Northcote by-election doesn’t rate in celebrity stakes

For most people the Northcote by-election is a non-event. The outcome will make virtually no difference to Parliament, and neither of the candidates with a realistic chance of winning are particularly inspiring.

They are campaigning more as local candidates than party representatives, predictably for a by-election, but this leaves national issues, and therefore issues of wider interest, largely out of the contest.

Snippets of claims about internal party polling, without full details of the polls, are being used as a campaign tool and can’t be given much credence.

Advance voting began a week and a half ago, with ‘election day’ – the final day for voting – this Saturday. The only aspect of real interest is the unusually large number of advance voters:

Voting numbers are well ahead of the election advance voting numbers. This is probably due to two factors – the increasing preference for early voting generally, plus the concentration of party operators in one electorate working to get out their voters. It’s impossible to know what this means for the various candidates.

Pre-result claims are being made about what a win will mean for either National or Labour, and what the majority will mean, but the latter particularly is fairly meaningless.

If the Labour candidate wins it will buck a tradition of the governing party being hammered in by-elections so they would get some bragging rights.

Both the likely winners are bland party candidates, or that’s how they look from a barely interested distance.

Greens also stood a candidate, presumably to assert their independence of Labour despite it making it harder for the Labour candidate to win. She looks like a capable candidate, but in the unlikely case of her winning she would add to the gender imbalance of the Green caucus even more, as they already have six female to two male MPs – the excuse this anomaly as necessary to provide better gender balance in parliament overall, but that seems a bit lame.

The media is only giving the big party contenders any significant coverage. This is undemocratic but normal for the media in elections – their own interests are severed ahead of fair balance.

There was a grizzle on Whale Oil yesterday – Northcote by-election Media party bias?

Of course the media are biased for some candidates and against others, but it’s not a party specific thing.

The full article mentions ACT candidate Stephen Berry but he is missing from the image.

The article (and tweet) did mention all eight candidates and only featured three in their photo – but the political activist blog chose only to highlight that lack of balance for the sole candidate they have been promoting, which is more biased than the media.

SB seems unaware of her hypocrisy. And also unaware of the chances of the ACT candidate. In response to someone quipping “They know ACT won’t get more than 20 votes” she responded:

Or they are worried that they might actually have a chance?

The candidate’s minimal chance is unlikely to have been helped by WO campaigning for him. Probably the opposite. A waning party promoted by a politically toxic and largely irrelevant activist blog does raise some questions about ACT’s desperation to be seen.

Whoever wins on Saturday will get a whiff of publicity but the largely disinterested public will take no notice as the new MP disappears onto a back bench of one side or the other.

I note that the Labour PR machine has chosen to give the media details of opportunities for another result due this weekend.

The timing of births is less predictable than the result of by-elections, but that’s likely to get a lot more attention than the by-election.

None of the Northcote candidates look likely to fit the celebrity billing that media are increasingly obsessed with.


  1. artcroft

     /  7th June 2018

    If the Greens are intent on bringing gender balance to parliament then shouldn’t James Shaw and Gareth Hughes walk for the sake of the nation.

    • PDB

       /  7th June 2018

      Gareth’s star has dimmed since he had to ask Clint for help and the young females have taken over the Greens. No doubt like many left-wingers he is awaiting his turn to be appointed onto a working group in the hope that extends out to a full time career once he is done as an MP.

      • Blazer

         /  7th June 2018

        working groups are democracy in action…listening to people.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  7th June 2018

          Are they all taking public submissions?
          In a normal government it is the select committee that offers democracy in action, without the exorbitant fees to the pollies of the past.

  2. Zedd

     /  7th June 2018

    I saw a TV interview, with the Lab & Natl candidates.. 2 young maori men, in suits; one with a blue tie on & the other with a red tie on.. but looked more like 2 sides of same coin

    Northcote should ‘look outside the squares’ (IMHO); there are others to consider.. perhaps ALCP ?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  7th June 2018

      Have to say I agree – The L & N candidates almost look like twins.
      I wonder if it a deliberate tactic from Labour? If so, it’s probably a good strategy.
      But everyone knows Stephen Berry is a shoe-in. Except Simon Wilson who knows Labour have it sewn up:

  3. largely irrelevant activist blog

    then why on earth do you continue to write about NZ’s most popular, most read, number one political blog?

    You have ignored everything that doesn’t fit your niche blog narrative but you are only fooling yourself.

