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What should Labour and the Greens do in Ilam?

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, March 11th, 2017 - 48 comments
Categories: Gerry Brownlee, national, Politics - Tags: ,

In a fascinating development Christchurch City Councillor Raf Manji has announced that he will be contesting the seat of Ilam against Christchurch Rebuild Minister Gerry Brownlee in the 2017 election.

The seat is and always has been a National stronghold and has been won by Brownlee since it was created in 1996. Last election his majority was 11,898. Normally it would not be in play.

But Manji, who is a local councillor, is well respected and could do Brownlee’s chances some damage. As far as I can tell his ward, Waimairi, occupies at least some of the same area as the Ilam seat. And he is highly regarded and does a good job managing Christchurch’s finances. So things could get interesting.

From Stuff:

Christchurch City councillor Raf Manji says he has the support of National Party voters in Ilam and believes he can beat incumbent Gerry Brownlee in this year’s general election.

Manji confirmed on Friday he is standing as an independent candidate in Christchurch’s Ilam electorate, after Stuff revealed the Waimairi ward councillor was considering making a play for the seat.

He believes that he has a chance.

 

Manji accepted National was “very strong” in Ilam, but believed that was changing.

“I’ve had two elections here over the last three-and-a-half years, and won both of those, and the feedback I get is people want some change and they want a different perspective and a different type of leadership as well.

“The way way that I’m approaching it is people can still vote for their party, and that’s actually what the real vote is, but they can have me as an electorate candidate.

“I think the challenges for Christchurch are actually still very large, we’ve got another five to 10 years ahead of us and we seem to have no plan for what’s going to happen.”

 

Manji should be a card carrying member of National.  He previously worked for the same Merchant Bank that John Key worked for and spent a decade working in London’s Financial markets.

But clearly he is upset at National’s handling of the rebuild.  Brownlee’s disdain for heritage, and his autocratic mode of dealing with issues and blaming others for any mistake mean that Manji obviously thinks he has nothing to lose.

Labour’s candidate is Anthony Rimmell who Manji bet easily in the last Council election.  The Green candidate is David Lee who is a Wellington City Councillor and has some unusual ideas about campaigning.

This can be tough on candidates who generally immerse themselves into campaigns and give it their all.  But some sort of accommodation with Manji should be considered.  Because if anyone could beat Brownlee it would be him.

48 comments on “What should Labour and the Greens do in Ilam?”

  1. mikesh 1

    National voters who vote for Manji will still party vote National and, in any case, if Manji wins the seat he will probably support National in parliament. I think Labour and the Greens should stand candidates in that electorate to try and increase their respective party votes.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I agree but … imagine the look if Brownlee lost the seat.

      Actually it could be an Epsom scenario although from what I know of Manji he would as a minimum not be an un critical supporter of National.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.1.1

        Stand either a Labour or Green candidate, not both. Nats votes could be split.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Looks like the Green candidate is only there for the party vote. Hard to see the benefit for the Greens of not standing. Labour will stand because they stand in every electorate.

      • mikesh 1.1.2

        I agree it would be worthwhile having a “virtuous” National supporter in parliament, keeping them honest, but Gerry will get in anyway as a list MP if he doesn’t win the seat and, as in Ohariu, there is the overhang factor to consider; National will receive all the seats their party vote entitles them to but will receive an extra seat, in support, over and above those, if Manji wins.

        • Psycho Milt 1.1.2.1

          National will receive all the seats their party vote entitles them to but will receive an extra seat, in support, over and above those, if Manji wins.

          Exactly. Forget the schadenfreude possibilities if Brownlee were to lose, the possibility of National ending up with two more MPs than its party vote entitles it to should have the left scrambling to make sure Brownlee retains the seat.

          • Antoine 1.1.2.1.1

            Also, if Manji wins, he can start a small right-wing political party and potentially get people in on his coattails in 2020…

            However I don’t think he is going to win (unfortunately).

            A.

  2. Anne 2

    Stand aside and leave the floor to Manji?

