Bussing with dinosaurs

Body at NZ Herald:

Paddy pimping Peters

Winston Peters has a campaign bus on the road in Northland. And some of the media seems to be actively pushing the Peters blusterbus while they sideline some other candidates and ignore the rest.

Media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Leading the charge is 3 News political editor Patrick Gower, who even commissioned a poll for Peters. Ok, it wasn’t ‘for Peters’ but the nature and timing means it was virtual pimping.

The appearance is that some media are actively promoting Winston’s chances and want him to win the Northland seat. And they rule the rest out of anything like equivalent coverage.

Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy nearly a month ago and launched her Labour campaign nearly two weeks ago. The media, especially the television media, seems to have virtually ignored her.

National’s Mark Osborne was selected last Saturday and seems to get little other than incidental coverage, and his inexperience is often emphasised.

In start contrast Winston Peters announced he was standing last Saturday. He had already arranged (and been given) promotional slots on TV3’s The Nation on Saturday and 3 News’ Q&A on Sunday.

Peters launched his bus campaign on Tuesday near lead news television coverage.

He was given a slot on 3 News Frontline on Wednesday morning.

And yesterday he was to the forefront of 3 News with a poll result, presented by a seemingly ecstatic Gower. It’s not surprising that the poll result favoured Peters, 35% to Osborne’s 30%. Peters has been splashed all over the headlines and the other candidates have been barely mentioned or ignored comparatively.

This is media driven political campaigning at it’s worse.

3 News website headlines yesterday:

Peters: ‘Labour can’t win – we can’

Winston Peters is calling on Labour voters in Northland to give him the tick in the upcoming Northland by-election.

Peters on track to win Northland seat

A 3 News political poll has found Winston Peters is on track to deliver National a shock defeat in the Northland by-election.

It appears as if plenty who voted for National in the last election feel wronged and are holding a grudge.

The latest 3 News-Reid Research poll shows Mr Peters with a clear lead over National’s Mark Osborne.

A poll taken pretty much before the campaign has started with a result of 35% to 30% is not “on track to deliver”, unless Gower means he is on track to deliver the campaign to Peters on a platter.

And the margin of error for the poll is over 4%. meaning there is substantial overlap on the potential response.

The poll is certainly a significant boost to Peters chances but the way it has been promoted is far from balanced coverage.

And the pimping of Peters continues today with Age no barrier for Winston Peters.

Going back to Tuesday the 3 News headlines:

You have to go back to Sunday to find a headline on a Peters opponent:

Ok, that’s not an opponent, it’s John Key’s view and doesn’t mention the National candidate tell near the end of the article, tacked on after another promotion for Peters:

However, Mr Peters says the National Party is panicking because of how much support he has from its own members.

NZ First had a record of achieving outside of government, he told the programme.

He had brought bridges to Tauranga and could bring roads to Northland, Mr Peters said.

“Northland has been a forgotten province. It needs a voice and we’re being asked to put our hands up put it all on the line for Northland and I intend to do just that.”

The by-election on March 28 is a four-way contest with National’s Mark Osborne, Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime and ACT’s Robin Grieve also standing.

And even that’s factually incorrect. There are eleven candidates. 3 News has chosen to ignore seven of them. Candidates have no show if the media chose not to include them in coverage.

This is media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Paddy pimping Peters is very poor political coverage.

Peters cranky under pressure

I wonder how many Northland voters will be attracted to Mr Cranky?

“I don’t know how long you’ve been in this country …” Winston Peters, when trying to avoid a question from Susie Ferguson.

“…I don’t know how long you’ve been in this country…” Winston Peters to @SusieFergusonNZ . Bit off.

She probably owns a house here too.

It’s more than a bit off. The problem is that some other media seems addicted to their Mr Cranky attraction.

Trotter spells out reality for Labour and Northland

Chris Trotter has posted Sorry Winston: Why Labour needs to stand in Northland at The Daily Blog.

