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Nat’s Mana strategy: exploit Parliament

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, November 3rd, 2010 - 47 comments
Categories: by-election, john key, national/act government, Parliament, Politics - Tags:

National is finding new exploitative ways to try save their by-election campaign in Mana.

Last week, Parliament’s Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee announced that the House will go into Urgency between 16 and 18 November. Urgency is the government’s way of speeding up legislation by enabling the House to sit for longer hours. It was recently used to pass the Hobbit Act.
But it’s clear that National has a secondary agenda.
Instead of granting Urgency during the first week of the next sitting session, Brownlee chose the second week. This seems odd given that if there were bills that were truly urgent, surely National would take the first opportunity to try and pass them.
So why would National call Urgency in the second week?
The second sitting week is also the final week of the Mana by-election campaign. Certainly, Urgency will tie up many Labour MPs who were otherwise planning to spend the final few days on the campaign trail in Mana. National will also be aware of Labour’s added difficulty of getting regular supporters to canvass during the working week.
However, National’s sole asset in Mana is John Key, who makes rare appearances in the House at the best of times. Urgency will barely stand in the way of Key’s enduring strategy of one-man photo-opportunities.
So for the most vital week of the by-election campaign, National will manipulate parliamentary process to help their campaign for Mana.
Obviously, this is grossly inappropriate. It’ll be interesting to see what lame bills Brownlee decides are ‘urgent’.

47 comments on “Nat’s Mana strategy: exploit Parliament”

  1. outofbed 1

    Can’t help feeling though, if Labour were an effective opposition they should be sleepwalking to victory in Mana.
    Pains me to say but Hekia winning, might be the kick up the jacksie that labour needs.

    • The only possible way that Hekia could win would be if Matt McCarten took enough votes. I am still shaking my head on that decision.

      • Shane Gallagher 1.1.1

        Matt McCarten is dragging Labour to the left – I saw the interview on Q+A and he was by far the strongest candidate in terms of presentation and content. Fa’afoi was just a bit middle of the road really – very nice person, as is Jan Logie – but maybe that is Labour’s strategy.

      • Lazy Susan 1.1.2

        I was initially puzzled by Matt McCarten’s decision to stand but now think it makes sense. He is saying the things he believes Labour should be saying but aren’t. If he takes alot of votes from Labour the worst that could happen is that Hekia comes through the middle. Not a good result in the short term but will pull Labour to the left before the next General Election. He is testing the water for Labour, exposing National and getting a bit of publicity for Unite.

        • Rex Widerstrom


          You’d only be “shaking your head” at Matt’s decision if you equate “what’s best for ordinary people” with “what’s best for Labour in its present form, because we know best”.

          The inability of Labour activists and its leadership to differentiate between the two is what is causing it to slowly decay.

      • Shazzadude 1.1.3

        I actually think McCarten will come fourth.

  2. Roflcopter 2

    She may not win, but a reduction in the vote margin % between National and Labour compared to 2008 election, and whether that reduction is due to Hekia getting more or McCarten carving the left vote, is a rejection of Labour.

    • Marty G 2.1

      well, it’s not a rejection of labour if the labour candidate wins.

      National’s strategy is to out-perform expectations. They’ve been low-key in the national media hoping that Parata will get a higher than expected number of votes.

      Now that McCarten is in the race, of course, they will attempt to shift the focus to the size of Fa’afoi’s majority, claiming (as rofl does in proto-form above) that a smaller majority is somehow a victory for National over Labour, even if many of the votes have gone leftward.

    • gobsmacked 2.2

      John Key says it on the radio, Roflcopter says it on here five minutes later. Good dog!

      • Roflcopter 2.2.1


        Except I posted this opinion on other blogs weeks ago.

        But that’s ok, you just keep on with the name-calling, you do yourself no favours.

  3. Tigger 3

    Are you sure Key has time to lollop around Mana? Surely he’s too busy patting spiders and giving school girls hot flashes by making random appearances at their schools?

