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Clusterf*ck in Epsom

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, August 4th, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: david parker, election 2011, john banks - Tags: , ,

It looks like the race for Epsom is about to get a whole lot more exciting. Former ACT funder Colin Craig seems set to throw his hat into the ring against ACT’s John Banks, National’s Paul Goldsmith, and Labour’s David Parker. It only needs Winnie to join in to make a real party of it. Can Parker slip through the middle and win?

Consider these facts:

  • In 2008, the party vote split about 10,000 for Labour/Greens. That’s artificially low because the candidates were running ‘don’t vote for me’ campaigns that hurt the party vote too.
  • There were 26,000 party votes for National/ACT, nearly all of them National. ACT’s base support in Epsom is only about 2,000
  • The Green candidate vote is likely to be much weaker this time with the unknown David Hay replacing Keith Locke.
  • John Banks is old. He’s been out of national politics for 12 years. He’s also clearly a proxy for Brash, who is completely unelectable.
  • Banks cannot assume he starts with Rodney Hide’s level of support in 2008. That was hard, hard won. In 2005, despite the nod from National, his majority was only 3,000.
  • National supporters of Epsom are being told from on high to vote for a guy who is representing a party that he doesn’t really believe in so that a guy no-one would elect can get in to offer a lifeline to a party that is falling apart in a mess of fascist and libertarian contradictions, so that National can have a support partner if they need one.
  • There are a lot of grumblings from National’s base in Epsom that they don’t like being taken for granted and they want to be able to vote for a real National MP, rather than being Shanghaied into assisting an ally that most on the Right are keen to abandon. Even when National’s Epsom supporters were happy to go along with the rort, Richard Worth won over 8,000 votes.
  • David Parker will be the most senior politician and only sitting MP in the race.

So, what happens if a large portion of National supporters refuse to to used as tools and vote for Goldsmith, Craig, or even Parker? What if Parker can, additionally pick up nearly all the Labour/Green party votes?

There will be about 36,000 votes in play. It’s fair to assume that, if he campaigns for the candidate vote, Parker will get nearly all the Left vote and probably a few thousand from the Nats. Call it 12,000.

That leaves 24,000 votes divided between three rightwing candidates, none of whom are particularly energising, and one of whom will be constantly reminding voters of the attempted stitch-up between the other two. How many permutations of 24,000 divided among three result in none having more than 12,000 votes?


61 comments on “Clusterf*ck in Epsom”

  1. Bryan 1

    I’m not sure where you get your figures from. Hopeful, wishful thinking that resembles Robin Hood. A fantasy. Hide regained control of the seat with a resounding win in 08 so why look back to 05? If we use 05 as the benchmark, then National won’t win the benches again. Typical left thinking…looking backwards rather than forwards. While Epsom should be an interesting seat to watch, if Banks doesn’t win, rest assured Parker won’t. The stitch ups are neither new nor unique. More people voted for Worth and Hide than people voted for their parties, yet more votes were recorded in the party column, than MP. What does that tell you? There will be a base of people unhappy with the rort, but many many more who let their pen do the talking. Banks will win it. Goldfish will be a distant second, and Conservative Craig will come in a noble 3rd. The voters in Epsom may largely be conservative, but they won’t risk omitting Banks as their MP to get Craig in. Too much on the line.

    • lprent 1.1

      At a rough guess, I’d say that Eddie got them from http://elections.org.nz

      Perhaps you should try reading it?

    • Blighty 1.2

      The point is that, yes, it’s a heavily rightwing seat but it’s also got three big rightwing candidates and how many of them will refuse to toe the Banks line?

      • lprent 1.2.1

        Jeremy Greenbrook-Held said (on facebook)

        Between them, the candidates for Epsom have lost the Auckland Mayoralty 3 times, and Goldsmith failed to be elected to the Auckland Council.

        It is essentially a seat that the right wing sends their failed candidates to. I mean who in Auckland really wants to vote John Banks into anything? Even the right voters seem to despise him – especially the women.

    • I think it’s pointless trying to come up with wishful number combinations.

