The Northcote by-election

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, April 17th, 2018 - 86 comments
Categories: by-election, campaigning, greens, labour, national, nz first, Politics - Tags: , ,

National and Labour have both selected their candidates for the Northcote by election.

Labour selected Shanan Halbert narrowly over Richard Hills. The decision took some time and I can understand the problem the committee faced.

Richard is a very good candidate and did an outstanding job in winning an Auckland Council seat representing a rather blue area.

The committee went with Halbert however who was Labour’s candidate last time and performed very credibly in cutting Jonathan Coleman’s majority from 9,800 to 6,200.

Coleman was well known and National’s new candidate does not have a great local presence. Halbert could cause some damage, particularly if the Greens and New Zealand First do not stand a candidate. Their candidates scored a combined 3,800 electorate votes last time. These votes will not get Halbert over the line. But they will get him closer.

A Government winning a by election is a very rare thing.  If Labour managed to pull this off there would be significant repercussions for National’s current leadership.

National’s candidate is Dan Bidois. His first policy announcement was to oppose the legislation introducing the ability for Auckland to have a regional fuel tax.

He also says that traffic congestion is a major concern. Perhaps he should blame the party that has been in power for pretty well the whole of the last decade.

And tories really do my head in. They appeal to people’s selfishness for political advantage. Bidois is implying that Northcote should not pay the fuel levy because other parts of Auckland will benefit, not Northcote. This ignores that Auckland’s transport system is one big interconnected network and that benefits in one part of the network will have a beneficial effect on the rest of the network. Also this rationale would mean that no big projects, like the North Shore busway, could ever be constructed because not all areas would immediately benefit.

Halbert in comparison is clearly running a collectively minded campaign. From Radio New Zealand:

Mr Halbert works at Te Wānaga O Aotearoa, and before that was a policy advisor at Parliament.

He said his main focus is education and employment.

“I’ve been in the tertiary sector a long time, I’ve been committed to access to education and my priority has been ensuring that young people, second chance learners and our communities have access to local education opportunities.”

Mr Halbert acknowledged that he’s the underdog in the competition, with Northcote traditionally being a safe seat for National.

“We’re going to work hard and we have a very large volunteer base established,” he said.

Mr Halbert said the reality of transport is that 70 percent of Northcote locals travel on public transport.

On the fuel tax, he said people can’t “moan about the issue” then not like the response at the end of it.

“The reality is that we need to get some effective plans in place,” he said.

As I said by elections are funny things.  The ground game will be vital.  Turnout is lower and getting your supporters out to vote is really important.  In Auckland over the past decade Labour’s by election campaigns have been demonstrably better than National’s.

I do not expect Labour or Halbert to win but I am sure they will give it a good shot.  And if National lose they will have big problems.

If you do want to get involved in Labour’s campaign there is a sign up page here.

86 comments on “The Northcote by-election”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Dan Bidois appears to have missed the advent of the supercity:

    “…The hard-working people of Northcote are not a piggy bank for Phil Goff, Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters to raid to pay for pet projects on the other side of the Bridge that won’t benefit us here…” said Mr. Bidois.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12033057

    Some good, solid positive campaigning from Mr. Bidois coming up then. By the sound of it his idea of progress is getting rid of the bu slanes on Onewa road, or perhaps re=tasking them for owners of late model Range Rovers only.

    Although if he is so determined on an “us and them” siege mentality, surely his previous incarnation out in far-off Botany makes him an outrageous carpet bagger imposed on the poor, suffering, anti-cyclists of Northcote?

    • AB 1.1

      ” or perhaps re-tasking them for owners of late model Range Rovers only”
      Heh – if you look at the vehicles using the T3 down Onewa Rd in the mornings but without 3 people in the car, Range Rovers do seem to be statistically over-represented

  2. Bewildered 2

    It’s called politics folks , the whole left mantra is based on devide and rule based on class and identify so a bit rich moaning and bleating when the opposition do it

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      It’s called the class struggle.

      The wealthy, over-privileged elites verses the rest. And in working towards a humane and democratic society, guess which side is on board?

      • Chris T 2.1.1

        So nearly half the country who didn’t vote for the current govt are all over-privileged elites?

