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What does National do in Epsom?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 19th, 2020 - 33 comments
Categories: act, david seymour, election 2020, national, paul goldsmith, paula bennett, Politics, polls, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

Last night’s Reid Research Newshub poll result will be reverberating through National’s caucus.  Their basic problem is that their support is in steep decline and this decline shows no signs of slowing down.  Whatever they are doing it is not working.

With support down to 30% they are facing the loss of 20 seats and could be down to 35 or so.  And given they currently hold 41 electorate seats this is a big problem for them. No doubt they will lose electorate seats and individual seat results may vary but the fight for list seats will become chronic.

In 2002 they gained 21 electorate seats and 6 list positions.  This time the result could be similar.

Simon Bridges’ 11,000 majority in Tauranga is on this poll result marginal.  If he survives the next few months he may have to rely on the list to get back in.  Paula Bennett will presumably take number 2 position.  But the risk starts increasing that the next position is the position that misses out.

So what does Paul Goldsmith do?  He is in the safest National seat in the country and has dutifully not campaigned for the seat previously as part of the bastardisation of proportionality that the Epsom deal causes.  But why should National continue with the deal?  It is not as if that extra seat may swing the election for them.  This is race for the lifeboats time.  This is not the time to eke out as many partners as possible on the off chance they could form a government.

Goldsmith is one of National’s better performers.  They cannot afford to lose their talented MPs from the house.   They have a rebuild job to do.

The temptation must be that this election there will be no sweetheart deal.  It is not as if ACT is currently helping National in any way.  And National need the seats.

So get ready for no cup of tea this time.  And a bare knuckle brawl between a party fighting for its existence and a party fighting for its relevance.

33 comments on “What does National do in Epsom?”

  1. CnrJoe 1

    Goldsmith pulling out Seymours hoardings ŤHÍŞ time? 😂😂😂😂😂

  2. dv 2

    What are they going to do with Luxton?

    Nice safe electorate seat- so who will be retired?

    List?

    On these numbers no one gets in from the list.

    • froggleblocks 2.1

      He's contesting Botany against Jaime Lee-Ross. A very safe seat for National, so JLR gave them a perfect opportunity to parachute Luxon in to a safe seat.

  3. Andre 3

    It doesn't look like much of a Nat conundrum to me. Keep the sock-puppet going and put Goldsmith high enough on the list that he's comfortable. They should be able to put him at least as high as #5, maybe even #3.

    Look at who was above him in 2017. Of the list MPs elected in 2017 elected above him, English, Joyce, Finlayson are gone, and Woodlouse and Carter epitomise "deadwood overdue for pruning". Of those above him that won their electorate, the only high performer in a competitive electorate is Nikki Kaye. The rest are either in safe electorates or more deadwood. Actually, mostly both.

    So the Nats list could put Goldsmith #3 without putting many noses out of joint, or worst case Kaye and Luxon ahead of Goldsmith.

    That allows the Epsom rort to continue unabated by sending the very strong signal that Epsom can get themselves two MPs while everyone else only gets one, because they're entitled.

    And it's in National's interest to continue the rort. Because there will always be a population segment for whom the Nats are insufficiently reactionary to vote for, just like there are those prominently represented here on TS for whom no party can apparently ever be left enough. ACT mops up that vote nicely, rather than let it go to waste.

    Let alone the possibility of ACT gaining an overhang in years the Nats do well, thereby gaining the Nats some freebie over-representation in Parliament.

    • mikesh 3.1

      They would probably want to keep Seymour in the Epsom seat as he may bring one, or even two, MPs into parliament with him. The problem is that at 30% they may finish with no list seats. That wouldn't matter much, were it not for the loss of Woodhouse. Perhaps they need to find the latter a safe seat.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Michelle Boag told Ryan Bridge on the AM Show earlier that National absolutely still need ACT. I hardly ever agree with her but believe her view is significant as a signal to Nat voters.

