Northland electorate may be lost saviour for NZ First

With NZ First polling well below the 5% threshold (except in Winston’s claimed but never revealed polls) an alternative way of keeping them in Parliament is for Shane Jones to win the Northland electorate.

Jones has actually said that if voters want NZ First back in Parliament they should vote for him in Northland. But he has never yet won an electorate (this is the third he has stood in).

And a 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll on Northland doesn’t look promising for Jones or NZ First.

Candidate votes in the 2017 election:

  • Matt King 38.30%
  • Winston Peters 34.81%
  • Willow-Jean Prime 21.61%

Jones has puled out of a Q+A interview this morning saying he had another engagement after previously committing to the interview.

Interesting to see National (41%) close to Labour (38%) on the party polling there – that looks ok for National compared to recent polls, but it isn’t flash compared to the 2017 election result:

  • National 46.35%
  • Labour 30.12%
  • NZ First 13.17%
  • Greens 6.05%
  • Conservatives 0.37%
  • ACT 0.47%

NZ First party vote is well down on that at 7%, and they are headed off by ACT jumping to a remarkable 8%.

Paid Parental leave differences and confusion

One of the new Government’s priority policies, being advanced under urgency in Parliament, is an increase in the length of time Paid parental leave will be paid for.

National has said they will vote for the bill, but have suggested a change.

The bill allows both parents to share the allowed number of weeks paid parental leave, but not at the same time. National wants to give parents the choice of taking leave at the same time if they want to, so for the first few weeks both can be on paid leave.

There are confused responses from Labour. Newshub – Confusion in Labour as National pushes for shared parental leave:

The National Party will support Labour’s legislation to provide 26-weeks of Paid Parental Leave (PPL), but wants it tweaked so both parents can take leave at the same time.

Labour’s response to the demand has been confused. While Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the policy could be considered, Acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis appeared to rule it out.

Labour’s policy allows parents to split 26 weeks of PPL between them but not take it at the same time.

Their policy is to increase PPL to 22 weeks next year, and to 26 weeks in 2020.

Amy Adams, National’s spokesperson for workplace relations, says that’s inflexible and “going back to the nanny state of telling families how to arrange their lives”.

Making ‘nanny state’ accusations is unlikely to help get cross-party agreement.

“The proposal we’re talking about would simply allow families to choose whether to take some or all of the leave together,” she said on Tuesday morning.

Ms Adams said the option of taking PPL together would be particularly helpful for parents of twins, premature babies and babies with older siblings. She said it wouldn’t add any additional cost.

National campaigned on the policy to increase PPL to 22 weeks and to allow parents to take some of those 22 weeks off at the same time.

Acting Prime Minister Kelvin Davis…

…appeared to cold-shoulder National’s idea, saying Labour is happy with the bill as is.

“We’re really excited by the fact that by 2020, parents will be able to take 26 weeks’ paid parental leave.”

“We’re happy with the bill that we’ve put forward.”

Willow-Jean Prime…

…said she knows how difficult being a new mother can be and would be talking to Minister for Workplace Relations Iain Lees-Galloway about adopting National’s amendment.

“That is one of the most challenging times – as soon as Mum has given birth – and I know in our own situation, that was a time I really appreciated having my husband there. Being a school teacher he only had about a week and that was difficult.”

Mr Lees-Galloway…

…is leaving the option open.

But he said the way it’s being explained by National at the moment goes against the spirit of the bill because it would reduce the overall amount of time parents could spend with babies.

An odd response. Labour’s stance would eliminate the possibility of the second parent from taking paid parental leave at the same time as the other parent, for example immediately after the baby was born.

It looks like Labour is lacking leadership (Jacinda Ardern is away in Asia) and lacking coordination, and Adams is lacking a conciliatory approach. Attack and criticism is not a good way to work together, as they should be on this bill.

Labour party list – delayed

I will post the Labour party list here when it is released today.


In the meantime it is being reported that High-profile broadcaster Willie Jackson said to be ‘unhappy’ with his Labour list ranking

Prospective Labour candidate Willie Jackson is said to be given the 21st slot on Labour’s list and isn’t happy about it.

It’s understood Jackson, a high profile broadcaster and former Alliance MP, flew down to Wellington on Monday morning to take his frustrations to the party first-hand.

Jackson, who had ties to the Maori Party was shoulder-tapped by Labour leader Andrew Little late last year to run and announced at Waitangi that would he seek a place on the list.

Little threw his support behind Jackson getting a high-list placing.

But Northland and East Coast candidates, Willow-Jean Prime and Kiri Allan, look to have secured list spots ahead of Jackson – likely helped by Labour’s 50/50 gender policy.

It’s understood Jackson isn’t happy about either candidate being ranked ahead of him.

But with Andrew Little, David Parker and Trevor Mallard all wanting winnable list positions and Labour’s commitment to gender balance it means females will need to be up the list.

Prime has also stood before for Labour, in 2014 (she was 34 on the list) and in the 2015 Northland by-election when Labour sidelined her to make it easier for Winston Peters to win.

Jackson only joined Labour this year.

