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How not to campaign in an MMP environment

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 am, October 13th, 2020 - 30 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, david cunliffe, election 2020, jacinda ardern, national - Tags: , , ,

The 2014 election campaign still burns in my memory.  The Labour Party was clearly divided, unity and discipline was lacking and the electorate could sense it.

Things were that bad we had Labour list MPs not campaigning for the party vote.  Clearly they thought that their own personal abilities and talents would mean that the electorate would refuse to go along with the tide of public opinion and buck the trend and re elect someone they had previously voted out.  Unfortunately for them they were wrong.

Cosgrove was the 6th ranked Labour MP at the time.

There were other examples.  Some MPs in safe seats were campaigning only for the electorate vote and the Party vote billboards did not see the light of day.

The result was almost inevitable.  Labour received 25% of the party vote although interestingly 35% of the electorate vote.

National ran the perfect MMP election campaign.  Every billboard had John Key on it.  Result wise they received 47% of the party vote and 47% of the electorate vote.  Their discipline was impressive.

It is no secret that after the election Labour was in a poor state.  Thanks to Andrew Little’s determined leadership discipline and unity improved markedly.  And thanks to Jacinda Ardern’s inspired leadership things have kicked on since then.

Fast forward to now and the boot is clearly on the other foot.

National’s advertising is fragmented and when you look at the efforts of National candidates in marginal seats you can see there is no coordination.  And they are focussing on their own electorate campaign and not on the party vote campaign.

Denise Lee’s advertisement above is an example.  This effort from Dan Bidois below also fails the two ticks test although it does at least mention National.

And this billboard is frankly bizarre.  For the MP of Pakuranga to double down and be seeking electorate votes is unbelievable.  Pakuranga in particular is the sort of seat where the only thing you do is harvest party votes.

To add to the sense of a complete lack of discipline Alfred Ngaro has been at it again.

I blogged earlier about his insane attacks on Phil Twyford alleging that Twyford wanted to legalise all drugs and allow full term abortions.

Ngaro’s Facebook post was deleted and Judith Collins made soothing noises.  But Ngaro has now doubled down on what he said.

From Steve Braunias in the Herald:

A seemingly chastened Ngaro deleted the post. It was a small, unsavoury episode, no big deal, and for Ngaro and National at least it had the virtue of passing quickly – except it hasn’t. I called Ngaro on Sunday and he doubled down. He said he only deleted the post because trolls had attacked his wife, and accused her of being behind it.

As for his accusations against Twyford, he said, “I stand by those comments. I do not resile from them … I’m not about to apologise for speaking up.”

I said, “But your comments about Phil Twyford would appear to be total lies.”

He said, “Phil Twyford might want to check the record.”

I said, “What are you talking about?”

He said, “Have a look at the Family First website.”

Anyone relying on Family First for information need to have a reality check.

Braunias also highlights Ngaro’s completely unchristian approach to the poor.  When asked about clothing allowances for residents in a retirement home clearly suffering from poverty he said this:

“We need to stop thinking about services and start thinking about outcomes,” he blathered. I got in his face afterwards and said, “They’re poor. They need clothes. What are you going to do about it?” He said, “It’s not about fixing the problem.”

I wish to go on record and declare this is the worst thing I have ever heard any politician say out loud.

If I was National’s campaign manager right now I would be throwing a huge tantrum and lecturing every sitting MP on the importance of the party vote.  Every ad should be aiming either exclusively for the party vote or in marginal seats for two ticks.  Candidate only ads are a waste of time and actually are harmful to the campaign.  Every time a candidate gets an electorate vote but loses a party vote the party goes backwards.  It is a sign that National’s central control is completely lacking that this sort of advertising is happening.

This is like 2014 but in reverse and far worse.  At least in 2014 there was no surge of leaks against the leader during the campaign.

However, this is MMP and anything is possible.  Make sure that you and your whanau and friends get out and vote for their favourite progressive party.  Otherwise on Sunday morning you may wake up to Judith Collins being your Prime Minister.

30 comments on “How not to campaign in an MMP environment ”

  1. Te Aro Resident 1

    Looks like Simeon is already preparing for the 2023 Election by featuring National's next leader on his billboard.

    • Wensleydale 1.1

      I can't look at Simeon Brown without thinking, "Does his mother know where he is?"

      Also, Alfred Ngaro is a muppet. This is documented fact.

  2. Ovid 2

    If I was National’s campaign manager right now I would be throwing a huge tantrum

    We’ve already seen Gerry lose his temper at the media. He’s not handling this well.

    Is it bad that I’m taking such pleasure in seeing National self-destruct like this? I guess the unintended consequence is Act polling higher and I loathe them even more, but I can’t help myself.

    • Wensleydale 2.1

      I'd like to see Gerry crash and burn, and have to resort to looking for jobs teaching woodwork, only for schools around the country to say, "Yeah… nah. We don't ordinarily accept dodgy conspiracy peddlers with anger management issues." We probably shouldn't take pleasure in the misfortunes or others (be kind, and all that), but if anyone has it coming, it's the National Party. I'll be honest. I want to see them implode on Saturday. If that makes me a terrible person, so be it.

      • Sacha 2.1.1

        He will be gravy-training those company directorships from grateful party supporters to retirement.

      • NZJester 2.1.2

        If someone was stupid enough to put him in charge of a wood working class I would be amazed if 100% of the students made it to the end of the day with all their fingers still attached.