He shouldn’t be sorry, politics is politics. Labour need to fight for their own recovery and not hand Peters the limelight in the runner-up stakes.

And the ideological worriers of the left wing blogosphere are not what successful recoveries and elections are made of.

Not that the Labour Party was ever the slightest bit interested in finding out if Winston could win the Northland by-election.

Andrew Little’s eyes are fixed upon an altogether more distant electoral horizon – 2017. He is convinced that unless his own party becomes the unequivocally dominant Opposition player, the electorate as a whole will continue to shy away from the prospect of a coalition government in which Labour is merely primus inter pares – first among equals.

In the most brutal political terms, this means driving both the Greens and NZ First right down to the 5 percent MMP threshold. To be seen as a credible alternative to the National-led Government, Labour needs to command at least 40 percent of the Party Vote, and Andrew Little must be rated as John Key’s equal.

Labour will not get there by giving every Green and NZ First Party sucker an even break.

They’d be suckers to capitulate to Winston. Little doesn’t look like a sucker, hence for the first time for six years Labour’s fortunes look more promising.

This is now the real mission of Andrew Little and his team. To find the means of both reassuring and activating Labour’s base.

It does mean acknowledging the consistent messages being sent to the party by those who feel themselves to be Labour, but who no longer believe that Labour feels itself to be them.

Standing with these voters will, almost certainly, mean that a vociferous, but much smaller, number of voters will end up walking away. Little must let them go.

That won’t please a handful of hard left would be revolutionaries at The Daily Blog and The Standard but the more massive middle vote is far more important to Labour than theirs (and they are more likely to vote Green or Mana anyway).

The job of winning them back isn’t his, it belongs to Labour’s own (yet to be properly organised) ideological ninjas. On the blogs, Facebook and Twitter; over bottles of beer at the pub; or glasses of wine at the dinner-table; the labour movement’s oldest lessons must be rehearsed again and again: “If we don’t stick together, then we won’t fight together. If we won’t fight together – then we can’t win.”

I wouldn’t bank on that, the ideological ninjas in the blogosphere are blindly shitting in their own nest and driving away people interested in seeing if Labour is worth returning to.

The Left needs to accept and understand that the “we” in those sentences is directed at Labour’s once and future voters. Not the Greens’ – and certainly not NZ First’s.

That’s something the ninja worriers at The Daily Blog and The Standard can’t fathom. Successful elections are all about far more voters than them.

“Labour can never again govern alone”

Felix is fuming at The Standard because Labour aren’t capitulating to Winston Peters in the Northland by-election.

This is despite the facts that Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy on February 9 and launched her campaign on Saturday February 21. Peters didn’t announce he was standing until Saturday February 28 and he launched his campaign yesterday, March 4. If Labour now pulled Prime out they would be rightly ridiculed.

Undeterred by political reality Felix states:

It’s an opportunity to build a platform for governing with other parties, and to be seen to be doing so. You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?

Wrong. It’s not possible to know that. But that doesn’t deter Felix from dripping bittterness and cynicism.

 Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?

Ah, there’s that Labour party spirit. Working strategically with other parties on common goals = destroying the organisation.

Ropata:Rorschach responded:

The best strategy for Labour is to build their profile and voter base.
Why would they throw away years of effort from local volunteers to push dear old Winnie, whose values and popularity are highly questionable.

That all seems very sensible, except to Felix:

Pretty sad state of affairs if that’s the best Labour can hope for.

Sometimes I wonder if it has sunk in yet that Labour will never be able to govern alone.

Never.

Ever.

And:

ps building cooperative allegiances and laying the groundwork for future governing arrangements isn’t throwing away all the hard work. Quite the opposite.

Plodding along with the same old same old while you wait for the world to change back, that’s throwing it all away.

Throwing a by-election and handing everything over the an unreliable opponent is the sort of thing that would enhance Labour’s chances of never governing alone, never, ever.

