Helen Clark abandoning voters

As I predicted the day after the election last year, Helen Clark is abandoning all the people who wanted her as their MP for Mt Albert, because she didn’t win the election.

When on the campaign trail last year I met many Labour voters who voted that way specifically because they liked Helen Clark. She is a very popular politician, although I may disagree with her policies. I personally feel that abandoning the voters who have stood by her in this way is poor form.

A former Prime Minister retiring after losing the position, forcing a by-election, is nothing new of course. Jim Bolger did the same thing.

On the other hand, Jenny Shipley retired eventually, but stuck round long enough to not force a by-election. In the National government at the moment there are Bill English and Don Brash, both former leaders of the opposition, and Bill English and Roger Douglas, former finance ministers, all of whom have stayed in parliament after being ousted from their high positions, unlike Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

By contrast, Helen Clark:

  • Retired from the leadership voluntarily, unlike Bolger and Shipley, before choosing to retire from parliament.
  • Announced her retirement from the leadership (setting the stage for her leaving parliament) on the election night, completely different to Shipley.

Rather than thanking her voters for electing her, she set the stage to abandon them as soon as she learnt the election result. Furthermore she chose to do this herself rather than being toppled in a coup.

And now she moves to the UN, where she can continue to promote her views to yet more people but without having to be as accountable to voters.

Helen Clark is a well-respected NZ politician. Her views on many issues, although not my own, are supported by many New Zealanders, who elected her because of them.

I feel that by leaving like this she will damage Labour’s reputation with many voters, making Labour look like they are about power rather than policies. Although not a National voter myself, were I Joe Bloggs average swinging voter, usually choosing between Labour and National (the voters that ultimately decide every election result) I would be far more likely to pick a party whose MPs tended to stay to promote their policy regardless of what position they held, rather than retiring as soon as they lose the top job.

Although I disagree with her policies, I feel it is a shame to see her go, and can only harm Labour and upset her many supporters.

She has however done very well managing to become the head of the UNDP, so I must congratulate her on that.

Electorate analysis – East Coast Bays

The primary focus of our campaign this year was to take either Mangere or East Coast Bays, to bypass the 5% threshold. I have discussed the Mangere result here. The main results for East Coast Bays (parties gaining over 100 votes) are below, full results are here.

Parties Candidates
Family Party 435 ADAMS, Paul FAM 3,275
Green Party 1,210 BRADFORD, Sue GP 1,969
Labour Party 6,855 GOLDSMITH, Vivienne (Viv) LAB 5,628
HUTTON, Toby NCAWAP 258
New Zealand First Party 944 JONES, Dail NZF 683
ACT New Zealand 1,844 KRONFELD, Tim ACT 1,149
National Party 19,617 McCULLY, Murray NAT 18,428
United Future 234 McINNES, Ian UFNZ 200
Libertarianz 21 ZAMORA, Elah LIB 50
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 196
Mäori Party 110
The Bill and Ben Party 124
Party Informals 95 Candidate Informals 247
TOTAL 31,889 TOTAL 31,887

East Coast Bays turned out to be our best electorate, and Paul Adams took 10.3% of the candidate vote here. Although this was not enough to take the electorate, he did gain far more votes than Sue Bradford (Green), and the Act candidate. Paul was the third highest polling candidate, after National and Labour. Unfortunately, although we had been pushing the “2 for 1″ message very heavily here (vote for Paul Adams, get both Adams and McCully as McCully would be in on the list), most voters still went for McCully.

In 2005, McCully took 17,213 votes, the Labour candidate took 9,927, and Paul Adams (standing as an independant) gained 5,809 votes (full results are here). In 2002, McCully took 12,134 votes, the Labour candidate took 10,600, and Paul Adams (standing for United Future) took 2,872 (results here). So this is the third election running that Paul has been the third highest polling candidate, above the candidates from any other minor party – which is an excellent achievement in itself. This year there was not so much a major swing to National, as National’s votes remained at about the same level, but rather a swing away from Labour. Many voters seemed to stay at home, with the turnout dropping from over 37,000 in 2005 to less than 32,000 this year. There was a swing towards ACT, and towards the Green party (presumably disgruntled Labour voters). But the biggest change was the number of voters who stayed at home.