      The voters in Epsom may largely be conservative, but they won’t risk omitting Banks as their MP to get Craig in. Too much on the line.

      What’s more likely to happen is Epsom voters will work out there preference and go for it. They’ve bucked voting tradition before, why not again?

      Epsom is a battle for several seats, not just a single seat. It will be interesting to see the Conservative list. It wouldn’t be hard to look better than the Act list, but Craigs list needs to look to have some breadth and depth to compete. That means not just looking like another attempt at a Christian party.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      Typical left thinking…looking backwards rather than forwards.

      Nope, that’s the thinking of the right who seem determined to take us back to the 15th century.

  2. Bryan 2

    @lprent got it. Perhaps more appropriately I should have said I’m not sure how logical it is to use historic figures (’05 vs ’08) and somehow substantively suggest that a Labour candidate will ‘sneak’ through. I don’t live in the electorate, so my suggestions are guesswork too, but I think they’re a little closer to reality than a fantasy of a left leaning candidate sneaking through.

    @Blighty three ‘big’ rightwing candidates? Banks has profile, give you that. The other two are noises and distractions; not what I’d call big. Of them, one will campaign for candidate vote, one won’t. Neither will win it. The seat is a strong conservative ‘blue’ seat.

    take Auckland central as another example. It changed from longtime red to blue for a few reasons. Reputation of the Dame languishing, voter apathy against Labour and seeking change (across the board), good street work by Nicki Kay. As a ‘red’ seat, it wouldn’t have mattered in ’08 if there was 1 left candidate or several.

    Compared then to Epsom, a blue seat, with a strong blue government, neither strong mandate for change in the wind (nor in the polls) and still with 3 contenders who on paper could win. The voters in Epsom since MMP have always voted strategically and sensibly to ensure the resulting party in Govt helps them out. They may not like how they have to achieve that, but in the end, it’s a means to assist. They don’t want their cake and to eat it too – they just want the cake.

    • felix 2.1

      “take Auckland central as another example. It changed from longtime red to blue for a few reasons. “

      You forgot the main reason: long term demographic change in the area.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Yep – and the massive increase in apartment dwellers in the central city. Something like 15-20k voters moved into the city over a decade.

    • Blighty 2.2

      Paul Goldsmith is big because he is National’s candidate. And I think you can count on Colin Craig throwing the kitchen sink into his campaign.

      • His spending is limited to $25,000 in Epsom during the not-very-far-away regulated period.

        The Party also cannot advertise on Radio or Television.

        • bbfloyd

          graeme… you”re not still deluding yourself that the tories are remotely interested in a fair fight are you?

          since when have they not done what they could to get around the rules?

        • Rob Davies

          As a candidate he is limited to a $25,000 spend, but isn’t he also registering a political party?

          Registered parties are capped to a total spend of no more than $1.032 million.

          That party’s “national” campaign could include some hoarding sites outside Auckland, but within the city there could be a strong Epsom bias.

          Ergo, Blighty is probably correct to say Craig is likely to throw the kitchen sink into the campaign. He has in the past.

    • lprent 2.3

      Banks has profile

      Problem is that it is not a good profile. There will be a lot of people just voting against Banks because he is Banks.

      • Pete George 2.3.1

        Act supporters seemed to be split on the Brash Act, then joined in hope.
        They then seemed very split on whether Act should bank on Banks.
        Pol results aren’t surprising.

      • Blighty 2.3.2

        yeah, and that’s even more reason to think the rightwing vote will split.

  3. felix 3

    “Banks cannot assume he starts with Rodney Hide’s level of support in 2008. That was hard, hard won.”

    I raised this point with Lew recently, who pointed out that Rodney only had to do all that hard work because the voters of Epsom would’ve rather voted for a proper Nat like Banks all along.

  4. We should not forget the New Citizen party.  A significant proportion of the electorate is Asian and with a good campaign they could achieve 10% of the vote.  In the Botany By election NCP candidate Paul Young achieved over 10% of the vote.
    Interesting times …

    • Yes, interesting and good that some seats get plenty of attention and voters get plenty of choices. We need a few more seats to get into MMP democracy like Epsom.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    I’m sensing a panic pulse from Captain Panic Pants.