        You might want to look up the meaning of “elite”

        • Sanctuary 2.1.1.1

          “…So nearly half the country who didn’t vote for the current govt…”

          Nice meme, but 44% of an eighty percent turnout equals 35%, which is a LOT less than half.

          However, you are probably indicative on the right’s ongoing problem with maths.

        • Carolyn_Nth 2.1.1.2

          The post is not about the whole country, or voters nationally. It’s about Northcote, and largely about the campaign propaganda issues raised by Bidois about transport as it impacts on the largely wealthy, private vehicle owners in Northcote.

          And the Nats are playing politics, here. And as they usually do, they are not playing with a straight bat. If they were, they’d have mentioned the benefits to the whole North Shore of the Northern Busway (which they got well ahead of the poorer electorates along the North Western motorway, where there is still no busway).

          Without the busway it would be even more congested for both buses and private vehicles (T3 and otherwise) getting onto the Northern Motorway from Onewa Road.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.1

            +111

          • cleangreen 2.1.1.2.2

            100% Carolyn, Yes it is National not Labour that heavily rely on smear politics, so we wonder what bag of dirty politics have they got in their bag this time around?

            Another earlier blogger said ” the whole left mantra is based on divide and rule” (2) ‘ ‘Bewildered’

            Shit no no no!

            I am bewildered at that wrong statement ‘Bewildered’ it should read “the whole right mantra is based on divide and rule”

        • Keepcalmcarryon 2.1.1.3

          Mostly Auckland home owners and baby boomers happy to mortgage the next generation so yeah, privileged elites works

        • Michelle 2.1.1.4

          I would say many are privileged to be permitted to come to our country and vote for the people that let them come here in the first place of course that being the gnats. They ( the gnats) allowed thousands to come her knowing they will vote for them especially many of the Chinese. We saw the huge chinese support during the last election. Also many Indians who own dairies they got money to protect their businesses from the aftermath of the gnats policy of putting up ciggies by far too much. And how many people told them this would happen. But did they listen, no, because their ears are painted on.

      • Incognito 2.1.2

        Well said.

        The problem with wealthy over-privileged elites is their utterly misplaced sense of entitlement and equally misplaced sense of superiority over their fellow humans. This is not to say that they don’t share, but it is always on their terms and amounts to little more than token efforts, which never address let alone re-balance the inequality. Of course, this has nothing to do with unfairness because this is natural order and balance. Yep, class war, based on wealth foremost and income secondly.

    • koreropono 2.2

      Bewildered, I love how those who lean heavily to the right like to attribute RWNJ traits to the left (not that Labour is really ‘left’ by any stretch of the imagination). Right wing politics in and of itself is divisive and violent on a systemic level, but I don’t expect you to understand that because like most right wingers, they’re pretty blind to anything beyond their own selfish needs and sense of entitlement.

      • Baba Yaga 2.2.1

        “Right wing politics in and of itself is divisive and violent on a systemic level,”

        Oh please. https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/10/a_short_history_of_leftist_violence.html

        • Incognito 2.2.1.1

          You did not address the point, actually. But I like your style of debating 😉

          • arkie 2.2.1.2.1

            All it mentioned were the Weathermen and the Black Panthers

          • Baba Yaga 2.2.1.2.2

            Are you suggesting there is ONLY right wing violence? That was, after all, the point I was addressing.

            • McFlock 2.2.1.2.2.1

              Actually, the point you “addressed” in 2.2.1 is that right-wing politics is systemically divisive and violent. How you took that to mean “there is ONLY right wing violence” is between you and your English teachers.

              Left-wingers can be divisive and violent. Hippies can be divisive and violent. But the right wing, by its very nature, divides, excludes, oppresses, and brutalises people violently. Economic division. Social division. Ostracism and hatred of non-cis genders and sexualities. Religious fundamentalism. Social conservatism and the exclusion of the different. Nationalism.

              Any right-wing perspective includes any or all of those divisive and ultimately violent aspects.

              • Babayaga

                Yeah, nah. The original post didn’t share responsibility. I just provided some much needed balance.

                As for your own comments about the right, your generalisations are just that. And inaccurate. For example, rIght wing economics has lifted living standards and reduced poverty across the planet. Meanwhile I’ll introduce you to a few friends…Stalin, Che Guevara could be a start.

                • McFlock

                  See, a refutation of “all rightwingers are divisive and violent” isn’t “some lefties do it too”.

