Ross to stand for NZ First in Botany – plan or joke?

It is easy to take this comment as a bit of a joke:

Funny thought ….. JLR jumps to NZF, a bit of theatre from Winny on saying XYZ, then JLR enters a by-election … wins for NZF and gets a plumb role in govt.

Oh so so funny

That seems ridiculous, but lets join a few dots.

That was said by someone with a close association with Cameron Slater.

Early last year Winston Peters’ lawyer represented Slater in his defamation case versus Colin Craig (unsuccessfully).

For many years Slater had criticised and ridiculed Peters, but suddenly last year switched to supporting Peters and NZ First through the election campaign. This may have simply been a way of trying to damage Bill English and National, who he had fallen out with, but it did raise some questions of why the sudden switch.

This year Slater has continued to attack National, and has attacked Simon Bridges since he took over the leadership.

When Jami-Lee Ross was ejected from the National caucus and took leave from Parliament (again) Slater became prominent in his support of Ross, and used information and secret recordings from Ross to attack Bridges and National. Some of Slater’s Whale Oil helpers have continued with their anti-bridges/National agenda.

Yesterday Peters announced that NZ First would proxy vote for Ross in Parliament – see NZ First proxy voting for Jami-lee Ross. Peters sounded uncomfortable trying to explain this unusual arrangement.

RNZ:  NZ First to hold Jami-Lee Ross’ proxy vote

Speaking to reporters at Parliament, Mr Peters said the decision was made in the “spirit of representation” to ensure Botany voters were heard in Parliament.

“We’re not here to kick the National Party,” Mr Peters said.

“We are here to say to the people of Botany… you deserve to have your voice heard.”

As long as Ross stays away from Parliament the voice of the people won’t be heard in Parliament, so this is a strange claim – unless Peters is just trying to impress Botany voters perhaps.

Back to the ‘funny’ comment – I would have thought that Peters was too politically astute to stand Parliament’s most discredited MP for NZ First in a by-election. But Slater and his mates could be silly enough to think it is a cunning plan. He and the person who made the comment have histories of trying some fairly stupid stunts.

I guess anything is possible but it is very hard to see Ross stand any chance if he tried to keep his Botany seat, even if he happens to recover from his claimed health problems in time for the campaign – someone who is unable to do their job in Parliament would struggle to get votes in an electorate.

Peters must realise this, so it’s hard to see him going for this unless he thought it was a way to kick National – when he says something like “We’re not here to kick the National Party” that raises suspicions that that is exactly what his intention actually is, akin to his ‘with the greatest respect’ comments.

It would be remarkable if Ross could get anywhere near close to winning Botany.

If he somehow managed that, getting “a plumb role in govt” would also be a stretch. That would mean he would take over responsibilities of a current NZ First minister, which would be unlikely to go down well. And Labour would be nuts to accept Ross in their Cabinet.

So this all seems to be a big joke – except that I wouldn’t put it past Slater and his mates to think it was a cunning plan.

It would go something like this:

  • Ross too sick to attend Parliament
  • NZ First proxy votes for Ross
  • Ross resigns from Parliament
  • Ross now not sick and stands for NZ First in Botany by-election, and wins
  • Ross appointed Cabinet Minister, replacing Tracey Martin as Minister of Children and Minister of (Internal) Affairs

Yes, it’s a joke.

Hung Parliament after Liberal seat loss in Australia

Things just got even tougher for the Liberals in Australia after they lost a by-election in the Wentworth electorate after ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull exited Parliament.

The Liberals had been clinging to a one seat majority, but Australia now has a hung Parliament.

news.com.au – Independent Kerryn Phelps claims victory over Liberal candidate Dave Sharma for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth

Independent Kerryn Phelps is ahead on the two-candidate preferred vote by 54.39 per cent compared to Liberal candidate Dave Sharma on 45.61 per cent.

