Queensland and Northland

Written By: - Date published: 5:30 pm, February 1st, 2015 - 49 comments
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The conventional wisdom re the Queensland election was  ”that Labor can hardly fail to take a huge bite out of the LNP’s unprecedented majority, but converting their current tally of nine seats into the 45 needed for a majority will be a bridge or more too far.”  Anastascia Palaszczuk was obviously not conventional but was wise enough to dare to win on community issues. A community-issue based campaign in Northland could also spring a surprise here.

The key is community-issue based. If there is one lesson for New Zealand Labour in the successful campaigns in Victoria and now Queensland that have turned out one-term Liberal governments it is that they have run doorstep-based campaigns focussed on responding to local issues. That’s how Kate Jones beat Liberal leader Campbell Newman in the seat of Ashgrove.

The stakes in Northland are potentially very high. If National were to lose, they lose their majority in Parliament. So they will fight hard and they will want it over soon. And they will want it to be fought on national issues. That is obvious.

But it is a by-election, and the lesson of successful by-elections is that they are fought on local issues, of which there are plenty in Northland that are not so favourable for the government. The same is true of successful electorate campaigns against the odds. Taranaki-King Country in 1998 was a good example where trying to fight a by-election as a proxy for a national election was not good for Labour.

Obviously a lot of ducks would have to line up for there to be such a surprise. But I do not think it is a good thing to start by predicting failure. The first place you lose an election is in your head. I’ve known a lot of such pundits over the years – they have the satisfaction of 100% certainty that they will be proved right.

I think it is much better to start by asking what we would need to do to give ourselves a chance of winning.

One strong candidate, total focus on local issues, and all-out effort on the doorstep. Worth a go in my view – nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain if we begin to shift to community-based campaigning as in Australia.

 

49 comments on “Queensland and Northland”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    I agree with you fully. I was dismayed to hear Little stating that it is unlikely for Labour to win there. I think that was a strategic and tactical mistake and poor positioning. He should have said, though underdogs, we will give our best shot and work very hard to win. That would have given better confidence and enthused the potential candidates and supporters.

    Actually I think we have an even chance of winning if we play our cards well as you have stated.

    • weka 1.1

      “He should have said, though underdogs, we will give our best shot and work very hard to win. That would have given better confidence and enthused the potential candidates and supporters.”

      And voters. Well put Clem, and Mike.

      • Clemgeopin 1.1.1

        Thank you weka. Glad you agree.

        The opposition candidate….hopefully from Labour, who have the best chance of giving a big fight…has MANY issues to canvas votes on. The ENTIRE opposition group, strategists, leaders, supporters and MPs should descend en masse on North land, have many street, corner and hall meetings and door knock in earnest and work like mad as there is lot at stake.

        A chance to kick this nasty government out even.

        It will be hard, but when the task is going to be tough, the tough need to get going.

        The opposition have to have faith, hope, guts and FIGHT like mad!

        Never say, never!

  2. Pat O'Dea 2

    And what could be more of a local issue than fighting the by-election on opposition to offshore oil drilling (and seismic surveying), in Northland’s waters?

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      Labour isn’t going to do that in a million years.

    • Gosman 2.2

      What are you going to offer as a alternative? As sure as night follows day if Labour, or any opposition party, campaigns on policy then the counter argument will be that you are going to reduce job opportunities for people in Northland.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      Labour isnt opposed to offshore drilling previously, why try that now.

      There isnt a big number of well off urban greenies up north so is pointless as an election strategy

  3. It is important to be positive and it is not good to start by predicting failure but a dose of reality is important.

    It is easy for people through the country to talk about the Northland electorate and the possibilities in an academic sense without knowledge of the realities of the electorate. Get out among the ones likely to vote up here and try to find local issues which would make them eschew any National candidate and actually tick a Labour one.

    One duck which would have to be aligned is a very low, conservative, traditional farmer turnout. How likely is that when morsels of scare mongering will be blown up in the rural communities and if the notion of National needing Northland to retain their majority in Parliament is central to that, the traditionalists will vote as they usually do.
    Unfortunately.

  4. Papa Tuanuku 4

    where the housing fightback should happen

  5. Papa Tuanuku 5

    where the housing fightback should happen

  6. Weepus beard 6

    I can’t believe Northland is so blue, even with TTT enjoying a significant proportion of the Maori vote.

    Kelvin Davis fancies himself as a community battler. Why can’t the successful Labour MP for TTT join the Northland by-election cause for Labour?

    Also, even though John Key trivialises homosexuality and rape, he’s still not quite as damaging to the National led govt as Tony Abbott has been to the LNP coalition.

    • swordfish 6.1

      Despite Marksman33’s comment here…/the-northland-by-election/#comment-960162 , Northland’s not quite as Blue as you might at first think.

      More detail in the not-too-distant future.

