National didn’t show up in Mt Roskill

John Key may have not meant this literally but perhaps it tells us something about National’s lacklustre efforts in the Mt Roskill by-election.

“No other political party other than Labour showed up. The Greens didn’t show up. New Zealand First didn’t show up and, actually, the voters didn’t show up,” he said.

Mt Roskill by-election victory ‘a pretty small bar for Andrew Little to get over’: John Key

He didn’t name National, and his party stood a candidate, but they seemed to not try and not care.

Key said they did a poll three weeks before the election that showed Labour’s Michael Wood well ahead but National had given up on going for a win long before that. Key says they never considered a National win. That showed.

What is it with National and by-elections? Their Northland candidate selection and campaign was very poor, and they were trounced by Winston Peters.

Do they not care about by-elections? Losing Northland was a major defeat, not just of a safe National seat but it also significantly weakened National’s coalition voting power, as National+Act no longer held a majority.

Winning Mt Roskill would have given National an important extra MP, but they would probably not be wanting to push through controversial National+Act legislation in an election year.

Was handing an easy win to Labour tactical? Andrew Little is saying the Mt Roskill win ‘is proof that Labour can win a general election’, following their local body election successes.

Labour may be trying to spin what they can out of their win, but it sounds like they believe they are now in with a shot in next year’s election, despite trailing National by about 20% in polls (more in some).

The Wood win means that Little is secure as leader until the election. Key and National are probably quite happy about that.

But National may have problems with arrogancy and complacency. Losing by-elections has become a habit.

Next year’s election looks like National’s to lose and Labour on their own are a long way from being competitive, now relying on at least the Greens and also probably hoping NZ First will agree to a triumverate coalition (triumverate  is probably not appropriate given Little’s not very powerful leadership and Greens having co-leaders).

But I don’t think a National loss should be ruled out, especially given their by-election performances.

Steven Joyce engineered cleverness may bite them on the bum – National+NZ First could end up being a pain in the nether regions.

Bi-election balls up

I know that the media treated the recent campaign as a two candidate contest but a bi-election?

There are many examples of poor use of words and poor editing in ‘mainstream media’ these days as resources are stretched due to shrinking revenues and the race to post news first online – ‘breaking news’ is usually a signal for ‘we rushed this story faster than other media’.

This story from 1 News wasn’t breaking but the editing seems to be broken.

Mt Roskill by-election victory ‘a pretty small bar for Andrew Little to get over’: John Key

The headline is too long but otherwise is ok.

Prime Minister John Key says Michael Wood’s victory in the Mt Roskill bi-election isn’t a “great celebration” for the Labour party.

It was spelt correctly in the headline but there’s the bi-election.

“No other political party other than Labour showed up. The Greens didn’t show up. New Zealand First didn’t show up and, actually, the voters didn’t show up,” he said.

“So you’ve had one of the lowest turn out we’ve really seen a mainstream bi-election.”

And repeated there, in a garbled sentence. Is John Key that incoherent? Not quite, the video accompanying the story reveals that he actually said “So you’ve had one of the lowest turn outs we’ve really seen in a mainstream bi-election.”

Iknow that Labour will want to say somehow this has been good for them. If it is, this is a pretty low bar for Andrew Little to get over,” says Mr Key.

Just a space missed there but prominently at the start of the sentence.

Meanwhile Labour leader Andrew Little says the win is proof that Labour can win a general election, despite poor showings in national polls.

Mr Little says polls “come and go” and voters who have moved away from Labour are there to be persuaded and convinced.

Can’t blame 1 News for Little’s odd logic and wishful thinking. The win is proof that Labour can win a by-election. Multiple recent polls suggest that Labour is something like 20% away from ‘winning’ a general election, and even a Labour+Greens win looks a long shot from here.

“And as we’ve seen in the local body elections and the Mt Roskill, when people hear a message, hear a clear message, a good message, have good contact with us, then we win their confidence and support. And we will go into 2017 with that,” he said.

That wasn’t in the video so I don’t know who’s mistake “and the Mt Roskill” was.

Mr Key says the Mt Roskill seat is a strong Labour seat so was not expecting win the Mt Roskill election.

Again this wasn’t a quote from the video so “was not expecting win the Mt Roskill election” could be anyone’s mistake, but well edited news items usually don’t show mistakes like this.

“If Andrew Little think victory is holding a seat they’ve held for 60 years thats good. But I don’t think that makes general election history,” says Mr Key.

