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The Northcote by election

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 pm, June 9th, 2018 - 212 comments
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We are in the last couple of days of the Northcote by election with tomorrow being voting day.

If you want to help Shanan Halbert get elected Labour will be maintaining a full get the vote out system. You can sign up to help here.

And it could be close, real close.

National has been struggling with a candidate who is not on top of the issues and a lack of on the ground help which has led to some unusual scenes. 

I hear that Clark Hennesy may have led its campaign.  A loss would not help his future, let alone that of Simon Bridges.

The only person who would gain would be Judith Collins.  Does anyone know if she has done any campaigning?

And the blogs on the right have been very silent.  Farrar has largely ignored the by election while Slater has been pushing the ACT candiodate Stephen Berry.

Every vote will count. There is nothing worse than losing a close election and thinking about what else you could have done.  So if you have some spare time lend a helping hand.

Update:  I spent some time door knocking in the electorate.  There were that many doorknockers I was sent into the bluest of blue areas, Northcote Point, to knock on selected doors.  The response was not great but the campaign HQ was a hive of activity.

lprent: Update. It was close. The preliminary results show a 1362 margin, reduced from about 6210 last election. The turnout was a bit under half of the previous election – not bad for a by-election.

Compare that to the last election.

212 comments on “The Northcote by election”

  1. ropata 1

    3 members of my household yet to vote… Halbert of course!

    Even if he doesn’t make it, anything has got to be better than Coleman.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    Well, I go by our friends who have been National out of habit, but they are now praising this Government for tackling the hard issues. Quietly saying they will be voting Labour. Good luck to Halbert.

  3. mickysavage 3

    Election results can be viewed from here after 5,000 votes have been counted. Seems a strange trigger point.


  4. Ankerrawshark 4

    Where can we get results as they come in Mickey

  5. ScottGN 5

    10pm for a result according to the news on the telly.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      I think the early vote count will give a reasonably good indication.

      • mickysavage 5.1.1

        And just like that the early vote came in. Bidois ahead …

        BIDOIS, Dan
        2nd CANDIDATE:
        HALBERT, Shanan

        • ScottGN

          Presumably the advance votes counted earlier? So no steer on which booths across the electorate they’re from?

          • mickysavage

            Yep but they are from throughout the electorate. Not looking good for Shanan I am afraid but majority will not be flash.

            • ScottGN

              Majority will be slashed by the looks of it.

              • dukeofurl

                early votes usually favour national by say 1% over final result from the way it ran last election.

                The ones that run greens and labour are specials which come last, maybe 2 weeks.
                We may not know the finals result until then

        • McFlock

          The benchmark is coleman’s 16% (6k votes) majority last year.
          Bidois is currently on 7%.

  6. McFlock 6

    7:09 pm:
    VOTES COUNTED: 11,419 45.5%


    2nd CANDIDATE: HALBERT, Shanan 5,052

  7. ScottGN 7

    Advance voting has certainly changed the way elections are reported. In the Ontario Provincial election yesterday CBC called it about 20 minutes after the polls closed. The pundits on the telly had barely got parked in their seats.

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Hurrah for that . We are all over talking heads talking about tiny numbers

      • ScottGN 7.1.1

        I don’t know DoF. Us election junkies used to quite like old days of the 1am trawl of the networks as the clapped out pundits argue over the last few marginals.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    So Bidiot to win, then? People voting on a T3 lane and their house prices, ffs.

    As if Bidiot has any influence over either.

    • James 8.1

      Or perhaps they didn’t like the labour candidate?

      • Muttonbird 8.1.1

        Lol. You think people vote on the personality of the candidate. How did Dr. Death win it 5 terms in a row?

      • mickysavage 8.1.2

        Maybe it used to be a safe National seat but now it is a marginal seat even though they are in opposition.

        • Incognito

          Indeed, this seat is now ripe for the picking in 2020.

          • cleangreen

            100% Incognito,

            Yes and the Greens should now stand behind a labour candidate next time in that seat also, and not split the left vote as they did this time.

          • alwyn

            Aren’t you the person who kept reminding everyone that we have an MMP electoral system and it is only the party vote that counts?
            What is the advantage in Labour “picking up” a seat?
            The only people for whom managing to win a seat will be NZF, Greens and ACT. Without an electorate they will be dead. All it means for National and Labour is one less list seat.

            • Incognito

              Aren’t you the person who kept reminding everyone that we have an MMP electoral system and it is only the party vote that counts?

              Dear Alwyn, you’re confusing me with someone else.

              What is the advantage in Labour “picking up” a seat?

              Gee, Alwyn, I cannot think of anything … Why do we have elections under MMP?

              The only people for whom managing to win a seat will be NZF, Greens and ACT.

              You need help with sentence construction; I’ve just the right person in mind for you 😉

              Without an electorate they will be dead.

              So, the Greens and NZF were dead at the last general election!? Perhaps Dr Alwyn could tell them and sign the death certificates because they act like they’re very much alive in the CoL! Obviously, they will be deader in 2020.

              All it means for National and Labour is one less list seat.

              Only National has this dirty habit of gifting a seat to their ‘friend’ in Epsom. It’s a blot on our democratic system.

              • alwyn

                ” you’re confusing me with someone else”.
                I’ll take your word for it.

                ” win a seat will ”
                I must agree. How did I miss out the word “matters” after the word “seat”.

                “were dead at the last general”
                I have no idea how you can possibly make that out of what I said. Last election they got, just, over the 5% threshold. Next time they won’t and without an electorate seat their air supply will be cut off. Bye-bye.

                “think of anything”.
                Labour getting another electorate seat does absolutely nothing for their chances of becoming the Government. Do you really not understand that?

                “has this dirty habit”.
                Labour quite happily used to leave their mate in Wigram alone. They might have put up a candidate against Anderton but they certainly didn’t try very hard against “Uncle Jim” as Helen Clark used to call him.

                • Incognito

                  I quoted you verbatim and did not leave anything out. You on the other hand …

                  You said:

                  Without an electorate they will be dead.

                  Given that I’m neither a clairvoyant nor a mind reader I did not know that you believe (!) that the Greens and NZF won’t meet the 5% threshold in 2020.

