The Goldsmith Gambit

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, November 21st, 2011 - 49 comments
Categories: act, election 2011, national - Tags: ,

This will be one of the dirtiest political and anti-democratic tactics ever designed in NZ history. It has the potential of delivering a second John Key term, gifting Epsom to ACT and of discrediting MMP in one foul swoop: a true Tory Trifecta.

On current polling National’s Goldsmith is going to win Epsom handily with 41% of the vote versus Banks’ 30%.

The ‘Goldsmith Gambit’ is simple. It will be a conditional National response to this ‘Goldsmith victory, Banks silver medal’ scenario. If the November 26 result is one where National needs ACT to form a Government: the winner Goldsmith will resign from his electorate seat (probably citing some conflict of interest or family rationale). If he does this before December 15 (Writ Day), Goldsmith can keep his position as a National list MP, but allow John Banks to become MP for Epsom without even a by-election being fired.

The implications of this tactic and the Tory Trifecta have no doubt been thought through by both ACT and National Party strategists. Under the right conditions in a finally balanced MMP outcome, it will deliver to New Zealand a second term of National Government. While destroying New Zealand’s remaining international credibility as a true western democracy.

The one question I have is whether or not the details of the Gambit were discussed over a cup of tea.

COLONIAL VIPER

Update: CV contacted us with an update on by election status but this post was scheduled and appeared first.  See CV in comments. — r0b

49 comments on “The Goldsmith Gambit”

  1. The Voice of Reason 1

    Crikey, that’s a sick scenario, CV. Would Banks be able to bring in any other ACToids on the list though this manipulation? Or does losing the seat on the day preclude that from happening, as it would in a by-election during the normal term?

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Its an FPP election for the electorate, so no I don’t believe that more ACTOids could jump on board. Thank gawd.

      I did a little more digging into this scenario after I wrote it up: it seems that an election would need to be called by the Governor General regardless, if Goldsmith became incapacitated after polling day.

      In that election, the disgust with the National candidate’s move, plus the introduction of a brand new no-name National candidate, would likely guarantee the victory for Banks. Or interestingly, perhaps for a Conservative party candidate.

      • felix 1.1.1

        Not so sure about your last para.

        What makes you think the hypothetical disgust would manifest itself in favour of the outcome(i.e. enabling the nat/act rort) that caused the disgust in the first place?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          fair comment, the non-turnout factor could make it anybody’s game. David Parker, MP for Epsom anyone?

      • conorjoe 1.1.2

        so now i’m concerned about Goldsmiths health and welbeing as well as suitability to be a parliamentarian… ffs, this is corrupt

        • Tracey 1.1.2.1

          How can something that hasn’t even happened be corrupt?? How can you judge anyone on something that hasn’t happened? By all means discuss the hypothesis but assuming it’s happened/true and judging a person by it is a little odd.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    If that’s possible then we seriously need to look at changing our electoral laws. If they (National and Act) I’d certainly be calling for a new general election.

    …true western democracy.

    Not that Western Democracy is actually a democracy.

  3. Still, Parker and Hay should declare they intend voting for Goldsmith and urge their supporters to follow suit.

    I hear dead rats taste just like chicken…nom nom

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    Again I ask: how is it anti-democratic? How is it anything other than a perfectly lawful operation of MMP?

    [edit: I feel the need to re-note that I think Epsom is a debacle, and I would favour changing MMP to restrict the scope of such shenanigans]

    • McFlock 4.1

      ^^ perfect example of tories just not understanding the idea of democracy.

    • The Voice of Reason 4.2

      Kind of in the same way bowling underarm is anti-cricket, Queenie. It may have been legal, but it doesn’t make it right.

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        Granted – it would not be right and I would support changing the law to prevent it. In fact the entire scenario – if lawful at all – is patently absurd. But a lawful operation of electoral law (assuming it is valid, which I haven’t looked into at all) is not anti-democratic or “destroying New Zealand’s remaining international credibility as a true western democracy”. We know CV loves his hyperbole, but surely the Epsom situation is unseemly enough without having to invent additional concerns.

        • felix 4.2.1.1

          Yeah, and underarm bowling didn’t damage the Australian cricket team’s reputation either.

        • Adele 4.2.1.2

          The scenario contrived by CV is unlikely to occur since – now – it is exposed to public scrutiny and lots of intelligent people read this site.

          Nevertheless, the scenario, if enacted, obviously won’t destroy notions of true western democracy – it will simply point to another hypocrisy of the western tradition.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      What is legal is not always right.

  5. Peter 5

    This is certainly an interesting scenario. Fortunately, after worrying about it and then spending far too much time geeking it up on electoral law, it can’t happen. Fortunately the Electoral Act 1993 is pretty clear on this. In particular section 153A states that even if a candidate dies or is incapacitated (defined as serious illness, something I suspect that the tories cannot fake) then the candidate vote part of the ballot is cancelled, with the party vote part remaining. This is the important bit, ensuring that proportionality remains.

    Section 153E then states that a new election is called, with basically the same rules as for a by-election.

