- Date published:
1:44 pm, March 4th, 2015 - 117 comments
Categories: by-election, elections, greens, labour, mana, national, nz first, political parties - Tags: bomber, brian rudman, electorates, northland, polity, voters
Rob at Polity makes some observations on the Herald’s columnists pontifications on what Labour should have done in Northland.
This morning’s Herald has not one but two opinion pieces on the Northland by-election. First, here’s Bryan Rudman:
The March 28 Northland byelection had the makings of a real nailbiter if Labour had stood aside and made it a two-horse race between New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and National’s Mark Osborne. But yesterday, Labour’s leadership played it safe and nominated Willow-Jean Prime, who has been trounced at the last two general elections, as its candidate.
It would have been a high-stakes gamble but, if successful, would have delivered a severe blow to the Key-led National Government’s grip on power. Instead, we can look forward to the ho-hum replacement of one National MP by another, with Mr Peters and Ms Prime scrapping it out for the minor places.
Andrew Little is wise to have ignored the pressure that was coming even from Labour quarters for him to pull his party’s candidate from the Northland byelection in order to avoid splitting the Opposition party vote and instead boost Winston Peters’ chances of winning the seat.
It is now too late to withdraw Willow-Jean Prime’s nomination as Labour’s candidate. Barring a candidate’s death or sudden incapacity, a nomination cannot be pulled after noon on nomination day – which was yesterday.
Little may not have completely ruled out urging Labour-leaning voters to cast their vote in Peters’ favour. Byelections can be unpredictable affairs. So it is sensible for Opposition parties not to foreclose on their options too early in the campaign.
But Opposition politicians also have to be realistic.
So, clear as mud then. Andrew Little faced a high-stakes gamblling opportunity, and he was either entirely right, or alternatively a total dunce, when he turned it down.
For me, the starting point should be that political parties exist to (1) govern; by (2) running in elections. Only if there was some overwhelming benefit to (1) would you ever choose not to do (2). I don’t see anything overwhelming here, which is why Andrew Little made the right call in running a great local candidate.
If, between them, Willow-Jean Prime and Winston Peters can knock National’s down by a good amount, that will have been a good day for the opposition. Anything beyond that is superb, and may be possible, but should be seen as a bonus. Getting returned in a stronghold seat, but with a reduced majority, isn’t normally a good harbinger for incumbent governments.
For the record, I generally agree with Rob at Polity for similar . Where is the advantage for Labour in forcing their candidate to stand aside? What are the disadvantages?
Looking at the numbers and the situation I can neither see Winston or Willow-Jean Prime winning on their own even if the other was not there. Hell, I’ll even bet that their combined vote in the current byelection where they give voters some choice would be less than 2/3rds of the worst National candidate. This non-gambler would even be tempted at half. I like sure things when I bet.
But even if there was, there are definite downsides for a political party in asking any electorate candidate to stand aside. First they may not do it and even go independent, and secondly it destroys the local electorate organisation that has to fight in future elections for party and electorate votes. There’d have to be a hell of a return for it to be worthwhile for a political party, especially for one who is heading up to it’s century and has a *lot* of experience about what happens inside a political party made up of so many variate people.
But I’d also have to say that people who expect compliant electorate candidates are about as politically naive as Bomber was in expecting Kelvin Davis to give up his hopes of gaining the Northland Te Tai Tokerau to facilitate his opponent’s political hopes. As Rob said on the ideas from Mana that Bomber was munting then and ever since…
All this, you understand, comes from the excellent starting point of wanting to replace the current government with a united, powerful left-bloc of Labour, the Greens, and Internat MANA. Yet the analysis is designed to split the left, not unify it; and the recommendations would help the left lose, not win. Top work.
That kind of rubbish political thought and the denigration that went with it simply resulted in a massive increase in Labour activism in reaction, and the thousands of extra votes in Te Tai Tokerau. Most of the additional votes going to Kelvin Davis voting against such stupidity.
Voters, especially on the left, make up their own minds who to vote for. A lot of the marking around with parties that are roughly on the same ‘side’ is simply offputting to voters. That is hopefully a lesson that Mana (and some in Labour with their dumbarse attacks on the Greens) learnt from this last election, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for it.
Candidates and political parties should damn well fight their own corner and not expect other parties to help them. That is what the voters expect. Sure, point to policy differences between yourself and your opponents and point to the omissions of the government and previous governments. But leave out the attacks on possible coalition partners. They aren’t required and it just makes it all too easy to paint those coalitions as being too divided to work together.
Voters are going to make up their own minds about their tactical voting.
Personally, as a voter who normally votes Labour and sometimes Green, I can’t see myself ever voting NZ First. Their brand of nostalgic social conservatism is simply something that has little or no appeal to me. Their policy positions that are generally reactively critical rather than suggesting forward looking solutions don’t interest me either
I also can’t see myself voting for Mana when they have “spokespersons” like Pat O’Dea and ardent advocates like Bomber either. People who are far more intent on actively attacking possible partners rather than building partnerships are deeply unappealing to voters (and to me). I suspect that kind of political stupidity didn’t help the opposition in the last election.
If one of those two parties were my only available choice, I’d be likely to simply not vote. I suspect that I am not alone amongst left leaning voters, and not alone in my dislike of a lack of choice of candidates. That is the type of strange self-indulgence that generated games like fantasy football, but translated into the political sphere. It is lazy and ignores the actual behaviours of real voters.
BTW: For the usual conspiracy idiots. I dropped out of being a Labour party member at the end of last year because it was interfering with running this blog. Weirdly, some dipshit fools started complaining to the NZ council (who have nothing to do with our trust) so I dumped my membership to make it clear where my primary political affiliation is. But I haven’t been particularly active inside Labour since early 2010. I actually party voted Green last election. If anyone starts on the usual personal attack malarkey about me being a Labour hack, then I consider that they just gave me permission to abuse them as I ban them.
