One of the few bright spots for Labour on election day was Dunedin, with both North and South returning Labour candidates (David Clark and Clare Curran respectively, congratulations to both). Dunedin North (provisional results) even gave the party vote to Labour by a narrow margin, despite the countrywide swing to National (and despite boundary changes that make the seat marginal on paper). David Clark has been reflecting on the results – some extracts below but go and see the full post on his blog.
… Now, the obvious. Election night 2014 was a huge disappointment for Labour supporters. A party vote tally of 24.7% was no mandate to lead a new progressive Government. It was a trouncing.
For Labour: listening, reflection, learning and rebuilding must now occur.
Questions must be asked. Why, for example, was Labour’s share of the electorate vote up 9.3% across New Zealand? And why did the party vote slump whilst we won more, rather than fewer, electorate seats?
In addition to the musings above, here are a few early reflections on what went right in Dunedin:
1/ I think Labour’s relatively strong showing in both North and South Dunedin owes a lot to the positive plan for Dunedin that Clare Curran and I launched when the Labour Leader visited the city early in the campaign. Our simple message – that Labour would save Invermay, grow a modern engineering cluster around Hillside, and upgrade our dilapidated hospital – resonated. It resonated because it reflected local concerns, and because it gave concrete examples about what Labour’s wider ‘vote positive’ campaign meant in practice.
2/ I also think tying this local campaign to a party vote message worked. Our additional billboards were simple: Labour will save Invermay; Labour will support local manufacturing; Labour willupgrade Dunedin Hospital.
3/ Literally hundreds of local volunteers and supporters contributing to a campaign generates an energy of its own. Everyday heroes like Ciaran and Heather bring a lot of people with them. If you have hundreds of heroes, thousands of people in their wider social circles will be predisposed towards hearing what these heroes have to say – before they ever don a rosette. The days of mass-membership may have passed, but healthy and active membership does make a difference. …