It is disappointing that despite a heavy campaign Paul actually polled lower this year than in 2005, but can probably be best explained by the number of voters who stayed at home. There is also the possibility that a few voters may have been put off by his association with the Family Party for some reason. However this is unlikely because Paul polled higher this year, standing for us, than he did when he stood for United Future. So I think the fact that McCully won by a landslide is simply due to the nationwide swing towards National.

Overall, taking over 10% of the candidate vote is an excellent achievement, and certainly something that could be built on in future. McCully is a formidible opponent, as he has been the incumbant there for so long, but he is always high enough on National’s list for there to be no point voting for him, unless you are a Labour voter specifically wanting to shut out a right-leaning minor party such as ourselves. The strange thing about the MMP 5% threshold is that it means it can be best to vote for the opposition sometimes.

Electorate analysis – Mangere

The primary focus of our campaign this year was to take either the Mangere electorate or East Coast Bays, to avoid the 5% threshold. Jerry Filipaina was campaigning full-time in Mangere for a year before the election, and by the election the party had visited every house five times. However our actual results there were disappointing. The main results (parties gaining over 100 votes) are below, full results may be found here.

Parties Candidates
New Zealand Pacific Party 2,212 FIELD, Taito Lemalu Phillip NZPP 4,767
Family Party 237 FILIPAINA, Galumalemana Jerry FAM 856
RAM – Residents Action Movement 14 FOWLER, Roger RAM 138
National Party 3,641 HARRIS, Mita NAT 3,081
MATATUMUA, Lemalu Talia IND 48
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 137 PO’E, Tala JAP 126
Labour Party 13,162 SIO, Su’a William LAB 11,263
United Future 182 SOLOMON, Pulotu Selio UFNZ 389
Green Party 452 STRICKSON-PUA, Muamua Sofi GP 462
ACT New Zealand 252 TABACHNIK, Michael ACT 214
Mäori Party 165
New Zealand First Party 767
Party Informals 245 Candidate Informals 343
TOTAL 21,688 TOTAL 21,687

I will do my best to describe the situation in Mangere, but remember I was campaigning in Selwyn at the other end of the country, so if anyone spots any errors stick them in the comments & I’ll fix it.

No media organisation published polls for Mangere in the run-up to the election. We were unable to have a professional poll conducted, due to the workload of polling companies or their refusal to conduct one due to having a conflict of interest because they were conducting polls for another party.

However a month before the election we conducted an internal poll, which I am now able to release publicly. Although conducted by ourselves, it was done as rigorously as possible to ensure it was accurate. This poll showed Sio (Labour) on 28%, Jerry (Family) on 31%, and Field (Pacific) on 33%. In other words, all three candidates were neck and neck, so it could go any way. It was on the basis of this poll that we were able to campaign saying that Jerry had a decent chance of taking the electorate.

In the month following that poll our campaign stepped up in an attempt to bring Jerry into the lead. Our final visit of every house in Mangere occurred on the Saturday prior to the election, when the team visited 14,500 homes in the one day. Our brochures were pushing the “2 for 1″ message, ie vote for Jerry and get two local MPs, as Sio would be in on the list anyway. On Friday night before the election the team was parading around Mangere and Manukau East until midnight with the truck, billboard trailer and motorbikes!

However, the campaigns of Labour and the Pacific Party also swung into gear strongly in the last few weeks. Labour was particularly well-resourced, and being already ingrained in the culture would have made an impression on many voters. Old habits die hard, and if a voter was still undecided on polling day (due to heavy campaigns by three different parties) they may well have just ticked Labour because they always had.

Liberty Scott has questioned what Labour campaigners were actually telling people, as the fact that some believed their benefits would be cut if National got in certainly makes it sound like some Labour campaigners could have been spreading lies about National. If this is the case, this could have turned voters off not only National but any party hoping to go into coalition with them, such as ourselves.

Labour was also ringing people up on the morning of the election, and giving their supporters rides to the polling booth. We simply didn’t have the resources to do the same this year.

Many Mangere voters did not actually vote. Only around 20,000 voters turned out in the South Auckland electorates, as opposed to over 30,000 in most other electorates. There is a possibility that many people who were intending to vote for us when polled, did not end up actually voting. However more Labour supporters would have voted due to the free lifts to the polling booths. It is also possible that some people who were intending to vote for Jerry were picked up by Labour, which influenced them to vote Labour after all.

As a result of all these factors, and possibly others, Jerry’s support on polling day was nowhere near as high as he had polled, the election result really took us by surprise.