                  Just point us in the direction of a rightwing politician or whomever who is not divisive or violent. You do that and you’d have demonstrated #notallrightwingers. Pretty simple, really.

                  • Babayaga

                    But I wasn’t trying to refute the original comment, I was providing balance. And you have not paraphrased korero correctly. He was referring to ‘right wing politics’ not right wingers.

                    • McFlock

                      So to “balance” “right wing politics” you listed some violent leftwingers? Hmm.

                      Anyhow, are you arguing that all left wing politics is equally violent and divisive as all right wing politics is by its very nature?

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “So to “balance” “right wing politics” you listed some violent leftwingers?”
                      No, to balance the CLAIM about right wing politics.

                      “Anyhow, are you arguing that all left wing politics is equally violent and divisive as all right wing politics is by its very nature?”
                      We may need to get a bit more specific about what we mean by left and right wing. For example I don’t believe there is anything inherently violent about the politics of the centre right or centre left. But the politics of the far left is by nature violent. Socialism is by its very nature repressive, which is why such regimes end (if not begin) in violent suppression.

                    • McFlock

                      Oh, some nominally socialist regimes have been repressive. But socialism itself is a unifying political school, seeking a unified and peaceful society.

                      Capitalism, on the other hand, seeks to allow the existence of economic inequality by rewarding some over others.

                      Moderate socialism seeks to lessen that with the welfare state. Moderate conservatism seeks to reduce the welfare state and therefore increase inequality. Unification vs division.

                      Allowing someone to starve when others have plenty is substantially different from directly harming the starving person with a bat is the argument about what constitutes violence.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “Oh, some nominally socialist regimes have been repressive. ”
                      Some? Nominally? Socialism is a system that robs initiative and rewards indolence. In so doing it must repress.

                      “Capitalism, on the other hand, seeks to allow the existence of economic inequality by rewarding some over others.”
                      Under capitalism, inequality may increase, but poverty decreases. In other words more people are better off with capitalism that socialism.

                      “Moderate socialism seeks to lessen that with the welfare state. Moderate conservatism seeks to reduce the welfare state and therefore increase inequality. Unification vs division.”
                      On the contrary. Capitalism liberates from welfare dependency by producing jobs and opportunity.

                      “Allowing someone to starve when others have plenty is substantially different from directly harming the starving person with a bat is the argument about what constitutes violence.”
                      Allowing people to starve is what happens when socialism takes hold.
                      https://www.wsj.com/articles/venezuela-is-starving-1493995317

                    • McFlock

                      Read Marx. The objective of even a leftist political theory as extreme as communism is equality and justice. Unity. Then there are folk like Fabian Socialists and Democratic Socialists, who are much more moderate in their methods yet still have the goal of a fairer, more cohesive and united society.

                      As you admit, the basic objective and operating mechanism of capitalism is inequality. Division.

                      The fact you regurgitate the myth of “welfare dependancy” is capitalism in action: blaming the victims of the society for the designed inequalities within that society.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The objective of even a leftist political theory as extreme as communism is equality and justice.”
                      We’re not discussing the ‘objective’ but what ‘is’. Leftist political theory is extremely divisive. It takes from some and gives to others. It rewards indolence and penalises enterprise. It is associated with horrendous human rights abuses and repression.

                      “As you admit, the basic objective and operating mechanism of capitalism is inequality.”
                      No, I did not admit that, and it isn’t even true. Capitalism rewards those who create wealth, jobs, and improve the national wellbeing. Capitalism and Socialism result in inequality. The difference is that under Capitalism that inequality is accompanied by the overall wellbeing of citizens being raised, which is why we see poverty dramatically reduced. Socialism is a failed socio-economic platform, that only ever achieves anything when it’s principles begin to be compromised by market economies.

                      “The fact you regurgitate the myth of “welfare dependancy” is capitalism in action: blaming the victims of the society for the designed inequalities within that society.”
                      What myth? Do you not believe in welfare dependency?

              • Keepcalmcarryon

                Nationalism doesn’t have to be violent.

                • McFlock

                  Well, that’s debatable given the number of nations with standing armies for defense from other nations, but it’s divisive by definition.

        • Ed 2.2.1.3

          Why are you right wing?

        • JohnSelway 2.2.1.4

          American Thinker?

          Wow…

      • Ed 2.2.2

        Spot on

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      That would be wrong.

      The Left are about bringing everyone together as a community.

      It’s the right that divide people into classes so as to put more wealth into some people’s control thus causing poverty.

      The Left then identify those classes and how they’re used to debilitate the community so as to make a few people rich.

  3. Ad 3

    If Halbert can attract the PM there for a couple of gigs there’s a shot at a boilover. Just a shot.

    Great to see really tough selection fights for Labour: there’s new bristling talent.

    It would have been a really tough time to lose Richard from Auckland Council when Goff needs the full support of the Labour-Green councillors to get this budget+petrol tax through and align with central government transport and housing policy for the first time since I can actually remember. Richard smart and his vote is important there.

    • AB 3.1

      Makes sense – and even if Hills could win the by-election, there is much less chance of retaining it in a General where people return to type. Without a secure list place that would not be ideal for him either.

  4. Ad 4

    Richard Hills is strongly needed in Auckland Council by Goff to secure this budget+fuel tax. First time in living memory transport and housing policy and budgets will be aligned between central and local government since the 1950s.

    If Halbert chips the National majority to 4,000, he’ll have a reasonable shot in 2020. But not in a by-election that will be a transport tax referendum.

  5. adam 5

    Let me know when there is a left wing candidate.

  6. Labour_Voter 6

    “I do not expect Labour or Halbert to win but I am sure they will give it a good shot. And if National lose they will have big problems.” – I beg to differ. If Greens and NZ First don’t stand a candidate and endorse Labour, I think Labour can scrap through with less than 1000 votes majority and that will sink Bridges. Voter turn out will be the key.

    • cleangreen 6.1

      Yes Labour Voter,

      I see that the same way as Greens and NZ First need to endorse the Labour candidate as key did with getting his Act member elected for a shill forn him

      “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” should also be o/k for Labour then right?.

  7. Unicus 7

    All the best to Halbert a very good candidate in the contemporary Labour style he certainly has a better than starters chance .

    He may like to remind his Northcote voters and the rest of Auckland at this time of feel good about New Zealand atlhelets performance at the Comonwealth Games that those games were originally awarded to Auckland .

    As mighty John Key strode to power he and the rest of the National Party rat pack gazed arround for things they could make important decisions about – they hit on Aucklands 2018 Comonwealth games – of course we couldn’t afford it – bloody Auckland posing as an international events city – so Bill English scrapped them – much t o the delight of the Aussies who swooped in and set It up with great success in plastic Surfers Paridise

    The National Party really does have the smarts when it comes to business – Ha !

  8. Tamati Tautuhi 8

    NZF should stand a credible candidate in the seat this time. They will probably get a good share of the National Party Vote which will assist the Labour Candidate in the By Election ?

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      I’d suggest that the right-leaning voters are probably deserting NZFirst

      • veutoviper 8.1.1

        The downside to being ‘kingmaker’ after the general election was that NZF was going to lose votes whichever party they chose – National or Labour.

        The first polls after the establishment of the coalition government showed NZF dropping as follows:

        7,2% General Election
        6.5% Roy Morgan (early Oct 2017)
        5.0% Roy Morgan Post Coalition (early Nov 17)
        5.0% OneNews Colmar Brunton (early Dec 17)
        3.8% Newshub Reid Research (late Jan 2018)
        2.6% OneNews Colmar Brunton (early Feb 18)
        5.0% OneNews Colmar Brunton (early April 18)

        At its worst, NZF lost 4.6% in the four months from the election (7.2%) until Feb 2018 (2.6%); but has now recovered from that low point of 2.6% two months ago by 2.4% back to 5%.

        So it looks like the right wing voters probably deserted NZF in those first four months but some are now returning and/or other voters are going to NZF.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_New_Zealand_general_election

        • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.1

          I don’t think dicking the regions around and the latest announcement ref: gas and oil is going to bring the right wing voters back to NZFirst

          But then I’ve been wrong before (or at least not yet proven correct) so who knows what rabbit Winnie will pull out of the hat once Cindy leaves to have her kid

          • veutoviper 8.1.1.1.1

            If you are going to shorten her name its “Aunty Cinda” – not Cindy.

            As for your first sentence, we will see as the months go on.