                  Labour getting another electorate seat does absolutely nothing for their chances of becoming the Government. Do you really not understand that?

                  No, I don’t understand why Labour and National fight over Electorate Seats like their lives depend on it. But you obviously do and you seem to be saying that the outcome of these contests do “absolutely nothing for their chances of becoming the Government”!? Contradiction or paradox, Alwyn?

                  I wrote:

                  Only National has this dirty habit of gifting a seat to their ‘friend’ in Epsom. It [is] a blot on our democratic system. [italics added for clarity]

                  My quote was written in present tense, Alwyn. Shall I refer you to a former teacher of English who’s already demonstrated that they’re willing to help you?

                  • alwyn

                    You seem to have been a former teacher of English, or at least you claim that role.
                    What on earth did you do that they took your registration away and you can’t teach anymore?
                    Surely it wasn’t as trivial as the authorities discovering that you are Grunthos the Flatulent, poet master of the Azgoths of Kria and were disbarred for reciting your poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” and killing four of your audience?
                    Your own attempts at writing certainly seem to put you in that category.
                    Begone foul knave.

                    • In Vino

                      Another sad fail, alwyn. Incognito whipped you, and you fantasised in that last bit of nastiness. Go away. You need a healthier pastime.

                    • Incognito

                      You seem to have been a former teacher of English, or at least you claim that role.

                      Alas, Alwyn, you’re again confusing me with somebody else. In any case, I don’t do self-referrals; they are unbecoming of any self-respecting professional and against my personal ethics. If you need a reference, just say the word. Until then, keep practicing; it won’t make you perfect but it will make you better.

                    • alwyn

                      That’s nice dears.
                      I am sure you are very happy together.
                      Rather like Bonny and Clyde.

  9. ScottGN 9

    The Herald is report the margin of 790 on the advanced votes as a ‘healthy’ lead to National. Time to get the spin machines going.

  10. dukeofurl 10

    Mt Albert by election had only 13600 votes cast in total. In Northcote early votes alone are said to be 11,500 and thats said to be nearly 50% of votes cast ?
    Would that mean a by election with 23,000 votes cast ?

    At general election 48,000 voters enrolled in Northcote

    • Muttonbird 10.1

      Remember National pulled out lame before the gun had gone off. No fight.

    • ScottGN 10.2

      I think that they’re reporting about 51% of enrolled voters counted rather than 51% of votes cast today?

  11. AB 11

    Sadly I think my prediction (Bidois win by 1200-1500) is going to be about right . But I’m still hoping that mostly Tories vote early because they have time on their hands due to living off capital gain from property market speculation and other unearned income streams, plus being extraordinarily class conscious and viciously defending their economic interests.

    • James 11.1

      “ But I’m still hoping that mostly Tories vote early because they have time on their hands due to living off capital gain from property market speculation and other unearned income streams, plus being extraordinarily class conscious and viciously defending their economic interests.”

      Nah labour votes do – having more time on their hands being unemployed and having nothing else to do during the day (to continue your sweeping stereotypes)

  12. aspasia 12

    RNZ says “National’s candidate is ahead in the Northcote by-election, but only just.” Referring to the same margin (790) as the Herald!

    • ScottGN 12.1

      And using the same figures Stuff says Bidois is ‘narrowly’ ahead. God the Herald has become the most crap newspaper in NZ.

  13. millsy 13

    Remember, no such thing as a ‘moral victory’.

  14. The Fairy Godmother 14

    Unless there is a massive special vote swing, National has definitely won this.

    • James 14.1

      Yay !

      • Anne 14.1.1

        They were always going to win it James.

        But if Labour’s candidate manages to more than halve the GE majority then Halbert and Labour will have reason to be satisfied with the result.

        • ScottGN

          Looks like the majority has been reduced to 1200.

          • Anne

            I’ll be interested to see the final figures in two weeks because special votes tend to favour Labour and the Greens. If the Green vote turns about to be in excess of National’s majority, then I expect there will be some mutterings about whether they should have stood a candidate. I hold no firm view either way.

          • alwyn

            The majority for National over Labour really isn’t of very much relevance in a by-election.
            The sensible number to look at is the percentage of the vote that went to National plus ACT as opposed to the percentage that went to Labour plus Greens plus New Zealand First.
            At the election, looking at only the votes that went to these 5 parties the Right led by 53.7% to the Left’s 46.3%. At the by election it is currently Right 52.4% and the Left 47.6%.
            This is a 1.3% from Right to Left.
            In practice I think that there has been no real change. There has been a swing from Right to Left of 1.3% but the Right candidates are new and the Lefts are the same as at the election. They will be better known than the National candidate.
            On the other side the Labour candidate has cannibalised the other parties in the coalition. The Green Party, in particular should be getting very worried.

            • ScottGN

              NZFirst didn’t stand in this election alwyn so your carefully constructed analysis is bollocks really.

              • mickysavage


              • Nick K

                No it’s spot on. It’s clear the vote hasn’t changed at all as the left just gobbled up its own vote.

              • alwyn

                I merely assumed that New Zealand First voters, wanting a continuation of the CoL would have voted for one of the other parties.

                After all, when anyone pointed out on this blog that National had got more votes than Labour a concerted wail would appear saying, correctly, that it is an MMP environment and it is only the total vote for all the coalition parties that matters.

                That is what I derived my results from. The only real conclusion one can come to is that there has been no real change in the totals for each side since the election except that the major parties are like Ugolino and they are eating their children.

                I don’t expect any of the minor parties to survive the next election. NZF and the Greens will drop below 5% and ACT will not win Epsom.

                If Labour want to remain as a possible Government they had better make a real job of it and wipe out both parties and get all the Green and NZF votes for themselves. Otherwise there will be a lot of wasted votes and a National Government.

            • dukeofurl

              Your numbers are out national + ACT is 51.7%.

              Please Soimun spend more time with small crowds in small towns like you have been doing

              • AB

                Static electricity from brown cardigans causes electronic calculators to malfunction.

              • alwyn

                I suggest that you look more carefully at what I wrote.
                I said “looking at only the votes that went to these 5 parties”

                I had specifically excluded the other rats and mice parties, which are just noise as far as the results are concerned.
                Thus the numbers I quoted are correct.

