckland vote out they are toast.

  6. Tom Gould 6

    Back to the ‘no-show’, it wouldn’t surprise me if big Jezza told him to hide. They are so close to the big insurers that he wouldn’t risk a novice candidate telling the truth about them. We know the insurers scraped up a cool $1m of policyholders’ money for them in 2005, if I recall. No idea how much they got in post-quake 2011, but 2014 is just around the corner. Not that they need the dough, but every million counts.

    • alwyn 6.1

      “We know the insurers scraped up a cool $1m … ”
      Has there ever been any real evidence of this happening.? The only “evidence” I have ever read was an unsupported line in Hagar’s book, where he claimed that an unidentified National party official is supposed to have told him this.
      I don’t think anyone but an arch conspiracy theorist would call this evidence. Was there ever anything else?

  7. I wonder if someone should ask Colin Craig whether or not he can see Alaska from all the way up his back passage (with apologies to Maud Basham, aka Aunt Daisy), given his apparent infatuation with Sarah Palin.

  8. Crunchtime 8

    I really wish Labour and the Greens could just get along and act strategically. They can always quietly highlight where they differ while still sending the strong message that they will be an effective and stable government.

    Showing that they are capable of working together now before the election will give a clearer indication of what they will be like after.

    The Greens need to be sensible about this – and so does Labour.

  9. alwyn 9

    Having one person, with a labelled vehicle, to attempt to pinch another parties election hoarding in broad daylight does seem to be rather amateurish.
    Perhaps the young clot involved could do a deal with the Green party to get lessons on how to do this properly. Russel Norman could probably make his PA available for the purpose. She was, after all involved in the large scale (over 50 people), New Zealand wide campaign to vandalise National Party billboards during the 2011 election campaign wasn’t she?
    Russel seemed to be so impressed with her initiative that he gave her tax-payer funded special leave for the rest of the campaign to continue her eforts. Now that is the way to go.

    • Te Reo Putake 9.1

      Cite or it didn’t happen. Nah, just kidding, it didn’t happen.

      • alwyn 9.1.1

        I reckon it is pretty accurate right up to the “for the rest of the campaign”. The reason given for the leave is unlikely though. I imagine she was told to hide until after election day and I doubt if Norman was very impressed at all.
        Perhaps the prose is a little purple.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/election-2011/5972541/Green-co-leaders-PA-knew-of-defacing-plans

        Defacing, or destroying, other peoples election posters is very much the norm though. I remember watching a candidate in a Wellington Mayoral election (A number of elections ago so you can’t pick who it might have been) who was walking along and personally tearing down other people’s posters. He didn’t seem to care who saw him.

        • Naturesong 9.1.1.1

          Some differences though.

          The defacing of National party billboards was really well done. No tacky spray paint, they got the fonts and colours just right.
          Don’t forget in 2011 billboards belonging to all parties including the Greens were defaced – doesn’t make it right, but clearly the mischief makers aligned to the greens were not the only ones, they just did it more awesomely than the rest 😎

          After it was found that there was a link to the partner of Dr Normans executive assistant, the member resigned from the Green party, the executive assistant was stood down and Dr Norman made a public apology.

          In this case, it was very poorly done, an amateurish effort, and no apology from National, despite there being direct links to the National Party including the use of their van.

          • alwyn 9.1.1.1.1

            Well there you go. As you say the Green Party does a really professional job of defacing other parties electoral material. That is why I suggested that this Nat supporter should take lessons. One can always learn from the pro’s.
            She was stood down as you say. That was, I suspect, to keep her out of the way of the reporters around Parliament. She was immediately reinstated once the election was over wasn’t she? I heard that it was the next day. Clearly it wasn’t regarded as anything more than breaking the eleventh commandment

            • Naturesong 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I think you missed the part in my comment, and in the reporting at the time, that the defacing was not a Green Party initiative, nor were the leadership aware that it was planned. If they had, they would have stopped it.

              The Green Party condemned the actions and apologised for the acts of the members involved, the person who organised the prank then resigned from the party.

              The Green Party also proactively worked with the National Party to identify the defaced billboards and had Green Party members remove the stickers.

              Thats because the Greens are principled and take responsibility.

              This in stark contrast to the National party, who when informed that two young national members used a party van to engage in vandalism, offered no apology whatsoever.

              • alwyn

                Wow!. You are living in a dream world.
                I don’t believe for a moment the Meteria wasn’t involved in organising the whole thing.
                Whether Norman knew I don’t know but he only got rid of her before the election to try and duck during the campaign. If he had really taken it seriously he would have never allowed her back into his office.
                Principled and take responsibility my a**s

                • felix

                  Um alwyn, you don’t get to accuse anyone of living in a dream world while you imagine the leader of a major political party “organising the whole thing.”

                  • alwyn

                    Um, Felix.
                    I didn’t say that she was “organising the whole thing”. I said she was “involved in organising the whole thing”, as in she knew damn well it was going on.

        • Te Reo Putake 9.1.1.2

          Was he on the smack? I seem to recall Welly had a drug fuelled mayoral candidate a couple of elections ago. Had a couple of interesting though addled policies including occasional mayoral nudity and, er, more drugs.

