Dunne to stand again

Peter Dunne has confirmed his intention to stand in Ohariu again this year.

NZ Herald: Peter Dunne will contest 2017 election

Dunne today confirmed his intention to stand again in the Ohariu electorate in Wellington in this year’s general election.

“It is certainly my intention to stand again based on the many strong messages of encouragement and support I have been receiving from my constituents over recent months,” he told the Herald.

It will be interesting to see how this is dealt with by other parties:

  • Will National contest the seat or effectively support Dunne’s re-election? This term (since National lost the Northland by-election) Dunne’s support has maintained a government majority along with ACT as an alternative to the Maori Party.
  • Will Greens stand aside in a deal to help Labour try to win the seat?
  • Who will stand for Labour?

Labour’s Ohariu candidate at the 2014 election, Virginia Andersen, lost to Dunne by 710 votes and has since been confirmed as the party’s Hutt South candidate for 2017.

After coming close in 2014 this was a curious shift for Anderson to what may be a more winnable seat, but she is by no means assured of success against Chris Bishop.

Former Police Association president Greg O’Connor is rumoured to be interested in becoming Labour’s Ohariu candidate. Nominations close on February 3.

O’Connor did not respond to a request for comment today.

O’Connor has a public profile so would have to stand a reasonable chance against Dunne, especially if Greens don’t stand a candidate.

However they are both older white dudes – O’Connor is 58, Dunne is 62 – so lack in contrast in some respects.

O’Connor stood down as head of the Police Association last year and a year ago said he had ‘no plan’ for politics: Outgoing Police Association president Greg O’Connor has ‘no plan’ for politics:

Perfect grooming, one might speculate, for a 57-year-old former cop to embark upon a political career – given all that time spent making contacts and grabbing headlines in the shadow of the Beehive.

“It is a reasonably political job that I’m in, but I can give an absolute guarantee that there is no plan.”

O’Connor bats away the very thought of it: “A lot of people don’t believe me – they think there’s a masterplan. But there’s not.”

So if politics isn’t a goer, might his next move be to lend his voice to another section of society?

“Never say never. There is a workforce out there that work with disabled people who work for very little remuneration [out of] absolute devotion. That is just humbling. That is a group of people that are very special.”

But that was a year ago. O’Connor stepped down from the Police Association in October.

Whether O’Connor stands for Labour or not the outcome in Ohariu is likely to depend a lot on what other parties do. The Labour party vote was poor there in 2014, below their low total vote.

ohariu2014

National got better than their country-wide party vote and Labour got less than their’s, but Greens were well above theirs. Many of those who party voted Green tactically voted for the Labour candidate.

If Greens don’t stand a candidate at all they risk  losing party vote. Same for National.

Dunne is the longest serving MP in Parliament. He first became a Labour MP in 1984 so this is his 33rd year as an MP, his eleventh term. He helped set up the United New Zealand Party in 1995 and has retained his seat for what became United Future since then, although the party is now very poorly supported.

He has been a Minister since 2005, first for a Labour led government and since 2008 with a National government.

Dunne’s last term was difficult for him. After some controversy when he refused to hand over emails with a journalist in relation to allegations he had leaked a GCSB report he stood down as a Minister, but was later reinstated. His party was de-registered until it could prove it had sufficient members. This will have impacted on his reduced majority in the election.

This term has been fairly uneventful for Dunne. He is strongly criticised by pro-cannabis activists but has no chance of changing drug laws under a National government. He has been criticised for not allowing easier access to medicinal cannabinoids but he has encouraged applications for use under existing laws and procedures.

He is also strongly criticised by left wingers who don’t like his electorate arrangements with National because it helps keep Labour out of government (and because he deserted Labour).

He is also not liked by some on the right who want one party rule.

As the incumbent MP who does a lot of work in his electorate another Dunne win can’t be ruled out, but it is also far from assured.  Much may depend on what other parties do as much as who ends up standing for Labour.

Leave a comment

15 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  9th January 2017

    I am sorry to hear that Peter is standing for Ohariu again, because that is my electorate, & he is my MP, and I think that while he is a probably good electorate MP in the sense of maintaining an electorate office & making representations to Ministers of the Crown on behalf of constituents, he is basically a trougher of the first order & politically useless.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th January 2017

      I might add that after some years of attempting to find someone who would actually admit to voting for him, I finally found a comfortably-off, fit, somewhat refined, retired couple in their late 60’s in my hiking group who confessed that they always did, & when I informed them of my opinion above and asked them to explain themselves, they said they always voted for him to keep Labour out.

      Not sure what’s happening with the demographics in Ohariu at the moment but those two have now moved to some ritzy place north of Tauranga reportedly very popular with well-to-do retirees, so Mr Bow Tie is likely to be down at least two votes on the count at the next election.

      Labour & National both seem to stand candidates who’re not exactly top acts.

      Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  9th January 2017

      So anyway. is he likely yo still be your MP come whenever

      Reply
  2. lucher1948

     /  9th January 2017

    Hell gezza are you in my electorate,Im thinking of putting RED my dog up against him…

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  9th January 2017

      Not a bad idea. He’d possibly score a few votes, Lurch, & maybe achieve more of value by the end of his first term if he gets in.

      Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  9th January 2017

      What breed L48?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  10th January 2017

        Lurch is pakeha. I’ve seen him on a couple of vid clips. Hard to determine precise the likely originating breed from observing him working the dog, but delving into our lineages far enough I suspect most of us pakeha are probably mongrels, so he might be, which would explain the superb hybrid vigour we noted.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th January 2017

      haven’t you got a BLUE…heeler?

      Reply
  3. Chuck Bird

     /  9th January 2017

    I doubt if the CP stands if they will get many votes this time. If Labour chooses O’Conner they are likely to win unless the Nats do not put up a candidate.

    Reply
    • With both greens and national pulling candidates completely from by-elections it will be interesting to see what they do in the general election.

      Campaigning for party votes is still critical, they risk losing the election war by trying too much in electorate battles.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  9th January 2017

        My feeling is that Peter’s time in Parlie is quite possibly coming to an end, but if so people who previously voted for him will most likely transfer their vote to the National candidate.

        Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  10th January 2017

    Dunne is basically a counter rort of MMP to the 5% threshold rort. National might not like him but they need him. Likewise Seymour who is a little less of a rort as he does have a real party.

    Reply
    • I think UF is terminal. ACT could recover, but there’s little sign of that happening. Much may depend on who they can put forward as their top candidates alongside Seymour.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  10th January 2017

      Re: UF. Yep. Without a bow tie, they got nothin.

      Reply

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