                If you don’t like the fact that I left out the other minor parties say so. If you do you get a figure for the right of 51.8% and for the left 47.1%

      • AB 14.1.2

        James is desperately relieved that things have stayed the same. Betraying his true mental state perhaps.

  15. McFlock 15

    Pretty good result for Labour – nat majority slashed.

    If you look at clutha-southland from blinglish to tapes mcgee to whomever it is now, not much change in the majority from MP to MP.

    • alwyn 15.1

      I would suggest a rather more relevant figure to illustrate the effect of a candidate compared to the general demographic change. I think the Party vote in and electorate will be due to factors that don’t greatly depend on the specific candidate.

      Consider instead the amount the candidate ran ahead, or behind, the Party vote in the electorate.

      In English’s last 3 times contesting Clutha-Southland he got, on average, 2150 votes more as a candidate vote than National got as their party vote. In the 2 elections after that the National Party vote was about 115 ahead of the National candidate vote. I think that the swing of 2265 votes on average from with Bill to after Bill can be put down to his personal popularity.

      In Helensville we had majorities in the last 3 elections of 21,066, 18,287, and 14,608.
      The National candidate over National party differences were 2,453, 2031, and -254.
      I think that the minor change in this last number between 2011 and 2014 is much more indicative of the Candidate’s popularity than the majority drop of around 2,800.
      You may remember who the candidate was in 2011 and 2014.

      • McFlock 15.1.1

        Well, if you really think that a valid benchmark for judging Coleman’s popularity is dunnokeyo and that a 20% variation is “minor”, who am I to argue? I never saw the appeal of tugger, either.

    • Baba Yaga 15.2

      Good result for National, with their % of the vote cast virtually the same as election 2017. Meanwhile Labour cannibalises its coalition partners…

      • Ed 15.2.1

        Why do you support National?

      • Incognito 15.2.2

        Very poor result for National, with their margin slashed no matter how you look at it (or spin it). Meanwhile the coalition parties have shown they can work well together without losing their independence. All in all, a very positive and encouraging result for 2020.

        • Marcus Morris

          Totally agree Incognito. It is usual for a party in opposition to do rather better in a by-election and I would say, especially so, in such a blue ribbon seat. The inference I draw from this result is that actually people are generally happy with the direction that the government is taking us and there is no great “season of discontent”. The Herald’s “Tory Spin Doctor in chief” , Audrey Young, must have been frothing at the mouth with delight as she tried to make the most out of this very ordinary and totally predictable result. It was an extraordinary piece of totally subjective writing masquerading as objective journalism.

  16. aspasia 16

    Shanan’s done very well…that’s a marginal seat now and we still have the specials to come. One calculation has this as a 5.1% swing to Labour!!

    • Grantoc 16.1


      That swing maybe the case – but look more closely at the details; they’re mainly from Green voters (who were voting tactically) and NZ First. Not from National. The Nats percentage of the vote has hardly changed from the general election.

      The other point you need to understand is that the number of people that vote in by elections, including this one, is always significantly less that in general elections. This obviously will affect the quantum of votes any candidate receives.

      By election patterns do not reflect general election patterns and its foolish to pretend they do.

  17. Puckish Rogue 17

    Good result for National, a new candidate retaining the seat and showing the stardust is fast fading to boot 🙂

    • Anne 17.1

      Agitateur extraordinaire.

    • patricia bremner 17.2

      P.R. LOL LOL Hehehe Hardly!!

    • Stuart Munro 17.3

      Impressive straw grasping as the majority evaporates. No Gnat majority under 5k is safe 😀

      • Puckish Rogue 17.3.1

        A first time candidate up against the peoples princess has managed to retain the seat, a truly herculean task 🙂

        • Stuart Munro

          “a truly herculean task”

          So much bullshit you’d need a river to wash it all away?

        • alwyn

          ” up against the peoples princess “.
          I understand he is gay but is it really necessary to describe him as the “peoples princess”?

    • Nick K 17.4

      Exactly. A no name from nowhere beats a guy who stood just 8 months ago and who lives in the electorate. That’s a major blood nose for Labour.

      • Incognito 17.4.1

        I agree, Dan Bidois was the underdog, the mystery man who came from nowhere. Except, he wasn’t.

        Political career

        Bidois contested the National Party selection for Pakuranga upon the retirement of Maurice Williamson, but lost out to Simeon Brown. He still stood as a list only candidate in the 2017 general election, ranked 72 he was too far down to be allocated a seat.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Bidois [note the very recent update]

    • mauī 17.5

      I hope you’re getting paid overtime puckish.. you’re not supposed to clock in til monday morning! 😉

    • Marcus Morris 17.6

      Dream on.

  18. James 18

    Final results are:

    Calculations from DPFs blog.

    Dan Bidois (N) 10,147, 51.1%
    Shannan Halbert (L) 8,785, 44.2%
    Rebekah Jaung (G) 579, 2.9%
    The change (at this stage) from 2017 is:

    National down just 1.7%
    NZ First down 3.8% (did not stand)
    Greens down 3.9%
    Labour up 8.6%

    Labour eating the rest of the left. Long may it continue.

    Let’s get and keep them under 5% in the general election.

    • mickysavage 18.1

      You do realise that this is a candidate vote? People tend to spread their votes around and support the person they think will be the best local representative. Most people do not vote strictly on ideological lines.

    • chris73 18.2

      Indeed, tonight will be looked back at as the beginning of the end for the COL. Labour were expected to win this seat and failed 🙂

      • Incognito 18.2.1

        Given that National (and ACT) has been in campaign mode (incl. the good old DP tactics) ever since they ‘won’ the general election I think this by-election result is stunningly good for Labour.

        • James

          I admire your positive outlook in the face of adversity.

          Good on you.

        • chris73

          Thats a good healthy attitude to have, it’ll help you cope in 2020 🙂

        • Grantoc

          You must be ‘stunningly” blind Incognito; or a “stunningly” supreme fantasist.

          • Incognito

            I’m lots of things and lots of thing I’m not hence my nom de plume. But that result was truly stunning, don’t you think?