    Parker is more economically literate than the rest of those Right Wingers put together too.

  6. randal 6

    I think the voters of Epsom are sick and tired of being treated like pawns in Nationals game. And morevoer they know that Labour has the most progressive policies this time around. If National wont represent them and treat them properly then the Labour Party will.

    • Bryan 6.1

      haha. “they know that Labour has the most….” um. Fact is the policies of National, Act and CP are more aligned with the electorate than Labours. What are you smoking?

      • Lazy Susan 6.1.1

        Oh you mean like privatising state assets, tax cuts for high income earners, gutting Kiwisaver, increasing GST. Those really popular NAct policies – yeah right!

        • Bryan

          Yes Susan – that’s exactly what I mean. The electorate (speaking generally) is more aligned to tax cut policies for high income earners among the others you refer to. Might not be paletable, but given the nature of this post is how too many RW candidates could allow Labour to sneak through, it is important to keep on topic, and face facts. The seat is very much there for RW parties to exploit. No surprises as to why.

          • bbfloyd

            bryan,,, so you’re telling us that the people of epsom are happy to support the rape and pillage of the economy going on now? if i lived in epsom, i would be insulted by that statement..

            aren’t they supposed to be the smart ones? do you honestly believe that people with that kind of knowledge and intellect would not understand what the nats policies(or lack of) is going to do to the profitability of their business’ over a relatively short period of time?

            i can understand lawyers going along happily with the exploitative approach, but they don’t make up the majority in epsom..

            • Colonial Viper

              Even senior Epsom lawyers aren’t going to be happy to realise that their grandchildren are going to grow up in London, Sydney and Singapore.

      • mik e 6.1.2

        Is that the one where you have 20,000 more on the DPB or no savings

  7. Lilz 7

    It’s electorates like Epsom that make me more excited about the election than the RWC. Quite frankly the latter is just going to be a giant distraction in the lead up to 26 November.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      For many people like myself, the RWC is not even going to be a distraction, just an irritation.

      • bbfloyd 7.1.1

        certainly, now that the nats have managed to turn rwc into a second rate circus act, effectively negating most of the positive flow on that may have occurred.

        that is seriously irritating, and embarrassing.

  8. Thinking on this matter…

    We are looking at this situation from a left or centre-left perspective. ACT is odious to us (and rightly so), whilst John Banks would not be our first choice of candidate (to put it diplomatically).


    How would I feel, if a similar scenario was presented to me, in my electorate? What if, say, Labour gave strong “hints” to give them the Party Vote, but vote for “Joe Bloggs” from NZ First (which I distrust greatly) to allow NZF to ‘sneak’ through the 5% thresh-hold and give Labour a Coalition partner?

    I would not be terribly happy at the prospect. No, indeed.

    But if it’s a choice between a Labour/NZ First coalition and a National/ACT coalition…

    No, I would not be happy. But I guess I would do the unpalatable thing and Party Vote Labour and Electotate Vote NZ First.

    God, I feel sorry for those poor buggers in Epsom…

    • Lazy Susan 8.1

      True Frank – if you were a died in the wool Labour supporter. But what if you are part of that big soft centre that flaps around in the electoral breeze?

    • Bryan 8.2

      precisely Frank. well said. They may not agree with it, but the majority will be complicit and do it. The end result is more important than a yellow wearing dancer, or recycled public servant. Any which way – this is not about the Epsom seat, but retaining the right wing government, which is probably why most will toe the line.

  9. But what if you are part of that big soft centre that flaps around in the electoral breeze?

    Good point, Susan…

    And if I’m to be honest – I’ve no idea. Trying to look at this issue through another perspective is fairly difficult as it is. I guess I can use the Labour/NZF analogy up to a point as I’ve been a leftie/social democrat for my voting life.

    But a swing voter?

    That’s a new thing altogether. Fairly alien territory for someone with definite views, like me.

