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Vote smart: Epsom

Written By: - Date published: 1:40 pm, October 21st, 2008 - 58 comments
Categories: election 2008, vote smart - Tags:

I’ve come in for a bit of flak for this ‘Vote Smart‘ series of posts on how people can make the most of their vote but I don’t resile from it. It seems to me the criticism is based on a quaint notion that there is an optimal party and candidate for everyone and they should give their votes to them no matter what, then the system will spit out a perfectly representative Parliament. In fact, parties and candidates are vehicles for getting our voices heard and most people are careful not to waste their vote by voting for a party that is certain to get into Parliament, even if another party might be better in their eyes. Some people just have the opportunity to take that tactical voting one step further. Like the people of Epsom.

If you’re a leftie in Epsom, you face two unsavoury choices – your MP will either be Nat Richard Worth or Act’s Rodney Hide. Word is, Hide’s support has suffered from his buffoonery and Worth could be in with a chance. If you give your candidate vote to Worth you could help him beat Hide and, in doing so, push ACT out of Parliament. That would be a major boost for the Left’s chances of forming the next government. So, keep your party vote with Labour or the Greens but hold your nose and tick Worth.

58 comments on “Vote smart: Epsom ”

  1. Lampie 1

    thank god i don’t live in epsom

  2. Scribe 2

    Word is, Hide’s support has suffered from his buffoonery and Worth could be in with a chance.

    Whose word, Steve?

    Word is Ravi Musuku could be in with a chance in Mt Albert because the ethnic communities don’t like prostitution reform or civil unions, which Helen Clark voted for.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    I objected to your Progressive electorate party voting Labour post, SP, because it was deliberately designed to increase the overhang and distort the proportionality of MMP as is likely to happen in the Maori seats. I also suggested your logic was flawed. With Anderton winning his seat, the marginal increase in votes for Anderton to win a second seat was the same as for the marginal increase for Labour to win an additional seat.

    I don’t object to you suggesting that left-wingers vote tactically to keep Act out of Parliament. That doesn’t distort proportionality. I doubt it will work, though, since Labour voters only account for about 25% of Epsom’s population. It will be the 75% of National voters in Epsom who decide who the local MP will be. I suspect they will overwhelmingly tick Hide, for the reason that he will bring in probably one more seat with him.

    At the current rate, the only way Labour can form a government is for NZ First to get back into Parliament. That is pretty much the bottom line in almost every analysis. Everything else you’ve talked about–guaranteeing an overhang for Anderton, knocking Hide out–only affects 1%. That’s not enough to govern. If you really wanted to advocate smart-voting, then the solution seems to be for Labour to make sure Winston’s 3% isn’t wasted.

    Either that means endorsing him in Tauranga and throwing a lot of effort into making sure he’s elected there, or getting more Labour voters to vote for NZ First to get him over the 5% threshhold.

  4. John Stevens 4

    I have also heard that support for Hide has increased recently so you are out of luck voting Worth as National voters will vote Hide, and National.
    Unlike dumb Labour voters they don’t need to be educated on how to strategically vote.

  5. Pat 5

    Or getting Labour voters in Rimutaka to give the electorate vote to Ron Mark.

  6. smokie 6

    Feeling left out Scribe?

    Harden up.

  7. higherstandard 7

    Yuck – if anyone wants to see what’s wrong with MMP look no further than this post.

  8. higherstandard 8

    I should’ve added – and the replies.

    captcha total Bolger ………. eh what

  9. MikeE 9

    Are you suggesting that the left would be better off with a bigoted social conservative tory like worth, than someone like Hide?

    Worth voted against everything the left stands for.

    While you might disagree with Hide on Economic matters, surely any social liberal would rather have someone who voted for:

    Legalising Prostituion
    Civil Unions
    Relationships Bill
    Voluntary Euthanasia (Death with Dignity Bill)
    Keeping the Drinking age at 18
    Against the BZP ban


    And when it comes to being an electorate MP who represents his constituents, Hide does a much better job than Worth ever did, supporting consituents from across the polical spectrum (Hell, Penny Bright – hardly a bastion of the vast right wing conspiracy is one of his fans!) ….

    I simply cannot see how a liberal left wing voter could prefer Worth as an electorate MP to Hide.

    Still full credit for those on the left having a better understanding of MMP than the Nats, who *still* seem to think its a FPP game!

  10. Scribe 10


    No. Should I be? Nice contribution from you, though.