    • Graeme 18.3

      By-election in a safe opposition seat, with opposition party outwardly looking in good health, as the media, polls and supporters are saying, you’d expect an increase in majority, and vote %. But majority slashed by half and vote went down. Not sure that’s that great for said opposition party.

  19. Kat 19

    Traditionally, Northcote has been a bellwether electorate for New Zealand, meaning the vote mirrors the country as a whole.

    It has also long been a National stronghold.


    Saturday night’s election results saw a considerably narrower margin between National and Labour than in previous years.

    What does this mean……for the future……

    Goodbye National 2020…….Hello Labour 2020…the worm has turned its a new leaf…call it what you like but its more bad news for the blues and more good news for the reds..


    • James 19.1

      Using your logic – it also has the greens falling well under the 5% mark (which is brilliant)

      Given that NZ first are already underwater in general polling – labour’s vote ends up wiping out the greens and NZ first and still not getting as many votes as national.

      That would be a beautiful result next election.

      • Tricledrown 19.1.1

        James ironic given this is a app vote greens representation in parliament is no affected.
        So giving their vote to Labour is the oyster way to change the make up in Parliament.
        I.e Seymour Dunne etc.
        James pathetic spin.

    • Nick K 19.2

      Do you actually believe that Kat, or do you just write it to make yourself feel better?

      • Incognito 19.2.1

        I believe that and it makes me feel considerably better.

        Do you have a problem with people rejoicing? Are you a spoilsport by any chance? If so, there’s a high likelihood that you vote National.

  20. Kat 20

    When drowning avoid clutching at straws….. but National cheerleaders will and the lungs will ultimately fail……nine long years “boys”…. at least!!…. 🙂

  21. Mutton bird 21

    The turnout was over half 2017 and 2014.

    37K for those both times vs 20K for this by-election.

    The majority drop for the Nats was 60% on 2017 and 75% on 2014 accounting for the turnout.

    Massively concerning for National. I’d hate to be Bridges with those corrupt witches standing behind him.

  22. Ad 22

    That is an outstanding result for Labour’s candidate.

    A 1300 majority to National’s man from a majority of over 6000 votes.
    What a legacy from National and Coleman to provide to caucus.

    Also very impressed with the smarts of the electorate not to split the vote much at all.

    Every single person who door knocked and phoned and fundraised for Labour should feel that effort for every vote was worth it. Those are hard-won votes.

    There is no way National will hold that in two years’ time, and I hope Labour puts up the same candidate.

    Heads held high Labour.

    • Enough is Enough 22.1

      What was the turnout compared to 2017?

      Was the margin cut in the same proportion as the turnout was cut?

      • Graeme 22.1.1

        Turnout 54% of 2017

        Margin 22% of 2017


        And see Muttonbird’s comment at 21

        The Northcote by election

        • Incognito

          In other words, in 2017 the relative margin was 2.5 times larger than in the 2018 by-election. Golly gosh, that must hurt!

      • Baba Yaga 22.1.2

        Nationals share of the vote was virtually unchanged. On the coalition side, the deckchairs are being rearranged.

        • Incognito

          On the coalition side, the deckchairs are being rearranged.

          Indeed, into an MMP configuration. Partner and partnerships matter and are key for survival, not just politically but in all ways of life. Funnily though, National does not seem to understand the true value and real meaning of partnerships despite the fact they were keen to push partnership schools and PPPs down our throat.

    • Nick K 22.2

      Really? The same candidate who stood just 8 months ago hasn’t cut into National’s vote at all even with Jacinda fairy dust being sprinkled around. Are you serious?

      I am surprised by this result to be honest. I expected it to be much closer. But I can’t see any way that Labour can claim sort sort of victory.

      • Baba Yaga 22.2.1

        The PM campaigned in the electorate. Labour picked the same candidate they had in 2017, who has local profile. The media are fawning over the PM and the soon to be baby. Yet the nats record close to the same % of the vote as in 2017. Labour have real reason to be concerned.

        • Incognito

          The PM was obviously no match for Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith campaigning in Northcote for Dan Dibois.

          Daily Review 07/06/2018

          • Baba Yaga

            Please don’t remind me about Nick Smith. It’s Monday morning, and I haven’t had a coffee yet.

        • Marcus Morris

          Please give me a reference to the media you are reading or listening to. The “pundits” in the Herald, led almost daily by grandee Michael Hosking, are doing their utmost to undermine the good work of Jacinda’s team.

  23. CHCOff 23

    A vote for Green was a vote for National for there was ZERO chance of success as it was not a m.m.p type election – Hence why NZ1st did not stand.

    I feel the Green political party lacks independence, anyhow.

    There was more than a few cases of anxiety with Green voters giving party vote G and candidate vote L in prior election, knowing some as i do. If nothing else, this by-election could serve as a good point of reference for such voters if brought to memory, as to what such choices could mean for certainty with their intentions if the next GE is going to be close again.

    • Ad 23.1

      There’s no point chipping at the Greens for this one.

      They got about 570 votes and that showed a very well informed electorate who focussed their efforts and were not distracted.

    • Matthew Whitehead 23.2

      Except the candidate from NZF refused to withdraw and stood as an independent anyway, so she still won her own votes even though NZF made the decision not to select her as an official candidate.

      Even if you believe every single voter for Rebekah Juang was portable to Shanan Halbert, (and that’s an unrealistic assumption, because at least some of them will be Never Labour voters) there aren’t enough votes for her or Kim Koloni that even if you add all three together the result wouldn’t come close enough for Shanan to have won, he’d still be about 3-4% behind Dan Bidois.

      In fact what this showed was that the left can run several by-election candidates in one race, and so long as the frontrunner candidate is strong enough, there’s still a significant consolidation effect for them that means we aren’t too badly advantaged by having the extra candidates in the race, and that those parties can have a real debate about policy and ideas and lay the ground for future Party Votes in those electorates. That’s a good thing IMO.

      If you dislike the vote-splitting effect in electorates, the answer to that isn’t to attack smaller parties for running their own candidates when doing so is beneficial to them. (because doing so is essentially saying there should be circumstances under which you feel that they shouldn’t be allowed to stand their own candidates) The answer is to change the system we use for electorate voting to be immune to cloning.