  10. Bryan 10

    Just a side issue – Craig hasn’t announced which Electorate he’s going for either. He may choose Epsom, but he surely doesn’t want to spend money poorly so if he thinks his chances aren’t ‘great there’ which I don’t think they are, he’ll probably look elsewhere. Which makes our pontificating here even less relevant! 🙂

  11. prism 11

    Banks cannot assume he starts with Rodney Hide’s level of support in 2008. That was hard, hard won. In 2005, despite the nod from National, his majority was only 3,000.

    I wondered about that – here’s the info.
    ACT New Zealand 2,389 HIDE, Rodney ACT 21,102
    Green Party 2,662 LOCKE, Keith GP 2,787
    Labour Party 7,711 SUTTON, Kate LAB 5,112
    United Future 258 TUCK, Janet UFNZ 163
    National Party 24,030 WORTH, Richard NAT 8,220

    ACT New Zealand 1,237 HIDE, Rodney ACT 15,251
    Green Party 1,941 LOCKE, Keith GP 1,513
    Labour Party 9,915 NASH, Stuart LAB 6,138
    National Party 21,310 WORTH, Richard NAT 12,149
    NZ First in the 800s went down to 500s in 2008
    Destiny New Zealand 66 GABB, Rod DNZ 114
    Destiny had a go in 2005 not in 2008.

    • Richard 11.1

      At first glance it looks like a significant number of National Party voters, voted for Hide, which is well known.

      But it also looks like a significant number of Green and Labour voters voted for somebody other than the corresponding electorate candidate. This might mean that significant numbers of Green and Labour votes voted for the National candidate? It is difficult to see them voting for Hide.

    • Tom Gould 11.2

      @ prism, these numbers show just how obscene the Tory rort in Epsom is. The ACT fruit-loops can barely dredge up 2,000 votes, yet their boy can win the seat? And it clearly isn’t down to looks or personality.

  12. Prism, are those Party or Electorate Votes?

  13. Hopeful 13

    Wouldn’t be more likely that a left (ie Green) candidate might slip through as the right vote splits between Banks, Goldsmith, Craig & Parker?

  14. Shazzadude 14

    I reckon Parker should campaign on not being part of the cosy experiment, and to ask National voters who don’t like the cosy ACT deal to vote for him to teach National and ACT a lesson.

    • Bryan 14.1

      riiight. vote for Parker. Get rid of Act, and put National/current Government at risk. To teach National and Act a lesson. To end up with a Labour government. Aha. Like the people of Epsom are going to do that. Said it before, will say it again. They may not like what they have to do, but they’ll do it anyway. They may feel used and abused but that is way less sacrifice than doing things to assist Labour in any way.

      • prism 14.1.1

        Wouldn’t it be nice if voters went for the party that was good for NZ instead of choosing their political allegiance as if it was a sports team! Epsom will bite the bullet and vote whichever way will keep National in and Labour out. How small minded democracy has ended up.

  15. I think we have all forgotten Rodney Hide ,He’s still angry at the way he was dumped .I’m certainly not a fan bit I do think the ACT/Nats really did the dirt on him. Watching him on TV the body language says “Im not done yet! It could be very interesting /

  16. tc 16

    I’d love to see Hide making a nuisance of himself this election……remind akl’ers of the srewing over they received at the NACT’s hands.

  17. Georgy 17

    Well, when you read all the comments, opinions, permutations, combinations, and possibilities, I think the original blog by Eddie is probably about right. Splitting the RW vote 2 or 3 ways, with consolidation of the left vote and some protest vote for Parker, then he just might sneak through – and that would be one of the greatest victories since the very first elections in NZ ! ! ! ! Ha Ha go Parker ! ! ! !

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      I bet the Righties are planning some desperate back room negotiations in Epsom haha

  18. chris73 18

    I don’t think this is going to change the result at all: ACT win in Epsom

    Though if this guy is representing the religious right I’d like to see him join forces with Destiney so that when they get a resounding hiding at the polls they’ll (hopefully) realise theres no room in NZ for fundamentalist political activism

    • lprent 18.1

      Yeah I wish that party of fundamentalist activists would die as well. But Act is tearing itself apart fast enough already. Isn’t it?

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