          • alwyn 9.1.1.2.1

            I don’t remember that one, although I wouldn’t be surprised.
            We had transvestite Carmen running for mayor in 1977 with Bob Jones’ backing. He wrote her speech, which had to be something she could read. He also provided a Rolls-Royce for the campaign I believe. The campaign slogan was something like “Get in behind Carmen for mayor”.
            Much more fun than people like Len Brown.

        • David H 9.1.1.3

          But it’s only defacing if you destroy, or impair the usefulness of, none of which happened here. All I saw was a board that told the truth.

          http://www.thefreedictionary.com/defacing

          Nothing was destroyed except a little more of Key’s credibility.

    • Puckish Rogue 9.2

      Now now you need to remember when the left do it its only because the right are so evil they’re forced to do it but when the right do it its because the right are anti-democratic bad evil-doers

      • Naturesong 9.2.1

        Only in your mind.

        I don’t think people who identify as right wing are evil, though I think many are misguided, or don’t have either the information or ability to think critically.
        Some are driven by ideology (as are some right across the spectrum).
        I see many people who identify as “right” driven to action by fear and emotion. And bigotry.

        Whenever people engage in undemocratic behaviour irrespective of whether thay identify as “left” or “right” they are not evil. They are corrupt. We’ve seen a lot of this with the current national governement

      • tracey 9.2.2

        I think there needs to be a turnout threshold to make a citizen initiated referndum binding.

  10. greywarbler 10

    It would be good if we can get either a Labour or a Green in Chch East. Which is the most likely? Greens have been thinking smart for decades and can cope with facing the likely public voting decisions.

    Most Greens would know it is no good going idealistic – the thinking is will we win, will we seek coalition, will we go for confidence and supply in order to get some leverage. Everything has to be considered and calculated. This is our life we are thinking about.

    Parties have to be seen to be fair, and people will understand their moves if they say its TINA for us this time. My term for the required attitude to politics and just about everything is be an idealistic pragmatist.

    • weka 10.1

      It’s not a choice between Labour and the Greens. It’s a choice between Labour and National. Enough people voting GP instead of Labour and National will get the seat.

      • nordy 10.1.1

        Nicely put – a by-election is by definition FPP.

        If the objective is a change in govt next year then these ‘stepping stones’ are important in building/maintaining momentum

        A change of government next year cannot occur without a strong result for Labour.

        • Murray Olsen 10.1.1.1

          And a change of economic direction and environmental policy next year cannot occur without a strong result for Greens. The fact that Sealord Jones is still on the front bench despite all his outbursts suggests to me that Labour haven’t changed much at all.

          • bad12 10.1.1.1.1

            i agree with you, listening to the Green and Labour candidates on RadioNZ this morning shows up the stark difference,

            Poto Williams advocating middle class concerns and following in the foot-steps of Liane Dalziel blah blah blah, run through my translator ”Middle Class Business As Usual”,

            The Greens??? in Christchurch the housing situation is so dire that they see the need to build ‘caravan type accommodation parks’ trucking in pre-built ‘studio type’ units and getting stuck into building the Green’s rent to own housing…

  11. greywarbler 11

    It would be good if we can get either a Labour or a Green in Chch East. Which is the most likely? Greens have been thinking smart for decades and can cope with facing the likely public voting decisions.

    Most Greens would know it is no good going idealistic – the thinking is will we win, will we seek coalition, will we go for confidence and supply in order to get some leverage. Everything has to be considered and calculated. This is our life we are thinking about.

    Parties have to be seen to be fair, and people will understand their moves if they say its TINA for us this time. My term for the required attitude to politics and just about everything is be an idealistic pragmatist.

  12. Matthew 12

    I dont see anything wrong with Craig’s statement that he is aware of the theory of chemtrails but had no position on it. Doesnt mean hes not a fruit loop, but just worth pointing out imo.

    • northshoreguynz 12.1

      “The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits that some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for purposes undisclosed to the general public and directed by various government officials.[1] This theory is not accepted by the scientific community, which states that they are just normal contrails, as there is no scientific evidence supporting the chemtrail theory.” From Wikipedia.

      Another conspiracy theory. Bat shit crazy stuff. Just taking about it makes you seem like a fruit loop.

      • bad12 12.1.1

        So in the history of Man and Woman there was never a conspiracy hatched???, i have the same position as Colon Craig on ‘chem-trails’,

        There is a difference between what i would describe as a ‘normal’ jet trail across the sky and what the conspiracy theorists call ‘chem-trails’ which i have personally witnessed here in Wellington,

        ‘Normal’ jet trails in the sky tend to spread a little and slowly dissipate remaining at altitude, what is described tho as ‘chem-trails’ behave in an entirely different manner showing minimal ‘spread’ as they sink from altitude,

        What the cause of this difference is i wouldn’t have a clue, but, there is a difference…

        • Phil 12.1.1.1

          What the cause of this difference is i wouldn’t have a clue, but, there is a difference…

          The cause of any difference you see is atmospheric conditions – plain (plane?) and simple.

      • Matthew 12.1.2

        Yes, I am aware of what chemtrails are, as are you. In fact, you now probably know more about chemtrails than Crazy old Colin Craig……Does that make you crazy?

  13. captain hook 13

    Hmmmmmm. chemtrails?
    the only weird thing and it is not really weird at all is that [sorry CH have to have a campaign free day today until 7 pm – MS]

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