Four editing errors in one sentence – what Key actually said was:  “If Andrew Little thinks victory is holding a seat they’ve held for 40 years that’s good. But I don’t think that makes a general election history”.

So in one short article I can count ten basic errors – more than just a bi-election balls up by 1 News.


A good win for Labour but…

Michael Wood and Labour had an emphatic win in the My Roskill by-election, but they still have a lot to do to turn around their Parliamentary performance.

They put in a lot of work and got a result Labour needed – but there was probably little doubt they would win, especially after Greens decided to not stand a candidate to help Labour, and National’s Parmjeet Parmar turned out to be an unimpressive candidate.

Wood has done a lot of groundwork before succeeding in getting in to Parliament, first standing for an electorate in 2002. His record:

  • 2002 stood in Pakuranga
  • 2005 stood in Pakuranga, 58 on the Labour list
    – he got about 9,5000 votes both times against Maurice Williamson
  • 2008 stood on the Labour list only, at 56
  • 2010 elected to the Puketapapa Local Board
  • 2011 stood in Botany by-election, lost to Jamie-Lee Ross
  • 2011 general election on the Labour list only at 32
  • 2014 stood in Epsom, 39 on the Labour list
  • 2016 elected in Mt Roskill by-election

So Wood has been persistent in seeking a seat in Parliament, and has now succeeded. He looks like he could be a good electorate MP. Time will tell how he goes in Parliament.

Wood is 36 so adds a youngish MP to the Labour caucus, replacing 63 year old Goff who was first elected in 1981, a year after Wood was born.

He doesn’t help Labour improve it’s gender balance, and doesn’t improve their ethnic representation, although Wood is now MP for an electorate with the highest number of overseas born residents (probably about half).

This win will gave Labour a boost of confidence after a bad week, with three polls at 23%, 28% and 29%, and a number of pundits writing off Labour’s chances for next year.

However Labour were buoyant after successes in the local body elections and that didn’t translate into better poll results or performance in Parliament.

With the by-election success Labour has something positive to end the year with, but they should do a lot of soul searching over the summer break if they want to look like realistic contenders next year.

This win won’t fix Andrew Little’s deficiencies as Labour leader, nor will it fix Labour’s baffling strategies.

Both Wood and Little will be interviewed on Q & A this morning.

By-election day in Mt Roskill


A huge win with a very small turnout, about half that of the general election in 2014.

More than enough Labour voters turned out to vote, National voters couldn’t be bothered, or busy with Christmas shopping, or simply didn’t see the point.

2014 general election votes: 33,933
2015 Northland by-election: 29,590
2013 Christchurch East by-election: 13,726
2011 Botany by-election: 15,421

So Northland was an exceptional turnout for a by-election.

The Mt Roskill result in 2014:



Today is by-election day in Mt Roskill, although about five thousand people have voted in advance.


Advance votes:

  • Mt Roskill 2014 general election – 7,218
  • Northland 2015 by-election – 13,869
  • Mt Roskill 2016 by-election – 4,969

By-elections generally have much lower turnouts but that’s significantly less.

I think that we are not supposed to discuss aspects of the election, the candidates or the parties involved on election day although it was fine while early voting took place.

If you are a Mt Roskill voter: Information for voters in Mt Roskill
– includes polling place locations.

Please don’t comment on here until after voting closes at 7 pm.

Results should become available some time after that and unless it’s close a final election night result should be known by 10 pm.

Mt Roskill poll v. political claims

There seems to have been a non-public poll done for the Mt Roskill by-election for Labour, but there are mixed messages.

A week ago in NZ’s feeblest John Key parrot is on the brink of a shellacking in Mt Roskill  Simon Wilson wrote:

Labour has a poll that puts their candidate, Michael Wood, 30 points ahead, at 58 to 28. That’s a spectacular fail in an electorate where National won the party vote in 2014 by 2000.

That would be a spectacular result, but without any details about the poll, when it was taken, what the questions were, and what the sample size and method were, it’s worth being very wary – especially when a party with a vested interest promotes the results.

This came up again today, started by a tweet from Labour MP Phil Twyford.

Never mind Key’s spin, the Herald has the numbers on why Roskill is no slam dunk for Michael Wood

Even post-Trump, NZ spin is parties vying to claim that they will in fact suffer the most humiliating defeat

Unlike Key we are not predicting defeat, just that Roskill may be close run and that we have to work hard for it.

Thought your internal polling was supposed to be putting you 30 points ahead?

Don’t believe every bit of unsourced speculation you hear.