    Just pointing out the shortcomings of SP’s post, and countless others with phrases like “we hear”, “word is”, “rumour has it”.

  11. Tane 11

    Scribe. It’s what you say when you’ve heard something through a source, but you can’t reveal that source. Take from it what you will, but do stop your whining.

  12. Tane 12

    HS. Nat supporters who vote Rodney to get ACT around the 5% threshold are gaming the system. I wouldn’t get too wound up about Labour or Green supporters voting Worth to keep ACT out.

    MikeE. Worth is getting in anyway. The Left is far better off without Hide and ACT in Parliament. If I want social freedoms I’ll vote Green – you can keep your economic darwinism.

  13. randal 13

    The word is that gnashnull are going down like a lead balloon. Having a notorious currency speculator like JOhn Keys has really turned the electorate off. People in New Zealand want security and a government they can trust and they know they will not get that under National.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    IMO, Rodney will be gone and ACT with him. That’s a gut feeling so I’m not putting any numbers on it.

  15. Tim Ellis 15

    Tane said:

    Scribe. It’s what you say when you’ve heard something through a source, but you can’t reveal that source.

    It’s also what you say, Tane, when you don’t have a source, so are just trying to make things up by trying to perpetuate a baseless rumour. You know, like the one that claimed John Key had donated a million dollars to the National Party in order to get the nomination for the safe seat of Helensville–the claim SP made not so long ago without any evidence.

    SP’s “word is”, in this instance, can only come from two possible sources: anecdotal reports from ordinary people on the ground in Epsom (hardly a secret source: he could just have said “friends in Epsom tell me that…” although that would be less authoratative than the secret-squirrel meme he’s trying to start. Or SP could have had a second source, like internal National Party or Act Party polling. Possible, I suppose, but if he had that information then he could have published it, without revealing the source of the material.

    One of the right-wing blogs published internal labour party polls on support in Auckland Central about a month ago, showing that even the labour party polling has Nikki Kaye ahead of Judith Tizard. I doubt anybody’s found the source of that leak just as if SP’s claim had any authority here, the source wouldn’t have been compromised if SP had reported an actual poll giving evidence to his claim.

  16. randal 16

    The word on the street is that New Zealand does not want a sub-prime minister and that is no lie.

  17. Scribe 17


    Scribe. It’s what you say when you’ve heard something through a source, but you can’t reveal that source. Take from it what you will, but do stop your whining.

    Thanks. As a journalist, I’m aware of the convention.

    Is Steve’s feeling from internal polling, a gut feeling, talking to dozens of Epsom voters? Or just some desire that he’s right and Rodney will lose Epsom, contrary to the only polling that’s been made public (showing him 30 points ahead)?

  18. Scribe 18

    You know, like the one that claimed John Key had donated a million dollars to the National Party in order to get the nomination for the safe seat of Helensvillethe claim SP made not so long ago without any evidence.

    Or the Nats offering a $10,000 reward for the identity of the “secret taper”.

  19. Tane 19

    Is Steve’s feeling from internal polling, a gut feeling, talking to dozens of Epsom voters?

    You’ll have to ask him youself. As a journalist you’ll know that even providing that information would help reveal the source.

    Or the Nats offering a $10,000 reward for the identity of the “secret taper’.

    I heard that one too. It was from a very reliable source.

  20. Felix 20

    If it’s any consolation to the lefties of Epsom, Richard Worth does seem like a genuinely decent man.

  21. J Mex 21

    “Word is, Hide’s support has suffered from his buffoonery and Worth could be in with a chance.”

    I’ll take a $100 bet with you Steve – Worthy charity of the winners choice (No pun intended) that Hide not only wins Epsom, but increases his majority.


  22. Lampie 22

    Thanks. As a journalist, I’m aware of the convention.

    when are journalists actually going to actually journalism instead of opinionated crap?

  23. Stephen 23

    Epsom 2005:
    Votes Percentage
    HIDE, Rodney (ACT) 15,251 42.62
    WORTH, Richard (NAT)12,149 33.95
    NASH, Stuart (LAB) 6,138 17.15
    LOCKE, Keith (GRE) 1,513 4.23
    TUCK, Janet (UF) 340 0.95


    I actually thought that Hide beat Worth by some distance! Impossible to say whether any *more* Labour or Green voters are going to suppress their conscience and vote Worth, but would certainly be a good option, if they value stuff other than what MikeE laid out above.