Dr Phelps has 17,500 primary votes compared to Mr Sharma’s 20,712 votes.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said about 80 per cent of preferences from other candidates were going to Dr Phelps and so she should win easily. He called the by-election in her favour about 7.15pm, not long after polling booths closed at 6pm.

It’s the first time in its 117-year history that the Liberals have lost the Wentworth seat and commentators are already predicting it will spell chaos within the party, and Malcolm Turnbull will be blamed.

There was a 27 per cent swing away from the Liberal Party, the biggest swing against a government in a by-election in the history of federal parliament.

It means the Morrison Government will lose its one-seat majority and Australia now has a hung parliament. The Liberal Party will have to work with crossbenchers to get its legislation passed.

Talk about a rock star reception

Kerryn Phelps was greeted by a roar of jubilation as she arrived at her victory party at North Bondi Surf Life Savers club, and the noise didn’t die down for five minutes.

Dr Phelps took her time moving to the front of the room, stopping to hug and high five supporters. At several points she even broke out dancing, and an impromptu moshpit promptly formed around her.

“I am humbled by this privilege and I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said, before descending back into the crowd.

Scott Morrison’s speech slammed

Morrison is the current Liberal leader and Prime Minister.

While the Prime Minister’s speech to Liberal supporters at Dave Sharma’s election party was heartily cheered, it has not gone down well on social media.

Many said it showed a lack of humility and that Mr Morrison had not understood the message from voters.

In contrast, Mr Sharma’s speech was praised for being gracious and respectful.

Mr Morrison’s defiant speech drew frequent heckles from the rowdier attendees.

Beaten Liberal candidate Dave Sharma got a more respectful reception, perhaps because his speech was notably magnanimous — not only towards Dr Phelps, but towards the old member of Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull.

Loss will be blamed on Malcolm Turnbull

The disastrous by-election result for the Liberal Party is already being blamed on the former prime minister and Wentworth MP.

Mr Turnbull was noticeably absent from the campaign and his son was openly encouraging people to vote for Kerryn Phelps.

Australian associate editor Chris Kenny said he thought the repercussions of the loss would be extraordinary.

“There’s going to be incredible turmoil within the Liberal Party as the blame game plays out,” he told Sky News.

“I think Malcolm Turnbull’s reputation is going to be absolutely trashed.”

I think that the Liberal Party needs to bear a lot of responsibility for the blame, but politicians are known for often not acknowledging their own failings. They probably don’t see their own failings.

But this is a big failure for the Liberals.

news.com.au – Voters scoff at Liberal Party’s tactical blunder in Wentworth

THE Liberal Party appears to have made a catastrophic tactical blunder in the Wentworth by-election.

Its core argument to voters was obvious to anyone who visited a polling station today. Huge signs warned of the consequences that would follow a victory for independent Kerryn Phelps, saying Labor would ultimately benefit.

“Labor + Phelps, don’t risk it,” the most common poster read.

The implication, hammered into voters heads all week by Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and even retired party legend John Howard, was that Dr Phelps would cause chaos in parliament.

In other words, the biggest reason to vote Liberal was “stability”.

The Australian Liberals are about as stable as a Jami-Lee Ross.

Dan Bidois on his Northcote win

New MP Dan Bidois has a lot to learn now he has won the Northcote by-election. He will have that chance on the National back bench for at least two years.

Simon Bridges says he will give Bidois some minor responsibilities – his biggest task initially will be coming to grips with being an electorate MP and setting himself up in Northcote.

1 News interviewed Bidois before his win: ‘I have been a fighter my entire life’ – New Zealand’s newest MP Dan Bidois takes out Northcote by-election

“I have been a fighter my entire life. I dropped out of school at 15, found out I had cancer and beat it, completed my butchery apprenticeship, eventually getting mentored to go to University and falling in love with education. Ultimately I went on to win a scholarship and complete my Masters at Harvard.”

