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?