  24. Stephen 24

    Pretty odd/funny – the Greens , Labour and National all smash (to vary degrees) ACT in the party vote…

    National Party 21,310 58.51
    Labour Party 9,915 27.22
    Green Party 1,941 5.33
    ACT New Zealand 1,237 3.40
    New Zealand First Party 887 2.44
    United Future New Zealand 636 1.75

  25. jaymam 25

    On those figures Hide got 3,102 more votes than Worth.
    If around half of those 7,651 Labour & Green voters had voted for Worth last election (as they should have), ACT would have been gone forever 3 years ago and Labour would have had an extra MP. That’s the main reason why Labour voters should vote for Worth. There is no sensible reason why anybody in Epsom would vote for anybody but Worth or Hide.

    P.S. why do we not see ACT billboards with a picture of Roger Douglas with Vote for Me? Please could someone else put up one and authorise it?

  26. Even if all of those Labour/Green/UF voters, Hide would only need to win 2,500 voters off Worth to win.

    I’d bet he’ll win more than 2,500 off Worth, and nowhere near all of the Labour/Green/UF voters will vote for Worth.

  27. Tim Ellis 27

    That’s a good point, Stephen.

    The numbers appear to me to say quite clearly that Rodney Hide is the MP for Epsom because of the support of National Party voters in Epsom. Only 3.4% of voters voted for the Act Party. It’s unlikely many of of the people who voted for Rodney for the electorate came from Labour: they pretty much all came from National. Conversely, it was clear last time that many Labour Party voters voted for Worth in the electorate vote to try and keep Rodney out.

    That reinforces my point: National voters will decide who the MP for Epsom will be in 2008. If National voters decide that it is better to have two Act MPs by voting for Rodney as their electorate MP, then it will be very difficult for Labour to vote him out.

  28. jaymam 28

    The National supporters who spoke to me at Worth’s recent meeting were horrified at the thought of having Roger Douglas back. They will certainly not vote for Hide because of that.

  29. gobsmacked 29

    John Key, an Epsom voter, speaks:

    1. I will not accept Sir Roger Douglas in my cabinet, because of his “hard right agenda”.

    2. I want National supporters to vote for Rodney Hide, to make sure Sir Roger Douglas and the “hard right agenda” is in Parliament.

    Go figure.

  30. Sarah 30

    I can only judge from word of mouth around Epsom but i’m pretty sure Rodney has it in the bag. Most nats realise that they’ll need Act after the election and will vote for him regardless of his buffoonery.

  31. Tim Ellis 31

    jaymam said:

    The National supporters who spoke to me at Worth’s recent meeting were horrified at the thought of having Roger Douglas back. They will certainly not vote for Hide because of that.

    This is heresy in Act circles, but I’m not an Act supporter and there’s a big ring of truth to it. My reading is that Roger Douglas isn’t greatly adored by a big chunk of New Zealanders. He certainly is admired by about 2% of the population–pretty much everybody who votes Act already–but not anyone else.

    Act haven’t yet got close in polling to warrant a third MP. National will need Act in Parliament, if not having them in Parliament means the Nats can’t form a government. But once in Parliament National isn’t going to give Act much influence at all. They will have two, or at most three seats. In the short history of MMP, no party with so few seats has ever had significant influence on the government. National is certainly not going to give Douglas a Cabinet portfolio.

  32. Bren 32

    Out of the 15,251 votes that Hide got – 984 came from ACT voters, 12,513 came from National voters, 964 came from Labour voters and the rest from various sources.

    Worth got 12,149 votes, 8126 votes from National voters and 2419 from Labour.

    Stuart Nash got 5253 votes from Labour voters.

    Sure there is an arithmetic possibility that all those Labour voters could switch on over to Worth to kick Hide out but from all accounts Hide has maintained his support in Epsom. I say he’ll probably get more votes from National voters. I say there is a little chance of Worth unseating Hide unless the National voters of Epsom decide to switch back to him.

    Since there is no chance of a split vote letting in a Labour candidate I suppose there is nothing wrong with this strategy. On a personal level, as a left wing person myself, I don’t mind too much the presence of Hide and ACT in parliament – I would almost be sad if they weren’t there. Now, New Zealand First, that’s a party I’ve long wanted to see out.

  33. MikeE 33

    “The National supporters who spoke to me at Worth’s recent meeting were horrified at the thought of having Roger Douglas back. They will certainly not vote for Hide because of that.”

    Thats because National is a party of privelidge, just like labour, and the idea that someone might remove those privelidges is scary for the tories…

    Who wants to put some money on it (epsom results) then?