I didn’t say I believed it. But @simonbwilson was on NatRad this morning saying Labour had told him this. So either Simon’s bullshitting (which I very much doubt) or someone’s bullshitting Simon.

No reason to doubt my sources. Plural. Both parties have reason to argue it’s close. Both bullshitting? Oh dear, agony for another 28 hours!

Theoretically, that poll *should* be accurate [safe seat; 3rd term Nat govt, etc]. But things are weird right now.

@simonbwilson  Strong Lab cand + strong campaign. Weak Nat cand. Greens X. 3rd party votes off Parmar. By-elect. Crime. House $. Key says nah.

Most things point to a comfortable win to Labour’s Wood, but it may close up, that poll is over a week old.

But why did Twyford emphasise “Roskill is no slam dunk” and “Roskill may be close run”?

Mt Roskill by-election

The Mt Roskill by-election is tomorrow, but the campaign has failed to raise much interest. It’s expected that Labour’s Michael Wood, anointed and promoted by Phil Goff who has left the electorate to become mayor of Auckland, will win, and probably comfortably.

For Labour’s sake Wood has to win well. They have put a lot of effort into campaigning.

National’s candidate Parmjeet Parmar stood in Mt Roskill in the 2014 general election but lost to Goff by 8,091 votes. National got over 2,000 more party votes, but a Government candidate has never won an election off an opposition party before. John Key has been playing down his candidate’s chances.

Roshan Nauhria is standing for the recently formed New Zealand People’s Party, mainly on immigration and law and order issues. He was cold shouldered by media in some debates as they often do. It will at least give an indication of whether Nauhria’s party has much chance of competing in next year’s general election.

The other candidates have been virtually ignored by media coverage outside the area so I have no idea whether any have made any impression. They are:

  • Richard Goode (NAP)
  • Andrew Leitch (Democrats for Social Credit)
  • Tua Schuster (Independent)
  • Brandon Stronge (The Cannabis Party)

I haven’t seen media murmuring about a surprise result. There was one claimed poll which gave Wood a huge lead but without any details that should be ignored.

Yesterday the Herald suggested Mt Roskill: closer than you think but that is largely based on past voting and electorate demographics.

Voter turnout could be important. Parties will be working hard to ensure their supporters actually bother to vote.

Early voting up to Wednesday was tracking well below that in the last general election. By-elections usually have lower turnouts.


Updated with Thursday’s numbers showing no sign of a late surge.

So it’s up to the Mt Roskill voters tomorrow to decide who they have for an MP for the next 9-11 months.

The New Zealand politics task force is prepared for what looks to be the likely outcome:

Remember the by-election?

Only Mt Roskill voters get to take part in the Mt Roskill by-election. It may or may not be exciting them, but it seems to have failed to fire up the rest of the country, in stark contrast to the last by-election in Northland.

The election date is 3 December but advance voting begins today.

Electoral Commission: 2016 Mt Roskill By-Election Everything you need to know


GOODE, Richard NAP
LEITCH, Andrew Democrats for Social Credit
NAUHRIA, Roshan NZ People’s Party
PARMAR, Parmjeet National Party
SCHUSTER, Tua Independent
STRONGE, Brandon The Cannabis Party
WOOD, Michael Labour Party

It’s very disappointing to see media giving disproportionate coverage of and promotion for  selected candidates. The latest ones I’ve seen doing this are The Nation who only featured two candidates (saying seven was too many for them to handle) and Radio New Zealand.

Dirty deal in Mt Roskill by-election

The Nation had a debate on the Mt Roskill by-election, but as is common with media they only featured two of the candidates. This is very disappointing favouritism donated to the two biggest parties, one reason why they remain large.

New candidates and new parties are at a major disadvantage as it is due to parties in Parliament abusing their taxpayer funded resources to electioneer.

Paddy Gower introduced the debate as “democracy time” and also mentions dirty deals. Unbalanced exposure is a dirty deal for the candidates they leave out.

The Nation is openly favouring established parties.


Michael Wood says he won’t stand for any other electorate or enter parliament on the list

Parmjeet Parmar says she won’t stand anywhere else if she doesn’t win Mt Roskill

Parmar also said pointed out she stood in Mt Roskill last election.

I tweeted to @TheNation about their dirty deal for the other candidates. They responded:

Seven people standing we just can’t fit everyone in

That’s a poor excuse. It is a dirty deal for the other candidates. Democracy isn’t supposed to be at the media’s convenience.


Post truth politics

Everyone knows, or at least thinks, that politicians tell lies, or at least state things that aren’t fully truthful, and promise things that they know they can’t deliver on.