The party was expected to announce its list around mid-morning but has since pushed it out to the afternoon. It’s understood the delay is also because other electorate candidates are disappointed with their list ranking.

There are always people disappointed with their list rankings.

Sue Moroney has already said she will not stand due to a poor list placing.


Final result in Northland

The final results have been announced for the Northland by-election, with WInston Peters’ majority increasing 429 after the addition to election night totals of 1579 special declaration votes and overseas votes

BONNER, Adrian Paul IND 17 0.06%
CARR, Joe FNZ 113 0.38%
GRIEVE, Robin ACT 68 0.23%
HERBERT, Maki ALCP 94 0.32%
HOLLAND, Adam IND 16 0.05%
OSBORNE, Mark NAT 11,648 39.36%
PAINTING, Rob CLI 39 0.13%
PETERS, Winston NZF 16,089 54.37%
PORTER, Rueben Taipari MANA 60 0.20%
PRIME, Willow-Jean LAB 1,380 4.66%
ROGAN, Bruce IND 24 0.08%
Candidate Informals 42
TOTAL 29590

According to the Electoral Commission the turnout was 65.4 per cent of the 45,955 voters enrolled – that’s a very good turnout for a by-election.

This confirms a resounding win to Peters and an embarrassing defeat for National and their candidate Mark Osborne.

It also goes down in the records as a dismal result for Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime but that’s what Andrew Little and the Labour Party wanted. She comes in under 5% so doesn’t get a refund of her deposit.

30.17% or 13,869 votes were advance votes which is a high proportion, Advance voting is rapidly becoming popular.

If anyone is interested here’s a link to a Statistical Breakdown.

Winston’s whopper win

Winston Peters has been given a huge victory by voters in Northland by-election.

  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 15,359
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 11,347
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 1,315

Votes for others totalled 403:

  • CARR, Joe (Independent) 107
  • HERBERT, Maki (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis) 85
  • GRIEVE, Robin (ACT) 66
  • PORTER, Rueben Taipari (Mana) 55
  • PAINTING, Rob (Climate) 38
  • ROGAN, Bruce ((Independent) 22
  • BONNER, Adrian Paul (Independent) 17
  • HOLLAND, Adam (Independent) 14
  • Informal votes 43

Votes counted 28,468 – it was a big turnout for a by-election.

This is an election night majority of 4,012 which is a huge turnaround from National’s Mike Sabin’s 9,300 lead last year (52.74%of the candidate vote).


  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 53.95%
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 39.86%
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 4.62%

Interestingly that matches what polls had predicted for Peters midweek (53% and 54%) but shows an increase for Osborne (from 34% and 36%) and a decrease for Prime (10% and 9%).

Party vote in the 2014 general election:

  • National 17,412 (48.97%)
  • Labour 5,913 (16.63%)
  • NZ First 4,546 (12.79%)
  • Green 3,855 (10.84%)
  • Conservative 2,243 (6.31%)
  • Internet-Mana 601 (1.69%)
  • Focus 216 (0.61%)
  • ACT 162 (0.46%)

So even the small party vote reduced significantly. This time it turned out to be a two horse race between a nimble old nagger and a draughthorse.

NZ First didn’t stand a candidate in Northland last year so the candidate vote isn’t a useful comparison.

Northland Poll: Peters 54%, Osborne 34%

3 News have just announced a new poll for the Northland by-election (although some of the numbers don’t add up).

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

That’s a significant lead. But some of the numbers are a bit weird.

Can you trust Winston Peters?

  • Yes 43%
  • No 48%
  • Don’t know 9%

So 11% more say they will vote for Peters than trust him. It’s possible that voters on the left don’t trust him but put more priority on scoring a hit on National.

But more curious is the number who say which party they have switched from to support Peters:

  • 75% of Labour voters
  • 25% of National voters

In last year’s election:

  • National got 49% – 25% of that is about 12%.
  • Labour got about 17% – 75% of that is 13%.
  • NZ First got 13%.

That adds up to 38%, well short of 54%. Greens got about 11% and Conservatives got 6% which if all voted for Winston gets up to his poll support.

And if you take 25% off National’s 49% you get about 37%, a bit above 34%. This suggests that the poll isn’t particularly accurate.

500 Northland voters were polled.

The margin of error on a poll that size:

  • 40%-60% ±4.5
  • 25% or 75% ±3.9
  • 10% or 90% ±2.7

That allows for quite a bit of variation.

Regardless, Peters is well out in front. National will have much more organisation and help to get their supporters out the vote than NZ First who haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for about a decade, but it still looks ominous for National.

There has already been a much higher than normal number of people who have early voted.

Other poll results:

Are the bridge upgrades a bribe?

  • Yes 74 – percent
  • No 22 – percent
  • Don’t know – 4 percent

Do you agree with the bridge upgrades?

  • Yes – 58 percent
  • No – 39 percent
  • Don’t know – 3 percent

Read more:

Northland candidate meeting

What appears to be an unedited question time in a candidate meeting in the Northland by-election has been posted on Youtube.

Candidates for the Northland by-election gathered in Kerikeri at the Turner Centre on Friday, March 13th, 2015 and answered questions posed by members of the public on a wide variety of issues.

