Put to the Swordfish

Swordfish seems to think he is good at numbers but regardless of if being an obvious tongue in cheek dig he is quite misleading in this comment at The Standard:

I was about to say: It’s amazing how many Dunedinites are on this site.

But, come to think of it, Dunedin is still the most Left-leaning City in the Country* (Wellington’s the only other centre where the Left continue to beat the Right Bloc) … so maybe not all that surprising after all.

* Indeed, it’s been argued that Pete George is the only Dunedinite to have Party-Voted National at the last Election. Isn’t that right, Pete ?

It’s true that both Dunedin electorates currently have Labour MPs and have historically mostly had Labour MPs.

For a start, going by numerous comments at The Standard bitterly complaining about neo-liberalism and National-Lite/Labour-Lite having Labour MPs doesn’t mean electorates are left-leaning.

But Swordfish is ignoring the actual numbers in Dunedin. Take the Dunedin North (the electorate I live in) party vote election results from 2014:

  • National 11,147
  • Labour 11,302
  • Greens 8,035
  • NZ First 2,364
  • Conservative 956
  • Internet Mana 603
  • Legalise Cannabis 172 (go Abe!)
  • Maori Party 124
  • ACT Party 111
  • United Future 86
  • Ban 1080 60
  • Civilian 27
  • Independent Coalition 7
  • Focus 1

Over 70% of the votes went to centre-ish parties. Ok, a few National and Labour voters may lean outside the centre a bit, but there were more votes for National than for any other party.

And it’s worth looking at trend for National:

  • 2002: 4,481 (16.19%)
  • 2005: 8,217 (25.14%)
  • 2008: 9,692 (29.35%)
  • 2011: 9,707 (32.89%)
  • 2014: 11,302 (32.26%)

Sure the Labour+Green vote is significantly higher but that is influenced markedly by Metiria Turei standing for Greens. She is arguably still better known than Michael Woodhouse and certainly has had a higher profile than David Clark. If she retired it would be interesting to see how the party voting went.

Swordfish also didn’t mention that this century I have voted for four different parties in Dunedin North, including Greens and Labour.

Te Reo Putake was taking a dig at Colonial Viper but lets look at his comment “Curran is too popular” in relation to the Dunedin South results in 2014.

Curran won the electorate by 3,858 votes from a National candidate with very little public profile.

That’s not a large margin compared to say Phil Goff with over twice as big a margin and David Shearer with three times the margin (but TRP may not think they are very left leaning).

But the critical party vote in Dunedin South in 2014:

  • National 15,003
  • Labour 12,518
  • Greens 4,626
  • NZ First 3,429
  • Conservative 1,104
  • Internet Mana 307
  • Legalise Cannabis 171  (they are based in Dunedin South)
  • ACT Party 125
  • Maori Party 95
  • Ban 1080 77
  • United Future 63
  • Civilian 18
  • Focus 7
  • Independent Coalition 5

That doesn’t look hugely left-leaning to me.

And TRP, before and while Curran has stood for Labour in Dunedin South their party vote:

  • 2005: 20,348 (57.13%
  • 2008: 17,408 (46.73%)
  • 2011: 12,326 (34.97%)
  • 2014: 12,518 (33.13%)

If I was a Labour supporter I’d be alarmed by that.

Dunedin South includes the South Dunedin area, one of the most socially deprived areas in New Zealand.

Despite that Dunedin doesn’t doesn’t look to be a hugely left leaning city, and is trending away from Labour.

And I’m sure a few Standardistas would also argue about how left leaning David Clark and Clare Curran actually are. They are hardly working class heroes.

Both are more typical of the modern Labour Party and their careerist MPs – they both worked for Labour MP offices in Wellington before being awarded their safe Labour electorates, which are getting less Labour vote as the century rolls on.

The Dunedin electorates are leaning less and less Labour’s way.

Leave a comment


  1. Iceberg

     /  26th June 2016

    Clark must be worried in Dunedin North. If you can’t snow students anymore, what’s left? They’ve cetainly managed to destroy the vote since the heady days of Hitman Hodgson.

    As for Materials vote, many students vote Green because they think that the Greens make the flowers grow. It’s not until they start paying tax that they figure out that Green economics is just a Ponzi scheme.

  2. jamie

     /  26th June 2016

    Clark, to me anyway, seems relatively grounded among his colleagues.

    Are you sure he worked in an MP’s office? He doesn’t seem to fit the profile.

    • Sorry, he worked as a treasury staffer, but also served as Pete Hodgson’s electorate chairman.

      He married Grant Robertson in a civil union in a civil union in 2009, before he was selected to stand in Dunedin North. So he had connections in the Labour careers department.

    • More on his history – he has worked as an advisor to David Parker:

      Working for Labour:
      – Dunedin North LEC Chair 2010
      – Dunedin North LEC Deputy Chair 2009 – 2010
      – Leith Branch Membership Secretary 2009 – 2011
      – Drafted paper to Policy Council from Leith Branch 2009
      – Dunedin North Campaign Committee member and activist 2008
      – Advisor to Hon David Parker 2006 – 2007
      – EPMU member, first joined 2006
      – Campaign hoardings assistance, Wellington 2005


      • jamie

         /  26th June 2016

        You seem to have uncovered a long history of involvement in the Labour Party, he’ll be hoping this scandal doesn’t get out 😀

        I have to say though, being involved in campaigns, putting up hoardings, chairing committees etc is not the sort of thing I think of when I think of the all too familiar “career politicians” in the Labour caucus. In fact I think PART of the problem is some of them probably haven’t done enough of this stuff.

        I imagine that someone like yourself, having campaigned on the ground, probably knows more about the real concerns of people in your area than someone like Kris Faafoi or Jacinda Ardern will ever know about theirs.

  3. artcroft

     /  26th June 2016

    A very good response Pete. I recall David Clark entered parliament tagged as “someone to watch”. Hasn’t worked out that way.

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  26th June 2016

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good post eh…

  5. Hey JB, in this case that should have been worded “Never let a good post get in the way of the facts”?


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