    You have ignored the subscriptions that fund the blog.
    You have ignored the audio blogs ( A first for media in NZ)
    You have ignored the online crossword, the sudoku,
    You have ignored the podcasts,
    You have ignored Incite Magazine articles 5 days a week.
    You have ignored our columnist Sir Bob Jones.

    In short you ignore all the many indications that Whaleoil is a highly successful new media organisation. No doubt as you usually do you will turn my comment into at least two articles if not more and will pull it apart for content for the blog of the damned. Good luck to you. I support your freedom of speech one hundred percent.

    You can make your case for why Whaleoil is an insignificant niche blog till the cows come home. If it makes you feel better to believe that then good for you. This level of delusion, however, is better suited to a left-wing blog.

    • Blazer

       /  7th June 2018

      do you still need donations…being such a power house and..all?

    • Zedd

       /  7th June 2018

      I come here.. because it is fairly balanced.. not a ‘mouthpiece’ for either the EXTREME-right or left.

      meanwhile some of the commenters here.. may fit the description ? :/

      • Grimm

         /  7th June 2018

        Be fairly easy to see the extreme left from your seat though Zedd?

        Not sure? It will be just to the right of you.

    • Gezza

       /  7th June 2018

      You have ignored our columnist Sir Bob Jones
      Sound policy for anyone, imo. Even Wilkinson. He should do more of it.

    • Gezza

       /  7th June 2018

      No Avian Aviation Authority articles either, I hasten to note.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  7th June 2018

        I’m sure if you approached them about a weekly Pukeko roundup from the ass-end of the NI they’s fit you in – god knows they have some “interesting” features already.

        • Gezza

           /  7th June 2018

          My pukekos’ toilet habits leave a lot to be desired – and they still have far too much class to be featuring on that site.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  7th June 2018

            I’m not sure where else you can go for the on-point self-evident truths of Info-Wars and updates on the brave battler that is Tommy Robinson?

            • Gezza

               /  7th June 2018

              Well, there is Infowars itself I guess. But to get published there, first I would have to pretend to be a retired US air force offer who was involved in secretly flight-testing a submersible flying tsunami machine for the deep state in the 80s.

            • Gezza

               /  7th June 2018

              Reminds me – where’s Corks?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  7th June 2018

              Popped off and out, I hope.

    • spanishbride – you seem overly sensitive to a bit of a critique, given how much other media is criticised on Whale Oil. I see that The Spinoff was given a bit of a blast today, and that post didn’t list all the positive attributes of that media site (that manages to work with other media quite successfully, unlike WO).

      WO often criticises other media (when not using their content) but they don’t have a wee hissy fit and try to promote themselves on WO when they get grizzled at.

      I’ve acknowledged positives about WO when I’ve felt like it (not every time I say something about the site, that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it).

      But like any media you are open to criticism, and you should accept that will happen and not blubber when it happens – amongst other things it’s very hypocritical given how much you dish out.

      If you can’t stand the heat…

      • Criticism is fine Pete but to call an elephant an ant is not criticism, it is fake news.

        • SB

          On your claims you are “most popular, most read, number one political blog?” do you have figures to support this?

          As I see it Kiwiblog is so far ahead of WO in the commentary numbers dept and even this blog often exceeds your commentary. For example on Twitter @dpfdpf is retweeted so much more than WO which would suggest both a wider and stronger relationship engagement.

          Look forward to seeing your supporting stats.

        • It’s a bit lame playing the ‘fake news’ card. I note that you have only grizzled in general terms, you haven’t address the point actually made.

          Whale Oil seems to have given a preference to promoting one candidate in the Northcote by-election, Stephen Berry.

          To be democratically balanced shouldn’t by-election article photos feature all candidates? Why were you only complaining about the ommision of Berry?

          Promotion of specific parties in the election campaign, promotion of Judith Collins, there’s many examples of WO’s favourites (and targets for criticism).

          This seems hypocritical to me when you diss ‘the media party’ for promoting some parties over others.

          You claim to have a diverse media platform (to an extent you are), but one of it’s primary purposes is as a political activist site. Even your own commenters point out your hypocrisy and narrow views.

          WO is as much (I think more) ‘the political activist party’ as there is ‘a media party’ which is far more diverse.

          I’m not calling an elephant an ant, I’m calling a whale what it is. Can you address this rather than take general swipes?

  4. duperez

     /  7th June 2018

    The world has changed and keeps changing. Anyone who has lived past a certain point in time can look back and shake their head about something or the way things were. Every now and then there is something which is so little but which says a lot, like “Whaleoil is a highly successful new media organisation.”

  1. Northcote by-election doesn’t rate in celebrity stakes — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition