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Te Tai Tokerau final results good for Labour

Written By: - Date published: 2:10 pm, July 6th, 2011 - 23 comments
Categories: by-election, labour, mana-party, maori party, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

Of the 1,916 special votes reported on the night a bare 769 made it into the final results. Of which Hone Harawira got 454 and Kelvin Davis got 204. This slightly increased Hone’s majority by 250 over election night, but there really isn’t anything in it with a by-election majority of 1117. It will make this a tight contest at election time because Labour will now view this electorate as being quite winnable.

Final Provisional Valid
Votes Counted: 12339 11570 769
Majority: 1117 867 250
ALP, Kelvyn OUR 72 63 9
DAVIS, Kelvin LAB 4948 4744 204
HARAWIRA, Hone MANA 6065 5611 454
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 135 126 9
TIPENE, Solomon MAOR 1087 1026 61
Candidate Informals 32 36 -4
TOTAL 12339 11570 769


If you’re like me and interested in campaign performances by the numbers,  look back to the 2008 election where you will find that the electorate vote for Kelvin Davis was 5,711 – in other words despite the by-election he hung on or gained 86% of the vote in the general election. Whereas if you look at the combined Hone Harawira and Solomon Tipene vote against Hone’s vote of 12,019 for the Maori party in 2008 it was 59%.

Bearing in mind the turnout in the electorate of 60% of the 2008 turnout this is very good result for Kelvin Davis and Labour. He turned Labour voters out into some really miserable weather for a by-election and nearly made his 2008 figures. I suspect he will be spending quite a lot of time in the electorate helping to boost those figures for the general election.

At this point Te Tai Tokerau looks quite winnable for Labour. Of course Labour will not be able to put as many people on the ground as they did with this by-election. However the effect of canvassing and targeting operations is cumulative. The more information you collect the more efficiently you can use scarce resources. They will leverage off that.

The picture for the nascent Mana Party is a bit more problematic. They will need to really look at how they can boost their support in this electorate if they want to use Te Tai Tokerau to boost themselves into Parliament from a party vote that increasingly looks like it will be below the threshold. Part of that will be from the Hone doing the speaking and greeting and the biggest cost of that will probably be that it reduces his ability to do it across the country.

But I suspect that much of the effort for Mana will require the sheer drudgery of building an electorate organisation that can campaign against Labour. Because Labour doesn’t give sweetheart deals like National is trying to give to Act in Epsom.

The Maori Party in Te Tai Tokerau? That really depends on how much of a spoiler they want to be to Mana. It looks very unlikely that the can win against Hone this year. But you can understand why the peace feelers are being extended from Hone – they can probably tilt the Mana Party to oblivion if they fight hard and let Labor through instead.

It is going to be interesting watching what happens in Te Tai Tokerau at ground level over the next five months. But I’d have to say (as a long time electorate campaigner) that some of the spinning from the Mana supporters about their performance in the by-election has been greatly over blown. They may have effectively seen off the Maori Party in the electorate, but that leaves them facing a Labour party candidate who is did pretty well.

23 comments on “Te Tai Tokerau final results good for Labour ”

  1. Gina 1

    “Of the 1,916 special votes reported on the night a bare 769 made it into the final results. ”

    Why were so many votes not allowed?

    • lprent 1.1

      To have a special vote allowed for an electorate you must be on the roll in that particular electorate.

      1. That means you have to be enrolled. The enrollment levels in the TTT are pretty low.

      2. You must have had a letter addressed to your last known address not returned to the electoral commission. The usual purging exercise’s have been run. 

      3. In TTT you must be on the Maori roll for that area. No point in voting in TTT if you are on the general roll

      So usually special votes are allowed if they are..

      1. Not in published roll (ie domestic violence etc)
      2. Are in the roll after printing but at a different new address. 
      3. Name changes.
      4. Enrolled after the printed roll done.

      Basically you have to make sure that you are on the roll. Easy enough to check out – just go to http://elections.org.nz and look yourself up.