  34. Tane 34

    MikeE. Please explain to me what the wealthy and the propertied have to fear from Roger Douglas. I’m genuinely interested in how you’ve come to this conclusion.

    captcha: ‘wealthy detained’ – spooky.

  35. Felix 35

    Labour is a party of privilege? And ACT isn’t?


    Oh I see, you’re using “privilege” in the libertarian-ass-backwards-no-relation-to-real-life sense.

  36. randal 36

    Hooton is busy at headquarters taking every word or phrase and sending out orders to use it in that libertarian-ass-backwards-no-realtion-to-reality. He’s flat out.

  37. Tane 37

    But Felix, the ACT Party, in its majestic attack on privilege, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

    Why are you defending privilege, Felix?

  38. marco 38

    MMP in New Zealand, like Richard Worth, is a joke. Rodney should carry the electorate fairly easily because every educated National voter will back him, after all they need him to form a government.
    Then we either get what we have had with Labour (a virtually ineffective coalition government) or, we will get a government to far to the right.
    If National or Labour can manage to hold a solid majority then we should at least get some firm direction, but because both parties are trying to pander to potential coalition partners we are stuck with weak policies that offer no solutions.

  39. Anita 39


    Please explain to me what the wealthy and the propertied have to fear from Roger Douglas.

    He’ll let the private health sector cream off the easy work leaving the public health system struggling with the most complex and rare illnesses, then let the public system sink. No matter how wealthy and propertied you are if there’s no capacity/skill/facility to look after you and your complex illness you’ll end up worse off (or dead).

  40. Tane 40

    Yeah, and I guess he’ll stop all those privileged union members from negotiating better pay and conditions than non-union members. Privilege, it’s a terrible thing.

  41. randal 41

    Its easy to be a rightwinger. Just get out the clubs and the guns and people will do what you want. It takes brains, thought, conscience and a sense of decency to run a social democratic state properly where everybody getsa fair shake.

  42. Anita 42


    It’s easy to be a rich, healthy, well-educated, highly-paid, born-to-money rightwinger in the first world.

    It would kinda suck to be a rightwinger if you were chronically ill, or dyslexic, or trapped by your family’s poverty. I wonder why we don’t see many of them? 🙂

  43. mike 43

    Just shows how arogant you lefties are that you think you need to instruct your followers how to vote.

    Your problem steve is that the good people of Epsom are a tad sharper than your average labour sheep and will have worked it out long ago.

  44. Pascal's bookie 44

    The way these righties keep bangin on about smart they is when it comes to the ‘lekshuns, you’d think they might’ve won one this century.

  45. Rodel 45

    Saw and heard Roger Douglas the other night at the Court Theatre election debate in Christchurch.
    Confirmed my opinion that it is wise to retire with some dignity and not come back .
    It was embarrassing to see him being laughed at, by left and right, not for his ideology but his incoherence and inability to focus as he once used to.
    Anderton is an alert youngster in comparison.
    A sad mistake Rodney.

  46. Pascal's bookie 46

    Completely off topic fact of the day:

    The last presidential race won by the Republican party, without having either a Bush or a Nixon on the ticket was …
    Hoover/Curtis . 1928

    h/t washingtonmonthly.


  47. Mello C. 47

    I’m a Rimutaka voter. I think I’ll watch the polls until the last minute before deciding whether or not to vote Ron Mark. I’d love to vote how I want, for Chris Hipkins (Labour) and the Green Party, but ah, well, such is MMP.

    How I’d relish a Parliament without NZ First though.

  48. “It takes brains, thought, conscience and a sense of decency to run a social democratic state properly where everybody getsa fair shake.”

    and the ever present threat of the state to confiscate your property and throw you in jail for not following its regulations and paying its taxes. Don’t anyone pretend that the state is anything other than the monopoly holder of legitimised violence. The argument is how much violence it should apply, and to whom, and what to do with the money it takes by force.

    I find it particularly bizarre that so many want the state to do their caring for them, and think if it wasn’t taking taxes off them that they wouldn’t be bothered helping people who were worse off than themselves.

  49. T-Rex 49

    “I find it particularly bizarre that so many want the state to do their caring for them, and think if it wasn’t taking taxes off them that they wouldn’t be bothered helping people who were worse off than themselves.”

