Northland deserves more than chutzpah klutz

The National Northland campaign machine is in chutzpah overdrive in an apparent attempt to swamp and sideline the audacity of Winston Peters, who’s sudden awareness of Northland neglect looked like little more cynical opportunism.

But National, led be John Key and Steven Joyce, have launched a mass of campaign crap. It’s a shame Labour chose to sideline themselves, Little could have had a ‘cut the crap’ field day.

John Armstrong calls this chutzpah campaign in Questionable tactics in race for Northland votes:

National trots out smoke-and-mirrors statistics and old promises.

Is there no limit on the lengths to which the National Party will go to pull the wool over voters’ eyes and hope that prevents the seat of Northland from falling into Winston Peters’ clutches?

It would seem not. The prime lesson to be taken from the first week proper of the byelection campaign is to treat every utterance from National with a healthy and hefty degree of scepticism.

He details less than open and honest claims about jobs, bridges and broadband.

Even battle-hardened Labour MPs are surprised by the degree to which their traditional enemy is trying to hoodwink voters.

The major Opposition party has also been somewhat stunned by National’s brazen and questionable exploitation of incumbency.

But National does not care one jot what Labour or anyone else thinks. It is locked in an almighty struggle with the man who has been its nemesis for longer than the party cares to remember.

National don’t need to care, Labour can do little more than wave their white flag and hope that voters see “Vote Winston” on it.

Its priority in the next two weeks is somehow to puncture the spell that Peters has cast over that electorate.

So far, National appears to have no idea how to do that beyond trying to crowd him out of the media.

And there may be an element of ‘anything but Sabin’ in their media mania.

National is still trying to work out how it completely misread the mood in the seat it has held for the past 77 years apart from a brief interlude in the 1960s when it was captured by Social Credit.

Like they misread the degree of feeling of concern about them appearing to protect Sabin.

National’s post-mortems on the byelection will also have to ask how the party managed to select a candidate who is so obviously out of his depth. Putting him up against Peters was lamb for the slaughter.

It’s difficult to judge why they chose a floundering Osborne. Perhaps they thought he was less able to be connected to the Sabin case, after all he was only Sabin’s electorate Treasurer.

National might do better to be more honest and upfront about the dismal socio-economic status of Northland.

The honest and upfront horse bolted from National’s stable before the campaign started.

That National is punting on a few electoral bribes suddenly fixing things will be treated by Northland voters with the contempt that deserves.

The three candidates chosen by the media for the by-election:

  • Osborne (National) – chutzpah klutz.
  • Peters (NZ First) – the old nag that thinks his place is in the grandstand
  • Prime (Labour) – a decent looking candidate, far better than the above two, who has been lamely sent to the campaign knackers yard by her party.

I think Northland needs something radical. Two things actually:

  1. For Parliament to take them and their problems seriously beyond a three week frenzy of self-interest.
  2. An MP that is none of the above three. There’s another eight to choose from.

Northland deserves more than a chutzpah klutz, Winston Poohbah or Un-Primed.

Leave a comment


  1. Ian McKinnon

     /  14th March 2015

    Armstrong is a dog from the same kennel as Vance, Soper, Bradbury, Campbells, Espiner, et al.

  2. I am not sure that John Armstrong is a credible source for information on Northland.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th March 2015

    National’s problem besides an uninspiring candidate is the electorate is unsophisticated politically and feels politically ignored so is excited to be the focus of attention and credits Winston for that. National needs to highlight the disaster that Winston’s victory would actually be.

  4. David

     /  14th March 2015

    Armstrong should retire already he trots out rubbish week in week out. Northlands growth rate is three times as fast as Armstrongs home town of Auckland.


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