” Candidates and political parties should damn well fight their own corner ”
Absolutely LPrent. There are huge numbers of Labour supporters somewhere out there in Northland, and it is Labour’s responsibility to provide them with a good candidate to vote for. And Willow-Jean is not just “good” – she’s outstanding !
“ Where is the advantage for Labour”
This is exactly what pisses me off about the thinking of many in or around Labour. For a party built on collective action and solidarity they have no fucking idea how to behave as part of a larger whole.
I think you’ve missed a step here.
1. Given National are almost certainly going to win the seat…
2. …where is the advantage for Labour in capitulating to Winston?
If circumstances were different, and there was a credible chance Winston could win the seat, Labour might be making a different decision.
They are instead dealing with the reality we live in.
That is essentially what both Rob and I argued.
I just added in the downsides.
I agree with what has been said about of the downside, Little would know its not worth the grief of the backlash from loyal activists. It does show real passion and metal from Willow Jean and supporters to go hard out again, and for her and family a great commitment with just having had a new born. She puts a lot of deadwood Labour MPs to shame, hopefully enough for them to piss off and do other things like contest mayoral contests and free the list.
“ If circumstances were different, and there was a credible chance Winston could win the seat, Labour might be making a different decision.”
That’s pretty funny Lanth. Good one.
Does Labour have a credible chance of winning? Nope. If they did, I might have a different take on this quixotic display.
Does Winston? We’ll never know, because Labour think it’s more important to fight against the opposition than the government.
Not Labour’s problem if Winston is slow off the mark, felix. He’s had weeks to get this organised and has done nothing. Labour were upfront about their plans and NZF could have approached them at any time to see if anything else could be agreed.
It’s not as if it was a surprise that Labour was standing and the argument that they should step aside now on a whim is as foolish as it was when mana supporters were suggesting Labour should roll over for Hone in TTT. In this world, if you want something to happen, you have to organise it.
You might as well have stopped typing after the first three words.
Yep. Is that where you stopped reading?
I might as well have.
The irony of course is that this whole not-able-to-govern-without-other-parties-but-not-wanting-to-work-with-anyone thing is very much Labour’s problem.
Felix, as you see it, what advantage would Labour have got by withdrawing in favour of Winston? Remember that Sabin got 52% of the vote.
Because, yes, they would need to have a demonstrable favourable outcome. And that wouldn’t be Winston winning. Too long a shot. Too short a bow. Too ill-defined a target.Not enough at stake, should Winnie, well heh, win. It would be National as usual with the usual spin to disguise their loss- like a short sharp war somewhere.
Where I come from, having been beaten as a general election candidate for Labour by some 1500 votes and seen the Green candidate secure 3000 votes, I have been very interested in the transfer of votes at electorate level in subsequent elections.
Then, some fervent Greens believed that that candidate could win. That man since deserted both his wife and his party to join National.
In the last election, the local Green candidate was very strong in his wish for Green supporters to not vote for him. A member of his campaign team knew this but still voted for the Green candidate because ‘he didn’t want him to lose by a lot and hurt his feelings.”
And if you think that I’ve got a down on the Greens? The NZ First candidate in my first election absolutely thought he would win. He got a thousand votes.
It’s an opportunity to build a platform for governing with other parties, and to be seen to be doing so. You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?
So the question is what’s the advantage to Labour of pretending they have a chance of winning the seat?
Labour have been very cautious in their statements about the outcome. In fact, Little has played down the chances of winning. So no pretence at all.
All is not lost. Labour did work successfully in co-ordination with many other parties to smash Hone out of Parliament.
Actions trp, not words. Of course you know you’re not going to win it.
But at least you’ll lose it on your own, right?
It’s not a question of pretending they can win a seat, it’s a question of how much they can show that National have slipped in their safe seat from a 2014 52% showing to somewhat less.
In the example I gave of 1970 Marlborough, the by election vote was way down on the ’69 vote. As with all by elections, the ruling party is at a losing end with a struggle to get the vote out. This gives chance to play the per cent age card. “Oooh look how much their vote’s dropped.”
No pretense. it’s a Nat seat. So, keep ’em honest, show up, look good, demonstrate a government in waiting for 2017. Give ’em a hard time over all the crap since September last year, and remind them and the country why they’re having an election in a safe National seat.
Can’t do that from the sidelines.
Can’t trust Winnie to do all that, either. He for example is not able to speak for Labour. Can’t trust him to win even if Labour wasn’t there. It’s not a topple a government in 2015 by-election, so why would left leaning voters vote for Winston? To tell National they don’t like Key even though they can’t change his government this year? They can express dislike for Key by voting their preference.
This by-election is about what publicity the opposition can gain and how much or little harm the government can incur; as Northland gains a new National MP from the same Crosby-Textor instructed, 1%er fuelled, socially conservative, financially inept, foreign policy duplicitous, war-mongering, get away with what we can school of tory dross.
I can say that from the sidelines, but it ain’t got the same kick as coming from a candidate on the hustings.
“You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?”
Never say never!
Lots can take place in politics, economics and the world over time. It is the people that hold the very powerful election decision card. Don’t assume too much.
Who would have just a few years ago expected a coloured person of African origin to win the US presidency? or just a decade ago a New Zealand PM becoming an US lapdog and his close golfing buddy?
Things happen in mysterious ways!
“No pretense. it’s a Nat seat. So, keep ‘em honest, show up, look good, demonstrate a government in waiting for 2017. Give ‘em a hard time over all the crap since September last year, and remind them and the country why they’re having an election in a safe National seat.
Can’t do that from the sidelines.”