    • TruthWillOut 6.2

      What do you mean “trivialises homosexuality” and why did you link it to rape?

      • Weepus beard 6.2.1

        Trivialises homosexuality:

        “That red top is a bit gay”

        Minces down the catwalk in the fashion he imagines a gay man would do.

        Trivialises rape (and murder):

        Victimises Tania Billingsley for speaking out about government failings.

        Jokes with the Chilean President on the subject of rapist and murderer, Philip Smith.

        They are not related, except in that they are both from the John Key archive.

    • Molly 6.3

      A question for the better informed –

      Are those on the TTT Maori electoral roll able to change to Northland in time for the by-election?

  7. Justme 7

    A sizeable sector to note are the National supporters who resigned from the National party after Sabin got in. Many of them won’t vote for Labour, even though they are peeved with National. If National finds a good candidate, they could increase their majority.
    Screw up and they could blow what’s left.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      The NATs should find another 23 year old corporate hack from Big Tobacco, Big Pharma or Big Banking.

      • Skinny 7.1.1

        They will play it safe by choosing a regional winner of young farmer of the year, from a generational farming family, probably still plays the odd game of rugby.

        Willow Jean Prime has confirmed she will contest the candidacy for Labour, good on her as she has just had a baby, very dedicated with a great team. Not sure if the Greens or NZF will contest. There is a Left independent who interests me to consider being his campaign PR person. If so we should be able to rally a few helper to highlight/attack/shame National on there many failings.

  8. Tiger Mountain 8

    We’re blue around here mate… Northland like other rural areas operates on patronage and good ’ol boy networks for paid work. The Nats networks in business, farming, sports, lodges, fire service and police station circles comprise de facto tory organisations which put a lot of cultural pressure on people from school on up to conform and vote blue.

    The other factor is voting tory or not voting has just become a bad habit for so many suffering from the poor housing, health and unemployment National governments have delivered for decades to the North.

    The habit needs to be broken starting this by-election. “Time for a change” to put it mildly. Roads, bridges, power supply and other infrastructure shown to be lacking by the recent floods need urgent attention. The Nats just do nothing year after year confident that the retired and escapees of the East coast and the farmers will vote for them. Confident that Te Tai Tokerau takes thousands of non Nat votes out of the equation. Confident that the young have buggered off for work. The Nats want Northlanders votes but give nothing in return.

    No holiday highway, spend the money on sealing and extending rail to Marsden Pt and beyond Whangarei. There are any number of issues to rally Northlanders around which require discarding which ever National candidate replaces bully boy Sabin.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      In other words, there National is part of the background, structure and infrastructure of the local community.

      I am supposing Labour has no roots in any comparable civic organisations or groups.

    • Clemgeopin 8.2

      +1

      Good points. You should offer yourself to help Labour with strategy for the election.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    We’re blue around here mate… Northland like other rural areas operates on patronage and good ’ol boy networks for paid work. The Nats networks in business, farming, sports, lodges, fire service and police station circles comprise de facto tory organisations which put a lot of cultural pressure on people from school on up to conform and vote blue.

    The other factor is voting tory or not voting has just become a bad habit for so many suffering from the poor housing, health and unemployment National MPs have delivered for decades to the North.

    The habit needs to be broken starting this by-election. “Time for a change” to put it mildly. Roads, bridges, power supply and other infrastructure shown to be lacking by the recent floods need urgent attention. The Nats just do nothing year after year confident that the retired and escapees of the East coast and the farmers will vote for them. Confident that Te Tai Tokerau takes thousands of non Nat votes out of the equation. Confident that the young have buggered off for work. The Nats want Northlanders votes but give nothing in return.

    No holiday highway, spend the money on sealing and extending rail to Marsden Pt and beyond Whangarei. There are any number of issues to rally Northlanders around which require discarding which ever National candidate replaces bully boy Sabin.

    • Marksman33 9.1

      Thank God Tiger Mountain, someone else who understands how fucked up it is up here. The political ignorance is actually quite astounding. Having lived up here for 25 years, it never ceases to amaze me how skewed the comprehension of politics is by the poor and the working class. There seems to be 3 types of people here in the far North, there are the cockies and the retailers who vote Natzi no matter what, there are the workers at the Triboard Mill or Top Energy or the roading companies or the oyster factories or the forestry gangs who see themselves a cut above the rest, the rest being the temp workers [ read Allied Workforce ] the Warehouse workers and then there is the Maori provider groups, the school teachers, the hospital workers, the council workers and the self employed. And finally there is the unemployed and the unemployable who either get fired up by Hone or the Maori Party or can’t be arsed to get out and vote anyway.
      Add to this a very real Christian element, see Mark Tan, and you have a very dysfunctional assortment of people, a large portion of who vote for who their parents voted for or grandparents voted for, you know, when they were farmers. God knows what it would take to change their attitude, but that is what your up against.
      So there you have it, from someone who lives with this shit everyday. In my humble opinion Labour needs someone who is very well known and liked that also happens to have left leaning principles that they can take the voters along with them.Then and only then would the left have a chance.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1

        Research into deeply held dogma demonstrates that emotional challenges have a far greater chance of success than rational.