  4. Bunji 4

    Asked about her strategy to win a few weeks ago Hekia was heard to respond:
    “Low voter turnout.”

    This would appear to be part of that plan.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Wow, that’s an admission that should be trumpeted as widely and loudly as possible – National candidate seeks to edge in via voter apathy, because if people cared they’d never vote for her.

    • Fisiani 4.2

      Got a source for that totally made up quote

      • Fisiani 4.2.1

        Knew it.

        • Mac1

          You can’t get holier than thou on this one, Fisiani.

          Politicians have the ‘H’ word for that behaviour. Indeed!

        • Bunji

          I love how you expect a reply within a minute. Some of us have work, sorry.

          • felix

            I love how Fizzy has never, ever, been able to produce even the thinnest sliver of evidence or any corroborating links for anything he has ever posted here, ever, despite being asked many many times.

        • bbfloyd

          still practicing you maiden speech then fisi? needs more work… try asking paul holmes to write it for you… he’d write a good mouth frothing piece for you… right down your alley.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.2

        So are you saying that Hekia *wants* a higher voter turn out as possible?

        No , didn’t think so.

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Hmmmm… in her position I would. Surely the lowest turnout would be in the Aotea / Whitby parts of the electorate where people – particularly without a party vote to cast – would think “National hasn’t got a chance, bugger it I’ll stay home”?

          An effective GOTV effort is her best chance. She’d also be hoping every single one of McCarten’s voters turned out, and the Greens as well.

          That’s quite a few people… so my instincts tell me Bunji’s been given mischevious gossip rather than fact (unless of course s/he is telling us it was overheard in teh first person, in which case I’d accept the truth of it).

          • Bunji

            It is admittedly hearsay, but from a reputable source… but I’m most inclined to believe it because it would fit in with her best chances practically. A low turnout, combined with a good Get Out The Vote of her voters could push her over the line if the left is split (thanks Matt). It doesn’t matter to her how many McCarten / Greens voters turn out, just how many Labour voters stay home. Key and Perata have been going to the big Samoan churches and saying: back the Tangata Whenua candidate not the Tokelauan (same old National: divide and rule!); they’ve been pushing the line that Kris is imposed from the Goffice (despite the fact that the majority in any Labour selection panel is from locals); they’ve been pushing the line that he’s not true Labour, just a gun for hire… Anything to reduce the Labour vote, but nothing to push the race into the media, nothing to promote their own candidate and risk motivating Labour voters…

            • Rex Widerstrom

              Key and Perata have been going to the big Samoan churches and saying: back the Tangata Whenua candidate not the Tokelauan (same old National: divide and rule!)

              Yuck that really is appealling to the underbelly of motivation. Though to be fair they’re not doing the dividing, that’s a facet of inter-Pasifika relations I didn’t realise till I heard my Samoan friends talking about people from other Pacific islands.

              I’d (naively, I now realise) assumed that what differences there may be would be subsumed by what united them – including being Pasifikans in a predominantly Pakeha/ Maori culture. But the animosity felt by all the Samoans I knew for other Pasifikans outweighed anything they might have felt for people of any other background.

              It’s an ugly scab to pick, in other words, but National didn’t cause it to form.

              If pollywog’s about, I wonder what he makes of it… and whether he thinks it’ll be an effective tactic? Because in my experience, denigrating one minority group to another can cause a temporary alignment of the two (not that I’ve done it, but I’ve seen it happen).

              • pollywog

                Yeah, it’s to my shame that Samoans truly are arrogant in their dealings with other Pasifikans.

                It comes from seeing ourselves as the originators and keepers of ‘true’ polynesian culture, such that everyone else is seen as young upstarts. You only have to look at David Tua’s ‘100% Samoan’ t-shirt print to get a feel for how much pride in Samoan culture exists to the detriment of other ‘lesser’ islands.