Yeah that’s what I’m talking about. It’s just that you seem to think a govt in waiting looks like Labour on its own with no mates pretending to fight an election they know they can’t win.
I’m also not suggesting Labour should sit it out. Quite the opposite. It’s a pity you can’t imagine anything other than fighting alone or sitting on the sideline.
Clemgeopin I like the optimism but if your “Plan A” is to hope for a miracle, you’re in trouble.
“You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?”
They could govern alone as a minority government.
It would be a ho hum affair without peters standing. I can see labour playing a 2017 strategy of Peters not being relevant unless he anoints a successor. So tell
us who will raise the Sabin issue out of the two?
Would Prime’s campaign have known of the Sabin issue last election? Must have. Surely.
I think they would have known. Northland is a small place. Labour as a whole had been scared off mentioning any dirt on NAct by the manufactured backlash to Dirty Politics. They let the Tories set the stage and they paid for it.
Well there was a lot of gossip surrounding Sabin’s form. There are a number of justice lawyers associated with Labour up here, none of them whispered anything to me. I guess they play it straight, code of conduct/ ethics thing.
Anyway things need to be pushed along, seeing a smug Key proclaiming a ‘no show’ reminds me of the cup of tea gaff own goal. Got to support the underdogs on this one so will suss a little theatrical number. How timely just got a text from Peters PA to catch up today for a game plan chat.
I suspect that Peters may in parliament. But it is just about as effective for him to just keep hinting at it
Exactly – it is always; the Labour Party out for the good of the Labour Party, rather than the good of the country.
While I can see lprent’s point in; “political parties exist to (1) govern; by (2) running in elections”, it does have a certain pre-MMP vibe. None of the minor parties could have been said to have governed, even when they’d negotiated ministerial posts. Does this make them failures? I would say no; if their actions had an affect on the governance of the country (by either; negotiation for support of major parties, or private member’s bills).
Relying on Dunne not to cave in on every demand from NACT for perks, is obviously a mugs game; but who can claim that this will be the only byelection before 2017? All it’ll take is another seat or two swing away from National and they’ll have to cut a deal with NZF, or call a new election. Either way would be better than the current rule by ShonKey Decree.
Anyone in a ruling coalition governs. Their weight depends mostly on how many MP votes they bring to the table. They expend a lot of effort expanding their votes, which is exactly why they both cooperate in government and compete in elections and opposition.
It is not that different from inside caucuses of the major parties. The competition for pushing policies and bills in pretty damn intense. There isn’t the time or political will to do everything inside a major party coalition.
Say that around the maori or women’s or unionist or any other faction ‘caucus’ inside the Labour caucus and see what reaction you get.
So far the Labour, National, Alliance, UF, Maori party, Act, Progressives and NZ First (and a few rates and mice) have been governing parties since 1996.
Terminology aside, I would say that the concessions which the junior governing parties have been able to wrest from the lead party in a coalition have not been determined entirely upon the number of votes that party has received. ACT has always found it easier to get National to agree to it’s policies (Charter Schools!), than the MP, or UF (inasmuch as he has any). This may of course be due to National & ACT having donors and consultants in common, or ACT may simply have devolved into the Epsom branch of National.
In any case, it is the building of relationships; between parties, as much as; within parties that determines who will be in the government. National and Labour together have an overwhelming majority in parliament, but they are not about to go into coalition anytime soon. The GP have provided confidence and supply to Labour under Clark but have not been a governing party, while NZF, UF and the Progressives (representing fewer voters) were. But no one forgot for a minute that Clark was PM and that Labour was the dominant partner in the coalition.
Which is why I think of that as a Labour government (with minor party support), just as I think of Key’s government as being a National government. This may not be technically correct, but is a lot quicker to say than naming every individual party in the respective coalitions.
You say (below); “Do you think NZF will remember a strategic failure in 2 and half years time?”. I’d say; yes they will if Peters decides to contest the Northland seat in that election. The results of this byelection will help determine the likelihood of that.
I have no idea why you would think that, he hasn’t proffered anything like it. What is it – a simple faith in the goodness of the man?
In the meantime you are wanting to destroy a century of work by Labour in the Northland electorate on some vague act of faith.
And I can’t see any way in hell that he could win either in this election or in subsequent ones. Plus he is what ? 75 and trying to take the electorate based on his personal connections
Do you have any bridges on offer ? You have to be a con artist…
I don’t have any; “simple faith in the goodness of the man”. Peters is entirely focused out for the interests of NZF, and his political legacy. I just believe that he will remember how his adversaries have acted in this byelection come 2017, and may hold a grudge against Labour if he feels that their actions have thwarted his desires.
Where you initially seemed to be calling; Labour’s pulling of Prime to support Peters’ Northland bid, a potential “strategic failure” (for the LP). I was attempting to use the same phrase to describe; Peters’ irritation if it turns out that that his standing for the seat was ineffective this byelection (which would be NZF’s “strategic failure”). Obviously, I was unsuccessful in communicating this.
Why would Peters hold a grudge for something that Labour always does? It fights elections. Prime announced her candidacy long ago. Peters announced last week.
Peters doesn’t pay fantasy politics much. But he does like publicity, and Northland post Sabin is going to be a hell of a good place to contrast his style of conservative politics against the version that the modern National party has.
It seems to be assumed that MMP requires coalitions, but it ain’t necessarily so. A minority party such as Labour could still form a government by itself if it had sufficient confidence and supply support from other parties.
Not having a Labour candidate in all likelihood would simply mean that a whole lot of Labour voters wouldn’t vote.
I wouldn’t vote for NZ First candidates (they’d have to be exceptional before I’d consider it), and definitely not for Winston. My parents are generally Labour supporters, but sometimes NZF supporters and they probably would.