    Goldsmith is looming as the real defender of neoliberalism, so National will have to protect him somehow. It's not as if they have a plan B and agree that the changed world requires orthodoxy be abandoned. Conservatives don't change to suit circumstances – they know that pretending all is well keeps business as usual going. They've been wearing those suits since the 19th century and too late to stop now.

  5. Heather 5

    Do you really think their golden boy Luxton, will do it for them?

    He has not really caused any excitement, came across as a self rightious, pontificating, religious damp squib.

    Is that what the country needs now? I do not think so. Makes JLR looks quite compassionate.

    [Fixed errors in e-mail address]

    • Peter 5.1

      Though provoking comment. The narrative from some quarters has relentlessly been that Ardern is shallow, out of her depth, doesn't know anything, a little girl,' whose only ability was to work in a takeaways shop and be on the cover of magazines.

      Luxton is their 'golden boy.' I don't know what he is like. You say he came across as a 'self rightious, pontificating, religious damp squib.' I've got no idea about those things.

      You say has not really caused any excitement but how is it that there is even the thought that at a click of the fingers he can be the leader of a major party and PM?

      The despising of Ardern by some is because they say she's a created image a mirage which has sucked people in. And now the created image, mirage method is being used to project someone who's never been in that environment to move from Botany to the Beehive.

      And the 'media created persona' of Ardern so regularly attacked as being a disgusting tactic? A political columnist for a leading NZ media outfit said of Luxon, 'National's new supposed superstar.' What?

  6. tc 6

    Methinks it will be business as usual in Epsom Mickey.

    Compliant national voters do as head office instructs which will be rimmer just as blinky and rortney benefitted before.

    Wonder how many jonolists grill JK about it and who he’s voting for.

  7. Tricledrown 7

    If Winston ran in Tauranga and labour and Greens gave their electorate vote to Winston that would put an end to Keys plan.

    • Ad 7.1

      It's time the Greens persuaded Labour to withdraw their candidate from Nelson.

      Labour are in just as bad a need of a coalition partner.

      The quid pro quo is the Greens withdraw their candidate from Auckland Central.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Yes. National and ACT have done this in Epsom for so long now with virtually no electorate blowback it can be sold as a legitimate MMP strategy. Effectively it allows us to keep a relatively onerous 5% threshold for new untested parties, but allows established minor Parties like NZ1 and Greens to maintain continuity. It's not a bad compromise.

        And it's an inherently self-limiting one because it only requires a horse trade on one electorate, it can't spiral out of control.

        Perhaps we could take the idea one step further and put a lower limit of say 2%, where an electorate MP no longer qualified for proportionality.

      • McFlock 7.1.2

        Nah.

        Tory voters expect tory voters to do dirty deals.

        Many Green voters will be alienated by cynical manipulation of the system.

        Besides, the Greens usually campaign well, unless blindsided by a truck.

  8. Tricledrown 8

    No need to withdraw candidate as that would lower the list vote.

    Do what National do in Epsom.

  9. AB 9

    Goldsmith is a cold-blooded 1990's neoliberal – ironically more in tune with ACT voters than many Nat supporters other than a hard-right business rump. There's no great loss for National in sacrificing him and maintaining the Epsom rort, because he's not the future.. This is also why Luxon is likely to be a false hope. The Nat's future is in right wing populism – Paula, Judith or any emerging younger faces. Combine a brutal attitude to the lower orders, some down homey self-congratulatory language about how great 'Kiwis' are, relentless siphoning of wealth upwards, and a false patina of economic competence – job done.

  10. KJT 10

    National's perennial policy of stirring up hate for the other, the poor, homeless and beneficiaries, is not going to fly this time.

    When almost their entire constituency are now dependant on welfare.

    So. They will depend on their second line of offense. Lie repeatedly and in unison along with their sychophants about "economic competence" and a new "plan" that is the same as their old plan.

    Unless they can find someone else to stir up hate about. Possibly older people, to try and get back some younger voters.

