National made a number of large mistakes in the Mt Albert campaign. The candidate and the way she was managed were obviously the killer blows to the Nats’ hopes of winning but the strategic mistake was talking up their chances of winning in the first place. Perhaps they believed they could jawbone the public’s expectations and that would result in more votes on the day.
It nearly succeeded: generic Nat candidate vs Lab candidate polls are said to have shown the neck and neck but the reality failed to match National’s hype. Labour’s actual candidate was the excellent David Shearer and National’s was… well. National embarrassed themselves by talking up their chances then failing so badly.
They’ve learned the lesson. This time, you’re not hearing a peep from the Nats about winning in Mana. Hekia Parata doesn’t even mention winning in her press release on her nomination.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not trying. In fact, they’re trying to win very hard. The Nats’ strategy is to run an under the radar campaign that will surprise Labour and commentators. Key is spending an awful lot of time in Mana, more than he is spending in Christchurch or on the economy, including the whole weekend before last.
What can you do to fight back?
Help out the Labour campaign if you live in the region. By-elections require more manpower than electorate parties can provide themselves.
If you’re in Mana, be sure to vote for Kris Fa’afoi and don’t throw your vote away on a third party candidate who doesn’t have a chance.
Get along to the debates, including the Back Benches special being hosted at Sand Bar next Wednesday. Parata shares with Lee a weakness under critical questioning – her tendency is to attack the questioner. Take your chance to question her on National’s record on wages and jobs.