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The Tauranga by election

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, March 16th, 2022 - 67 comments
Categories: by-election, election 2020, elections, labour, national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

I am not sure any of the parties are relishing the thought of a by-election in Tauranga and I am sure the conjecture on why Simon Bridges chose to go now will continue for a while.

Maybe he really did want to spend more time with his family.  Maybe it was the thought of the SFO trial involving his old mate Jami Lee Ross that is scheduled in a couple of months time on charges relating to the carving up of a $100,000 donation into smaller non disclosable shares that made him jump.  Maybe he really did want to go for a while but waited until National’s polling was better.  Time may provide an answer.

Meanwhile I think we should all get ready for a circus.

I can’t imagine Winston Peters not being a candidate.  He does well at by elections and given Tauranga is his old stumping ground I can’t imagine him not relishing the chance for one more campaign.

I am pretty sure there will be an anti vaccine candidate there although whether it will be under the banner of Advance New Zealand is yet to be determined.  Having your leader facing a SFO prosecution is normally not good for your electoral chances and it may be that some other banner will be used.  Voices for Freedom is so well funded that I would expect a well resourced and energetic candidate emerging.

I anticipate Labour will go through the motions although realise that their prospects are poor.  Bridges only just bet Labour’s Jan Tinetti by 1,855 votes in 2020.  Those were heady times though.

National will no doubt have a rush of potential candidates.  I trust they will rigorously vet potential candidates.  Some recent candidate choices have been less than optimal.

I can confidently predict that the by election will be a circus.  Get ready.

67 comments on “The Tauranga by election ”

  1. Ad 1

    With Tauranga Council essentially replaced with a Commissioner, the local MP is the only useful voice BoP has. Their regional council is thoroughly inept.

    Anyone who hasn't been to Tauranga for a while, pop in and check out the monumental mess they've made of it. It's now got more people than Dunedin but none of Dunedin's spectacular public institutions, none of Dunedin's highly developed identity, is quite repulsively car dominated, and has only one notable feature in a small volcanic rock next to a beach.

    Tauranga is by a long margin the worst city in New Zealand.

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      The libertarian future, as built by Roger Douglas loving boomers.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      Dunedin in its gold rush days would have been seen as the brash fast growing fast money town Tauranga is now.

      • Shanreagh 1.2.1

        In its gold rush days there were others coming along who had other things on their minds apart from meeting the needs of the gold digging fraternity. Dunedin was an established place before the gold rushes.



        So I'm not sure that Dunedin was ever thought of as brash or fast money. With its Scottish and Presbyterian heritage you were anything but brash or fast in your day to day dealings.

        Tauranga has always struck me as the place where the white shoe wearing wide boys of Auckland went to play. The houses on the hillsides made of ticky tacky……

        Sad really. I was shocked at how run down the shopping centre was when I was there 4 or so years ago.

        Tauranga to me is the NZ equivalent of what they used to say about the States 'gone from youth to senility without a period of maturity'. It is in the youth to maturity phase when the Opera houses, theatres, specialist libraries, Botanical gardens, repair and love of historic buildings are fostered. I find many of the cities in Aus outside the State capitals can be the same. They are built to worship the sun, the beach and the lifestyles that go with this.

        Winston had a particular demographic there that loved him…those who had retired there. Are they still a 'thing' there?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          Pleeeese. Gold made the city you see today Sure the Presbyterians founded the city but gold came only a decade after

          The Scots even to more recent times in UK with their reckless banking sector are no different to 150 yrs back in NZ

          • Shanreagh

            I am not disputing this but rather the assertion that Dunedin was ever a fast and loose town as a result of the gold rush that took place up country.

            There were plenty of places (Lawrence, Gabriels Gully etc) between the goldfields and Dunedin itself where the rough toughness mainly took place. Many brought their gold back to Dunedin, others moved on with it, Dunedin dealers came up country and took the gold back.

            People like drapers like my family stayed in the vicinity and made inroads selling goods but never actually panned for gold. They brought the goods, sold them to a market and then were public spirited people who invested in public things. They were making a good living before gold, better living after. Their public spiritedness came about because of who they were upbringing-wise and religious wise. Mine were CofE.

            Others in the North Island were drapers who followed the development path of the main truck line & other railway lines, set up lending libraries where they were located which was not in the hurly burly of the camps.

            Not so keen on your tone thanks what’s with the ‘Pleeese?’ – unwarranted just because I said some thing slightly different to what you believe. ‘We are not on Farcebook now Dr Ropata’.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              Its because time and a gentile decline of Dunedin makes its 'old' fast money and rapid growth era look acceptable. Those banks founded in the city werent the solid institutions we think of today First bailout of BNZ happened in 1880s

              Tauranga was a typical mid sized provincial NZ city in the 50s to 70s and then rapid growth since then. Part of it is the seniors boom and migration to the place and others in their 30s-50s follow the boom

              • Shanreagh

                Still does not make it anything like as character filled as Dunedin or even Napier. That is my point about the number of people who went to these places to make money and also part of their psyche was to improve their towns and cities by setting up cultural facilities.

                Tauranga undoubtedly suits some with the sun, beach lifestyle but others not so much. So its relative youthfulness perhaps means a lack of cultural activities and fewer older houses. That would be a turn off for some.

                I'm ignoring this word 'gentile', you either are confused by its meaning or know exactly how insulting it is masked by talk about banks.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genteel was the spelling that eluded me.

                  You sound very haute bourgeois with affinity for 'character filled' homes and sandstone universities and Hocken type museums.

                  My father grew up in the poor income housing in South Dunedin and St Kilda, there was nothing character about it back then.

                  Dunedin had 100,000 people when Tauranga had under 5000

    • Gypsy 1.3

      Coincidentally, spent 4 days there (and exploring surrounding towns) last week, starting to look ahead for somewhere to possibly retire. Hadn't been there for 15+ years. There are some lovely spots (Pilot Bay, Otumoetai) but overall we got the sense the town with no soul. Returned to Auckland Sunday and realised it's just a smaller version of where we live. No thanks.

      • James Simpson 1.3.1

        Tauranga CBD is the most ghastly place in New Zealand.

        They have built suburban malls which stripped the city of all of its life a soul.

        Its a giant retirement village for John Key loving boomers.

        • Sanctuary

          Tauranga was a Social Credit stronghold for years as well, I don't think they ever won it but they usually ran the Nats a close second so the place has been a haven of the cray cray since forever.

          • swordfish


            but they (Social Credit) usually ran the Nats a close second

            Only in 78 & 81 when SC were at the height of their powers.

            And, even then, it'd be stretching things to deem those results close seconds … majority won by Nat Tauranga MP in 78 (Keith Allen) was in top quartile of Nat majorities … in 81 (still Allen) in top half.

            Can't really describe the seat as a former "Social Credit stronghold". Fair to say they usually achieved above average results in Tauranga though.


            so the place has been a haven of the cray cray since forever

            Far too glib & pompous to describe SC support as “cray cray“. Research suggests a significant majority of SC voters at their apex in the late 1970s & early 80s were classic ‘Protest Voters‘. Former National & Labour supporters unhappy with their favoured Party at the time … as opposed to true-believers in ‘Douglas Credit‘ doctrine.

            • Nic the NZer

              Disappointing. The only time I voted for Social Credit it was due to their Douglas Credit doctrine.

              • swordfish


                To be fair, they did remarkably well at the provincial level in Alberta & British Colombia through the mid to late 20C … although only be essentially dropping the core SC dogma while retaining the name & support-base.

                • Nic the NZer

                  I consider myself an anti-model voter anyway. People seem to mostly be influenced by personality and appearance of politicians. I'm not, I actually look at the kind of ideas and policies put forward. My track record of voting with the majority or knowing where the electorate is heading is simply shocking.

              • Dennis Frank

                Same. I voted for them in the '81 election because the principle of social credit seemed valid based on what I read about it. Thought Beetham was a conservative dork & couldn't believe how inept he was as a political leader.

                My brother was Terry Heffernan's campaign manager when Heff almost defeated Russell Marshall, the Labour MP for Wanganui. Didn't agree with SC – he was doing the job to help his close friend get into parliament.