  11. clare 11

    yes but..

    on the poll numbers if ACT has epsom they would be entitled to two seats

    "Translated to Seats: Labour: 72, Greens 7 National: 39, ACT 2"

    so maintaining the rort is worth one extra seat for the nasties. not sure if there'd be an overhang, because the five parties account for only 97.1% of the total

  12. Treetop 12

    National will not put a candidate up in Epsom. They need Seymour to increase the Act Party vote overall, providing Seymour declares that he will only support the National Party.

    Messing with Seymour's electorate vote will split the electorate vote. A National candidate would need to be really good to oust Seymour. Put that National electorate candidate where they can win a seat.

    What would National gain in ousting Seymour from Epsom?

  13. Gosman 13

    You are assuming that Epsom voters won't vote for David Seymour regardless of what National decides to do. Remember Rodney Hide won Epsom initially without a nod and a wink from National at the time. David Seymour is by many accounts a very popular local two term electorate MP. Epsom voters are among the more political savvy in the country. I think they would be foolish to vote for Goldsmith when they will get at least two if not more extra Centre Right MP's.

    • mickysavage 13.1

      Maybe but this post relates to National’s decision whether or not to gift the seat to ACT. I agree it is not a foregone conclusion that National would win it although Hide did beat Richard Worth who had his own particular issues and weaknesses.

    • Muttonbird 13.2

      Centre right? Seymour wants to dismantle teacher unions and give parents education vouchers.

  14. weasel 14

    Surely Epsom is in the hands of Labour voters. There were 7067 votes for Labour's David Parker in Epsom in 2017. If those 7000 hold their noses and cast their constituency vote for National, then added to the 10,986 National voters who could not stomach voting for ACT's Seymour they would have outnumbered Seymour's 16,505 votes. Naturally, the Labour voters would still give their party vote to Labour. The end result might be two extra seats to the good guys in the 2020 election given ACT may get 2 seats if Seymour wins. It sometimes goes against the grain to vote tactically but often needs must.

  15. Phil 15

    FWIW, here's what I would do in Goldsmith's shoes: Be the team player, cede the seat to ACT again, hope that you're *low enough* on the list that you're out of parliament for the next three years through no fault of your own.

    Goldsmith is 49. He has already been in parliament for nine years and if the polling now is even remotely representative of the electoral outcome later in the year, the National party caucus isn't going to be much fun for the next three years. If Goldsmith's ambition is to be party leader then spending the next three years outside of parliament would be a good for recharging his batteries before a second stint in parliament. The connections made after nearly a decade in politics means he won't be short of job offers, either.

  16. observer 16

    I don't think Goldsmith has been selected as the Epsom candidate yet (correct me if wrong, any news?).

    In any event, it's OK for an obscure backbencher to lose deliberately, but he isn't that any more. He's the would-be Finance Minister. It's embarrassing to stand up and say "here's my plan for the economy, it's a winner, trust me – and please don't vote for me".

    So he shouldn't stand in the electorate at all. I'm guessing he won't. List-only is much better for a Finance Minister, there's plenty of precedent (Cullen, English, Joyce).

    If I'm right, the choice of replacement candidate will show us National's intentions. If they pick a sacrificial lamb, it's no change.

  17. RedBaronCV 17

    Is there anything labour & the greens can do to help this little situation along?

    I remember James Shaw offering at one point to Seymour to make just the Epsom electorate an RMA free zone in line with Act policy. Are there any other Act policies that could be implemented just for that electorate. Have only charter schools say plus no public transport, no unemployement benefit , no public health system. Offer to give the electorate what it is voting for and see if Seymour remains that attractive?

  18. georgecom 18

    what would be really pleasing is to see Goldsmith actually campaign for the seat if his political career depended on it. Regardless of what Simon says, feel the desperation and campaign hard for the seat irrespective of any sweetheart deal National offer act. That would have Seymour squealing, cause some real panic for him and a real chance of erasing ACT from parliament for good. Have the acid put on Goldsmith which forces him to have a real scrap with Seymour,sit back and enjoy the battle.

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