“I have had to fight for everything I have achieved in life, and so I want to bring that determination to Northcote and fight for the things that matter locally – improving transport, stopping the fuel tax increases, and getting more investment in local services like health and education.”

He said prior to his victory when asked what issues he would pursue in Parliament, that he was “passionate about education and making sure we’re getting more kids learning good trades. I would like to see more done around apprenticeships”.

The economy has been doing well the last few years, which has lifted incomes and meant the Government can afford to invest more in public services, but we can’t take it for granted. The new Labour-NZ First Government is making a range of changes that will slow that growth down, which is really bad for families. We can’t take good economic management for granted.

There is currently no scheduled vote on abortion or cannabis, but I haven’t seen evidence the current systems aren’t working properly. I would want to study the issues more before I made a decision on these two.

I haven’t read the proposed euthanasia legislation yet. I do have some concerns around it though, in that we have to make sure that there appropriate safeguards so our sick and elderly aren’t abused.

Sounds like he has been well indoctrinated with standard National responses in preparation for the by-election.

Time will tell whether he fights for his own voice and his own views.

 

Remarkable absence of coverage for a political blog

The Northcote by-election has been a significant political story over the last few days.

Last night there was a post and discussion on it here, Also:

A notable omission is Whale Oil, who last posted on the by-election in a post grizzling about the lack of promotion in other for their preferred candidate on Thursday. I commented on that, referring to WO as a “largely irrelevant activist blog” and in response ‘Spanish Bride’ commented here:

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.

In short you ignore all the many indications that Whaleoil is a highly successful new media organisation.

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.

The self claimed “number one political blog” not covering the by-election result yesterday seems remarkable. Just about every media organisation covered the by-election apart from WO.

I think this makes a fairly good case for seeing Whaleoil as an insignificant niche blog.

They may say something about the by-election today, but it is unlikely to be anything like significant media analysis.

Northcote by-election result

Voting will have just closed in the Northcote by-election. Results should be known tonight.

In the first week of advance voting numbers were well ahead of the same period during the general election, but they slowed down inn the second week, finishing up just ahead.

Total advance votes:

  • 2017 general election 10755
  • 2018 by-election 11464

All this means is that a few more people have voted early this time. It may or may not favour any candidate.


Northcote – Preliminary Count

Electorate No. 34 – 33 of 33 results counted

VOTES COUNTED:
19,900
100.0%
LEADING CANDIDATE:
BIDOIS, Dan
10,147
2nd CANDIDATE:
HALBERT, Shanan
8,785
CURRENT MARGIN:
1,362
Candidates Party Votes
BIDOIS, Dan
NAT
10147
HALBERT, Shanan
LAB
8785
JAUNG, Rebekah
GP
579
BERRY, Stephen
ACT
157
KOLONI, Kym
IND
95
LYE, Jeff
ALCP
76
CHEEL, Tricia
NZDSC
30
WALSH, Liam
NAP
5
Candidate Informals: 26
TOTAL: 19,900

This is not the formal declaration of results.


So that’s the final election night result.

The general election results:

  • Jonathan Coleman (National) 19,072 (52.27%)
  • Shanan Halbert (Labour) 12,862 (35.25%)
  • Rebekah Jaung (Greens) 2,457 (6.73%

Majority 6,210

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.

Northcote by-election polls

Early voting has opened in the Northcote by-election. ‘Election day’ is 9 June.

There have been claims from both Labour and National about polls leading into the voting period, however these are internal polls commissioned by the parties with no details made public, so should be viewed with scepticism. I’m posting about them here to put it on the record, so claims can be compared to results.

The Daily Blog on Thursday:

The latest internal polling by Labour astoundingly suggests that Labour could beat National in Northcote!

I’ve just seen the latest polling for the Northcote by-election and it’s much closer than we thought.

Going into this race we knew we were underdogs – and, if I’m honest, it looked like we had a huge mountain to climb to even get close given National’s huge majority.