In future, when targeting South Auckland electorates, we will have to be very careful to address all these factors. We must ensure voters understand MMP, so they clearly understand they can vote for our candidate and still support Labour if they wish. We must ensure they have accurate information about policies, and keep an ear to the ground for what Labour campaigners are actually saying to the people (not just the official campaign material).

And we’ll probably need to hire a load of buses for election day!

EDIT:

There is a real possibility that our campaign helped to reduce Labour’s votes from Mangere. In 2005 Labour took 21,000 votes from Mangere, from a total turnout of 29,000. Although it wasn’t great for us, possibly our campaign resulted in many voters being confused who to vote for, as they may have been put off Labour but unconvinced whether they should vote for us, and therefore they stayed home. This year Labour only got 13,000 votes in Mangere. So although our campaign there didn’t get us in, it could well have dented Labour’s election performance considerably and so still helped to change the government.

Electorate analysis – Selwyn

I will discuss other electorates after talking to the team up north. But here are the main results from Selwyn, for parties gaining over 100 votes (full results are here). Last elections results for Rakaia (now Selwyn) are here for comparison.

Parties Candidates
National Party 18,339 ADAMS, Amy NAT 20,076
Labour Party 8,536 COATES, David LAB 9,830
Family Party 122 DENNIS, Samuel FAM 441
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 634 MAIN, Philippa JAP 1,197
United Future 376 NORMAN, Victoria UFNZ 227
ACT New Zealand 1,245 WATSON, Ivor ACT 480
Kiwi Party 172 WILLIAMSON, Eleanor KIWI 264
WOODS, Bill IND 528
Green Party 2,390
Mäori Party 127
New Zealand First Party 1,036
The Bill and Ben Party 171
Party Informals 147 Candidate Informals 367
TOTAL 33,412 TOTAL 33,410

Selwyn is a National seat, and always has been. Quite a few National voters have moved to Act this year however, due primarily to the Emissions Trading Scheme (Act had 869 votes in 05). There has always been Labour support here, but it has dropped significantly this election (from 11,338 in 05), apparantly moving to National, Green and Progressive. It is hard to compare however due to boundary changes and the fact that there was a higher turnout in 2005.

The higher number of informal candidate votes than party votes suggests people are fairly sure which party they want to vote for, but less certain about which candidate they prefer. On the other hand, it could just mean that those who wanted to waste their vote had a joke party to go with (B&B), but no joke candidate, so many B&B voters just spoilt their candidate vote, as those numbers pretty exactly make up the difference…

I received 319 votes from non-Family Party voters (assuming all Family Party voters voted for myself, not necessarily correct). From what I gather speaking to voters, I expect most of these voters gave National their party vote. Those voters I have spoken to wished to secure a change of government, and didn’t want to waste their party vote, but they preferred Family Party policy to that of National.

Bill Woods didn’t do that well, despite being the former mayor, but he had little publicity.

I am very pleased with my votes for a first try, being ahead of the United Future and Kiwi candidates, and close behind the Act candidate and Bill Woods. It will take a lot of work to topple Amy Adams, but that will be a job for the next election now that my name is out there! I was about the most local candidate on offer, most others being recent imports into the area, and I think this gives me a good base to work from.

There is a lot of misunderstanding out there around MMP, and around the policies National had on offer. Many people I spoke to wanted to fix the smacking law, and get rid of the ETS. However they were under the impression that National would do those things, and were surprised to find National policy was to keep them. Some wouldn’t believe me, I’ll have to carry National policy documents with me on my rounds next time! There was a strong faith that National would provide change and fix the policies that annoyed everyone, but few voters had actually looked into their policy. Furthermore, most people thought voting for Amy Adams would help National in some way, not realising that this was a wasted vote as she’d be in on the list regardless. It could be argued that it would actually be better for National to even vote in Coates, as he would have kicked out a more experienced Labour MP, providing National with some advantages in the house!

To take this electorate in future will be a lot of work, as you first have to teach people how MMP works, then teach them National policy, before you can even get on to your own. But it is certainly doable, as National always places a good candidate here that is reasonably high on the list, this being regarded a safe seat – this was Ruth Richardson’s electorate, and Jenny Shipley’s. Logically, it makes little sense to vote for the National candidate here. But to persuade 15,000 voters, half the electorate, will be an interesting challenge for next election.