                • swordfish


                  Not sure you could call Beetham "conservative" exactly … not in the context of the era … he modernised the Party & pushed it in a centrist direction (successfully setting it up to receive a huge protest vote in 1978 & 81) and vanquished the hard right anti-semitic faction among activists & within the membership.

                  Appears to have been considered a bit of a dullard by Lange, Muldoon & Bob Jones, though. Rightly or wrongly, they felt he was a bit slow on the uptake.

            • Blazer

              Ah ,Social Credit…Cracknell,Beetham,Knapp…I think they could be a force today seeing as their derided 'funny money' themes are …reality today.

              A name change is needed…I suggest NZIP…enzip…New Zealand Independent Party…Natz and Natz lite are too …predictable.

            • millsy

              I see they have jumped onto the anti-vax QAnon bandwagon.

      • Kiwijoker 1.3.2

        Go north young man

  2. Maybe

    he just didn't relish another three years as shadow minister of finance in opposition?

    • Tricledrown 2.1

      He missed the boat to become Prime Minister now bell end is the leader and rising in the polls no chance for simple Simon . Politics is a dirty business for National it takes its toll on these wide boys.

      • Belladonna 2.1.1

        I think that's a little harsh.
        I agree that he's missed his chance at being PM (either self-knowledge, or it's been made clear to him) – and he's reassessed where he wants to spend the next 10 years of his life. Much like David Cunliffe and David Shearer did.

        Not everyone sees being a politician as a life-long commitment 🙂

        Don't underestimate how hard it is on someone with a young family to be away from them for substantial amounts of time (you don't get those years back). Ardern has been able to take her family with her to Wellington, not all MPs (and especially not ones with electorate responsibilities) have that option.

        The timing smacks to me of someone who's had a much better offer made to him – will wait and see what transpires.

        While it might have been possible that he was just waiting to announce his departure until National was rising in the polls (loyalty to the party) – the fact that the National leadership seemed to be somewhat taken aback by his resignation, seems to make this unlikely.

        • Obtrectator

          "Not everyone sees being a politician as a life-long commitment"

          Nor should they! I can never totally trust anyone who's never done anything else.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Great chance for Hosking to prove he ain't just a mouth. Come on Hosk, pull finger! You know Baldie ain't gonna be forceful. You know the Nats prefer a strong leader. You know all the right answers. Connect the dots! enlightened

  4. Peter 4

    Tamaki's Vision NZ party didn't stand a candidate in Tauranga last time. If they have as much certainty in their message as they did when spouting "freedom" and rubbishing the present government as they have done over the past couple of years, they will put someone up in Tauranga.

    The Freedom & Rights coalition keeps telling us "this Government needs to go." Here's their chance. I look forward to gangs of bikes thundering up Cameron Road, Maunganui Road and roaring round the lovely lanes of Bethlehem convincing voters with their dark glasses, black uniforms and noise that they're the one And if they don't get in? Will they storm Parliament?

    Vision NZ party vote last time? 51 votes out of 44,148.

    How about the Outdoors Party? Sue Grey from that lot thinks she has the answers. They stood Tracy Livingston last time. 188 votes out of 43,776. Party vote 53.

    Now that would be a circus.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      Thats because they ran in Wairiki to split the vote against Tamiti Coffey.

      And thats what happened with Hannah Tamaki running. Destiny Church is big in Rotorua – where they started

      Flavell didnt face any compeition at all in 2017

  5. Belladonna 5

    Don't know about Peters. I'd think he won't throw his hat in the ring until he sees he has a strong chance of winning (i.e. National put up a weak candidate).

    The SFO case hanging over NZ First will cast a serious cloud over him for much of his traditional support base (golden oldies still a significant force in Tauranga – loveable rogue is one thing, tarred by corruption, is quite another).


    No one believes it's all smoke and mirrors – regardless of how Peters wants to spin it. And the rumours over who has been charged (and just how close they are to Peters) have a lot of legs, despite the name suppression.

    And, having ‘distanced himself’ from the NZ First Foundation – just where would Peter’s war chest come from? He’s always been notoriously reluctant to spend his own money.