      Incidentally, I was off the roll for a while until a few weeks ago. I’d moved and the s-mail was bouncing at the old address.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    Lynn, do you think Davis will get as much support from the LP machine in the general as he did in this one?

    It’s pretty possible that the LP turned out it’s vote in this one*, and them what sat this one out will break more for Hone in the general just as they went for the mP last time.

    *I’m thinking that as well as the machine support there was the polling and the general belief that he could win it. The Labour vote was motivated to get out.

    • lprent 2.1

      He will have less support obviously. But he and his team will have much longer to do the canvassing and greeting work. It balances out. It is the effectiveness of how you do the work that tends to count more than the numbers of bodies.

      Moreover, the work that was done and information collected during the by-election campaign doesn’t get wasted. It cumulatively builds up and really really helps when you’re focusing your campaign. You plan on collecting that information and doing those contacts over multiple elections. That is how you win and hold electorate seats over the longer term. 

      Of course you have to be smart enough to use it. But Kelvin and his team are.  

      I come from a operations background so I tend to look at politics as being a system rather than competing philosophies. You figure out how to get the best use out of your scarce resources and you frequently do that by concentrating them.

      We’ve been doing that pretty successfully around the isthmus in Auckland, and in the North Harbour across multiple election cycles. The by-elections just speed that up for particular electorates (sure did for Mt Albert – there is so much data there…).

      One of the problems with smaller parties is that they have less resources to concentrate. 

      • Richard 2.1.1

        lprent: One of the problems with smaller parties is that they have less resources to concentrate.

        Yes, but when it comes to the general election a smaller party such as Mana is not going to contest every electorate, unlike a large party such as Labour.

        So, Mana will probably have at lease a similar density of resources in the general election in the electorates it actually contests.

        Hone got 9% more than his closest rival, Davis.

        In the 2008 general election, National got 11% more party vote than Labour. Nobody seriously considers that a close or marginal result.

        • lprent

          But what was interesting was the relative decreases in a by-election. Davis had a lot less drop compared to the 2008 electorate votes than Hone.

          That suggests that either a lot of people are flipping their vote to Davis and away from Hone/MP or that Labour is capable of getting more of their supporters out during by-elections. The latter has not happened to anything like the same extent in previous by-elections this term in Mt Albert, Mana, and Botany despite Labour being able to concentrate more resources in those smaller electorates. So the former scenario seems more probable.

          That suggests that when the number of voters increases during a general election and if Davis picks up support at the same or similar rate amongst the people who did not vote in this election or did not bother to vote in 2008, then there is a pretty good chance that Davis can win the electorate seat. But that isn’t even the most important thing for Labour.

          The result also shows that there is a significant voting shift going on inside the electorate. There were a lot of party votes cast in 2008 for the Maori Party. It doesn’t look like that will happen in 2011. Labour should make a significant effort to get those wobbly votes to vote for Labour rather than Mana or the MP. That makes it worth while for Labour to expend some effort in the 10+ general seats that overlap TTT to capture those. It is probably easier (ie less resources required) party vote than trying convince 2008 floaters who voted National or getting ENV’s to the polls.

          Fiddling the numbers with rather irrelevant percentages (ie apples compared to oranges) to try and deflate Hone’s failure to get voters to enthusiastically support him don’t change how Labour is going to view those newly floating voters.

          • Richard

            lprent: Fiddling the numbers with rather irrelevant percentages…


            Certainly, on the face of it, Hone has a reduced majority in TTT. However, he convincingly won, and I think you are grasping at straws to think that Labour has a significant chance of winning the seat in November.

            Precisely how many electorate Hone votes translate into Mana party votes is a different question though.