    It could pay off at election time if a Labour-led coalition is on the cusp of winning a majority but needs one or two extras willing to support supply measures etc. and make their position more comfortable – not unlike the current Nat-led coalition of today.

  3. The Fairy Godmother 3

    Interesting. But lets say Manji wins the seat. who would he go into coalition with? Would he support National? If so it would mean that National looses Ilam but gets another list MP so we have the Dunne senario all over again. I would be very careful about this.

      • The Fairy Godmother 3.1.1

        If it looked like Manji could win with Brownlee coming second I would hold my nose and vote for Brownlee and party vote Labour if I lived in Ilam.

        • Chris 3.1.1.1

          Do not ever vote for Brownlee because is a complete and utter self-serving pig who needs to be ousted ASAP. He is filth.

    • AB 3.2

      Spot on. It would be the ‘Epsomising’ of Ilam and a total disaster.
      Best thing to do with Gerry would be to leave a trail of pies from Fendalton to a security door emblazoned with “Do not Enter” and suspended above the deepest, fastest stretch of the Waimakariri …
      (Sorry, body-shaming. I apologise unreservedly)

  4. As an Ilam resident of 36 years, and one who voted for Raf Manji in the 2013 local government elections (a boundary change meant I could not vote for him last year), I just want to point out that Raf has been good for Christchurch. The Council finances needed a tidy up after the quakes and a semblance of control restored. There were many different competing priorities and I don’t think the financial committee under Bob Parker knew what it was doing.

    Although I disagreed with him on housing, he has been pretty pragmatic about how Christchurch City Council should prioritize its spending. There is still some silly stuff happening, like art purchases I don’t believe we need. This is where the money could be better spent on making facilities more accessible to those with mobility issues, putting in more rubbish bins so the city is cleaner or clearing them more frequently and so forth.

    But of this potential scrap with Gerry?

    BRING IT ON.

    He did not attend the 2014 or 2011 Meet the Candidate events where the public got a chance to grill the prospective candidates. Voters seem content with a familiar face rather than a competent one – there are areas of low income housing around Aorangi Road, Brookside Terrace, Christian Street and so forth.

  5. Ad 5

    11,000 and a Cabinet Minister? Stop inhaling Mickey.

    Only chance for electoral change is if English calculates he needs another coalition partner and actively shoves voters Manji’s way. Unnecessary on current polls.

    Not impossible, just highly unlikely.

  6. Tamati 6

    Not a chance.

    People often call Fendalton the Remuera of the South, however it’s much closer to London’s Kensington that Remuera.

    Full of born to rule aristocractic families who have been living there since the 1870s. People there will actually look down on you if you went to the ‘wrong’ school.

    The fact that Gerry has fucked over the poor people out East, Will probably gain him votes in Fendalton.

  7. RedBaronCV 7

    If I remember correctly the Nact’s wanted the ChCH City Council to privatise some of it’s profitable companies (the power company for one) and put the money into the rebuild.
    Now again, IRRC someone in Chch did an end run around this by handing over the company income for a certain number of years to ACC? Super Fund? in return for a lump sum up front and then the income reverts to the council in the future.

    Made them a largely worthless sale. Was this Manji?

    • greywarshark 7.1

      redBaronCV
      That sounds like a financier type of deal. But one that was quite clever in serving all interests. Sounds like it gained immediate money, in exchange for a period with little income or none, but still retaining and regaining the asset at the end. Not a worthless sale at all. Emergency cash flow measures rather. I don’t know about that financial deal, but do know that Christchurch has struggled sometimes urgently, to get the money it needs without being asset stripped.

      What a great lot of comments about this bloke who makes good noises on the media, seemingly backed up with practical, intelligent actions. All the commenters have different scenarios and everyone with an opinion explaining the background leading to possible future result. So diverse. I don’t know where to put my bet, and the odds? Keep discussing.

    • millsy 7.2

      I think the Hawkes Bay RC did this with its leasehold properties.