But If half of the usual Labour Northland general electorate vote turned out to vote for Winston, I’d be absolutely amazed. I’d expect closer to a third.
So the fantasy jerk off about possible victory dies about there.
There is a hell of cost in that doing that kind of tomfoolery would be regarded in the Labour activists and member base as frigging Wellington shafting them. They entire structure would disintegrate for sure. Labour would also lose a large chunk of 6k party vote they get in Northland. And for what?
They are based on collective action and solidarity all right.
That also means that they aren’t inclined to get stampeded into quixotic self-sacrifices for no reason by people who don’t have a stake in the previous work.
There has to be a reason to do it. So far the fantasy fools who are so hot on Labour screwing themselves haven’t offered anything that is at all credible.
Do you think NZF will remember a strategic failure in 2 and half years time? I don’t.. It isn’t like they have a good track record.
+100. Times are a changing. One day, people will realise with the me, me, me Labour attitude a vote for Labour is a vote to keep National in, because they can not co operate with any other party for any length of time or do anything strategically to stop National.
Remember we voted MMP not FPP. National have understood that and used Act, United Future and Maori to stay in power. Labour’s actions mean not only to go on alone, but also to reduce both it’s and it’s natural allies votes.
I could’t care a less about Willow-Jean because I am only interested in political change and by running her, the likelihood of that is being reduced. There could have been a deal done with NZ First, but nope, just do the easy and predictable thing.
“Remember we voted MMP not FPP.”
Perhaps some form of preferential voting system should be used in bye-elections given that a party vote is not in operation.
“ Where is the advantage for Labour”
Where is the advantage for the progressive left, and ultimately, for New Zealand as a whole?
That would be my starting point.
I would have thought that reducing National’s majority by even one seat would be the dream of every opponant of this self-serving government.
Whether that is done by Winston Peters or Ms Prime seems to be of secondary importance to me.
The Right in New Zealand has always had a much better grasp of tactical voting than the Left (2014: Epsom and Ohariu v. Te Tai Tokerau, and a decade ago, Coromandel and Waitakere). A political party exists to mobilise support in order to govern, yes, but under MMP, the bloc is more important than the individual party. Tactical voting means the difference between a National-led Government and a Labour-led Government. That is what it means to govern under MMP.
That said, I agree with the sentiment that it would not be worth pulling a candidate here. The chances of Winston winning the seat are simply too low to justify the inevitable media spin of “National beats combined opposition” and “Labour does dodgy deals with fringe parties”. If I thought Winston had a chance, I’d be all in favour. But not now: pick your battles and all. Meanwhile, try to mobilise what Labour voters do exist in that electorate, with a view to maximising the local party vote in 2017.
With the Mana -Labour fantasy game about keeping Hone in parliament, what is forgotten in that there was a far better after the event game to be played.
In Waiariki, labour was slightly ahead of Anette Sykes, so if labour had pulled out here and Hone had pulled in the TTT the results would have been
Two Mps for Mana ,Annette & Hone plus:
Two Maori party mps knocked out of parliament, which would have had more impact than just swapping Kelvin Davis for Hone Harawira up North.
Its all armchair, after the game is over stuff, but has the all important give and take of politics than the alternative let Hone win scenario.
The numbers were never there for Sykes (though she is well positioned for when Flavell finally retires). If you look at the split vote, you can see of the Labour Party votes, 50% voted for the Labour candidate, 25% for Flavell, and 20% for Sykes. While the 4300 votes for Waititi could technically have all gone to Sykes and won the electorate, they probably would have been more like; 2000 no-shows, 1300 Flavell, 1000 Sykes (very approximate guesstimates).
I know that Labour and NZF get all the ire of IMP supporters for sabotaging Harawira in TTTokerau. But really, if half of the Green Party voters (458 of 916) who’d candidate voted for Davis had voted for Harawira instead, then the IMPs would have easily been in with two MPs. Also, what the hell was up with the 3% of IMP voters who voted for Davis? I can understand Labour and National (though not so much the 11% of Nat Party voters who voted for Harawira as candidate), even NZF – though that seemed a bit like cutting off their nose to spite their face. But why would 9% of IMP voters go for someone other than Harawira (though most of the 4% Party vote only probably didn’t read the form before ticking).
It just goes to show that political parties may have any number of cunning plans and stratagems, but the voters are going to do want they want on the day.
Pretty much my point. You can suggest something the way that Act did in 2005 in Epsom “2 MPs from your votes”. However you can’t tell them or try to force them.
I’m afraid that I feel that there are some silly fools around trying to coerce the Northland voters as far as I can see primarily to attack Labour. That is a damn silly strategy for any party on the ‘left’ apart from the Greens (who seem to have been avoiding going there but are the only party organised enough to make it not to be a complete clusterfuck).
jeeze I’m pleased you don’t or won’t even consider voting Mana – how many labour spokespeople over the years have been absolute dimwits? How many still are?
I agree that you win with the votes and hey I support Mana, does that offset the ‘bad’ spokespeople?
As for davis – labour will reap what they have sown on that one and it will all come from inside but that is par for the course isn’t it.
Labour and Labour supporters seem to have endless vitriol for left parties and seem to prefer them to lose along with Labour, so National wins. Maybe it makes them feel better about themselves but for the rest of us wanting political change it makes us think Labour is too arrogant to win.
yeah labour labour it meanwhile the rest of us get sfa – by losing they win – real working class heroes lol
Oh Bullshit. On this site, the ration of vitriol towards Labour from supporters of other parties is about 75% to a maximum of 25% going back the other way. Much of the latter is from me, and I haven’t been a Labour supporter since the end of 2012.
The Green spokespeople uniformly act well. There are a couple of Labour MPs who are a bit intemperate every other year.