They would look like an also-ran party, or a didn’t-stand party. For a major party that would be an awful look.

Ok, Labour’s chances of governing completely alone are slim under MMP. But their chances of being the dominant party in a coalition with minor parties has to be a primary goal. Otherwise they would consign themselves to being one of a number of minor parties.

Labour got a very poor result in last year’s election, ending up with 25.13% of the vote. But no other party came close to them for second place, with Greens stagnating at 10.7% support. NZ First were next on 8.66%. Combined all three still lagged National’s 47%.

But just four elections earlier National slumped to 20.93% (in 2002) and recovered from that to be close to beating Labour three years later and successful and close to governing alone six years later. And repeated that twice since, now virtually being able to govern alone (needing just one vote from any of three parties to get a majority).

Labour have to aim at being the big steak on the plate and not resign themselves to being a vegetable amongst a left wing salad.

And to be seen as a prospect for this they have to seriously compete in the Northland by-election.

And Willow-Jean Prime, in the prime of her life, has to significantly better a faded old star who is trying to be seen as relevant again.

Labour’s recovery prospects demands that they soundly beat Peters in the by-election.

If an ambitious young woman can’t thrash a wilting Winston – he first stood for Parliament in 1975, about eight years before Prime was born – then Labour’s prospects for the future would look bleak.

But that’s probably what Felix really wants. It’s not that Labour can’t be a dominant party again, it’s more like Felix sees them as an impediment in a dream of a hard left revolution.

Sensible Standard on Northland

There’s a good by-election post on The Standard on Northland. It’s by Lynn Prentice – yeah I have a few disagreements with him at times and he’s a bit of an old school political Neanderthal but he has a lot of campaign experience.

Amongst his typical verbosity but he makes some pertinent points based on reality, against some really dumb and unrealistic whining.

Looking at the numbers and the situation I can neither see Winston or Willow-Jean Prime winning on their own even if the other was not there.

But even if there was, there are definite downsides for a political party in asking any electorate candidate to stand aside. First they may not do it and even go independent, and secondly it destroys the local electorate organisation that has to fight in future elections for party and electorate votes.

One thing he doesn’t point out is that Peters says he is vehemently against doing any deal anyway, (but it’s hard to be certain, his laid on by media appearances have been punctuated by smirking laughter).

Voters, especially on the left, make up their own minds who to vote for. A lot of the marking around with parties that are roughly on the same ‘side’ is simply offputting to voters.

Candidates and political parties should damn well fight their own corner and not expect other parties to help them. That is what the voters expect.

Voters are going to make up their own minds about their tactical voting.

If one of those two parties were my only available choice, I’d be likely to simply not vote.

Those who total up the votes from the general election and conjure out of that a possible majority for one candidate are dreaming.

Talking of dreamers there’s a few comments protesting against lprent’s reality check but they tend to be those on the fringe waiting for a fairy godmother initiated revolution.

Felix shows why all he has usually got is bitter niggling:

 Where is the advantage for Labour

This is exactly what pisses me off about the thinking of many in or around Labour. For a party built on collective action and solidarity they have no fucking idea how to behave as part of a larger whole.

Felix keeos showing at The Standard that he has idea how to behave as part of a larger whole.

There’s others with real political experience commenting. Karen:

Labour has absolutely nothing to gain by standing aside for Winston, who has no chance of winning anyway IMO.

Jono:

Labour would have been tarred and feathered for doing any deals.

Jenny Kirk:

There are huge numbers of Labour supporters somewhere out there in Northland, and it is Labour’s responsibility to provide them with a good candidate to vote for.

Real Labour people find it very difficult to vote anything but Labour – whether in an FPP or MMP voting situation. And if Labour withdrew its candidate for Northland, there would probably be wholescale walkout and decades loss of trust in the Party.

Labour is rebuilding itself, and this by-election gives the Party a chance to show people what it is about, and to talk about what it could do if in government.