      • Pete George 23.2.1

        I think there’s real warning signs for Greens from this result.

        Jaung campaigned for votes and ended up with less than half the share of the votes – from 6.73% in the general election (better than the party vote) down to 2.9%.

        If Greens are vulnerable that makes Labour and the current vulnerable.

        Stuff: Greens lost to the Beehive

        Meanwhile, Shaw is in danger of falling down the same ministerial rabbit hole as former Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell – becoming engrossed in the importance of his ministerial work, while hoping that speaks for itself.

        Flavell, and his party’s brutal demise, is proof that it doesn’t. But in co-leader Marama Fox that party still had an outspoken wild card that was prepared to speak out – at times forcefully – against the Government.

        But if consistent polling, showing the Greens on a slow march down the same path as Flavell and Fox, isn’t enough to wake them from their stupor, then it’s not just their problem but the Government’s.

        Davidson has not earned the respect or gained the appeal that Fox did, yet.

        There’s a lot for the Greens to do for the rest of this term, just to survive.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          You are making the same mistake as Matthew Hooton- candidate votes in by-elections are not necessarily reflective of national Party Vote totals.

          As to whether you think being in government is going to hurt the Greens- possibly! We’ll see as time goes on. At the moment polling is relatively stable at roughly the same levels as before the election, so although there’s definitely hard work to do to stay alive as a party, I wouldn’t give too much credence to right-wing talking points that a double-knockout strategy is viable for them at this point.

          • Pete George

            Not necessarily reflective, but almost certainly to an extent reflective.

            Unless electorate support for Juang as a candidate is solely what has slumped. I think that’s very unlikely.

            Greens are in an unfamiliar position, in Government for the first time, and are struggling to hold support – a problem faced by just about every small party in Government.

            They need to learn to accept critical commentary, and learn from the signs. They somehow have to find a way of doing things differently to other small parties. Denial of potential problems is not doing things differently.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Unless electorate support for Juang as a candidate is solely what has slumped.

              Weasel invents false premise. Tactical voting in a by-election is not evidence of a "slump". I doubt you even believe it.

              Ditto your lies about their inability to take criticism. For one thing, invented false premises are criticisms, they're attacks.

              • There is no evidence of tactical voting. Juang campaigned for votes for herself.

                “Okay, we agree the Green Party did not encourage tactical voting for Labour. ” – @AndrewRiddell1

                There’s likely to have been some tactical voting, but that could have as easily bolstered Juang’s vote as detracted from it, tactical voting can take many forms.

                “For one thing, invented false premises are criticisms, they’re attacks.”

                You would know, it’s what you frequently do.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                • Incognito

                  They need to learn to accept critical commentary, and learn from the signs.

                  Oh, the irony!

                • Tricledrown

                  Pete George your a naive dumpty.
                  The greens had a better chance of unseating the National candidate by supporting Labour in this by election.
                  Pete George Go over to whale oil your efforts will be appreciated their.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Electorate support for third parties slumping in a by-election is absolutely believable, and I have been telling everyone, on all sides, to be cautious of assuming this electorate contest will impact or even tell us anything about the party vote, and certainly not anywhere other than in Northcote. We shouldn’t be assuming National is likely to lose 2% support all of a sudden, and we shouldn’t assume there will be an exodus from the Greens.

              It’s also funny that you say these things about the Greens like these aren’t discussions we’ve been having inside the party for months. There are definitely challenges to the party’s position, but that doesn’t mean that wishing makes it so when right-wing commentators invent the idea that the Greens currently risk going under threshold out of whole cloth. Not a single public poll since the election has had the Greens under 5%.

  24. Incognito 24

    With a margin of 1,362 votes it means that if 681 voters had changed their vote from Bidois to Halbert it would have been a tie.

    • chris73 24.1

      Bu they didn’t so this is a win to National and dent to Labours chances of winning in 2020 🙂

      • Incognito 24.1.1


      • Muttonbird 24.1.2

        It’s a massive loss for National. A 60% reduction in majority and a dent to their chances of winning in 2020. Particularly if the swing is the same in the party vote, which it will be if not more because of JA.

        Not looking good for the Nats, fortunately.

        • Bewildered

          10000 people did not even vote compared to full election, can’t read anything into this by election. 2020 will come down to will greens survive or go feral been consumed by labour, can nzf survive, similarly can Cindy’s star dust still have the same purchase in 2020, all big ifs, National will be happy tonight

          • Muttonbird

            Disagree. All those things are unknowns. The only thing which is known is National holds the seat but the trend is very bad for them. They are losing votes big time in supposedly safe seats.

            JA hasn’t even got started yet. 🙂

            National will be worried tonight.

            • Peter

              A win, is a win, is a win. It means nothing at all for 2020. You win the World Cup scoring in the last second, you’re a winner. Nothing can be taken from the result.

              The worst thing from the Labour perspective has to be that so many did not think enough of what they offer that they were moved enough to vote at all. Or knew what they could offer in contrast to Bridges’ sad mob.

            • Bewildered

              It is exactly that, uncertainties to happen from now to next election will drive the election result in 2020 , not a silly by election in Northcote that is been simply interpreted by political tragics to buttress thier bias

              • Incognito

                100% agree!

                … a silly by election in Northcote …

                It was indeed very silly to see all those old white men senior National MPs from a bygone era waving signs around on street corners and roundabouts. They were shitting themselves desperate to hold this seat in this silly by-election …

                Who’s showing their bias now?

        • alwyn

          Weren’t you one of those who, after the election kept going on about how it wasn’t the individual party votes but the total for the coalition parties that mattered?
          After all “it is an MMP environment” was the call?
          That was a correct view. Why change it now?
          If you weren’t one of the people saying that I apologise. They were correct in the view about MMP but if you don’t want to be associated with them that is fine by me.

          • dukofurl

            No party votes in this by -election Alwyn.
            Pointless comparing ‘this group with that group’

            • In Vino

              alwyn has already deliberately ignored that point, so it needs to be rubbed in more strongly.
              alwyn, in a General Election there is a Party vote. In a By-Election, there is no Party Vote – only an Electorate vote.
              So what may apply in a General Election may well not apply in a By-Election.
              Can you get your mind around that, alwyn? (Prepare for aggressively vituperative and irrational response, folks.)