    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Manhire is always going to be beating the drum over Peters. Hes made his speciality to follow every rabbit down its burrow

      • Belladonna 5.1.1

        However, in this case, I don't think he's out of step with mainstream NZ.
        I don't know anyone who thinks NZFirst is hard-done-by over this. More that they've played fast and loose with the rules for decades, and have been thoroughly caught.

        Everyone 'knows' that NZ First Foundation was tied in very closely with Peters – and no one believes that he didn't know what was going on (though he'll have been careful to have plausible deniability – which is why he's not in the dock).

        His reputation is very definitely tarred by this. And most particularly with the core NZF voter base.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          'Everyone knows' all these thing are common practice amoung the major political parties Foundations and Trusts amoung them.

          What was different this time is that a NZF insider had the documents .

          Dont you think its strange that there was an also insider ( maybe more than one when you consider who Colin Craigs press secretary was friends with) in the Conservatives to air their dirty laundry

          • Belladonna

            Hmm. I think that the major political parties are much more careful to work within the letter of the law (setting the spirit aside).
            NZF and Peters seemed to think that the laws didn't apply to them.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              The coming court cases cover National and Labour. And there are two different $100k 'salami' donations covered. This method doesnt do the donor any favours as he was a business man and a leader for that particular chinese diaspora. The only benefit is the party

              I think your belief is misplaced

  6. Gypsy 6

    "I trust they will rigorously vet potential candidates."

    Under the current President I have zero confidence they will vet the candidates anywhere near vigorously.

    "Some recent candidate choices have been less than optimal."

    You are far too polite. smiley

    • Shanreagh 6.1


      Some have been abysmal.

      They need to be looking hard at their selection processes and the Party/Chair role in candidate selection. Silly to expect stellar results when doing the same thing over and again that is proven not to bring stellar results.

  7. Belladonna 7

    I can confidently predict that the by election will be a circus. Get ready.

    By-elections almost always are. I have the popcorn ready 🙂

  8. Phil 8

    I can’t imagine Winston Peters not being a candidate.

    Winston Peters last won the Tuaranga electorate in 2002. A significant chunk of his most ardent supporters in the region are quite literally dead to him.

    • Shanreagh 8.1

      Agree with this…..there is no-one there that he is their 'golden boy' to now. He may of course gobble up any anti vax/mandate people (NB note to self do not use the word nutters')

      Much as I like Winston as a person and admire when he was a minister early on it would be clear he was just chasing the 'baubles of office' if he decided to stand again in Tauranga.

    • pat 8.2

      Thinking along the same lines…and not sure that Winston would like to risk finishing 3rd or 4th (or potentially worse) in a by election….more likely to take his chances on 5% of national vote in MMP election if he is going to put himself out there again.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    The candidate National select will be a test of which way the party is going. If it is another cookie cutter socially conservative evangelical recruited from the ranks of upper management then we'll know they are still planning on going down the culture war rabbit hole of Fox News. If we get a candidate from the liberal wing of the party we'll have a good idea they are pivoting away from the happy clappy abyss.

    • Shanreagh 9.1

      If we get a candidate from the liberal wing of the party we'll have a good idea they are pivoting away from the happy clappy abyss.

      Poor Nats. They need to get away from the happy clappy types, they did not used to be infested with them. Actually the one I think they let get away was Todd Muller. But they threw him in the deep end, no support with a bunch of behind the back mumblers and stabber/doers.

    • Phil 9.2

      I'll start a rumour right here and now that they'll end up getting one of the directors on the Port of Tauranga board.

    • Blazer 9.3

      As the new messiah' is clearly a 'happy clapper'what are the chances?

      I really liked Chrome Domes reason for avoiding going to his church ..the 'Upper Room'….he was concerned that the congregation would ask him for for free/cheap airfares!

      Reminds me of the old adage…'I didn't join a club that would have someone like me ..as ..a member'!laugh

  10. Stephen D 10

    It will be fascinating to watch the framing here.

    The Nats, whoever their candidate, will want to make it a referendum on the Govt’s performance this term.

    Labour will be downplaying any possible result with a shrug of the shoulders.