                It’s widely considered that Maori are our younger cousins, but in relation to the by election, my feeling is Samoans would vote more for a Tokelauan than a Maori and more so a man over a woman.

                It’s seems a last ditch effort by National to campaign within the churches along cultural lines and not something Samoans would give respect to. The whole ploy reeks of desperation so i’m afraid it’s looking like a cake walk for Fa’afoi.

                So how soon will his caring rhetoric evaporate once he gets his snout in the big house trough ???…before last drinks have been called at his victory party i reckon.

                be keen to see what bullshit promises he and Parata trot out tonight on ‘backbenches’, that they have no intention of following through on and to hear McCarten tell it like it is.

                • NickS

                  It comes from seeing ourselves as the originators and keepers of ‘true’ polynesian culture, such that everyone else is seen as young upstarts.

                  Heh, archaeology fail. While Samoa was settled by the Lapita culture that gave rise to Polynesian culture, that development occurred across multiple islands thanks to trade networks (bar NZ, too damn far, too damn cold 😛 ) for as long as there was stuff to trade.

                  So really, Samoan culture is just one form of the myriad ones Polynesian culture took, as shaped by the environments of the islands people settled on, rather than the “source”, let alone the one true culture. Oh well, it’s not like Western cultures have ever gotten fully rid of the “Heirs of Rome And Greece” myth…

                  • pollywog

                    Archaeology is, IMO, hit and miss at the best of times and always subject to revisionism.

                    Putting aside Lapita ‘source’ culture, uniquely ‘original’ Polynesian culture came into its own in the early years of interaction between Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.

                    …but more than trade, it was also about the royal bloodlines and ruling houses of Polynesia running strongest through Samoa as does the Hawaiki myth of early NZ settlement being Savai’i.

                    Samoa can arguably, by way of holding onto the Pe’a/Tatau and not compromising it for the sake of christianity, be seen as a mark of keeping the ‘true’ culture alive.

                    …even if we don’t know what the symbolism truly means anymore, we can still be prideful and arrogant about our place in the general scheme of Pasifikan culture just by wearing it 🙂

                    • NickS

                      By archaeology I also include Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA migration studies, which place Maori founding populations on Islands south of Samoa 😛 (meh post tomorrow, need to sleep…)

                      But yeah, Polynesia doesn’t have the best conditions for preserving organic evidence, and loss of pottery makes normal methods a bit patchy. Though I’d link to think it’s mostly small revisions thanks to all the old white dudes having mostly died off by now…

                      Samoa can arguably, by way of holding onto the Pe’a/Tatau and not compromising it for the sake of christianity, be seen as a mark of keeping the ‘true’ culture alive.

                      …even if we don’t know what the symbolism truly means anymore, we can still be prideful and arrogant about our place in the general scheme of Pasifikan culture just by wearing it 🙂

                      Heh, that’s actually surprisingly common, useful stuff gets turned into purely symbolic traditions and the roots become lost due to it not being maintained in stories (or writing…) 😛

                      Oh yeah, that post was aimed at teh sentiment 😛

                      And Pe’a are frakking awesome, and I love how it’s only guys who get tattooed due to a mistake.

                    • pollywog

                      It’s my view that the cultural centre of Polynesia was always transcient as new cults of worship became prominent in various locales, subtly changing the core myths. Kind of like the changing of the gods in greek mythology and funnily enough Tonga means south which, conveniently, it is south of…Samoa 😛

                      Yeah i’ve heard some trivial stuff on the Pe’a but it’s a shame no one knows what it truly meant. I’ve always thought the curved bits on the side of one’s torso were star paths tracking zeniths, seasons and currents/tides such that the whole thing became a set of instructions for travel among the islands that only a select few could read..

                      and theres some nice looking Malu around on teh ladies.