      • Matthew Whitehead 24.1.3

        This by-election doesn’t really have anything to say about anyone’s chance in 2020, Chris, given that the relationship between candidate votes and party votes isn’t exactly clear.

        The vote share that National won was 1.7% lower than the general election, which given by-elections tend to lower turnout for government parties more than opposition ones, is not a strong result for Bidois. This suggests some swing in the candidate vote towards Labour, but we don’t know if that’s because Bidois is new, because he was a carpet-bagger, or because he’s honestly a bit of a lemon, and may not suggest any switch in party allegiance away from National.

        • Nick K

          What?!?! He got almost the same % candidate vote as Coleman did 8 months ago. Labour has utterly failed to cut into it at all. It simply hoovered up votes from NZ First and the Greens.

          Come on people. A bit of sensible objectivity wouldn’t go astray.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            It is incredibly difficult for government parties to perform well in by-elections, Nick, as opposition supporters tend to turn out for them much better. (although turnout goes down for both sides, it does so less for the opposition, regardless of which party/parties are in opposition) No government has won a by-election since WW2, in fact.

            Bidois did not get the same percentage. He was down 1.7 points, as I stated earlier, which is a 3.2% decline in his vote share. That’s a poor performance in a contest that should have advantaged him even when we take into account that he’s an unknown factor. The seat’s not yet marginal, but it is within striking distance for Labour in 2020 if they run a better campaign than this time. (although being an incumbent may help him, assuming he doesn’t stuff it up as badly as he did his campaign) Generally <1% swings are considered to be "almost the same."

            I'm all for sensible objectivity. But it requires looking at the context of things like "who gets the advantage in by-elections," and "is Dan Bidois a new candidate?" and a bunch of others in context, all of which taken together you would have expected him to have at least held Coleman’s percentage of the vote in this by-election if he was performing up to par.

            • Nick K

              It’s not a poor performance when you consider he had no name recognition; was a “carpetbagger; and when you consider Halbert stood just 8 months ago in the same electorate; and when you consider the “Ardern” fairydust factor. It was an outstanding performance. Now that he’s the MP, and funding and other support flows from Parliamentary Services, he’ll have a comfortable majority in 2020.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Well you’re welcome to weigh the factors differently, but I think you’re underestimating just how difficult it is to get high turnout for the govt in a by-election.

            • Nick K

              “…almost the same…”

            • Grantoc

              I think that there are too many variables in this by-election (as in all by-elections) to draw any meaningful conclusions at all about future nation wide voter behaviour. Several of these variables have been mentioned already.

              A couple that I don’t think have been mentioned, and which are specific to this by-election, are the proximity to last years general election and the public’s perception of the new Coalition government.

              The proximity of the general election may have influenced voter behaviour in that many voters couldn’t be bothered to vote so soon after the general election and so didn’t.

              The perception of the Coalition government by the voters after about 9 months in power seems to be muted. Generally speaking I would expect the new government to be popular; especially with Jacinda running the show and thus to build on their voter support received at the general election. This does not appear to have happened to any great extent.

              But really, as with all of the other factors that were in play; it seems to me entirely fatuous to draw conclusions about what will happen in over two years time at the next general election from this by-election.

  25. Koff 25

    Would like to think that Labour really has narrowed the gap in the vote here, but the figures suggest that the increase in the Labour vote has come from Green and NZF voters tactically voting for Halbart. The only consolation is that they haven’t switched to National. National’s percentage vote hasn’t significantly changed, which mirrors the most recent opinion polls. The question is, why? after a lot of negative publicity about how National has stuffed up the last 9 years they were in power. One can only speculate that nearly half the voting public is really not convinced that the Coalition’s attempt at making NZ a fairer, better place is in their interests, either through ignorance, or selfish self-interest.

    • NZJester 25.1

      I think it is more of a case that they are blindly voting for the party and their party can do no wrong in their eyes.
      Notional voters hold their nose to hide the stink being uncovered about what the previous National government did to our essential services and claim that everything is smelling of roses.
      Just look at how many Republicans in the US, for instance, have voted for a candidate that should get very few votes. The Republicans in the US have actually put up pedophiles that still gathered a large number of votes from the Republican party faithful.

    • Bewildered 25.2

      Or that a lot of people did not agree that everything that comes out of labour’s mouth and spin re National is absolute truth nor that the country is going to hell in hand cart as some like to portray

    • dukeof url 25.3

      You are doing a party vote analysis for a by election with no party vote taken Koff

      If you look at last election the national party vote was even lower than Colemans personal vote.
      Yes it will be a different campaign next time, but national dont want a lower share of an actual party vote

  26. DS 26

    A wee reminder that the last time Labour gained a seat from National in a by-election was 1970 (Marlborough), and that the last time an incumbent government gained a seat from an opposition in a by-election was 1930 (Waipawa).

    In short, National was always going to win this, bar something extraordinary happening. As it is, the majority slash is impressive.

    • mac1 26.1

      And Marlborough was an unusual case in that the electorate knew that the long-time MP, Tom Shand, was very ill, and he got a sympathy vote in 1969. The by-election a year later went to the Labour man, Ian Brooks; one might realistically say a general election result delayed till a year later. Brooks held the seat in 1972.

  27. dV 27

    Looks like any nats seat with majority of 5000 or less is marginal!!!

  28. Wayne 28

    I think the result is a mirror of recent opinion polls.

    National down a very small amount.

    Labour up a reasonable amount, but taking it from the Greens and NZF (who did not participate).

    The final percentages will be interesting. Will Bidois have done better than Coleman?

    That might be a pointer to the next general election, though many things will change in the next two years.

    As for who didn’t vote, well at this stage we don’t know. And probably we won’t ever know. After all, who will do any polling on that.

    Almost certainly will be a National hold in 2020. Northcote has fundamentally been shifting right as its socio-economic profile is changing.

    • Muttonbird 28.1

      The majority has reduced from 9600 to 6200 to 2350* (adjusted for turnout). That is an alarming trend for the Nats and we are always told to look for trends in polls and results.