But the latest polling we received yesterday reveals there are just a few points in it. There is a chance Labour could do well on June 9.

Labour have just sent this out to their Northcote support team, and if true could be one of the biggest upsets in a  safe National electorate since Winston took Northland!

Labour has emailed not just members but apparently it’s whole email list (someone I know in Dunedin with no connection to Labour got one).

Referring to a tweet that it had been posted on The Daily Blog:

We will just have to wait and see what the result is. A lot may depend on party ‘get out the vote’ organisation and voter motivation, which can be low for by-elections like this with little but party egos at stake.

Typically single electorate polls can have quite small sample sizes so have higher than normal margins for error.

And by-elections with nothing much riding on them can have very low turnouts. Turnout comparisons in Mount Albert (which Jacinda Ardern won early last year):

  • General election 2014 – 36,922 votes
  • By-election 25 February 2017 – 13,649 vote
  • General election 22 September 2017 – 38,760 vote

These are the by-election candidates in Northcote:

Candidate Name Party
BERRY, Stephen ACT New Zealand
BIDOIS, Dan National Party
CHEEL, Tricia Democrats for Social Credit
HALBERT, Shanan Labour Party
JAUNG, Rebekah Green Party
KOLONI, Kym Independent
LYE, Jeff Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
WALSH, Liam NAP

Northcote by-election candidates

Greens have announced their candidate for the Northcote by-election – Rebekah Jaung selected as candidate for Northcote

Jaung wasn’t on the Green list in 2017 but stood in the Northcote electorate. She got 6.73% of the vote, almost the same as the party vote for the electorate which was 6.75%. This is slightly better than the 6.27% overall Green party vote.

Greens have been criticised for standing a candidate as it makes it much harder for the Labour candidate Shanan Halbert, but an upset was unlikely anyway (he lost by 6210 votes in the general election), and Greens need to be showing they are not just a party supporting Labour’s interests.

Candidates announced so far (Wikipedia):

  • Stephen Berry (ACT) – 2017 candidate for East Coast Bays, 5th on party list
  • Dan Bidois (National) – economist, 72nd on National’s 2017 party list
  • Tricia Cheel (Democrats) – social justice campaigner, 22nd on Democrats 2017 party list
  • Shanan Halbert (Labour) – head of Relationships at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, 2017 candidate
  • Rebekah Jaung (Greens) – doctor, Greens 2017 candidate for Northcote

Winston Peters has said the by-election is a waste of money and NZ First won’t stand a candidate, which will only save money for the party, and may be aimed at saving face (not putting NZ First to the test in an election).

Nominations close next Tuesday 15 May.

The by-election is in four weeks, on Saturday 9 June.

Nation: Northcote by-election

Is anyone interested in the Northcote by-election?

As usual media select their preferred candidates and ignore the rest – poor democracy.

With a by-election looming, National’s Dan Bidois and Labour’s Shanan Halbert join Lisa Owen to discuss why they should be Northcote’s next MP.

One of them is almost certainly going to become an MP after the 9 June by-election.

Both are pushing themselves as a local electorate MP. That’s the nature of by-elections, but most of the country is likely to have little interest.

Auckland traffic problems is not the a particularly riveting topic.

I don’t really care who wins. It’s up to the Northcote voters who take the time to vote.

Sensible Green decision to stand in Northcote by-election

The Green Party has announced that it will stand a candidate in the Northcote by-election in June.

While a challenge to their meagre finances and a risk this is a sensible decision. They will be criticised for reducing Labour’s slim chance of winning the seat off National, but they would have been at risk of more damaging criticism if they had helped Labour by not standing a candidate.

That a win for National will have no effect on the balance of power in Parliament will have made this decision easier for the Greens.

Greens will be intent on differentiating from their Labour partner, this is critical for a support party on the cusp of the make or break MMP threshold.

And they will be keen to get measures of their their popularity and of their performance in Government with the Northcote voters.

A candidate has not been announced yet.