At Mana, John Minto acts like I’d expect a spokesperson to act, and so does Hone Harawiria. I have a lot of time for Annette Sykes. Probably there are others who I haven’t studied.
Pat O’Dea is a gormless fool who to my experienced eye knows very little about the climate change that he is speaking about. To be precise he acts as if he’d sucked down some the hysterics website that didn’t contain any science, had no timescales in it, and has had a religious experience from it. He acts like a revivalist southern preacher with great need for a credulous audience in a tent. Anything that anyone says to him is shouted down as coming from the devil Labour.
He also acts like one of the more silly trolls around the net, where everytime he gets told that it isn’t a free-for-all he goes off like a spoilt child. That is why the stupid arsehole’s behaviour picked him up a ban here. It was quite clear that he was going to astroturf posts here, whatever authors wrote the topic to be, to his poorly understood obsession on oil, gas, and coal.
Damn near every every post or comment that of his that I have ever read attacks Labour and the Greens, and most of what he attacks with appears to be lying crap that he has made up.
He appears to me to be a complete lying rancid pillock. One of the scum of the internet. If I ever see the dickhead then he can expect that I’ll have a great deal of pleasure in tearing into him to see if he actually has a brain or if he is just a brushed hairstyle.
Bomber has been acting like a complete political fool about other left parties for most of last year. Essentially he attacks them at every possible opportunity, again most of the time for things that he appears to have made up. Even worse he does it repetitively. If you read his rants for the last year, it’d be hard to find posts where he hasn’t had a go at other left parties
How could anyone respect those transparent clowns? Their pissant behaviour reflects directly back on the party they are pushing.
Meanwhile if you look around this sites authored posts, you won’t find too many posts that attack other left parties or even NZ First. Offhand most of the posts on Mana for instance have simply said in some way or another that the high hopes of their supporters were likely to be dashed. I know. I wrote a few of them. If realism is an attack (FFS: they got 1.6% of the vote and the polls topped at about 3%), then those offended by those really have a problem with life coming up.
You have had a few posts by authors expressing their opinions on proposals by left parties, like the idea of a joint platform with the Greens. Some for, some against… As authors we disagree a lot. But generally we just write about different ways of looking at things.
“Their pissant behaviour reflects directly back on the party they are pushing.”
Sounds like it is just personal to me – which is fair enough but actually nothing to do with the political party (which isn’t even in Parliament) they support.
If the conservatives vote Winston, National starts losing some votes due to the disgrace of Sabin and Labour, greens and Internet Mana asked their candidates to endorse Peters then there could have been the possibility of National losing the seat.
Yep might have been a long shot, but it also could also have been an exercise in actually trying to work with others which Labour seems unable to do.
NZ First (and others) then might be more inclined to work with Labour if they had done a test run.
Going along with crazy Winston/Mana theoretical strategies to slightly hinder the government would not endear Labour to the electorate. Doing deals and attempting to manipulate the (left) vote is rightly perceived as anti-democratic shenanigans, and against the spirit of MMP.
Elections are not only about gathering numbers, they are also a chance to communicate your values to the people.
If people want to vote Labour, then they should not be denied the opportunity.
Labour clearly have no chance of winning the electorate anyway so they are voting to keep National in. Umm good strategy if you are a National supporter.
I think the voter spirit in NZ has changed to, collaborate, get in government and get National out. As for Labour values, they look like losers who don’t understand MMP and will be no 2 and keep National in, rather than helping a party that is not National.
Look at the people in Northland, they will love Winston and his style.
It costs Labour money to run the by election.
It costs Labour to lose to National.
The message to voters is, Labour can’t adapt and strategise.
Yet another Labour supported badmouthing other parties like ‘crazy Winston’ and ‘Mana’. Labour and their supporter seem to hate every other party, so no wonder they are losing votes. It does not endear Labour to the other parties supporters that might look to splitting their vote to include Labour. Being told their other choice is ‘crazy’ or ‘no knowledge, understanding or experience’ is not exactly a vote pleaser.
By ‘crazy’ i was referring to the tactics not the parties. But I am prepared to make an exception in your case 🙂
There is nothing that I have seen that indicates that there was even a possibility of that being even a long-shot.
As I pointed out a number of times, Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?
So far no-one apart from Pasupial has even bothered to address that issue. Which is at the core of the issue. Could it be that there is absolutely no reason for Labour to do this stupid thing?
And Pasupial’s answer to my eye appears to have been based on a faith in a 70/71 year old politician (a high strees occupation) with a party formed around him and with no obvious successor. This is what the insurance industry calls a bad risk.
“ Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?
Ah, there’s that Labour party spirit. Working strategically with other parties on common goals = destroying the organisation.
The best strategy for Labour is to build their profile and voter base.
Why would they throw away years of effort from local volunteers to push dear old Winnie, whose values and popularity are highly questionable.
Pretty sad state of affairs if that’s the best Labour can hope for.
Sometimes I wonder if it has sunk in yet that Labour will never be able to govern alone.
Labour are pretty aware they can’t govern alone. No one has since 1996, nearly 20 years ago. National have been sucking the parties of the right (apart from NZF who escaped it twice in 1998 and 2008), and still can’t govern alone.
That’s the sad part Lynn, they are obviously aware of it.
It seems to me that Labour is like a powerful machine that has been built to perform one function only, and when it cranks over that’s exactly what it does.
Thanks Clemgeopin. I was definitely unclear and said so. And my reference to Willow Jean referenced another comment which said that she was not important. Very disrespectful for a person who stands to be an MP and goes through the consciousness raising of potential voters required before an election.
I could’t care a less about Willow-Jean because I am only interested in political change and by running her, the likelihood of that is being reduced. There could have been a deal done with NZ First, but nope, just do the easy and predictable thing. savenz 2.5
Now I don’t think savenz meant to completely diss Willow but it comes out that way. That she is not the most important player in this particular event, should not result in such throwaway comments.