  5. The Voice of Reason 5

    Key admitted they weren’t going to win on Nat Rad this morning. He said not increasing Laban’s majority was Labour’s only worry, because anything less than that result would mean Labour would have failed to give National a ‘blood nose’.

    Translated into english, it appears to mean they know they are going to get a thrashing, but will spin anything less than a total rout as some sort of victory.

    • felix 5.1

      Exactly. And that’s why they’re doing it all on the ground with no media fanfare – so if they make a dent at all in the Lab vote they can say “And we weren’t even trying“.

      Which is bullshit of course, they’re trying their very hardest but they don’t want a repeat of Mt Albert where everyone knew they tried their hardest and still got pantsed.

  6. randal 6

    so keys and his crew are now putting rum in their tea and crying in their beer.

  7. randal 7

    they will get a thrashing all right.
    excuse the pun but they were the tea party before the tea party was invented and now the voters are going to show them the error of theri ways.

  8. Irascible 8

    You mean to say that Key is actually still in the country? I thought he’d smiled, waved, scuttled and run off to see the country’s owners at the Warner Bros Studio while stopping off to have another holiday in Hawaii.

  9. Thomas forrow 9

    Gee Matt’s got a good team in Mana ,billboards everywhere.
    I wonder what there target is ? 10%?
    Looking forward to backbenches tonight ;~)

  10. swordfish 10

    As I suggested in comments on ‘Mana Campaign Heating Up’ (October, 26 – this site), the chances of Fa’afoi receiving anything like Winnie Laban’s 6100+ majority are fairly remote.

    There are two key factors:

    (1) The inevitably lower turnout. By-Election turnout is always well down on General Election turnout. Imagine Labour’s Fa’afoi receiving precisely the same proportion of the vote as Labour’s Laban did in 2008 (53%) and National’s Parata, likewise, receiving the same percentage as she (Parata) took in 2008 (35%). If turnout is only, say, 60% of what it was in Mana in 2008 then Fa’afoi’s majority would be cut to about 3700.

    This assumes that the fall-off in voter turnout would be relatively evenly-spread in terms of Party support. But many would argue that, traditionally, lower-income Labour supporters are the most difficult to get out to vote. If those staying at home are, indeed, disproportionately erstwhile Labour people, then obviously this majority would be cut even further.

    The only way Fa’afoi could retain anything like Laban’s 6100+ majority is if National’s vote absolutely collapsed (mainly from staying at home) as it did in Mt Albert last year. But Parata is not Melissa Lee and it seems very unlikely to happen. (although I don’t discount the possibility of some Nat voters staying at home because the media has led them to believe – I think wrongly – that Parata has no chance).

    (2) Just as importantly, a huge chunk of Laban’s 6100+ majority came from voters who were not, in fact, Labour supporters. With the luxury of two votes, these 4500 people cast their all-important Party-Vote for a party other than Labour and then went on to give Winnie Laban their Candidate-Vote. With only ONE vote in the by-election, it’s not beyond reason that most of these 4500 will return to the candidate representing the party they gave their Party-Vote to in 2008. (For example, the 1800 Greens who split their votes between Green (Party) and Laban (Candidate) returning to Green Candidate Logie rather than Labour’s Fa’afoi and so on).

    Result: a further significant cut in the majority.

    Labour are going to have to fight to retain as many of these 4500 as possible. (see my comments on October 26 for more details).

    Like Phil Quin at the Irredeemable blog, I have concerns that Mana is more vulnerable to the Tories than many understand. As a Mana voter and Labour supporter (albeit with some Harre/McCarten tendencies), I just can’t stand the idea of a Parata win ! Jesus !, can you imagine the crowing ? !!! Although it’s significantly more likely that Fa’afoi will take it out, I expect the majority to be cut heavily (for the reasons outlined above). And, of course, with the MSM (together with Key/Nats and Right-leaning blogosphere) setting an enormously high benchmark (anything other than a 6000+ majority as supposedly constituting a disaster for Labour/Goff), there is a clear potential, here, for negative momentum in the media regarding Centre-Left 2011 Election chances.

