Polity picks Osborne in Northland

Rob Salmond, a Labour pollster, has picked Mark Osborne to win the Northland by-election based on National having a well organised machine in action versus Winston Peters with little established electorate organisation and Labour giving up trying.

Note that this was posted before yesterdays 3 News poll:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

But Salmond’s point still stands. There’s a difference between sticking one up National when someone rings and asks for your off-the cuff opinion and getting out and voting.

In Northland, the National supporters are organised by the National Party nationwide machine. Winston Peters’ supporters, by contrast, aren’t that well organised. That’s why they’ll likely lose.

And he details the reasons.

But this this by-election the turnout is enormously higher than in the most recent general election. It is *up* around 70%, compared to the general election just six months ago. Normally, it would be down 50%.

… where is it coming from?

  • Labour’s machine? Categorically nope.
  • New Zealand First’s machine? Nope. They don’t have much of a turnout machine.
  • Sudden discovery of advance voting by Northlanders over the past six months? A stretch.
  • Northlanders care much more about the by-election issues (bridges, arts centre accounting, ferry ride discounts) than the general election issues? Another stretch.
  • National’s machine? Yes. That is the cause.

So, my prediction remains a solid National win, not borne of popularity, but borne of organisation.

This is supported by a comment by a Labour campaigner:

Speaking to Willow Jean earlier today she says the Nat’s have a huge on the ground team, where as Peters has very few.

I don’t know if Rob’s prediction still stands but the result could be much closer than the poll suggests due to it being much less effort answering a question on the phone than going out and voting.

Polity: Northland: Countdown-to-letdown

Northland Poll: Peters 54%, Osborne 34%

3 News have just announced a new poll for the Northland by-election (although some of the numbers don’t add up).

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

That’s a significant lead. But some of the numbers are a bit weird.

Can you trust Winston Peters?

  • Yes 43%
  • No 48%
  • Don’t know 9%

So 11% more say they will vote for Peters than trust him. It’s possible that voters on the left don’t trust him but put more priority on scoring a hit on National.

But more curious is the number who say which party they have switched from to support Peters:

  • 75% of Labour voters
  • 25% of National voters

In last year’s election:

  • National got 49% – 25% of that is about 12%.
  • Labour got about 17% – 75% of that is 13%.
  • NZ First got 13%.

That adds up to 38%, well short of 54%. Greens got about 11% and Conservatives got 6% which if all voted for Winston gets up to his poll support.

And if you take 25% off National’s 49% you get about 37%, a bit above 34%. This suggests that the poll isn’t particularly accurate.

500 Northland voters were polled.

The margin of error on a poll that size:

  • 40%-60% ±4.5
  • 25% or 75% ±3.9
  • 10% or 90% ±2.7

That allows for quite a bit of variation.

Regardless, Peters is well out in front. National will have much more organisation and help to get their supporters out the vote than NZ First who haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for about a decade, but it still looks ominous for National.

There has already been a much higher than normal number of people who have early voted.

Other poll results:

Are the bridge upgrades a bribe?

  • Yes 74 – percent
  • No 22 – percent
  • Don’t know – 4 percent

Do you agree with the bridge upgrades?

  • Yes – 58 percent
  • No – 39 percent
  • Don’t know – 3 percent

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/northland-by-election-peters-way-out-in-front-2015032518#ixzz3VNMuoXs7

Peters huffs pot then blows cold

Winston Peters is being reported as huffing hot on pot reform them blowing cold a short time later while campaigning in Northland.

Claire Trevett in Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:

NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection, but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.

Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.

Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. Yes if you’ve got the majority, no if you haven’t. That fair enough? Wonderful.”

Peters was shown on 3 News saying that.


Asked about it later he denied he was supporting any such proposal or putting up a referendum himself, saying his comments were simply the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”

He didn’t say either, but was closer to the first – ” I’ll give you a vote on the referendum “.

That’s a Clayton’s election promise – he’s not offering anything, especially after his backtrack.

He did not personally support it and had never smoked cannabis himself.

He was setting out NZ First’s longstanding policy that citizens’ initiated referendums should be enforceable.

That’s not how it came across at all. Peters is promoted as being very experienced at campaigning. He was initially misleading and then made things up to try and cover up his mistake.

NZ First appear to have no policy on cannabis. There is no reference to it in their policies, and their only policy mentioning drugs is under Law and Order:

  • Reintroduce the chargeable offence of being intoxicated and disorderly in public, to include intoxication from the use of drugs whether legal or illicit.

Mark Osborne seems to have a similar position to National, unsurprisingly.