Misleading and false claims were a prominent feature of Britian’s Brexit referendum success.

The US election brought politics and lies to a whole new level.

Hillary Clinton wasn’t truthful about things, and she admitted duplicity – telling one thing to those with power and money, and another thing to the plebs. The plebs have rebelled, or at least enough plebs didn’t vote for Clinton or voted against her to deny her the presidency.

Donald Trump took lying to a .new level. He seemed to simply not care about telling lies, untruths, making up accusations and repeating them despite them having been proven wrong. And he got elected, to the surprise of many and the horror of some.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Silvio Berlusconi  apparently played a similar game – @gtiso: “Berlusconi’s secret weapon leading into the 1994 elections was he worked out he could just lie all the time. The whopper the better.” – (and Berlusconi had a media background and may have been much sleazier than Trump) see Clinton v Trump, round 1.

New York Times wrote about post-truth on August – The Age of Post-Truth Politics

Facts hold a sacred place in Western liberal democracies. Whenever democracy seems to be going awry, when voters are manipulated or politicians are ducking questions, we turn to facts for salvation.

But they seem to be losing their ability to support consensus.

For the Brexit referendum, Leave argued that European Union membership costs Britain 350 million pounds a week, but failed to account for the money received in return.

If the British government had spent more time trying to track public sentiment toward the European Union and less time repeating the facts of how the British economy benefited from membership in the union, it might have fought the Brexit referendum campaign differently and more successfully.

PolitiFact has found that about 70 percent of Donald Trump’s “factual” statements actually fall into the categories of “mostly false,” “false” and “pants on fire” untruth.

The sense is widespread: We have entered an age of post-truth politics.

Nicholas Reed Smith writes about this at The Spinoff: The Trump phenomenon proves that electoral politics has failed. Time to try something new

(Brexit and the US election) demonstrate that we are entering a new age of politics in the West, a post-truth age. Coined by the blogger David Roberts in 2010, post-truth politics denotes “a political culture in which politics (public opinion and media narratives) have become almost entirely disconnected from policy (the substance of legislation)”

The main catalyst for the emergence of post-truth politics has been the incursion of social media into the centre of our everyday lives. Originally, the internet was seen as a tool to liberate us, giving everyone access to information free from the hierarchies of everyday life. However, it has seemingly done the opposite, leading to the rise of misinformation and with it, the demise of expertise.

Social media is particularly key to the emergence of the post-truth age because thanks to the advanced algorithms at the heart of these platforms our lives online have gradually become echo chambers that echo our inherent biases back to us. The echo chamber effect means that our while our ideological convictions strengthen, our openness to critique and revision of these ideas is reduced.

This explains why so many of us have been shocked by Brexit and the election of Trump. We were told in both cases that neither outcome had any real chance of happening. The experts, the pollsters and the ordinary people we saw on our social media platforms all gave us an impression that these phenomena were fringe movements which would be soundly beaten by the masses.

A silver lining of Brexit and Trump is that our echo chambers are collectively shattering. Realising that we have become detached from reality is an important step to correcting the ills of post-truth politics.

The first lesson is that conventional campaign strategies do not succeed in a post-truth world. The Trump and Brexit campaigns found fertile ground because they embraced the idea of non-linear campaigning. In a nutshell, a non-linear campaign aims to make its movement undefinable through a never-ending shapeshifting of contradictory statements and actions. The idea is that if something is undefinable, then it is also uncriticisable.

This non-linear idea was created in Russia, the brainchild of one of Vladimir Putin’s more flamboyant advisers, Vladislav Surkov. Putin has used this non-linear approach for some time domestically and also used it in his intervention in Ukraine. The Ukraine example shows how the Kremlin has used misinformation to try and achieve their goal of destabilising the country, a strategy which has had some success.

While many are pointing the finger at Putin for directly interfering in the US elections, his greatest influence, in my mind, has been as an inspiration for Trump’s campaign. While few people are prepared to give Trump any credit, with many chastising him as a buffoon, Trump has played this non-linear role to perfection. Trump has continually contradicted himself while ignoring refutations, all of which created a bewildering and undefinable movement.

These tactics have proven to be both dishonest and successful.

Post-truth (political lying) has been around for a long time in New Zealand. Winston Peters is even openly claiming the ‘Trump’ tactics and successes as his.

There have been claims of dishonesty and Trump-like tactics in the Mt Roskill by-election – see Fight over Roskill which centred around accusations of attacks on the wife of Labour candidate Michael Wood.

Are we know going to see a rush to lie and abuse in the style of Trump?