  11. read about Matt’s campaign here: Matt’s election tabloid –

    Click to access Matt4Mana_A4_web.pdf

    Predictions of 1st,2nd,3rd,4th..?

    left unity?
    Alliance co-leader Kay Murray said the last-minute entry by Mr McCarten, who is backed by the Unite Union which he leads, took the party by surprise.

    “However, the Alliance is backing Matt’s campaign in the interests of a strong left challenge to National and Labour in the by election, despite having already selected its own candidate,” she said.

    • swordfish 11.1

      @ climate justice: “Predictions of 1st,2nd,3rd,4th…?”

      My Provisional predictions (gut-feeling, still need to do the sums/think through properly):

      1st Fa’afoi (Lab) (majority: probably between 1200-2200) perhaps 12000 votes

      2nd Parata, (Nat) perhaps 10400 votes

      3rd Logie, (Green) 1600

      4th McCarten, (Ind) 1400

      All others combined, 400

      (Logie and McCarten to fight it out for 3rd place. McCarten somewhere between 1100 – 1700, Logie 1300 – 1900)

      Remember: When comparing with 2008 Party-Votes and Candidate-Votes, = Much lower turnout in By-Elections (and see my earlier comments for reasoning behind majority-size prediction).

  12. re: ‘backbenches’

    Cracked me up Fa’afoi on his 1st week in parliament saying he’d make a maiden speech about how hard done by (some) Mana residents have it. It’d be like watching an ad for starving kids in Africa where you only care as long as the ad lasts. Its sad, but the feeling i get from watching him is, he’s only in it for himself as a wannabe career politician who’s lined up his opportunity since day one.

    McCarten however is in a class of his own. Love to hear more widespread coverage on the 1% transaction tax to replace GST that Brash was pimping back in the day. Shame he’s not local but you can hear the passion and caring in his voice towards all NZers especially the downtrodden and less well to do.

    Was good to hear Logie acknowledge the cultural bias in the system towards Pasifikan youth. It’d be easier to take her more seriously on all the good shit she said if she didnt smile inanely after dishing out the punchline. She pretty much looked like she’d lost the election already.

    Parata was doing it hard defending the gov’t on all policies so less time to put her own personal views forward and we’re left not knowing if she has any. She cuts a fine figure though and made a damn fine Key apologist, but not much more.

    Du Plessis can just fuck right off ‘cos he seems way out of his depth on local and national issues and is only regurgitating ACT policy like a good lil muppet with rodders hand right up his bum. So what if he’s lived there for 12 years ?…bet he doesn’t live in cannons creek.

  13. http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/10/matt-mccarten-for-mana-the-return-of-the-left.html
    Matt McCarten’s candidacy in the Mana by-election is one of the most promising developments on the New Zealand left for many years. Not only does this mean that the by-election just became much more interesting, McCarten’s campaign has much wider political ramifications…’

    Good Post on why MrCarten is in the race.

    …’there are a number of factors that make the assumption of a Labour/Faafoi victory less certain. Things can turn around quickly in politics, and by-elections are not normal elections – they’re often a chance for voters to experiment and send unusual messages. Maverick, colourful or under-dog candidates can often come from no where to win. And if anyone meets that criteria – it’s Matt McCarten. He’s certainly got the chutzpah to make things happen in politics, and he’s been achieving the so-called unachievable in New Zealand politics for over two decades now….’

    …McCarten will have a huge support infrastructure that he can tap into. There’s a number of left intellectuals like Laila Harre, Chris Trotter, Marty ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, John Minto, Mike Lee, Cathy Casey, etc, who might be expected to help rally the troops and design a leftwing political platform that will resonate with Mana voters. Maybe even some more Labour/Green partisans like Andrew Campbell and Sue Bradford might also pitch in.

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