For the record I don’t support legalisation of marijuana and won’t be putting up a bill for it; or promising it and then unpromising it 5 minutes later.

National appear to want to leave the current legislation as it is – which means leave the same mess in place. But they don’t refer to cannabis in their Law and Order policy.

Winston Peters’ Northland ‘promises’

While National’s Northland candidate Mark Osborne is making by-election port barrel promises that can be delivered – using taxpayer money – Winston Peters makes promises that he is very unlikely to be able to deliver on.

The NZ First website doesn’t appear to detail any of the promises being made.

There’s no detail about Northland promises, the website only refers to their 2014 policy manifesto. In that there’s only one reference to Northland, under MĀORI AFFAIRS :

New Zealand First will [lists a number of items including]:

  • Maintain areas as Zones of High Housing Need (e.g. Northland, East Coast, Eastern Bay of Plenty). Such zones will have low deposit and low interest provisions made available to them. Encourage Maori to build houses on collectively owned land.

I haven’t seen him campaigning on that. He’s not targeting the Māori vote in Northland, who will largely be on a different roll, Te Tai Tokerau.

What about keeping Winston honest? He made a number of claims on Q & A yesterday:

Why should Northland voters put their trust in me? Well, I’ve got a track record for making things happen.

He’s been in Parliament  for most of the last forty years. He’s made things happen at times past, like on the 1990’s and in coalition with Labour in 2005-2008 but the was rewarded by him and NZ First being dumped out of Parliament.

His track record for ‘making things happen’ in Northland is, ah, I don’t know. While he first stood in 1975 for Northern Maori he has never represented Northland (he was MP first for Hunua and later Tauranga before losing in 2005 by a wide margin).

NZ First haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for the last few elections.

My message is very simple to the National party voters – if you want an export-plus province, which you are, in the top of this country’s export wealth creators list to get a fair go, then you need someone who understands how the second-tier economy has happened and how you need a fairer go for farming, for fishing, and all those industries that used to provide full employment up there.

Understanding is one thing (and debatable), delivering is a different matter. Even if Peters did have some power in Opposition (he would have little) farming and fishing couldn’t be given special attention just in Northland,.

In short, the farming community knows that if the dollar was far better set – now, I don’t want to get complicated here – but if it was set to be sympathetic to exporters, then the north would be going so much better. And farming, for example, as the classic example of National party support, would not see one in four or five being seriously concerned about the bank that they are owing so much debt to now.

Not getting complicated means not explaining how he would set the dollar ‘far better’. He’s unlikely to be able to set the dollar at all. And if he could set the dollar it would be complicated, having a wider impact than on farming. Imports would be more expensive, including petrol.

Now, the fact is that up north, every industry that should be up is down, and everyone that should be down is up. In fact, it’s upside down there, and I’m committed to turning it the right way up.

No details on what that means and how he would turn things ‘the right way up’.

We’ll ensure they have a job with first-world wages, and we’ll make sure the employers get the tax concessions to keep them profitable.

What could he ensure? Targeted wage support, tax concessions and guaranteed profitability for Northland?  While in Opposition?

I’m going to ensure that the wealth that Northland has – and it is serious – whether it be tourism, whether it be in forestry, whether it be in farming, whether it be in all sorts of horticulture and agriculture – which should be possible – is going to be freed up, but they are going to get the benefits of it.

Can we expect an explanation of what that means? Or details of how it could be done? Unlikely.

The Northland voters may give him a go but if he doesn’t keep his many promises he’s likely to be thrown out in the 2017 general election. And NZ First could be dumped with him.

From their website home page:

“New Zealand First is not afraid to confront Parliament head on and we refuse
to accept defeat in any cause we believe in.”

A win in Northland may be short term victory, but if they don’t deliver they may have accept whatever defeats the voters give them.

Three futile Members’ Bills drawn

There was a Members’ bill draw today, with 68 competing in the ballot.

Convention Centre Act Repeal Bill – Tracey Martin (NZ First) – would repeal the Sky City legislation.

Environmental Protection Authority (Protection of Environment) Amendment Bill  – Meka Whaitiri (Labour) –

Whaitiri said the current law had a “glaring omission” in that it didn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of the Authority.

Her bill would amend the Environmental Protection Authority Act to add an additional  objective that the organisation must aim to protect, maintain, and enhance New Zealand’s environment.

Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill – Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First)

…would affect the TPPA – it would prohibit New Zealand from entering international agreements that include provision for investor-state dispute resolution.

Source: Aimmee Gulliver at the very useful Beehive Live.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog isn’t impressed – Three silly bills.

Some members bills are very good. But none of them got drawn from the ballot today.