  3. Must say I disagree.

    Labour poured everything they had into the byelection. Former MPs, for example Dover Samuels, sitting MPs, including Parekura Horomia and members of the Maori Caucus and the Auckland Caucus, Wellington activists, including the party’s top number crunchers, Kelvin was given priority access to Labour’s Parliamentary staffers, for example press secretaries and advisors, general electorate branches committed resources to the campaign, including hundreds of canvassers, and Labour members – including MPs, candidates and normal members – donated money to the campaign (tens of thousands in total I would estimate). Labour also had access to E-trac and utilised parliamentary resources.

    Hone had no money, he could not piggy back off of general electorate branches, he did not have access to Parliamentary resources, he lacked access to software like E-trac and his support base was largely apathetic. In the face of the most formidable electorate machine in the country (Labour) the Mana Party team did extremely well. Without a dollar to their name they managed to out-campaign the best campaigners in New Zealand. Pretty good for a bunch of half time activists in my opinion. Labour should be deeply ashamed that they could not beat a bunch of pohara Maori and a rag tag team of amateur Socialists.

    Labour should have won, but the Mana Party organisation was, in my humble opinion, too good.

    • lprent 3.1

      Sitting MP’s almost invariably have the major advantage in any electorate seat. They have had time to build up all of the personal networks.

      The point is that Labour can concentrate resource over time as well as for these short periods. They will do so where they see a seat is winnable.

      The scale of resources committed to TTT simply wasn’t that great compared to what was put into the Mt Albert by-election. After all there is an election to win later in the year. 

      E-trac isn’t  particularly good in my opinion (my code was a order of magnitude or two better at nosing out targets), but at least it is e-trac is central these days. It isn’t that hard to write something that works, and you can even buy such things off the shelf. The real trick is to set up the systems to feed the data and to use it to ferret out the data you want. That is an organisational issue.

      I wasn’t expecting Labour to win. I was expecting a good result from the effort that was put in. The result was better than I expected. 

      • Teo 3.1.1

        Labour has no chance to win TTT, Hones majority will increase greatly come the general election. Kelvin is a great and nice guy his best chance to win the seat is when Hone retires at some stage. I have some local knowledge with all parties concerned and my prediction is not based on hope unlike yours lprent.

        • lprent

          It is a big and diverse electorate – you only have to read the diversity in the polling place results to see that. Trying to read the mind of that many people scattered over that kind of area is simply daft. I don’t even try that in a relatively compact electorate like Mt Albert. The differences between suburbs like Kingsland and Avondale, Mt Eden and Point Chev are just too extreme and I grew up around that area.

          But as I said earlier, I rely largely on numbers and trends. I don’t rely on hope or faith, I’m a operations political mechanic rather than a philosopher. The numbers say that Labour can do well in TTT without diverting too much effort from other areas.

          I really don’t care much if Hone wins or loses in TTT. Regardless, there is a good opportunity for Labour to pick up party votes in TTT. As a bonus after the by-election, the electorate is marginal enough to be attractive for diverting effort and resources into it because we could win the electorate seat as well.

          In terms of the effort involved, it isn’t that high for the canvassing/get out strategy because it can be easily integrated into the election strategies of the general electorates that overlap TTT.

  4. Shazzadude 4

    Hone won by 9%, and was just 89 votes away from an outright majority. It’s hardly marginal. Almost all of the swing can be accounted for: the Maori Party retained 8.8% of the vote, and most of the 9.4% who gave their party vote to National last time will have voted for Kelvin Davis after Key’s endorsement (Davis managed just 8% of the electorate vote from National vote in 2008; Hone got 48% of the National vote last time, Tashkoff 27%).

    A likely arrangement with the Maori Party will make Te Tai Tokerau a safe seat for Mana.

  5. Shazzadude 5

    “Because Labour doesn’t give sweetheart deals like National is trying to give to Act in Epsom.”

    Coromandel, 1999.

    • lprent 5.1

      You’re mistaken. It pretty much a 3 horse race between National, Labour, and the Greens (umm  where are the damn electorate vote details at http://electionresults.org.nz ?). A lot of the usual National and Labour vote went to the Greens for different reasons. 