        Sabin’s offending extends beyond any allegedly too horrible for words assault into the private members bills he introduced to Parliament: these are offensive enough regardless of what else the National Party clutches to its bosom.

        An odious man with odious beliefs makes a good choice for a Minister, ‘apparently’.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.2

        Sounds like Labour and Labour values (whatever they are) isn’t even part of the local society any more.

  10. Sacha 10

    The context of the general election in QLD and by-election in Northland are way different, especially in current nationwide poll results.

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.1

      If the NATs field a well known local candidate then I think their % will hold or increase.

  11. North 11

    I nominate Israel Dogg. Unless his childish blunder twittering shit on election day excludes him from candidacy. In which case I nominate Potty Gower…….the National Party caucus all the more Monty Pythonesque as a result. Imagine the bastard as Minister of Police ??? Those Guantanamo/AbuGhraib interrogator’s teeth right in your face. Nooooo !!!

    Nah seriously though…….there’s a youngish (like maybe late 30s) ex-cop up these ways reputed to be a pretty boy (can’t see it meself) but fancies himself etc etc. Put himself forward for National something or other at some stage as I recall. Maybe he’ll rediscover all those things he has to offer…….mind you – downside – ex-cop.

  12. ghostwhowalksnz 12

    The problem with comparing urban electorates with mostly rural ones, is that door knocking is more difficult logistically. The settlements are much smaller and spread over a wider area.
    We have seen before where national will pay a new candidate to campaign full time for up to 6 months before an election. ACT did the same with that nobody in Epsom.
    he door knocked vitually every home, it takes a long long time.
    This by election is only 4-5 weeks away

  13. logie97 13

    This is a by-election. Is there any reason the Maori in the electorate cannot enrol on the general roll for this vote?

    • Jenny Kirk 13.1

      Maori have to wait until the 5-year call for which roll they want to be on, comes around. Not due for at least another couple of years, as far as I know.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 13.2

      No they cant change rolls just like that. After every census theres a window to change from one or the other. Its not often known that there are roughly the same number of maori on the general roll as the maori roll. But that may differ around the country like far north.

  14. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 14

    The Aussie Liberal Party doesn’t have Key. They have a deranged, speedo-wearing monk. There’s NZ Labour’s real challenge. Get Key into speedos.

    • Gosman 14.1

      And attempt to create an alternative brand for him as a forelick tugging religious nut job. The cuurent attempts at trying to paint him as a money grubbing ex-banker doing the bidding of his masters in Wall Street and the US hasn’t got any traction so it might pay to try a different tack.

  15. ghostwhowalksnz 15

    Queensland has been essentially a Labour state since 1990.

    There has been only two periods of LNP rule, including the current one that lost the last election.

    Northland probably has never elected a labour MP

    • Clemgeopin 15.1

      Northland probably has never elected a labour MP

      They have been blindly electing quite dodgy questionable RWNjobs so far. Hopefully, a better sense will prevail this time around. Never say never!

  16. Shona 16

    Having lived in Northland(various parts urban and rural) most of my life, here is my 5cents worth of analysis.
    There was a combined total of non National votes at last year’s election of slightly more than National’s total vote.
    Little has stated that LAbour can’t win the seat( hmmm well he could give it a go). Ms Prime is an excellent candidate who had many of us ex Green/ Mana voters voting for her.
    Here is a golden opportunity for the lazy urban focused Wellington central LAbour rump to get off it’s arse and try an accommodation with the Greens not to run a candidate. You’re looking at 14,000 votes. Spend some money . Make Kelvin do some hard yards and show he’s not a traditional Maori male and support a strong woman candidate. You would be surprised at how much left leaning support is in early retirement mode on their lifestyle blocks up here. If Labour can’t be bothered ( Ms Prime has just had a child)then support NZ First. Bunch of National Party votes there if you get a real Northlander ( born and bred). NZ First would be a way better option for the North than National and would make National stop taking the North for granted.

    • Colonial Rawshark 16.1

      That’s serious tactical thinking using on the ground knowledge and a good dose of long term strategic flexibility. Which makes me think that Labour in WGN will really struggle to get there.

      • tricledrown 16.1.1

        This would be good for little to get some profile!
        As well as rebuilding labours local party base.

  17. Michael 17

    Northland is not Queensland and John Key is not Tony Abbott. Any similarities are purely coincidental. If Labour really wants to defeat the Nats in Northland it should put its weight behind candidate from a party that can win.

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