These are all rather silly backwards looking bills.

I predict all three bills will fail to get past first reading.

They probably will fail at the first reading.

Sky City repeal bill: NZ First want to have a second vote on a law that has already been passed. Considering that we have avoided any injection of taxpayer funds into the convention centre, their timing is pretty bad for them.

The (second one) complains that the Environment Protection Authority is not required to protect the environment. This flies in the face of the reality that the EPA has declined almost all the major off shore projects before it on environmental grounds. This is a bill to fix a problem that does not exist.

And the third bill is the most stupid. It would, if retrospective, force NZ to withdraw from basically every international trade agreement we have ever signed, pull out of the WTO, and never take part in any future trade deals. And NZ First claims to be pro-exporters!

They look like politicking bills rather than being aimed at having any chance of success.

Northland: Winston Peters Q & A

From NZ Herald Northland by-election: Q+A with leading candidates the NZ First candidate Winston Peters’  responses.

What is the first thing you would do as Northland’s new MP?

Make sure that the promises the National Party and Government is tossing round like an eight-armed octopus were delivered on with as great a speed as they promised. You can be certain a victory for us in this campaign would bring that about. We are negativing the statement that you can’t do anything from Opposition.

It has had a devastating effect in this campaign and Northlanders love the effect of it all.

Will you stand in Northland again in 2017?

We face every election and make those decisions when we come to them. It’s a decision we would make nearing the 2017 election, but the reality is do I want to have a period to deliver for Northland from a parliamentary seat as their representative? Yes, I would. I’m the only candidate who will be an MP regardless of what they vote on the 28th. [Q: What if you lose?] We are not going into this campaign to lose.

What is your stance on the $1.75 billion Puhoi to Wellsford Highway?

Any expansion of better road services would be welcomed by the North, but it doesn’t even get out of the Auckland City area. The second thing is there is a huge demand up here for services in the further north part of the electorate. So nobody opposes a good idea, but why doesn’t the good idea go the whole way? This is 2015, it should go at least into the Bay of Islands and the centre of Northland, reaching places like Kaikohe. After all these decades, it’s not a question of one or the other, it should be both.

What is your stance on deep sea oil exploration and extraction off Northland’s coastline?

I don’t have any problem finding out what we’ve got there. That is not a threat to the environment. But before we make any decision on extraction, I want to know what is in it for my country and what’s in it for royalties for the region. In short, I want those two questions answered before we go to any other decision based on sustainability and environmental protection. The royalties are a pittance in some cases. I want that collected for my country and I want the province to get a far better share. It’s called Royalties for the Regions, which I announced a year ago.

The Finance Minister has given you $200 million for the electorate. How would you spend it?

For a start, $200 million is not going to even scratch at the surface of what’s delaying economic and social development in the north. But if you looked at the big picture, you’d have to ensure you put a significant amount toward the rapid expansion of wealth creation up here and at the same time ensure with education, health and housing, you attended to the long outstanding needs of the North. This should be a tourism mecca, but despite Government’s claims of helping out, the North has got nothing out of that. This should be where Northland gets a shot and they gain nothing.

Typical Peters bluster and waffle that supporters either don’t see through or don’t care about. He must know that local royalties for oil or mineral extraction won’t happen.

Asentati Lote-Taylor to come back as NZ First’s new list MP?

If Winston Peters wins the Northland by-election he will become an electorate MP. Under our MMP rules he then has the option to resign as a list MP, which he would be expected to do. This means that NZ First can get a new MP into Parliament to restore their election result dictated quota.

It is often claimed that the new MP would be Ria Bond from Invercargill as she is next on the NZ First list. She would certainly get the option to take up a seat in Parliament.

But she could either be genuinely unwilling, or she could be pressured to be unwilling to allow someone else to claim the seat.

And Peters has said as much on The Nation last weekend – “We have not chosen the next candidate”.

Gower: Well, tell the people of Northland, because if you win this seat, Ria Bond comes in on the list, doesn’t she?

Peters: No, no. We have not chosen the next candidate in the context. The rule is the next available candidate, so please don’t forecast what we haven’t worked out ourselves.

So Peters is saying “we” will work out/choose who”the next available candidate” is from the NZ First list.

12 Ria Bond
13 Mataroa Paroro
14 Romuald Rudzki
15 Jon Reeves
16 Asenati Lole- Taylor
17 Brent Catchpole
18 George Abraham
19 Ray Dolman
20 Hugh Barr
21 Anne Degia Pala
22 Steve Campbell
23 Edwin Perry
24 Bill Gudgeon
25 Brent Pierson

It wouldn’t be the first time a list has been manipulated like this. In 2008 after Russel Norman was chosen by the Green as new co-leader he was declared elected to parliament when Nandor Tanczos resigned after the two next on the list, Mike Ward and Catherine Delahunty ‘agreed to stand aside’.