    Jan Tinetti will probably run again, as it’s her turf. Hopefully the party will get in behind her. Ministerial visits, PM on the hustings etc.

    • Pataua4life 10.1

      They won't expose the PM on the risk of protest etc. Not a good look when you are actually asked unscripted questions.

      LINO will play this very low key, move on and try to bury the loss.

      There is no upside for Labour in Tauranga.

  11. Mike the Lefty 11

    If I were Labour I would seriously consider not standing a candidate at all, and endorsing another – probably a Greens candidate.

    Labour have nothing tangible to gain here, they have never won in Tauranga to my knowledge and although they did come close last time that was during a big swing to Labour and it is hugely unlikely this would happen here and now.

    I agree with other commentators here that is just the kind of lucky opportunity that Winston Peters needs if he is serious about NZ First getting back into parliament and I expect he will announce his intention to stand within a few days.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      If he does, I predict Labour will stand a candidate to split the anti-Nat vote. It will be an excellent way for them to demonstrate Labour/National solidarity, to ensure the Nats win. I further predict that they will claim they aren't actually working in collusion with National to keep Winston out – their pretence at competing with National will be a useful mask of their real agenda.

      • Pataua4life 11.1.1

        They would risk coming Third. They won't stand a candidate given how "close" it is to the GE. That will be the framing

        • Dennis Frank

          You could be right but I've seen Labour may this mistake too many times to have faith in their judgment!

    • swordfish 11.2


      Labour … have never won in Tauranga to my knowledge

      Only in 1935 … albeit on not much more than a third of the vote.

  12. tc 12

    With the SFO case coming consider slimons going could be part of appeasement for JLR.

    Their former loose cannon can do significant damage or have a memory lapse etc

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    A charitable take on Simon Bridges heading into the exit lane is that he has enough basic humanity to quit before it is too late for some sort of personal redemption. But politics followers should know that “spend more time with the missus and kids” is often code for something else.

    He did however preside over an NZ National Party that is still fine with secret trusts, bent candidate processes, and shovelling the maximum amount of loot upstairs (no not necessarily the Upper Room of Luxon association).

    Soymun will do what he does, and no one need lament his departure.

    • Ad 13.1

      Simon Power and Paula Bennett have gone on to better things. Not all do.

      In the end they are like the rest of us people who get up and put their pants on one leg at a time.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 13.1.1

        Looked at PB listings in commercial property at Bayleys where she works.

        Not as many 'sold' trophy wall as her colleagues. Plus shes started writing for the Herald and I wouldnt put it past her to try a comeback into parliament next year

      • Blazer 13.1.2

        Yes Paula Benefit is the perfect RE sales person….'if you can't get a real job…why not try…Real Estate"?

  14. PsyclingLeft.Always 14


    Looking at the past Representatives…..

    Jeremy…..BOB Clarkson, Soiman Bridges Winston First Peters…. Id like to think Jan Tinetti would be a worthy MP. for the area.

  15. Doogs 15

    The NP back room boys will run the required template over a selection of blue suited business types. Then the cardboard cutouts will be lined up to check their blueness – not too conservative, not too liberal, not too religious with just the right amount of community minded philanthropy in the mix. Finally some good fellow will line up the cutouts in the office of Lux Flakes himself (not harsh on your coloureds). Finally they’ll choose the one with the right amount of Dulux gloss (fully washable), and he’ll be let loose on the hustings. How he (yes, he) will do in the vote count I couldn’t say because I honestly believe there’ll be about 20 candidates of every hue under the sun. As someone has already said, I’ll have the popcorn ready . . . but not me, I prefer Jafas.

  16. PsyclingLeft.Always 16

    Bridges’ decision surprises colleagues

    Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, whose historic complaint of inappropriate language use by Mr Bridges within her earshot was calamitously dredged up by former party leader Judith Collins just prior to her losing the leadership, paid tribute to Mr Bridges yesterday.

    "It was surprising, but in a way it was also unsurprising," she said.


    “It was surprising, but in a way it was also unsurprising,” Quoth Jacqui. Unsurprisingly

  17. Christopher Randal 17

    I'd like to see the Magillicuddy Serious Party make a play for the seat

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