      You seem to have a lot of faith this is as far as the Nats will fall in Northcote because of gentrification but with more affordable housing and social housing going up in the area (which Bidois will no doubt fight), this electorate could be red again soon.

      • Anne 28.1.1

        with more affordable housing and social housing going up in the area (which Bidois will no doubt fight), this electorate could be red again soon.

        Now that is an interesting prospect. Could make the Remuera stoush seem like a Sunday School picnic.

        • Bewildered

          Great so we will br only on the right path when the whole country is reliant on state by your logic, what a dire depressing goal

      • Wayne 28.1.2

        Can’t see Bidois fighting the new housing programme. It was all done under National. About 30 of the houses are already complete. Obviously they are not done by the present govt because these kinds of projects take a good year to actually get underway.

        In fact Bidois will claim it as a National success, and that National did in fact have a housing plan, with Northcote being the example.

        Essentially the shabby old State housing in Northcote Central is being replaced with modern new housing being a blend of social and affordable housing. It will be a real boost to Northcote. Will actually probably help National.

        • dukeofurl

          Bidois campaign was run as though he was running for Auckland Council , as clearly his betters told him ( and he repeated) cant run on nationals record as we want to win.

          Wont look good for him at general election as he will have achieved nothing with Auckland Council.
          Then he will try and hide out of sight and let the main campaign give him cover

        • Muttonbird

          Fighting social and affordable housing is what Nats do though. Key famously called for Labour’s Hobsonville development to be free of any kind of social or affordable housing, calling it sabotage.

          National have reduced the social housing stock and sold the assets to wealthy investors. National’s policy is one of economic cleansing ensuring more and more suburbs are clear of working class and vulnerable people.

          The narrative is clear – National cause housing problems and Labour solve them. No amount of spin from Bidois is going to convince voters that housing solutions are anything others than Labour’s hard work.

          • Wayne

            It won’t be spin to claim Northcote redevelopment as a National government project. It will be simply stating a fact, whether you like or not.

            • Tricledrown

              You are half right Wayne but as usual you only tell 1/2 the truth padding it out with BS and National word for word propaganda no creativity in your spin just another minion with out any original opinion.
              So how many affordable homes were to be originally built in North cote 1/3, how many now Zero Wayne.
              National didn’t force developers to deliver said affordable houses.
              National are happy to Gentrify Former State housing suburbs.
              Wayne you pointed out these houses will be for National voters.
              Ethnic & Economic cleansing.

              • Wayne

                As I understand it the 30 houses already built are all reserved for Housing NZ. In total there are to be 300 Housing NZ houses, so that part of the plan is being delivered.

                As for the balance, they were to be split 50/50 between affordable and market. If there is a problem about the ratio of affordable houses, presumably the current govt can fix that. After all a project of this size takes about 5 years to complete. So plenty of time for adjustment.

                • Muttonbird

                  And as I said all of those modest number of houses will be credited to Labour. This is because of the public perception that National do not build houses or provide housing solutions, only Labour do.

                  National don’t do enough on housing as you have stated many times here.

                  This is fact, whether you like it or not.

  29. Wayne 29

    Just to make clear, in my comment I am referring to percentages, not numbers. Percentages are more relevant in determining trends, particularly when the total vote in the by-election is less than half the level of the turnout in the general election.

    • Muttonbird 29.1

      The turnout is not less than half at all. Also, electorate seats and by-elections are FPP so it is in fact numbers which are crucial, not percentages. The numbers show a continuing and dramatic slide for National in this electorate.

    • mauī 29.2

      One of the few times I agree with you Wayne. I think people are getting carried away with the vote margin here. The reality is National’s vote percentage only changed by just over 1%. In saying that a 9% gain for Labour, but I’m guessing most of that has come from ex-NZF and Green voters.

      • dukeofurl 29.2.1

        Thats because its the margin between the two leading candidates thats important in electorate seat.
        This has narrowed sharply for Bidois

        No party vote taken and thus no need to compare like you are doing

        • mauī

          This is a byelection with about half as many votes as a general election, had no NZF candidate and probably an invisible Green candidate. You can’t compare.

    • Incognito 29.3

      The margins as percentage of total number of valid candidate votes:

      17.18% in 2017 (ca. 8 months ago) and 6.85% in the by-election yesterday. [to be confirmed]

      We’ll never know whether there’s a trend as such because that would comparing apples with oranges, and you know this!

      About the only fact that we can take from this result is that the margin has been dramatically reduced and that with smart tactical voting the CoL block can take this seat in 2020. It is crystal clear that the CoL voters understand this very well and will vote intelligently again next time in 2020. The campaigners also know very well that getting people to vote in the first place is even more important than tactical voting …

      Confusing this FPP-style by-election in which only the Candidate Vote matters as there’s no second Party Vote, which was campaigning on local issues, with an MMP general election is just spinning a good story to suit yourself. NZF didn’t even bother to stand a candidate and they would never have done so in a general election, don’t you agree, Wayne?

    • Tricledrown 29.4

      Wayne your maths is as bad as your spin.
      37,000 with a 6,000 majority is a15% majority
      20,000 with a 1,300 majority is a 6.3% majority
      Wayne less than 1/2 the 2017 majority.
      One suspect’s that Colemans sinking lid on health spending leaky poorly constructed hospitals built by National who destroyed the building code allowing cowboy builders to construct $32 billion worth of leaky buildings.
      Nationals dodgy lies about how big and when they knew of the extent of the damage with paper work showing National knew back in 2014 under a previous minister who resigned from Parliament.
      Along with many other Ministers who have failed in their portfolios resigning to save National being shown up for their borrow and hope cut govt services to where they can’t
      function properly so they can be privatised.

      • Wayne 29.4.1


        You obviously did not read my original post correctly. I did say the Labour had come up by quite a bit. The reason being a reduced Green vote and no NZF candidate, so the margin between National and Labour narrowed. Basically we are in agreement on this.

        As for 2020, the by-election overall turnout is only 60% of the 2017 election. Neither party can say that their voters stayed home in a disproportionate way. At the moment the safest assumption is the stay at homes came from right across the electorate. However an analysis on a booth by booth basis should tease out what actually happened. Presumably someone will do this.