So it could be any of the list candidates who replaces Peters as a list MP.

If any of them didn’t follow a Peters directive to stand aside to clear the way for who ‘we’ choose they would be likely to have a difficult time in the NZ First caucus.

But it’s not likely to be Asenati Lote-Taylor as it looked like she was demoted out of harms way down the list. Her biggest claim to fame while she was in Parliament last term was not being able to tell her Twitter account apart from a spoof account (I often had to check carefully to see whether it was the MP tweeting or not).

Here is the official procedure from the Electoral Commission:

Filling a vacancy in a list seat

When a vacancy arises in the seat of a list Member of Parliament, the vacancy is filled by the Electoral Commission declaring elected the next available member on the party’s list who remains a member of the party and is willing to be elected.

The process in detail is as follows. When a vacancy arises in the seat of a list Member of Parliament, the Speaker of the House of Representatives publishes a notice of the vacancy in the New Zealand Gazette.

The Governor-General then issues a direction to the Electoral Commission to fill the vacancy.

The Electoral Commission determines who is next on the party list and then finds out from the party secretary of the party whether the person next on the party list remains a financial member of the party.

If advised by the party secretary that the next person on the list is a financial member of the party, the Electoral Commission then asks that person if they are willing to be a member of Parliament. If they reply that they are, the Electoral Commission then elects them by declaring them elected in a notice published in the New Zealand Gazette.  If they are not willing to be a member of Parliament, the Electoral Commission repeats the process for the next person on the list. If there is no person on the list willing to be a member of Parliament then the seat remains unfilled.

So if the next on the list is unwilling by choice or coercion to be a member of Parliament the next on the list is offered the vacancy until a willing replacement is found.

What’s Winston up to in Northland?

What other than ego and attention seeking has motivated Winston Peters to stand in the Northland by-election?

Is there any more to it than a punch drunk old political pugilist pleading for attention?

Peters first stood for Parliament in 1975. That’s forty years ago. He will turn seventy next month.

He last stood for an electorate in 2008, when he lost in Tauranga to National’s Simon Bridges by 11,742 votes.

NZ First last stood a candidate in Northland in 2005, where Winston’s brother Jim was the fourth ranked candidate on 2.547 votes to John Carter’s 16,577.

In last year’s election Labour’s party vote was 5,913 compared to NZ First on 4,546.

Greens, who aren’t standing in the by-election, got 3,855 but it’s hard to see many Green supporters backing Peters.

National got 17,412 (48.97%). That may be dented in the by-election but with Government’s balance of power at stake there should be plenty of motivation to defend their seat.

Northland has been easily held by National since it was formed in 1996 with the introduction of MMP.

Peters is generally regarded as being politically astute. He must realise his chances in the by-election are as slim as his cigarettes.

He must realise that he’s more likely to dent Labour’s chances of achieving a creditable loss than anything.

What’s Winston up to in Northland?

There’s certain to be ego and attentiion seeking involved, things that Peters is very familiar with. Is that all he’s aiming for?

Perhaps he thinks he can score some hits against National, particularly with the circumstances surrounding resigned MP Mike Sabin. But he must be severely constrained in how far he can take that. There seems to be some legal suppression involved there, and that seems due to remain in place until after the by-election.

Peters is adept at using the media, they have long given him disproportionate levels of coverage.That would normally seem to give him an advantage in the Northland campaign.

But lining up beside several fresher and younger opponents in the spotlight of a by-election is something he’s unfamiliar with.

Peters could wow everyone with his wit and wisdom.

Or he could embarrass himself, and that could be terminal for his political career. That in turn could drag down NZ First.

There seems to be little to gain but a bit of attention, and more to lose.

Perhaps Peters has a cunning plan in mind.

It could be a plea to the public to be seen as politically relevant, for a month.

But he risks being seen as a punch drunk old pugilist thinking he can compete with the Sonny Bills of the twenty first century for public adulation.

Salmond predicts easy National win in Northland

Rob Salmond is a strongly pro-Labour pollster. At his blog Polity he predicts what looks obvious to those with a grip on reality.

Prediction: Easy National win

With Winston Peters’ confirmation that he’s running in Northland, and Labour’s confirmed candidacy, I predict National will win the seat comfortably. The seat is a National stronghold, and a split opposition vote only helps them further in an FPP-style environment. So whoever wins the National selection, wins.