Winning if possible and throwing UNACTs off their game, is the important matter in this by-election, not applauding a good fight and performance of the Labour candidate who may well lose. The question is, is that the outcome we are happy with? I don’t think a loss is. Can we do our sums to see if there is a better outcome approaching the matter by opening up the parameters and opportunities??
But to disrespect honest and committed politicians is to completely throwaway any hope for having /good/ politicians.
Labour, to all intents and purposes, governed alone from 2005 to 2008. Winston Peters and Peter Dunne, during those years, had extra-cabinet portfolios only.
mike, you’re playing a semantic game there.
Call it “minority govt” or call it “confidence and supply arrangements”, call it whatever you want – they’re still not going to do it alone. So why not use these opportunities to lay the groundwork for some of these governing arrangements?
‘Labour vs everyone’ is a losing game.
“mike, you’re playing a semantic game there.”
Not at all. There is a difference between a sitting at the cabinet table on the one hand, and merely providing support through confidence and supply on the other. In the fifth Labour government Peters and Dunne joined cabinet only when matters pertaining to their respective portfolios were being discussed so, to all intents and purposes, they were not part of government, and Clark’s government, with Jim Anderton, was to all intents and purposes, a minority government.
I think the Green party expects be sitting at the cabinet table if Labour and the Greens get the numbers in 2017. I think however that this expectation is unjustified; they can’t expect automatic admission to cabinet until they have enough support to supplant either National or Labour as one of the two major parties.
But who are Labour sucking up to, to partner with? I can’t see anybody? Please enlighten me?
Do they need to? As far as I can see any other party who doesn’t want to be sucked dry by the National spider has a limited choice of partners to get a majority.
Can’t you count?
ps building cooperative allegiances and laying the groundwork for future governing arrangements isn’t throwing away all the hard work. Quite the opposite.
Plodding along with the same old same old while you wait for the world to change back, that’s throwing it all away.
Exactly what Winnie is doing, I might add.
And you still haven’t answered the question. Why should they?
It’d be a freaking miracle to overturn the National majority in a by election, but Labour needs that group of activists to keep getting party vote for Labour in many future elections.
Why would Labour want to indulge in paying fantasy elections for the deluded?
I answered it by rejecting the premise. Cooperating with other parties doesn’t equal destroying the organisation. It might equal finding a use for it.
Yeah, so I can expect miracle visitations soon as well.
Fucking elections, how do they work?
There aren’t enough pakeha Labour voters in Northland for Labour to get anywhere. There may well be NAct voters who are disgusted enough by Sabin and the imposition of the new candidate by head office to actually vote for Winnie. I think that’s more likely than them voting for Labour. Winnie can speak their language. He’d play up their concerns to the max. I think he may have had a chance of winning.
If he had won, we would have seen a weakened Key government. There are already cracks appearing and good things could happen. We could easily end up with another byelection, or the Maori Party could actually side with the opposition on some issues. Calling me a stupid fool for wanting to seize an opportunity may give some degree of satisfaction to one or two, but it does nothing to slow the NAct program for the next 2.5 years.
I’m picking a very low turn out.
with the under 30’s really not voting at all.
So a national win.
I’d be surprised to see an upset. I’m thinking labour may just burn a few more bridges. They seem more and more like the old liberal party, as they were at the beginning of the 20th century.
And, as always – our msm will spin this so John Key is their good bloke, along side a heavy chorus of ” ‘ant he just great” blasting on the screens and broadsheets for a few days after the vote.
The Labour-Liberal comparison breaks down when you look at the voter base thing. The old Liberal voter base was small farmers and urban workers. They lost the farmers to Massey’s Reform Party, and the workers to Labour – they were being squeezed from both ends. Labour doesn’t have that problem, because its voter base and the voter base of the Greens or Mana are so very different. Poor people don’t vote Green: poor people either vote Labour or don’t vote at all (or depending on ethnicity and part of the country, they vote National).
I was not talking about the voters – more behaviour.
Yep. It’s not history repeating, it is history rhyming.
Willow-Jean has had her signs up for a couple of weeks ago, all over the show between Whangarei and Kaikohe, havent been further north recently to see what the skinny is elsewhere. Her team was running a bbq in Kawakawa on sunday and she is definitely out and about.
The only National advertising I have seen is for Shane Reti in Whangarei, left up from the election. Likewise nothing for NZF.
Labour would have been tarred and feathered for doing any deals and Armstrong and Rudman wouldnt know Northland if it detached from the Brynderwyns and floated down the Rangitoto channel, speaking as someone who protest voted IMP up here last year and would have appreciated Hone not being denied by the concerted efforts of the other parties to ckick IMP to the curb.
+1 very perceptive and informative, chur bro
I travelling from Whangarei to Kaikohe on the 19th, then from Ohaeawai to Auckland on the 22nd. I also went to Paihia. I can’t remember one election sign.
Willow-Jean’s hoardings went up last weekend. So far no other candidate signs have appeared (other than Winston’s BLUE bus).
Plenty of signs for Labour, Nactum, and Winston along highway 1 (wellsford to kawakawa, at least 2 each) this weekend.
At the recent election in September, National had a Tsunami of big flash hoardings all over the country, saying National is ‘working’ (mainly for the wealthy?). Looked like they had spent tens of millions on the hoardings and on the contractors and workers to erect those around the country. And just a week or so before the election, they ADDED an orange sticker on EACH of those hoardings everywhere again saying ‘PARTY VOTE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT’ or something like that. May be they aren’t putting many hoardings for this by-election because they have figured it out that it will be a quite a waste of time and money this time!
And as the people seem to be losing their previous trust for Key, I suspect that every time Key visits Northland now, the poor Nat candidate will lose a few more votes each time!