  8. Keith 8

    He’s National in everything but name. All you’d be voting in another rich boy Tory to replace an arrogant tired Tory. Same shit, different bucket.

    Better to leave him to split the National vote like McVicar did in Napier.

  9. Cynical jester 9

    It would be amazing for Gerry to lose his seat but we’re dreaming. Hillary Clinton has a better shot at being named president this afternoon. That seat is hardcore national and gerry embodies its personality very well, these are the people who received little damage but whose homes were fixed at first priority. Raf is the guy who said when asked about a budget shortfall said “wouldn’t it be great if chch had two million people” claimed it should be illegal to walk home drunk and that people who go to hospital with injuries related to alcohol shouldn’t be seen which is nonsense, he seems like a nice guy and the best but those snobby wankers will never vote for anything other than self interest.

    • Ian 9.1

      Gerry lost his house in the earthquake but has not made a big deal out of it.Took a while to fix.

  10. mac1 10

    Party vote is paramount.

    If Labour or Greens do not contest Ilam then party vote might diminish a bit, but the result in Ilam will not affect the party vote determinant of the constitution of Parliamentary seats.

    If Labour does not contest Ilam, then I can no longer taunt National for not being fully National when it does the same. It would have about the same effect upon National- my taunts or Labour not standing- SFA.

    It’s also what National does. Labour and the Greens would be tarred with the same brush.

    I can’t see a benefit to outweigh the cons, frankly.

  11. repateet 11

    The good folk of Ilam will vote for Gerry. They will roll on their backs and let him tickle their tummies while they blithely ignore their neighbours he stomped all over to reach them.
    Any impediments to a speedy journey for him will be circumvented, airport security style. The only likely hold-up will be a stop for an ice-cream and pie on the way.

  12. Keir Leslie 12

    This is a terrible, terrible idea.

    Raf Manji is a centre-right councillor who governs from that perspective: centre-right, pro-asset-sales, anti-Living Wage, anti-social housing etc.

    His major solution to the Council’s financial difficulty was a fire-sale of the Council owned companies. The RMTU, EPMU, SFWU, PSA, local Labour MPs & councillors all had to dig in and fight to avoid this disastrous, ruinous programme of seeking to sell the Port, CityCare, Orion, Red Bus etc etc to overseas buyers. They managed to succeed, and that is what has driven the Council’s financial strategy, not Raf’s short-termist asset sales agenda.

    He isn’t at all left, so why should Labour step aside for him? From a strategic point of view, Gerry isn’t any better or worse than any other National MP, and he’ll get in on the list anyway. As others have pointed out up thread, Raf winning would simply create an overhang, and there’s no good reason to think he’d do anything but prop up a National government — that’s his ideological background.

    • mickysavage 12.1

      So he would be like Brownlee but without the aggression?

      • Keir Leslie 12.1.1

        Like Brownlee, but without the aggression and with an overhang and a sense of disappointment from leftie voters in Ilam we’d abandoned them to two rich tory boys.

        I also think there’s a long term disadvantage to giving right candidates the veneer of centrism which we should be careful of, and frankly, Manji’s got very little chance of winning so we may as well stand on principle.

        • mickysavage 12.1.1.1

          I will repeat a comment I made below.

          This post is not a hard proposal for [Rimmell] to stand down. It notes the fact that Manji is standing and is to float an idea. Having read the wisdom of the crowd I am coming to the view that Manji standing presents a great opportunity to split the vote and open the way up for you.

          The Greens may wish to reconsider standing a candidate although that is their call.

          • Macro 12.1.1.1.1

            Micky – in almost every electorate the Green candidate does not run for a double tick. In fact there have only been a handful of occasions where the Party has agreed for a candidate to run for the Electorate vote as well as the Party vote. Why? Because a candidate vote at the expensive of the Party vote is a wasted vote as far as the Greens are concerned. When someone comes up to a candidate and says “I gave you my vote”… nice, but if they voted for another Party, as far as the Greens are concerned – that is a waste of time.
            David Lee has what it takes to represent the Greens in Ilam – a staunchly conservative electorate. He is not seeking candidature, but is there solely to present Green Party policy, to an electorate that is uniquely “blue”. He will have achieved his goal if he increases the Green Party vote, and achieves zero Electorate votes.