If so this is likely to alienate the public further from the dirt of politics, given that the two combatants in the Mt Roskill incident were from long established parties rather than offering a break from the establishment.

Fight over Roskill

Fairfax’s (Central Leader) restricted entry Mt Roskill by-election debate seems to have got a bit heated.

Newshub: Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate Michael Wood involved in bust up

Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate Michael Wood has been involved in a bust up with the partner of his National Party rival following a heated by-election debate on Wednesday night.

It’s claimed Mr Wood took exception to comments about his wife, Julie Fairey, from National Party supporters seated in the front row, which included National candidate Parmjeet Parmar’s husband.

“Excuse me, if I hear comments about my wife from the National Party front row, there might be some problems after this meeting,” Mr Wood is heard saying in a video from the event.

That man happens to be his opponent’s husband, Ravinder Parmar. 

It came after Parmjeet referred to the Labour candidate as a “yes man” because of his and his wife’s ties to Auckland Council.

Once the debate was over, Mr Wood allegedly delivered his promise – confronting Ravinder (Parmar, Parmjeet’s husband), as witnessed by National Party member Graham Collins.

“He was manhandling Mr Parmar, threatening him,” Mr Collins says. “He had his arms around Mr Parmar, physically. He definitely had him in some sort of hold,” says Mr Collins.

Mr Collins claims Mr Wood proceeded to threaten Ravinder by saying “you motherf***er if you mention my wife again, I’ll sort you out”.

Police officers intervened and escorted Ravinder away from the premises.

Mr Wood denies physically touching Ravinder, but admits there was an altercation.

“I approached the gentleman after the debate and made my views very clear to him that it was unacceptable. It was a fairly robust exchange.

“I didn’t touch the gentleman at all and I would not condone that kind of behaviour,” says Mr Wood.

Parmjeet agrees the debate was robust, and says it went very well.

“My opposition was a bit rattled. It looks like he couldn’t take the heat of the debate, I wonder how he’s going to take the heat of the debating chamber,” she says.

More from Newstalk ZB in Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate denies assault accusations

“There was absolutely no physical altercation between me and Mr Parmar, none whatsoever, the allegations I held him in a hold are utterly bizarre.”

Mr Wood is calling on Ms Parmar to stop the personal attacks on him and his family and focus on the real issues affecting Mt Roskill.

“Very simple – I just want their campaign to actually focus on debating about the issues. I’ve got no issue whatsoever with this being a very robust campaign if it’s about the issues that affect people here.”

Mr Wood said he is not a robot and if someone attacks his wife in a political environment he will respond to it.

However, Parmjeet Parmar told Larry Williams there was no attack on Mr Wood’s wife.

“If simply saying his wife is on the local board is an attack, then he is under more pressure than it seems,” she said.

Parmar said she didn’t witness the incident, but others did. She said Mr Wood lost it.

“It looks like my opponent is going to attack people that just state facts he doesn’t like, and that was a massive overreaction from him. An unacceptable overreaction from him.”

There could be a bit of tension in the campaign.

Meanwhile another candidate who wasn’t allowed by Fairfax to participate in the debate had a bit of a dig on Twitter:

If there’s going to be any fighting in this By-Election let’s make sure it’s for the people of Mt Roskill.


 UPDATE: Video footage of the confrontation appears to show that what happened was overstated, with no obvious physical contact. If this was the only interaction after the debate then there was no assault.

Stuff: Footage shows altercation between Labour candidate and National rival’s husband

Raw footage of an altercation between Labour candidate Michael Wood and the husband of a National Party rival appears to throw cold water on claims of an assault. 

Wood is seen confronting his rival’s husband after the debate, who he accused of making comments about his wife Julie Fairey, the former chair of the Puketapapa Local Board.

Wood said since the confrontation, “basically I’ve been accused of criminal assault”.

He denies that he “manhandled” Parmar’s husband Ravinder, and didn’t do anything more than have a few stern words. The footage shows a small confrontation that is quickly quelled.

Wood said he was frustrated by the ongoing personal attacks by his rival and her supporters.

Labour leader Andrew Little has become involved.

…Little called a media conference on Saturday and said Wood had the right to defend his wife.

“What we are seeing from the National party seems to be a tactic of disrupting meetings, then lying about it and then trying to swap the story around because they don’t appear to have anything to say about those crucial issues.”

Different footage indicates there may have been minor but insignificant contact.

1 News: Watch: Heated altercation between Labour’s Mt Roskill candidate and husband of National Party rival