    Of course, even in the event of a by-election, this wouldn’t affect the make-up of parliament materially as it would be an FPP election. Perhaps if the government had no majority, it might make a change, but only then.

    • lprent 5.1

      That was my thought after looking at this last night because there isn’t a “runner-up” capability in the national electoral law as there is other electoral acts (like the local government acts). But I didn’t really have time to dig it out.

      It was an interesting scenario opinion in electoral law so despite my suspicion that it was probably flawed, I figured that it was worth leaving in the queue. At least it’d teach people the nasty little problems that can occur.

  6. McFlock 6

    I’m not sure that “not wanting to win” = “incapacitated”. 
     
    Unless he wants to throw himself down some stairs for the good of Key. But then I doubt ACT waill be in much of a position to throw the nats over the threshold, anyway.

  7. mikesh 7

    I think the Governor General should step in and disallow such an action were it to occur. There must be political situations of a constitutional nature where The GG is not required to act on the advice of the PM.

    • Rich 7.1

      The G-G has no such powers. Even if they tried, the PM can sack them at any time.

      But as stated above, it isn’t a problem. The list allocation (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0087/latest/DLM310034.html#DLM310034) happens only once, after a general election. Any subsequent by-elections don’t change the list.

      If National wanted to have Goldsmith resign and then not contest them subsequent by-election, then fine, but they’d just be swapping Goldsmith for Banks (if the electors would have it).

      • Janice 7.1.1

        I think you will find that it is the GG who can sack the PM as happened in Australia. I think it was Whitlam who got sacked. In theory the GG is a royal appointment and like the Queen is there until the end of the term.

      • mikesh 7.1.2

        As mentioned above, The Australian GG sacked Gough Whitlam. And it seems clear that a Governor can dismiss a government that loses a confidence vote, or fails to obtain supply, so there are obviously situations which are beyond the the PM’s authority, and it would seem that this ought to one of them, since it impacts upon the make-up of parliament.

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    I’ve just been doing some numbers and I was wondering if I’ve got it right. National need 61 votes to form a majority Government. At 50%, they would get 60 seats, but still need at least one more vote. At 48%, they would get 57 or 58 seats, needing 3 more votes. At 46%, they would get 55 seats and would need six more votes.
     
    In all 3 of those scenarios National can fail to win this election, depending on how ACT, UF and the Maori party fare. If ACT are gone, then it will be dependant on the MP to support National whether or not UF remain. No ACT and no UF means that then it will be the 2 or 3 seats that Turia controls that make or break National’s chances, but only if National get better than 46%. Below that mark, Labour and the Greens combined would have up to 50-55 seats and would be in a position to talk turkey with the MP as well.
     
    And this is without factoring in the return of Winston. If he does make it and is true to his word about wanting to stop asset sales, then he would need to at least do nothing to stop a left Government being formed (ie abstain on confidence and supply) or in the more likely event of a minority left Government being proposed he would have to vote for C&S, even if he stays out of coalition and on the cross benches. A similar deal is what got Julia Gillard elected Aussie PM and Winston would make a fine Speaker of the House, don’t you think?
     
    The next question we should be asking is who replaces Key as National leader next week. My money’s on Paula Bennett, because she’s thick, easily manipulated and even more easily replaced if a better candidate comes along before 2014.

    • Rich 8.1

      The number of seats for a majority depends on the overhang, which in turn depends on how many seats and party votes the Maori Party get (possibly if Banks or Dunne get elected they could also overhang, if their party vote vanishes sufficiently).

      Winston could stop asset sales by voting against them when the legislation is proposed.

      Also, I think the original plan was that when Key goes, Don Brash will merge ACT into National and take over as PM. That all seems to have gone a bit pear shaped.

    • gingercrush 8.2

      National need just under 49% on election day and would be likely to govern alone even with a overhang. Special and oversea votes tend to hurt National (so the vote will be slightly down). But crucially the wasted vote will tip National over the 50% mark. Worst case scenario for the left is for Winston Peters to be near but not over the 5%. As that is a huge wasted vote and National will capture nearly half of that. Worse case for the right is Peters does tip over 5% and National’s vote falls under 47%.

      Though I’m still calling National at 50.5% come election day and Peters to stay out. I also think Act will just capture Epsom and bring in at least Brash and maybe Issacs.

      62 seats will likely be the number needed to govern alone if not 63 depending on overhang.

    • Brooklyn 8.3

      This is getting fucking surreal and maybe a bit hopeful. You need to factor in the votes for parties which don’t make the threshold (Conservative, Cannabis etc) hence you’d need 48% of the popular vote to score 61 seats assuming 5% of votes going to parties which don’t make it (I refuse to call them “wasted” votes even if they are for Colin Craig). Hence also a dividend if Winston falls short.

    • mikesh 8.4

      My money would be on Paul Goldsmith. If he can win the seat without even trying just imagine what he could do if he made an effort.