  13. Cynical jester 13

    Oh hes running as an independent my bad. Hmmm still i think my dead grandma will do a backflip before national loses that seat

  14. Michael 14

    Labour should withdraw its candidate and advise anyone in Ilam who supports it to vote against Brownlee. Whatever it takes to get the Nats out.

    • weka 14.1

      I suggest you read the comments because there are some good explanations for why under MMP that strategy might give NACT another seat.

  15. Anthony Rimell 15

    As the Labour Party candidate in Ilam I’m standing to grow the party vote and change the Government.

    This needs to be THE priority in 2017.

    I note Manji’s decision to run, and the opportunity we will all have to debate the policies that will make a real difference for kiwis – especially our most vulnerable.

    Policies such as affordable housing, available health care, available education

    Whether it’s Brownlee, Lee, Manji – or me – the people of Ilam need to hear our vision and vote for what they believe is best for New Zealand.

    I believe Labour’s vision is the best one: that’s why I’ll continue to run, and to fight to have those policies heard.

    • weka 15.1

      Nice one.

    • mickysavage 15.2

      On ya Anthony.

      This post is not a hard proposal for you to stand down. It notes the fact that Manji is standing and is to float an idea. Having read the wisdom of the crowd I am coming to the view that Manji standing presents a great opportunity to split the vote and open the way up for you.

      The Greens may wish to reconsider standing a candidate although that is their call.

  16. weka 16

    Looking at the numbers,

    The total right vote (N, Act, Conservative) was 21,500
    The total left vote (L, G) was 12,300

    So if Manji gets a big chunk of the right vote, there is a chance of a left candidate winning (if Manji gets more than 9,200 votes). Presumably in this instance that should be Labour with the Greens standing aside. It’s hard to see what the gain would be there of the Greens giving up their party vote campaigning. Although I’m not sure if there is any reason that a party can’t campaign in an electorate if they’re not standing there. Is that a funding issue?

    • Ben Clark 16.1

      Standing in the seat gets you invited to all the local debates, which you might be discluded from otherwise. So it does make sense for Greens to stand, even if they then say at every debate/opportunity: Party Vote Green, Candidate Vote Labour.

      It’s also useful having someone dedicated to that area’s party vote campaign.

  17. Daniel 17

    An independent winning an electorate seat doesn’t create an overhang. From the Electoral Commission website:

    “If an electorate seat is won by a candidate not representing a party contesting the party vote, the Electoral Commission subtracts that number of seats from 120, and works out the allocation of seats between registered parties based on that lower number.”

    If Manji wins, seat allocations are calculated as if it were a 119-seat parliament – in effect, another party loses one list seat. As the (presumed) largest party, this will most likely come from National, in which case it means no net change to the balance of power (assuming Manji supports National on most issues) – but the lost seat could come from one of the current opposition parties, in which case it would be an extra seat for the right wing.

    (If the 120th quotient seat was allocated to a minor party with one or more electorate seats, and an insufficient party vote to get additional list seats, Manji’s election could cause an overhang, but the minor party’s seat would be the overhanger, not Manji’s seat. The effective outcome would be one more seat for the right)

    Again, assuming Manji will give National at least support on confidence, his election would be either neutral or negative for Labour/Greens and the balance of power. L/G should hope Manji does not get elected.

    Either you could encourage L/G voters to vote Brownlee, at the risk of driving down L/G party vote, and being accused of ‘dirty deals’, etc, or you could hope to come through the middle in the case of a split vote and encourage Green voters to vote for Rimell (and maybe the GP should withdraw their candidate), but this also runs the risk of being dubbed a ‘dirty deal’, although it at least seems less ‘dirty’ to ask left voters to coalesce around a left candidate to keep out a righty, than to ask left voters to support a right candidate to keep another right candidate out.