It would be remarkable if there’s an upset, and National have too much to lose to allow that to happen easily.

Since Peters has announced he will stand iPredict has swung against National but they still have a large majority. Mostly over that past weeks National have polled in the 90s but yesterday swung in the 70s, and they are currently at 82%.

Other (not National or Labour) party to win Northland by-election in 2015 has risen to 17% after peaking yesterday in the low 20s.

And more from Salmond a couple of weeks ago in Poll wordings in Northland that shows why caution is needed when peop;le claim ‘private poll’ support for their cause.

For the most dramatic poll result – “Winston could win!” – you would ask:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for:

  • Willow-Jean Prime
  • Grant McCallum [or whoever it ends up being]
  • Winston Peters
  • Another candidate?

Winston gets a huge boost in this poll wording because he’s the only one with really wide name recognition across the seat, and also gets a smaller bonus for being the last named candidate, meaning his name is freshest in the memory when the person is required to give their answer. This question will hugely overstate Peters’ chances, at the expense of both National and Labour candidates.

For a more accurate poll result, you might ask this instead:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for [in randomised order]:

  • The Labour party candidate, Willow-Jean Prime
  • The National party candidate, Grant McCallum [or whoever]
  • The New Zealand First party candidate, Winston Peters
  • Another party’s candidate?

This question provides people the information most of them will actually rely on when making their choice – party affiliation. That information, I understand, is printed on the ballots themselves, and it is the heuristic most people use when choosing local election candidates. (Also, the order is randomised from person to person, meaning the fresh-in-the-memory effect goes away across the whole sample.)

This is a much better question, and media outlets would be wise to insist on it, or some other variant that cues party affiliation. They’ll get less egg on their face on election night that way.

Little assures 100 percent Labour effort in Northland

Now Winston Peters has confirmed he is standing in the Northland by-election Andreww Little has made it clear Labour won’t stand aside or wink wink to help Peters.

Stuff report:

Labour won’t stand aside its candidate in the Northland by-election following NZ First leader Winston Peters’ confirmation that he is contesting the seat.

Labour had already confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate and leader Andrew Little said yesterday he had not considered standing her aside to allow Peters an advantage – and would not do so.

“We’re backing her 100 per cent.”

National should not take the seat for granted, said Little. He sensed constituents were annoyed that Mike Sabin, who resigned as National MP earlier this month because of personal circumstances, had let them down.

The seat was “anyone’s game”, and Prime was well known in Northland as a Far North District councillor, Little said.

Despite Bradbury dreaming about Peters and Northland this confirms Labour’s commitment to contesting the by-election.

They would have been nuts for Labour to stand aside to give Peters an easier campaign. That would have eneded uip embarrassing both Peters and Labour.

In the meantime Bradbury takes credit for predicting

As TDB suggested, Winston Peters will be running in the Northland by-election.

However in that post Bradbury also said:

It all depends on how willing the opposition parties are to being co-operative to take away National’s majority without needing United Future or the Maori Party.

Now he’s still in dreamland. Labour say there’s going to be no co-operating with Peters.

If Labour can work with Winston in Northland it will ask questions why they couldn’t do it with Hone in Te Tai Tokerau. If Labour and NZ First work together it will also mean the Greens have their work cut out for them in 2017 to prevent Labour and NZ First screwing them again.

Any Labour-NZ First minority Government would be a blow to progressive politics.

That’s about all Bradbury has got to hope for. He seems to have moved on from Internet-Mana as the revolutionaries.

Hoping for Peters to win against both National and Labour seems like wishful thinking. And that thinking isn’t shared bu some of the comments at The Daily Bliog.

CleanGreen backs it “1000% Martyn”:

Time is nigh for Labour to play Key’s game and win as voted for Labour to do this for us.

Forget the past and collectively combine to allow Winston to save our parliamentary system by setting a level playing field with equal votes after Winston takes Sabin’s electorate and helps turn our fortunes around finally after six long hard nightmare years.

Smarten up Labour play key at his own game for a change.

But Chris McMahon is more realistic.

there’s as much chance of Labour not standing as there is of the corrupt Iraqi army defeating ISIS.

Donald predictyed Labour’s stance:

I highly doubt Labour will stand down. Also this private poll sounds a little dubious.

Peters has stated he has not done any polling, so Bradbury’s poll claim looks even more dubious.


A safe seat, a low voter turnout, National will win this by election easily.

Winston will not win.

While it’s not over until the counting that seems a likely outcome.

Andrewe Little has said it’s a very tall order for Labour, and Peters is likely to split Labour’s vote making it harder for either to win.


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