        Right at the moment I would say an easy win for National in 2020, since the by election result is so similar to the recent nationwide opinion polls.

    • Ed 29.5

      As a matter of interest, why do you vote National?

  30. Herodotus 30

    I am sure many here will take this result well, a borrow loss
    A general election is still 2 years away, 1 year in no one expects to see any change, 18 months time voters will be wanting to see some change. 6000 occupied kiwihomes, people’s situations improved, wage growth,etc. A better NZ, we can only hope .

  31. CHCOff 31

    By election voters are the more hard core voters, less wishy washy, compared to GE.

    Now national had less people who could be bothered voting for them by 4848 comparatively to Labour. The Green party was a spoiler vote, which buttressed their majority from 600 to 1300 approx. BUT it was not a tactical vote for National, it was a dim vote for Green.

    Despite at first impressions having lost the election, which subsequently proved to be the case, on GE night under m.m.p, the media and national complex was celebrating & coronating the national election victory – i mean it was pretty blatent.

    Money does talk but with inability for independent thought, it becomes pretty bloody useless!

  32. Lucy 32

    Based on raw numbers
    National Election 51.5 % of vote Bi election 50.9%
    Labour Election 34.1 % of vote Bi election 44.1%
    Green Party Election 6.7 % of vote Bi election 2.9%
    ACT Election 0.70 % of vote Bi election 0.078%

    So National and Labour vote consistent with polling albeit this being a safe National seat they did not fall as far as down to 45%. Labour should be happy with lifting their vote by 10% however they and the greens should be unhappy about the 6000 who voted for them 10 months ago who did not come out to vote. National should be very worried about their 9000 missing voters.

  33. Labour’s claims of a 2% margin in party polling (I didn’t see any of the details of the polling revealed) look to be a bit optimistic or disingenuous.

    It didn’t quite go down to the wire as Halbert and Ardern and Labour claimed.

    Without full details plus history party polls shouldn’t be newsworthy.

    • Louis 33.1

      Labour said it was going to be close and it was. National didn’t show any details of its internal polling either.

      • Pete George 33.1.1

        “National didn’t show any details of its internal polling either.”

        That’s why their claims shouldn’t be taken seriously either.

    • Nick K 33.2

      National had the gap @ about 8%. The final result was just under 7% I think. That says everything about Labour’s polling.

    • Incognito 33.3

      Excellent comment, Pete! A usual, it’s all a lot about nothing much and cancels itself out.

    • dukeofurl 33.4

      By election polls are hard pin down because less than 50% of those enrolled actually vote, thus their margin of error is greater
      A poll on all voters could well be within 2% when you include margin of error. ( +- 5%??)

      The real point is labour did close the gap between the top 2 candidates considerably

      • Incognito 33.4.1

        The real point is labour did close the gap between the top 2 candidates considerably


  34. Cinny 34

    Huge shout out and congrats to Shanan Halbert and his team, well done, you’ve tremendously reduced your margin and should feel very proud of your efforts.

    It’s a phenomenal result. Looking forward to you contesting the seat again in 2020 as well as continuing your good work for the time being.

    As for the nats, by crikey you lot will be feeling relieved.

    • Bewildered 34.1

      Second is still second Cinny , the first loser, likewise result means zilch as far as general election beyond interpreting what ever you want to interpret to make you feel better RWNJ or LWNJ The only fact out of this result is. National won labour lost, anything else / prediction is spin or make believe stuff

      • Ed 34.1.1

        As a matter of interest, why do you vote National?

      • Incognito 34.1.2

        Yup, National won the majority in 2017, which is why they are now leading the Opposition. Coming first doesn’t always guarantee success, does it now?

  35. Gabby 35

    I look forward to seeing what Bidet will achieve downstream after the first flush of success.

  36. Ed 36

    Steve Cowan nails it.

    “The real winner was, again, the Did Note Vote Party. It scored a fine 56 percent of the non vote. Despite all the media hoopla, only 43.7 of the electorate felt compelled to vote.

    The system is clearly broken and has been for a long time. Representative democracy is neither representative or democratic. People are indifferent to the calls to vote from the political establishment and its media allies when they are confronted by a slate of political parties that are all committed to market-led policies and offer little in the way of a real alternative. The absence of a genuinely progressive political party on the New Zealand political landscape remains conspicuous.

    People have had enough. Tova O’Brien would be better employed listening to what people are saying in the community rather than being a cheerleader for a political system that people have lost faith in. ”


    • What is broken about the system?

      People have a choice whether they vote or not. It’s common for many to not vote in relatively inconsequential by-elections, as this one was. And with uninspiring candidates.

      The democratic system isn’t broken, it’s better than most, but the way it is misused and abused is a problem.

      One thing that contributes is over the top media and social media scrutiny of candidates and politicians, I’m sure that puts many people off putting their heads up above the political parapet.

  37. Tricledrown 37

    When you look at the Party vote from the 2017 election it does not bode well for National next election.
    Coleman as minister of health was a high profile MP who you would expect to poll high but he didn’t carry that same support to the party/list vote.
    So a energized Labour green tilt at the 2020 election will be very interesting.

  38. Tricledrown 38

    Nationals hardcore trolls out in force to put positive spin on a barely pass Mark on by election.
    Given desperate manipulation of statistics .
    National in damage control.

    • dukeofurl 38.1

      Look at this

      The author Brigitte Morten is a former ministerial hack for Nikki Kaye and Hekia Parata. So not just a commentator buta highly partisan one.

      All nationals talking points trotted out by trying to hide it all under a layer of ‘one one hand but on the other’
      bellwether seat- yet no mention it last changed hands when government changed in 1999 .

      1% national voter change- no its not a party vote election, the % candidate margin
      has decreased to 6.8% of votes cast from 14.4%

      Plus her own little pet hobby horse like-
      Demonstrating conclusively that the Labour Greens 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, that many thought would lead to voting deals in strategic seats, is dead. [What , so something that wasnt still isnt]
      The by-election result emphasises the value she [Bennett] brings to the leadership team [Fluffing Bennetts pillows, her real aim]

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