    It may be best for L/G to just stick to their regular campaigning, avoiding the ‘deals’ narrative, and hope that the electorate sticks with Brownlee, rather than pushing for an unlikely symbolic victory for Rimell that won’t change the balance of power, but I guess it will depend how seriously Manji is being taken, and how polls are looking, closer to the day.

  18. mosa 18

    I have found myself to be in the electorate of Ilam after moving north from Dunedin and having Todd Barclay as my MP in Clutha-Southland another Tory seat last held by Bill English, now i have got Big Brownie instead which does not fill me with joy.

    I have seven months to familiarise myself with the local area and issues ahead of the general election but my limited knowledge tells me that the National party has done very well in Christchurch and in the previously held safe Christchurch Central Labour seat has gone to Nicky Wagner of the National party since 2011 but Duncan Wbb for Labour is making a serious run and the infamous Poto Williams represents Christchurch Eat for Labour of course.

    But the all important party vote has favoured National.

    The Greens have David Lee (a former young Nat and election campaigner for Murray McCully) who is currently a Wellington city councilor running in Ilam in September but is only contesting the electorate vote and is not on the list and considers Brownlee his “mentor”.

    With that background and affection for the sitting MP i hope he is sure that it is the Greens he wants to represent.

    In the meantime i am prepared to “drop, cover, hold” should it be necessary.

  19. DoublePlusGood 19

    The real question in all this is why the hell the Green party have a National party sycophant as a Wellington councilor under their banner, and why they think it’s appropriate to run said Wellingtonian in the seat of Ilam.

  20. Antoine 20

    The suggestion on Kiwiblog is that Raf knows he can’t beat Brownlee in 2017 but also that Brownlee won’t be around forever. Has a certain plausibility

    A.

  21. Ian 21

    Lets pin a weasel on that post

  22. Jan Rivers 22

    Raf Manji’s interests are far more varied and progressive that those of the National Party He is interested in and supportive of:
    independent journalism,
    social enterprise,
    innovation and entrepreneurial approaches to business
    universal basic income and the impact of tech and robotics on jobs
    issues of equity and human rights,
    international institutions and their role, broader international relations and participatory democracy.

    None of these are core territory for the NZ National party or its MPs. There’s IMHO been a huge gap in our politics of compassionate centrists. Its good to see this space populated by Raj and incidentally by TOP and I think it represents a welcome change from the hard right, austerity privatisation and neo-liberal regime of our government.

    Raf’s approach to economics is definitely not neo-liberal kind and includes ideas from NZ Prue Hyman Living Wage economist and NZ Fabians 2016 guest Ann Pettifor amongst others

    https://twitter.com/rafmanji
    http://www.tedxchristchurch.com/raf-manji/

    Not sure what it means for the Ilam electorate but mischaracterising Raf’s politics is not a helpful starting place.

  23. It’s worth considering a bit of election maths for this, as credible independent candidates actually function differently than minor parties, in that they subtract out a list seat from Parliament rather than adding an overhang seat, so it’s actually a little harder to determine who they benefit than just looking at political alignment, as you also have to determine who they replace in Parliament. The likely scenario is that the lost seat would be from National, but that’s not actually completely certain, as it’s entirely possible for other parties to secure that 120th list seat. Whoever would normally have it would lose out to Manji, and while that’s good if it’s National, it’s actually pretty bad if it’s Labour or the Greens. (the Greens are also a relatively likely party to lose a seat to an independent, as they frequently narrowly gain a seat based on the special vote)

    As for David Lee, it’s certainly a weird situation, especially as every electorate candidate is automatically qualified for the List, so that means that the selection group wanted him as an electorate candidate despite no plausible connection to Ilam and no desire to stand for the List at all. It sounds almost like they didn’t have anyone else of selectable quality willing to stand and really wanted in on that seat. Granted, Lee is a good fit for Ilam, and it’s nice to know they’ll have to replace him in the Southern Ward for 2019, as it’s a bit of a reluctant choice as to who you got there between right-wing Labour, right-wing Green, and virtual unknown.

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