And:

There is always that niggly little doubt about Winston : has he ever said what he really means, and has he ever done (other than the gold card for superannuitants) what he’d say he’d do if he had the power to do so.

There’s as much “niggly little doubt” about Winston’s reliability as there is niggly little doubt about his youth.

The media will help Winston as much as they can but that risks exposing him more and turn futility into embarrassing failure.

All those who are frantically trying to talk up a free run for Peters are likely to do is turn people off voting left. And probably off voting at all.

The Northland by-election is a good small step in Labour’s rebuilding process.

And if the frantic numpties really slowed down enough to think about things then if Labour with Willow-Jean Prime perform credibly and Peters bums out that could spell the beginning of the end of his career.

NZ First out of the equation in the 2017 election should boost Labour’s vote share and the Left’s chances.

Lprent can have the last word.

Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?

“Those of you who are writing off Winston…”

A comment at The Standard about some history of by-elections by Shannon.

Those of you who are writing off Winston need to do some revision of New Zealand’s by-election history.

1975 Rangitikei by-election: Social credit victory
1980 East Coast Bays by-election: Social Credit victory
1992 Tamaki by-election: National pips Alliance by just 1300 votes in a former National Prime Minister’s seat
1992 Tauranga by-election: Winston wins the biggest every majority in percentage terms in a general seat
1994 Selwyn by-election: National hold off the Alliance by just 428 votes in a former National Minister of Finance’s seat
1998 Taranaki-King Country by-election: ACT come within 1000 votes of victory

Third party candidates with strong campaigns can succeed in by-elections.

Matthew Hooton, who seems to have an interest in Peters succeeding, added:

Exactly. The Selwyn one is most useful as a model I think.

All of those by-elections except 1998 were pre MMP.

None of them had the balance of power of Government hinging on the result.

None of them involved a long tern MP who was soundly beaten in his last electorate contest.

Those by-elections are all in very different circumstances to the Northland by-election.The thing of most note is the year of the first one, 1975. That’s the year Peters first stood for election.

I wouldn’t write of Winston but I wouldn’t take too much notice of last century by-elections.

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.

Threat of Dunne ‘rethink’ if Peters wins should help National

NZ Herald seems to be trying to make up news but highligthing something they seem to have posited to Peter Dunne may end up helping National in the Northland by-election.

Isaac Davidson has an article with a misleading headline – Peter Dunne wants rethink if Winston Peters wins Northland – and a misleading opening paragraph.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says he would look at revisiting his post-election concessions from the National Party if New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wins the Northland byelection.

That sounds like Dunne has come forward with the idea of a rethink. And:

Mr Dunne pointed to Resource Management reforms as one area which he could have greater influence over if National lost a seat. He said the reforms, which he has expressed concerns about, would “take on quite a different hue” if National relied on his vote to pass.

Mr Dunne noted that his party signed a confidence and supply agreement when National had an outright majority. National has since lost a seat in the final election count and could lose another in Northland.

But then:

Asked whether he would seek greater concessions from National if it lost another seat, he said: “That’s something I’d want to consider. I don’t have an immediate answer at this point.”

So he was asked a question about it, said he would consider it but doesn’t have any answer ‘at this point’.

But by raising the risk to National of a Peters win in Northland should help National.

It makes the by-election a high stakes contest. Most by-elections change little apart from one MP. But Northland could significantly change the balance of power in Government.

This will ensure National is determined to do well. And it should help encourage more National voters to vote (by-elections typically have low turnouts).

And Peters’ decision to stand makes for an interesting twist.

If Peters were to win Northland it would hand potentially much more power to arch-rival Dunne.

It’s possible a Peters win would see National turn to NZ First for support, but that seems very unlikely. It would seem far easier to renegotiate a few policy positions with Dunne than get strung along by Peters in lengthy negotiations and then through the next two and a half years.

And it looks far simpler to motivate National voters to hold onto Northland.

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.

Sleepy:

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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