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.

On the campaign trail

Amy Adams, David Coates and myself had a productive time today talking to people at the Hororata Fair. Well I know I and Amy Adams did, Coates wasn’t wearing any badge (although he had a red tie) so was not recognisable as a candidate unless you already knew him, and I didn’t see him talking to too many people. Strong National heartland though so he can be expected to have little luck!

I was the only candidate that had taken the initiative to get prior approval to attend and advertise there from the organisers, and purchase a stall, which as it turned out was bang in the centre of the entire fair, so from nearly any position if you looked round my truck (with billboards) was plainly seen. I can only thank the organisers for selecting an excellent location for me.

I had a good response and talked to a lot of people, many of whom were interested in the party. Plenty of people are intending to vote National or Act too, which is encouraging as it all points towards a change of government – but this is to be expected in a rural area.

The Labour sense of humour

I had an interesting exchange today when I tried to sign up to the newsletter of my commie opponent in Selwyn, David Coates. On his website you can sign up for the Selwyn Standard, a newsletter for “members, supporters and friends of Labour in Selwyn” As I am quite happy to be his friend, I figured I may as well get his newsletter, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds!

Upon emailing his agent to sign up, I received this response:

I am afraid that the Selwyn Standard newsletter is only for supporters and members of Labour in Selwyn. If you require information about David or the campaign, please feel free to contact him directly or check the website for updates.

Oh, so I can’t be a friend? How disappointing! My reply:

I wasn’t expecting that response. There must be a hidden agenda I’m not supposed to find out about!

But maybe Labour staff lack a sense of humour:

I think it is quite reasonable that as an opposing candidate you are not privy to where and when we plan to carry out campaign activities, what help our campaign might require from supporters or other matters of a sensitive nature, just as you would not expect to be allowed to attend our committee meetings or read our internal documents.

To which I could only say:

I was speaking in jest about secret agendas, your MPs are continually joking about them in the house and I presumed the humour would not be lost on someone interested in current politics.

I expect it will be an interesting campaign, but possibly not as amusing as I was hoping. It would be extremely easy for anyone to give false details and obtain their newsletter, so if they are offering a sign-up link for it on his website they can hardly consider it secure. Stooping to the level of Trevor Mallard and obtaining other parties internal documents like this is a bit low however, especially for a candidate for a Christian party. I have decided to set a better example, this election is about “trust” after all. But if anyone else receiving the newsletter finds anything in it I may be interested in, feel free to pass it on!