This election is going to be scarily close. It will actually be decided by the votes in several key electorates:
- Epsom (whether Act is in or not, should be guaranteed but nothing is certain in politics)
- Rodney Hide
- Mangere and East Coast Bays (whether the Family Party is in or not)
- Jerry Filipaina and Paul Adams
- Tauranga and Rimutaka (whether NZ First is in or not)
- Simon Bridges and Christopher Hipkins Richard Whiteside
Voters wanting a change of government in these five electorates need to vote strategically. Even if you disagree with Act’s policies, but are in Epsom and want a change of government, Rodney Hide needs your vote. Even if you disagree with Family policies, but are in Mangere or ECB, Jerry Filipaina or Paul Adams needs your vote.
To keep NZ First out, as they will support Labour, Simon Bridges (National) needs your vote in Tauranga, and Christopher Hipkins (Labour) needs your vote in Rimutaka (as the other candidate with the best chance of taking it, the electorate is currently held by Labour) Richard Whiteside in Rimutaka. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with National’s or Labour’s polices – their total numbers will be decided by the party vote, even voting in a Labour candidate here will make no difference to Labour’s total numbers. But candidates make a massive difference to the minor parties.
On the other hand, if Labour voters go for Ron Mark in Rimutaka, that reduces Hipkins chances, and maybe it would be better to vote for the National candidate – this is like trying to play chess 8 moves ahead against 40,000 other players… I don’t like recommending voting against Ron Mark, he is a good man, but unfortunately they will only be siding with Labour this time so he is dragged down by the fact he is in NZ First. Very frustrating. If he jumped ship to National or stood as an independent I could recommend him.
I would also like to be able to recommend Larry Baldock in Tauranga, as a Christian candidate who won’t side with Labour, but ultimately keeping NZ First out will achieve more to change the government than getting Baldock in, and if National voters go for Baldock they risk letting Winston Peters take the electorate. If only Baldock was standing in a different electorate I would be able to recommend him too. But the reality is that Simon Bridges needs those votes more.
We must ensure National has as many friends as possible, and Labour has as few as possible, and that will take careful, strategic voting – and in some cases that may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with (such as in Rimutaka). That’s MMP for you.
EDIT: You may note some changes with regard to Rimutaka. This is after I received the following email from Richard Whiteside, the National candidate there, who obviously knows far more about the electorate than I:
I read your blog post on Rimutaka and you have got it totally wrong. Due to boundary changes that favour National & Paul Swain standing down who got 3000 more votes than his party vote at the last election. Rimutaka is very winnable for National. I am the only married family man standing. I was born and bred locally and have been campaigning full time since April. I am running a full campaign to win Rimutaka and have had huge support from National. Being a family man I strongly support family values and have openly declared I do not support the smacking law and signed the petition.
Ron Mark got 10.8% of the vote in 2005 in Waimakariri – that is after 3 attempts, he only started campaigning 2 or 3 weeks ago & he lives in the Wairarapa not Rimutaka.
I know from polling I have a very strong chance of winning this as long as Ron Mark does not take National votes away from me.