        But instead he is more likely to be given a job sitting behind a desk in a business bullying the hard working staff under him that do all the actual work and taking all the credit for said hard work while doing nothing but seat warming. (So no change from what he is doing at the moment).

  3. Ad 3

    This is exactly why 2020 is massaging away some of my 2014 scar tissue.

    Irrespective of the outcome, the campaign and the unity just feels godd.

  4. Chris 4

    Your advice to the nats is of course common sense, but I wouldn't give them an ounce of advice in the hope they're too stupid to cotton on to even the bleedin' obvious. Fuck 'em.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      There will no doubt be a post election analysis to work out if these were decisions made in panic or calculated.

  5. Uncle Scrim 5

    If I recall, in 2014 National won the party vote in every general electorate except four in west and south Auckland but Labour candidates won 27 electorates (21 general + 6 Maori), so only got 5 list MPs in. I don't expect Labour will achieve anything like that but that one poll in Northland showed it's likely Labour will win the party vote in many seats where Nat MPs are returned.

  6. Anne 6

    This is like 2014 but in reverse and far worse. At least in 2014 there was no surge of leaks against the leader during the campaign.

    And therein lies the key difference between left of centre politicians and and right of centre politicians. The left have principles of loyalty regardless of the circumstances while the right disregard such sentiments as being inconsequential.

    It never ceases to amaze me how these right wing disciples of Christianity will lie and cheat, spread misinformation, make slanderous claims for personal gain and believe they are entitled to do it cos well… God is on their side?

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      They've been in decline for a generation.

      The moral low point was probably their doing to death of Alan Hubbard, they may not have actually killed him, but they wrecked his company and looted it without a shred of judicial oversight. All the current Gnat insiders went along with it.

      What passed for intellect decamped with Finlayson.

      They're not worth saving, but it would be better for NZ if they could scare up a rational opposition.

    • greywarshark 6.2

      Christianity has been brought (bought) low when it is used as a brand or like a trademark for virtue-signalling.

    • roblogic 6.3

      The right wing of Christianity exists to legitimise warmongers, money-changers, and false prophets/ conspiracy-pedlars preying on the faithful

  7. Patricia Bremner 7

    Their campaign is in tatters Micky, my National relatives say many in Rotorua are voting Labour… to keep the Greens out, and "Jacinda has done well"

    No mention of Judith at all, it appeared she is not even worth a comment.

    This feels so different to all other elections. I have a bottle of bubbly ready and the nibbles… I will be watching certain Green candidates results and certain bellwether seats.

    People are engaged and this vote should give a real tangible mandate.

    • Gristle 7.1

      My approach to electioneering has been to argue with normal National voters that it's a Labour government is almost guaranteed. So they should vote Labour to moderate the Green impact.

      And then, argue with normal Labour voters that they should vote Green to ensure Labour does not abandon social and environmental goals.

      My success so far is to have moved 2 National voters from Act to Labour, and 3 Labour to Green.

      (And don't try any of your subtle arguments on me as I have already voted.)

    • Chris 7.2

      Perhaps younger voters and those overseas might knock the result higher than what the polls are saying right now.

  8. Brendan 8

    Nat voter here

    Simply put the Nats are not doing well. And when things don't go well you see their character exposed. Some will blossom, others will explode.

    Any way it looks as if team red is in a strong position for a good result this election.

  9. RedBaronCV 9

    Now if the more ethical centrist Nats used the meltdown to try and ankle tap some of the less savoury say Ngaro and remove them, then that would be impressive.

  10. PaddyOT 10

    How not to campaign in a country with high obesity stats and make a judgement about one's own lack of personal responsibilty.

    Casting shame as an election tactic.

    Thomas Coughlan comments, who is with Judith Collins in Waikanae today

    " Back to that interesting exchange on obesity and personal responsibility between Judith Collins and a reporter.

    Reporter: What do you mean when you say it's time to stop blaming the system for obesity, and people need to start taking personal responsibility?

    Collins: Exactly what I said.

    Reporter: Do you think it's epidemic?

    Collins: No, it's not catching.

    Reporter: What do you make of calls in the wake of your comments to make discrimination based on weight illegal.

    Collins: Look, many of us can do better on this. I'll tell you what, take some personal responsibility.

    Reporter: And some have called your comments heartless. Your response?

    Collins: Do you know what is heartless? Is actually thinking that someone else can cure these issues. We can all take personal responsibility, and we all have to own up to our little weaknesses on these matters.

    Reporter: Do you think obesity is a weakness?

    Collins: Yes certainly. It's the one that many of us do. We actually entirely have to take personal responsibility. Do not blame systems for personal choices.

    Another reporter said that would seem to be somewhat divergent from the medical science. A lot of research had been done on the issue in past decade, which would challenge that view.

    Trump Collins: I bet I've read more than you have on it."

  11. John 11

    Even in Whangarei its "Vote Reti" in his media adverts. Not asking for party vote at all. They must be shit scared this time around. Caucus meetings in a phone box for the Nats, hopefully, post Oct 17th. Loving it.

  12. ScottGN 12

    Had a bit of a run in with a woman I know tangentially. I’d said the PM was my local MP and I was looking forward to voting for her. “What’s she ever done?” the woman spat at me. I replied that, right now, she seemed to be pretty much single-handedly destroying the National Party and I was happy with that.

  13. Hunter Thompson II 13

    At least the Natz' disastrous 2020 campaign will be useful to students of politics and their university lecturers. Someone will probably write a book about it.

    It is also entertaining, in a weird and twisted way.

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