      But it was such a three horse race that it was decided on the specials and I seem to remember that it was close for all three parties.

      • gingercrush 5.1.1

        Oh please I remember 1999 too and there was quite the persuasion to get Labour voters to vote Fitzsimmons.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Worked on me. It’s only the second time I didn’t vote the Labour candidate (the other being for Bruce Beetham in a by-election). I can’t find the election result, but on the night Jeannette was behind the tory (Maclean?) by a couple of hundred, but won on specials. And I think the Greens also scraped past the 5% on specials too.
          Large parts of the northern suburbs and surrounding towns of Tauranga were included in the electorate at the time and it was Labour voters there that tipped the balance. If they’d still been in Tauranga, Winston would have lost to labour.

        • lprent

          That probably explains why the Greens were left out of the Alliance’s agreement with Labour then? Labour was actively trying to get the Greens into parliament so that they could snub them?

          Perhaps you should look at some actual politics rather than fantasies. The Greens are not usually notable as being the preferred flavour of the month amongst many Labour politicians. One of those was the Labour leader at the time. 

          If you can pull up some actual evidence then I’d be interested. But you haven’t managed to do so in the past when you’ve made the same strange and unsupported assertion. I just view it as being another of those strange myths that seem to crawl out from sewers.

          FFS: Labour doesn’t bother with sweetheart details. Especially when it is a MPP election because that way you just lose party votes – which are the important ones – because your local electorate organisation will go and work for electorate campaigns outside the area. 

          The Greens would have been selling that message of vote for us if you want to dump the National MP. I’m sure that many Labour voters locked in a National area would have gone for it. But it certainly wasn’t coming from the Labour party or their candidate. If it had then there would have been the same kind of anger heaped at them as Stuart Nash got in Epsom.

            • lprent

              As I said. When you ignore all of the speculation from journo’s what you come up with is this.

              November 20th 1999 on the eve of the election.

              Mrs Hawkeswood is on the Maori roll and will vote for Labour’s Hauraki candidate John Tamihere but said that if she were on the general roll she would cast her electoratevote for Ms Fitzsimons.

              “If I was (on the general roll) I’d be voting for the Greens (in the electorate vote). . . because they are a left-leaning party and I want to get rid of National,” she said.

              Which is a statement of fact (and I bet she got a bollocking for it) in response to a hypothetical question from a reporter. All of the other statements say that Labour will fight to win the seat. When pressed you get statements like Helens on October 26th – again in response to a hypothetical.

              Clark has said while she will not instruct Labour supporters in the seat to vote for Fitzsimons she acknowledges the seat is a two way race between Fitzsimons and McLean and that voters should be aware of that. Clark knows Labour has nothing to lose and everything to gain through assisting a Green victory in the Coromandel and these initial noises may be only be the first.

              Clark has said the position in the Coromandel is constantly under review however Labour’s Margaret Hawkeswood has promised to give 100 per cent in the campaign and has ruled out standing aside or endorsing Fitzsimons. She says closer to the election it will become obvious to Labour supporters that in order for a change of government – which she says is her ultimate aim – her supporters may have to vote tactically, but she will not be instructing them to do so.

              Again that is a statement of fact. Voters will make up their own minds about how to vote. Parties shouldn’t bet trying to tell them to vote for someone else.

              If you dig around you’ll find that there was never a statement from the Labour Party or its leaders to their supporters to vote for some other party (you do occasionally get it from some candidates). Nothing like what Bolger did in Wellington Central in 1996 (?) or various National leaders including John Key have done on Epsom.

              Hell even the journo’s had to resort to “strong signal”. As I said – you’re making shit up to say that Labour throws elections.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Spinning, spinning lprent. A 1117 majority is not too bad at all “in the situation” for Mana. My prediction is an increased majority for Mana and Hone in November. ‘Voice of Reason’ made a few predictions here too on the TTT by–election which did not bear fruit, though we can of course always do with more fruits and nuts in the Far North.