How politically astute are some of you folk?
In my considered opinion, the candidate with the best chance of taking Northland off National is Winston Peters.
So – Labour’s candidate Willow-Jean Prime should campaign HARD on the issues, but Labour Party supporters should, (in my considered opinion) think hard about National only having 59 out of 121 MPs if they lose Northland, and STRATEGICALLY vote Winston Peters.
Good grief – it’s NOT complicated – do the maths!!!
National need 61 MPs to pass their pro-corporate / anti-worker / WAR on the POOR legislation.
Why on earth would you not SEIZE the MOMENT to help stuff that up??
This election is FAR bigger than Northland – it’s outcome will affect EVERY New Zealander.
Looks to me like a lot of disaffected (former?) National Party Northland voters are probably putting their hands deep into itheir pockets to contribute towards Winston Peter’s by-election campaign?
That’s some bus!
Wonder what National’s ‘whatshisname’ (?) candidate will do in response?
(Meant of course in a caring way 🙂
Perhaps (part-time) Prime Minister John Key will come and help with National’s Northland campaign?
I do hope so ……
yum yum …. 🙂
(Who stood as an Independent in the 2011 Botany by-election, caused by the departure of Pansy Wong, who left under a similar murky cloud, and got 128 votes, but made a HUGE fuss about the pending ‘partial-privatisation’ of State Owned electricity assets.
Which I think may have helped play a role in the Botany by-election having the second lowest ever voter turnout – 36% , although Botany was a ‘safe’ National seat.)
Sorry LPrent you are wrong in this case. Winston is capable of winning in all sorts of electorates, especially with support from other opposition parties.
Labour/Greens/Mana all should have pulled their candidates in order to give Winston a chance. It’s called tactics under MMP, but Labour do not seem to have grasped this.
A vote for Labour/Greens/Mana in Northland is a vote to destroy the RMA. Just brilliant!**
I really like your tenacity, guts and intelligence.
” Not having a Labour candidate in all likelihood would simply mean that a whole lot of Labour voters wouldn’t vote. …….
” There is a hell of cost in that doing that kind of tomfoolery would be regarded in the Labour activists and member base as frigging Wellington shafting them.
” The entire structure would disintegrate for sure. Labour would also lose a large chunk of 6k party vote they get in Northland. ……… ”
LPrent is correct in what he says. Real Labour people find it very difficult to vote anything but Labour – whether in an FPP or MMP voting situation. And if Labour withdrew its candidate for Northland, there would probably be wholescale walkout and decades loss of trust in the Party.
Labour is rebuilding itself, and this by-election gives the Party a chance to show people what it is about, and to talk about what it could do if in government.
And there is always that niggly little doubt about Winston : has he ever said what he really means, and has he ever done (other than the gold card for superannuitants) what he’d say he’d do if he had the power to do so.
Jenny, there are only half a dozen “Real Labour people ™ ” in NZ. If Labour is ever to get anywhere near govt again they’ll need a few infidel votes too.
“ this by-election gives the Party a chance to show people what it is about, and to talk about what it could do if in government.”
Yeah. Show people that Labour can’t work with others even when they know that they can’t possibly win on their own, ever. Brilliant. Why not instead show that Labour can find common ground with other parties and lay the groundwork for future victories?
“ (other than the gold card for superannuitants)”
Yeah, other than measurably and tangibly improving the everyday lives of an entire generation of kiwis at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Remember when Labour had ideals like that? What’s Labour’s flagship superannuation policy these days? Oh, that’s right…
To be fair, I think Labour may be thinking about changing their super policy. With a bit of luck, that part of the caucus that thinks 65 is old enough might win the debate.
Genny real labour voters are becoming harder to find..
16% In Northland.
Reading these comments puts me in mind of the run-up to the recent Labour leadership contests
I just wish that people who climb into Labour would firstly acknowledge their party of preference or membership and then whether they are primarily climbing in to have a go at Labour as they are political opponents on either side of the Left/Right fence.
I get the impression that many commenters are quite naive about elections, why people vote how they do, and by-elections in general.
Best outcome I predict is that the Nat candidate (I don’t know his name and it doesn’t matter so long as it has Nat after it on the voting paper) will come in with a severely reduced majority and serve as a reminder to the government that people will change their votes if sufficiently motivated in the next general election.
The closest by-election that I know of where the ‘expected’ candidate lost was in Marlborough in 1970 when Ian Brooks for Labour beat Tom Shand’s son after Tom Shand died shortly after the 1969 election, an election he would have lost except for the sympathy vote that Marburians gave him as they knew he was terminally ill.
By the way, Ian Brooks is still going strong, 40 years after losing his seat in 1975. Still feisty, still very politically aware, and still fit enough to play a Bb bass.
1970 for the last by-election upset. I knew it was way before I was interested in politics, but 10 years old sounds about right.
Fantasy by-elections. The new coming thing… 😈
It was an upset in terms of the defending party lost. It was not , however, an upset in the sense that in 1972 Marlborough returned Ian Brooks. So I am told by locals Brooks would have won in 1969. It was really a precursor of the bigger defeat that was to be handed out to National in 1972.
Ian Brooks told me a lovely story that he visited a farmer in his shearing shed and challenged the Labour candidate by saying that he would vote for him if he could shear a sheep. Ian, who had been a small farmer, climbed onto the board and blade shore five sheep. The electoral secrecy veil has been drawn over whether the farmer kept his promise.
Labour put quite some effort into the 1970 by-election, because it was winnable. I remember that Speaker-to-be Jonathon Hunt spent some time living in Picton whilst canvassing door to door and built up quite a friendship with the local Labour family who billeted him.