            • Puckish Rogue 8.1.1.1.1.1

              The present government certainly isn’t boring I’ll give them that, I wonder what will happen next though

      • Tamati Tautuhi 8.1.2

        Time will tell Bridges is like a wet fish/tadpole

      • Keepcalmcarryon 8.1.3

        Which is why NZ first were up in the last poll eh Puckish Rogue.

      • cleangreen 8.1.4

        Puckish Rogue 8.1 said;
        “I’d suggest that the right-leaning voters are probably deserting NZFirst”
        My response is; – Nah!

  9. Tamati Tautuhi 9

    NZF need to get Winston and the new Deputy Fletcher Tabuteau along to some meeting or do they just want to stay as a 5-7% minor coalition party ?

  10. Mark 10

    If Labour doesn’t win the by-election then they are in trouble, given Cindy’s dancing with the stars type superstar wow factor at the moment.

  11. Incognito 11

    Wouldn’t the Party Vote be more indicative of how tight this by-election might be?

    NAT: 18005

    LAB/GP/NZFP: 12639/2496/2221=17356

  12. Tuppence Shrewsbury 12

    Shanan has already had a nice long career at the trough if his jacket is anything to go by

  13. savenz 14

    I think Aucklander’s are not so much worried about paying the fuel tax, but the idea that Auckland council and Auckland Transport seem to be incapable of running a transport system. And the previous governments have an appalling record on transport. Auckland council do a very poor job as it is with a massive budget making up 54% of the Auckland rates, that they feel is fine to squander on various non core projects. The AT chairman doesn’t even read his own report, that he doesn’t write before it’s released, that contradicts what the hell they are supposed to be doing. They inspire zero confidence. I think at least 1 on the board lives in Wellington. No wonder everything is a rout.

    The National government, The Auckland council and industry have created their ‘dream’ city full of people and cars and pollution and roads and detours and homeless waiting for the ‘trickle down’.

    Don’t blame the public who mostly never wanted or agreed to any of it and we are told it’s a good thing and your a NIMBY if you don’t agree for industry to take over, but somehow the people who live in Auckland need to pay more to keep the neoliberal’s dream going of more consumerism while receiving less public services, more user pays and having less quality in the area such as constant beach closures and delays of yet another road closure, ferry closure, detour, truck accident or what have you on a daily basis…

    More money extracted from Aucklander’s does not change poor decision making and an obsession with neoliberalism a system that judging by the world headlines is not making the world a better, safer, less polluted or more equal place.

  14. veutoviper 15

    RNZ reported on their 3pm news that Seymour is saying that ACT is probably going to run a candidate in Northcote. Nice one, split the right vote.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 15.1

      …. plus NZF standing would give Labour a big show ?

      • veutoviper 15.1.1

        I must confess I am not an Aucklander so really don’t know the electorate etc, Tamati Tautuhi.

        I presume you know it much better and see you are suggesting that NZF do run a candidate. Do you intend this candidate to win or further split the right vote to allow the Labour candidate to win ?

        The party figures that Incognito posted at 11 above are interesting –

        NAT: 18005

        LAB/GP/NZFP: 12639/2496/2221=17356

        PS – did you see my 8.1.1. above re NZF polling since the election?

  15. Tamati Tautuhi 16

    …. plus NZF standing would give Labour a big show ?

  16. savenz 17

    So Labour candidate might like to point out, that it’s the Natz policy over the last 9 years that have contributed to the nightmare that Auckland has become and will get a lot worse.

    They also fail to realise that so many citizens are out of the country. If things start going bad in the world those (I believe 1 million at least) could come back to NZ. So the city should have some sort of plan for that scenario in terms of transport, hospitals and schools.

  17. NZJester 18

    Neale Jones @nealejones
    When you’re complaining about congestion and don’t realise you’re standing next to the former Transport Minister who didn’t fix it.

    But he and his party did do something about all that congestion in Auckland and its suburbs.
    They put in policies that helped ramp up the congestion in Auckland.

  18. Tamati Tautuhi 19

    I doubt whether Natzi voters in Northcote have been that impressed with the Natzis performance over the past 9 years. Especially town planning and traffic congestion ?

  19. DS 20

    By-election history:

    Labour’s last gain from National: Marlborough (1970)
    Last Government gain: Motueka (1932)
    Last Government gain from an Opposition: Waipawa (1930)

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