Election result

Great result for the country, we finally have a change of government.

It was very interesting to see Clark announce she is standing down, it isn’t surprising she would decide to do that but it is surprising she would announce it immediately. Talk about trust, all these people who voted Labour because they like Helen Clark (and I have found many people in that category while campaigning) will be very disappointed. They obviously couldn’t trust her to stick round and do what she felt was best for the country, rather she just wanted the top job and when she didn’t get it she was gone. Now she’ll force a by-election in her electorate just because she didn’t get quite what she wanted (she is hardly going to stick round as a lowly MP), she obviously has little regard for all the people who voted for her wanting her as their local MP. We don’t always get what we want, and most of us were taught that when we were young with a good smack on the buttocks.

It is good to see National could rule with just Act, and although they may involve Dunne and the Maori Party too, having just the two parties would make for a simple government.

The result was disappointing for the Family Party, but the change of government helps to soften that disappointment. As I said earlier, we don’t always get what we want, but I have no intention of quitting like Clark just because things didn’t go quite how we wanted. It is very hard for parties outside parliament to get in, and this just reinforces that fact. I would like to thank Jerry Filipaina especially for the excellent work he put into Mangere attempting to take that seat, it is very disappointing that that did not eventuate. Paul Adams also did an excellent job in ECB, being our highest polling candidate, but unfortunately missing out too.

I received 441 electorate votes, which I am very pleased with for my first time standing, far higher than the United Future and Kiwi candidates and close behind the Act candidate and Bill Woods. Although this was of course not anywhere near enough to take out the electorate, considering I never actually asked for electorate votes in my campaign (apart from possibly off-hand at one “meet the candidates” event), only asking for party votes, and was standing for a party most people had never heard of, I am very pleased with the result. It is a very encouraging level of support that I should be able to build on in future years should I stand again.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for me or any other candidate, or for the party, for your support. Unfortunately we didn’t gain enough support this time round, it is hard to get your message to enough of the country in your first election, but there’s always another election – try convince your mates to vote for us as well next time!

This new government will not solve the most serious issue in our country today, which in my opinion is our abortion-on-demand culture. We can lobby them for improvements, but to really fix this we’ll need more conservative representation in the next election. So the result is far from perfect, but is a massive improvement over the current situation.

With National in government, more representation from Act, and Helen Clark stepping down, I am certain we can look forward to a better country over the next three years.

UK Police to ignore public sex

At the moment the UK is a few steps ahead of NZ in terms of the destruction of morality, here is an example of what we have to watch out for here:

Public homosexual activity in parks and public bathrooms must not be impeded by law enforcement officials except as a last resort, says a new set of draft guidelines for UK police.

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham of Lancashire Police, who drew up the 21-page report, titled “Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments”, wrote, “In any event it is not for the police to take the role of moral arbiter.” Rather than arresting those who have sex in public, the police should instead guard the “human rights of those people who frequent open spaces” to seek anonymous copulation partners, an activity known as “cruising.”

Basically, as far as I can gather, people who don’t want to be known as gay but still want to have homosexual sex are gathering in parks to do it, in some cases so they don’t have to let their wives know (although the wording is so painfully PC you have to read it twice to figure out what they are really talking about). And the police are being told that it is a “human right” to do this and they can’t be stopped.

There is a big difference between doing something behind closed doors and doing it in public. You should be able to go for a walk in the park without seeing that sort of activity. The police should be policing what occurs in public land, not being told to ignore it. Disgusting.

Watch out NZ, Helen Clark has seized control of our police force, we need a change of government urgently.

Hat tip: Semper Vita

PinkGina on helping the poor

PinkGina made this excellent comment over on Kiwiblog, I just had to reproduce it in full here. It is an excellent illustration of helping people to help themselves:

I thought this was a very timely lesson on human nature…

I was talking to a friend of mines little girl the other day. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she replied, “I want to be Prime Minister!” Both of her parents are Labour supporters and were standing there. So then I asked her, “If you were Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would do?”

She replied, “I’d give houses to all the homeless people.”

“Wow – what a worthy goal.” I told her, “You don’t have to wait until you’re Prime Minister to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where this homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward a new house.”

Since she is only 6, she thought that over for a few seconds. While her Mum glared at me, she looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?”

And I said, “Welcome to the National Party.”

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. But ignore the National plug at the end of course, check our our welfare policy instead!

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