East Coast Bays in 1980 was an upset. On the other hand, the last time a by-election resulted in a loss for the defending party was Timaru in 1985.
Great post LPrent.
Labour has absolutely nothing to gain by standing aside for Winston, who has no chance of winning anyway IMO.
Thi is a by election, a one-off with likely different approaches than would come in a normal election. If there is a strategic advantage of not totally pushing Labour then that is a strategy that should be considered.
think we should all show respect for the candidate Willow Jean Prime but sometimes they have to put the party’s needs first. It’s part of doing an ship and shows a reliable and supportive heart and tenacity for long-term results.
What would happen if the vote was split – electorate Winston, party Labour. Or electorate Willow Jean – party NZF? Someone will have it clearer in their mind than I have.
Your last two paragraphs are unclear.
Anyway, the by-election involves only candidate vote, no party votes
If activists are actually the soul and driver of the Labour Party then it is reasonable to expect them to show a touch of humility when one sees how the Party has lost its way since David Lange.
It has gone to being dominated by the self-satisfied middle class with vague Liberal leanings who regard themselves as the fount of all wisdom and socially suave,. Then there are the children of former Labour leaders who have grown up with Labour ideas, held them and honed them and used them as poles to vault into middle-class mores like Roger Douglas did. Away from the Chartists and seeking the celebrity pop charts where they talk to media hosts in a way that will enhance their persona.
Since when has it been a requirement for voters to be told by the media, or a political party, which way to vote. When individual voters enter the polling booth they can put the tick against whichever candidate they choose. Give them a little credit for being able to make a decision. (It has been said that there are a few unintelligent voters in Ohariu and Epsom who voted tribally with their electorate tick and in consequence returned Dunne and Seymour). If they still haven’t learned how to vote tactically then more fool them.
Who is taking the right of personal choice away from the voter.? Advice is being given on how people could vote tactically. Using knowledge acquired from the past or from carefully considered theories, and applying it if useful, in future, is how we learn.
Rote learning has been found to have limitations on educational development.
And working out how to achieve a goal requires planning which, if it doesn’t produce results, must be revised. That is if the people involved are keen to get the goal rather than enjoying the process of consensus and group interaction.
Trotter has a post on this issue up on TDB, his view largely corresponds to lprent’s. If anything, it is a more extreme exhortation for Labour to go it alone:
And today Winstone “with the greatest respect ” says he doesn’t want Labour to pull out
Anybody who does, really doesn’t understand realpolitik politics
“with the greatest of respect” quote from Winny
And I have the greatest of respect for Winny, the wily, witty and wise warrior of NZ politics despite tremendous odds stacked up against him time and time again.
A brilliant politician.
Both Pat O’Dea and myself stood against John Banks in Epsom in 2011, because both of us understood MMP, and how dependent the John Key led National Government was on that pivotal ACT vote.
Seems Pat O’Dea has a far greater understanding of MMP, and ‘strategic’ voting, than you do lprent – in my considered opinion.
(Who remembers clearly how National did NOT have the numbers to pass their legislation to cut back on workers’ rights to smoko breaks etc, after John Banks was forced to resign from Parliament?
Something I was VERY involved in, together with Graham McCready and a tiny handful of others?)
If I was the PM, I would have nighted you and McCreedy, Penny!
Labour needs to talk to the voters about issues and their party policies.
But, being an electorate by-election, I think the voters of all political persuasions will cast their vote tactically this time based on the contemporary situation rather than how they might vote in a general election in 2017.
Right now, there are lots of issues for traditional National/Labour/Green/ACT/Maori/Dunne/Conservative voters to think about and votes will shift around in unexpected ways.
* Farmers are feeling snubbed by National’s candidate selection. Many votes for Winston there.
* ACT/MP/UF would prefer Winston winning as it will make them stronger in coalition. More votes for Winston.
* There are ructions going on in the Cons. National did not have a cuppa with them at last election. More votes for their conservative brother Winston.
* Greens are a little angry with Labour for security comm position for Shearer and may be quite as mad as Mojo because of some naughty comments by pro Lab childish commentators. More votes for Winston.
* Labour voters will be confused with a dilemma which may ease as media polls come in. Likely more vote shift to Winston.
My own armchair GUESTIMATE of the result is as follows:
[Note: Most of my predictions at last election went completely kaput]
Mark Osborne : 39%
Winston Peters : 34%
Willow-Jean Prime: 22%
Total Valid Votes 21,000.
The first media poll is in, and shows a clear lead for Peters, though it’s not clear whether this is greater than the margin of error (which, if [theoretically – assuming no selection bias]; the reciprocal square root, would be about 4.5% on a sample of 500):
Based on the Chch East byelection, I would guesstimate the turnout to be closer to 14,000.
Thanks for the reply. Winston’s position will only improve after this poll, because he is the ONLY politician that is WIDELY liked/admired/respected by people from ALL political parties and of all age groups and genders! For that reason too, I think the turnout will be higher than expected.
The by-election result may be closer than what this poll showed because there 19% are yet UNDECIDED. That is a large %.
There will be another poll (tv1) this weekend, probably tomorrow.
Thanks for the headsup on the spelling. From this screenshot on TDB, it appears that the 19% is both; Won’t vote, as well as; Don’t know. The presentation of the statistics on that TV3 link leaves a fair bit to be desired.
Based on the Tv3 poll above, my own revised warm chair guesstimate is:
Mark Osborne : 38%
Winston Peters : 36%
Willow-Jean Prime: 21%
Total Valid Votes 22,000.
Based on the Tv1 poll and Andrew Little’s comments today on Q and A, my revised warm chair guesstimate is:
Mark Osborne : 38%
Winston Peters : 44%
Willow-Jean Prime: 13%
Total Valid Votes 21,000.
Spelling? Pasipial or Pasupial.