    Liberty, now that you’ve finished reading Rand you should go and read up on distributed responsibility. I know what you mean, and yes, there ARE people like that, but the reason I like to “contract some of my caring out to the state” is that its vastly more efficient to do it that way than for my to pick pet projects to care about on a case by case basis. Not to mention fairer, more sustainable, and more equitable.

    As for the states “monopoly on legitimised violence” – I wouldn’t get too excited about that tack considering you’re coming across like a classic libertarian at the moment and their stated utopia is basically “the state has no role other than to do violence in order to protect my property rights”. As for “anything other than”: you obviously mean “anything other than all public services, numerous as they are”. Libraries, hospitals, parks, roads, social welfare, environmental management, national reserves, civil defense….

    Try not to be a retard.

    Same goes for you actually Randal, you’ve been significantly worse to have around than the majority of the right leaning commentators on this site for some time now. What gives? Even if the left lose this election it doesn’t give you any right nor cause to decend into brainless extremist anti-capitalist hate-speech.

  50. vidiot 50

    So Steve when will we see a Vote Smart: Mangere ?

    The chance of the NZ Pacific Party (Taito Philip Field) lifting this ‘crown jewel’ seat are by all accounts quite high. What’s your guidance & wisdom on this one Steve ?

  51. Tim Ellis 51

    Same goes for you actually Randal, you’ve been significantly worse to have around than the majority of the right leaning commentators on this site for some time now. What gives? Even if the left lose this election it doesn’t give you any right nor cause to decend into brainless extremist anti-capitalist hate-speech.

    I’ve said before T-Rex, because I’ve often wondered it, that I think Randal is a right-winger pretending to be a left-wing troll. The most incriminating evidence was recently when he said something to the effect: “Piss off you right winger, this is a Labour Party site and we can write what we like”.

  52. Even though I live in the electorate, I can’t verify Steve’s tip that “Hide’s support has suffered from his buffoonery and Worth could be in with a chance”. That’s because none of the many people I know who live here would ever vote for Hide in the first place. In fact, I think that there must be three degrees of separation between me and any Hide-voter.

    But I, and everybody else I know here, will be voting for Richard Worth again, just in case it should be close. We don’t need Steve to alert us to this, but thanks.

    Tim makes a very good point (two, if you include his assertion that Randal is a right-winger pretending to be a left-wing troll) when he says, “If you really wanted to advocate smart-voting, then the solution seems to be for Labour to make sure Winston’s 3% isn’t wasted.”

    Right now, I know a lot of people who would normally vote Labour who are leaning Green. Ruling National out and Labour in was a smart move for the Greens. But it has been occurring to some of us that ensuring a left government might require getting NZ First over the 5% threshhold, however unsavoury the thought. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the polls say closer to the date. (And to think that Peters wanted to ban the polls that could yet save him.)

  53. bill brown 53

    Trouble with all this strategic voting is that you don’t know enough about how others are going to vote so you could end up wasting your vote.

    Better to just vote with you conscience – that way when it’s all over you can at least feel good in yourself no matter what you’ve done, rather than wake up to find Peter’s got 15% and you voted for him too!

  54. Bill Brown: “Trouble with all this strategic voting is that you don’t know enough about how others are going to vote so you could end up wasting your vote.”

    Umm, Bill, that’s why I said “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the polls say closer to the date.”

    I’ve been really impressed with NZers’ capacity to vote tactically in previous elections, and can’t see things changing this time.

  55. Lew 55

    Even ignoring the fact that Rodney Hide is one of the few genuinely known quantities in NZ politics (in that he can be relied upon to stand on his principles), and is on that grounds less unworthy than most, this stratagem in this electorate is really a piss in the wind. Richard Worth isn’t campaigning to win the electorate seat – he’s campaigning to increase the party vote for National in Epsom, according to his statements to the Herald that “How people decide to cast their constituency vote is an issue for them.” With even the Nats voting for Rodney, the few lefties in that most leafy of electorates really just have the party vote.


  56. Chris G 56

    This all sounds much more fun than my boring Ohariu electorate where that idiot Dunne wins it everytime. I wish we could strategically vote his ass outta here.

  57. Dom 57

    Hey Chris G – we’re in Ohariu too.

    Another party could take that electorate with a good candidate who was prepared to put in some spade-work in the next three years. Dunne will likely win again but I’m hoping it’s his last…the idea of him as my electorate MP makes me ill.

    Definitely voting Chauvel. Not that I would ever vote for a Nat MP (though in Epsom I would be tempted…) but Shanks can’t even pronounce Ohariu correctly!

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