    I remember one FPP election where as CAFCA’s Murray Horton put it– “66 Waitaki sheep shaggers” helped get National over the line. Close results abound in electoral politics.

    Now onto special votes: I maintain it is crook for polling booth staff to not be trained well enough to resist giving special declaration voting papers to people that clearly are not enrolled just for an easier day. Some such “voters” persist year after year and it is not helpful to anyone.

    • The Voice of Reason 6.1

      G’day, TM. Dead right about my Mystic Meg abilities, though I almost got the numbers right, just had the wrong names attached. I’m looking forward to growing fruit and nuts down here too. I predict I’ll have a bumper crop of pineapples in 2020 if global warming keeps up like this!
      I still agree with LP though. This is now one of the ten marginals Labour will target in November and while it’s true that there won’t be the same level of head office and Ak support that turned out for Kelvin in the by-election, equally Hone’s ability to campaign at the same level is diminished by his need to build a national party vote for Mana if he isn’t going to turn into a one trick pony like Dunne or Anderton.
      So I expect a close race. But I still don’t think Labour will deal with him, if he wins, because they know he isn’t going to vote with National any more, so they can afford to ignore his one vote in the talks to form a Government with the Greens and whoever else is in the running.

    • lprent 6.2

      Hardly spinning. Just look at the numbers – that is how I tend to look at electorate campaigns (and I have a done heap of them).

      The point is that if you look at the electorate vote only, Kelvin got very close to the vote he had at the last general election. 86% of it. But even if you look at Hone and the guy from the MP vote together they only made 59% of Hone’s 2008 electorate vote. 

      But the by-election vote was 62% of the turnout in the 2008 general election, and 2008 wasn’t a high turnout amongst past elections. Enrolled non-voters (ENV’s) are useful targets as well. That means there are a hell voters to pick up in TTT who are now demonstrably changing their votes. I’d be chasing it.

      Now Labour can maybe win the electorate seat in TTT (and some of the other Maori seats), and they’d dearly like to get those Maori seats back.  Because sitting members in seats provide a kernel for organisational activity for them as well. It is a hell of lot easier to organize in an electorate with a sitting MP.

      But look at what is in it for Labour if they lose. They can also hunt for party votes in TTT amongst the 2008 MP party voters and ENV’s whilst campaigning. For Labour doing an active hard campaign in TTT is a win-win situation. They can do a lot of the work over the next 5 months by siphoning of minimal effort from people in the general electorates in the TTT area. That means a lot of resources over a longer period to identify who they have to get out and on the roll and voting. 

      Sure Mana can probably win in TTT electorate seat. Sitting MP’s have a hell of a lot of advantages in an electorate.

      But if Mana exert the effort and resources required to make it safe in TTT by building a more effective electorate organisation, then they lose the opportunity to try and build a wider constituency. They also have the problem that a lot of their supporters outside TTT are scattered over the country making it a lot harder to concentrate them. 

      It is the same corundum that has been facing Act in Epsom over the years. It is an interesting strategic electorate for Labour and the results from this by-election will be quite encouraging. Be fun to work on.

  7. alex 7

    A deficit of 1000 against Davis isn’t great, considering just how many people got in behind him. I think this blog might be somewhat slanted against the fact that Hone retaining the seat after the negative publicity shitstorms he endured was quite an achievement. No disrespect to Davis though, he remains a fine MP.

    [lprent: This blog doesn’t have an opinion. It is a dumbarse machine. Read the policy on the consequences from a programmer of trying to attribute a mind to a idiot machine. I assume that the perp has a self-martyr fetish and needs education on the limits of machine intelligence.

    On the topic of Hone and Mana… I have an opinion, Eddie has a different opinion, The Sprout seems to think that Mana is great, all the authors have different opinions. Address your opinion to one of their opinions. The machine has no opinion because I haven’t programmed code that makes it have one. I could program something in especially for you called a auto moderated ban if you wantto see what a machines opinion looks like? ]

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