    • weka 8.5

      Use this, because it allows factoring in the lost votes:
       
      http://www.elections.org.nz/calculator/index.html

  9. jaymam 9

    The very foundations of National could collapse, or they could snuggle up to Labour.
    Like this a couple of hours ago:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/sxkuf9.jpg

    To build a brighter future you need good foundations!

  10. ianmac 10

    Funny how each news broadcast on RNZ starts with “John Key says he is not panicking over the possibility of NZF return.” It of course does imply that many believe that he is panicking. How sad.

    • mik e 10.1

      Hopefully left leaning candidates tell their constituents to split their votes party vote left electorate vote goldsmith.

  11. jaymam 11

    According to this link Goldsmith has a very shady past. However he’s a good bloke and we should all vote for him.

    http://www.imperatorfish.com/2011/11/trying-hard-to-lose.html

    Mr Goldsmith told the Newmarket Business Association gathering last night that he had served with Gaddafi in Libya, but had been dismissed for gross cowardice and theft.

    He also confirmed that he has dozens of convictions for fraud, arson, theft and sedition.

    Last night Goldsmith was interviewed by 3 News’ Patrick Gower and asked to explain whether he wanted to become the MP for Epsom.

    Mr Goldsmith was unable to answer the question, because the flames of the church he was standing next to and had just set fire to forced him to seek shelter.

    • coolas 11.1

      Yeah, yeah Kiwiblog has the same post tagged ‘Humour’. Hope you don’t think anyone here will take you seriously.

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        Nah, The Standard has a slightly more sophisticated and literate audience who should be able to see the satirical exagerration of “[…]the flames of the church he was standing next to and had just set fire to forced him to seek shelter” a mile off.
         
        I can see why KB readers would need the tag, though.

  12. A vote for John Banks is effectively a vote for a ‘white collar’ criminal who has yet to be charged or convicted, in my considered opinion.

    Dr Brash (ex-Leader of the National Party – now Leader of the ACT Party/ National “B” Team, has a PhD in Hypocrisy, as has ex-National Government Minister of Police /Local Government – now ACT candidate for Epsom John Banks.

    For both of them – ACT’s ‘ONE LAW FOR ALL’ obviously doesn’t apply to them – or they would have equally been charged along with former fellow Director of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, Peter Huljich, for signing Registered Prospectuses for Huljich Kiwisaver Schemes which contained untrue statements.

    Banks and Brash want to help run NZ – and they couldn’t properly run a Hulich Kiwisaver Scheme?

    How commercially competent are they???

    FYI – tmorrow night there will be a public meeting in Parnell where Epsom candidates will be speaking.

    WHEN: 7pm Tuesday 22 November 2011
    WHERE: Jubilee Building
    545 Parnell Rd

    This Epsom candidates meeting I have been invited to attend (unlike the meeting held last Thursday).

    ipredict it will be a rather lively event…………..

    Penny Bright
    Independent candidate for Epsom
    Campaigning against CRIME, ‘white collar’ CORRUPTION (and its root cause – PRIVATISATION) and ‘CORPORATE WELFARE’

  13. hoom 13

    I don’t really have an issue with the basic endorsement deal. Endorsements happen all the time eg in the US Presedential elections.
    The dodgy way that its been done ie complete failure to outright say ‘vote Banks’ I don’t like but is emblematic of the way Key operates.
    I don’t like the possibility of ACT bringing in an MP or two on the coat-tails while a party with 4.99% would get none but this is fixable by adjusting the threshold downwards.
     
    Tactical voting from Nat -> ACT or from whatever -> Goldsmith thats MMP & I’m intending to take part in it.
    I’ve been expecting/fearing to see Goldsmith withdraw before the election day & that would suck but it would be out there for the public to see clearly what they are doing before election day.
    But if Goldsmith were to win the Electorate vote then after the election force a bye-election which he doesn’t take part in while retaining his list seat, that would be despicable & utterly disgraceful.

  14. Misanthropic Curmudgeon 14

    Why is it that many poster whine like babies about Epsom, but are very quite indeed on Jim Anderton andLabours antics in Wigram, Helen Clark and Jeanette Fitzsimmons cosy arrangemenst in the Coromandal a few electiosn ago, and the Hughes/Chauvell love-fest in Ohariu?

    Pure hypocrisy is why.

    • felix 14.1

      What bullshit.

      The Greens don’t stand a chance of winning Ohariu, Labour does. That’s the exact opposite of the situation in Epsom where ACT wouldn’t get more than a handful of votes without National stacking the deck for them.

  15. Do you really think that kind if evil really exists, I only ask that because I can really see your sceniaro being played out by the Nasty Nats.

    I’m a millionair and I’m okay
    I don’t “have to” think about anyone else,
    I sleep all night and I’m PM by day
    and Crosby and Textor tells me what to say.

    Just last year we introduced government blockers on the internet,
    They are only there to stop the porn.
    You can TRUST me when I say
    We won”t use them for anything else.

    We will crush those unnions underfoot,
    and arm the police for their protest.
    if we can push those wages down again
    we can “indenture” Kiwi labour for years and years.

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