It was posted by SayNoToThe TPPA but appears to be unedited so gives a bit of an idea of how eight of the eleven candidates perform at a public meeting.

Candidates speaking:

  • Winston Peters (New Zealand First)
  • Joe Carr (Focus New Zealand)
  • Rueben Taipari Porter (MANA Movement)
  • Robin Grieve (ACT New Zealand)
  • Mark Osborne (National Party)
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour Party)
  • Rob Painting (Climate Party)
  • Bruce Rogan (Independent)

Northland deserves more than chutzpah klutz

The National Northland campaign machine is in chutzpah overdrive in an apparent attempt to swamp and sideline the audacity of Winston Peters, who’s sudden awareness of Northland neglect looked like little more cynical opportunism.

But National, led be John Key and Steven Joyce, have launched a mass of campaign crap. It’s a shame Labour chose to sideline themselves, Little could have had a ‘cut the crap’ field day.

John Armstrong calls this chutzpah campaign in Questionable tactics in race for Northland votes:

National trots out smoke-and-mirrors statistics and old promises.

Is there no limit on the lengths to which the National Party will go to pull the wool over voters’ eyes and hope that prevents the seat of Northland from falling into Winston Peters’ clutches?

It would seem not. The prime lesson to be taken from the first week proper of the byelection campaign is to treat every utterance from National with a healthy and hefty degree of scepticism.

He details less than open and honest claims about jobs, bridges and broadband.

Even battle-hardened Labour MPs are surprised by the degree to which their traditional enemy is trying to hoodwink voters.

The major Opposition party has also been somewhat stunned by National’s brazen and questionable exploitation of incumbency.

But National does not care one jot what Labour or anyone else thinks. It is locked in an almighty struggle with the man who has been its nemesis for longer than the party cares to remember.

National don’t need to care, Labour can do little more than wave their white flag and hope that voters see “Vote Winston” on it.

Its priority in the next two weeks is somehow to puncture the spell that Peters has cast over that electorate.

So far, National appears to have no idea how to do that beyond trying to crowd him out of the media.

And there may be an element of ‘anything but Sabin’ in their media mania.

National is still trying to work out how it completely misread the mood in the seat it has held for the past 77 years apart from a brief interlude in the 1960s when it was captured by Social Credit.

Like they misread the degree of feeling of concern about them appearing to protect Sabin.

National’s post-mortems on the byelection will also have to ask how the party managed to select a candidate who is so obviously out of his depth. Putting him up against Peters was lamb for the slaughter.

It’s difficult to judge why they chose a floundering Osborne. Perhaps they thought he was less able to be connected to the Sabin case, after all he was only Sabin’s electorate Treasurer.

National might do better to be more honest and upfront about the dismal socio-economic status of Northland.

The honest and upfront horse bolted from National’s stable before the campaign started.

That National is punting on a few electoral bribes suddenly fixing things will be treated by Northland voters with the contempt that deserves.

The three candidates chosen by the media for the by-election:

  • Osborne (National) – chutzpah klutz.
  • Peters (NZ First) – the old nag that thinks his place is in the grandstand
  • Prime (Labour) – a decent looking candidate, far better than the above two, who has been lamely sent to the campaign knackers yard by her party.

I think Northland needs something radical. Two things actually:

  1. For Parliament to take them and their problems seriously beyond a three week frenzy of self-interest.
  2. An MP that is none of the above three. There’s another eight to choose from.

Northland deserves more than a chutzpah klutz, Winston Poohbah or Un-Primed.

Northland: Willow-Jean Prime Q & A

From NZ Herald Northland by-election: Q+A with leading candidates the Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime’s  responses.

What is the first thing you would do as Northland’s new MP?

Well, Kelvin [Davis] told me it won’t be a sleep-in. The first thing I would do is take that list of promises we’ve received and which we will hopefully continue to receive until the 28th of March and ensure it was implemented, along with my long list of requests from the community.

Will you stand in Northland again in 2017?


What is your stance on the $1.75 billion Puhoi to Wellsford Highway?

The first stage [to Warkworth] is already committed. Beyond that I still have a question mark and want to see the business case for it, but my real issue is what about the rest of the state highway network and other rural roads? What about rail, and the link to the port? Bringing the motorway that far doesn’t actually address a lot of our issues further north. It’s a start, but what about the rest?

What is your stance on deep sea oil exploration and extraction off Northland’s coastline?

The issue is around extraction. I’m not convinced at this stage that it’s in our best interests in Northland. The community is really divided, the current regulatory framework is not strong enough for environmental protection and when they talk about the jobs it will create, our people don’t have the skills for the jobs. So will it be Northlanders who get the jobs and benefits from that, or will it simply attract other people from overseas or outside our region? There’s also a question mark around benefits to the region in terms of royalties. Any decision has to involve the community.

The Finance Minister has given you $200 million for the electorate. How would you spend it?

There’s the roading network – and I’m so pleased to see all these promises that the by-election has brought us. There are also sewerage and water schemes which used to be more subsidised by the Government than now. Another core piece of infrastructure that needs more investment is broadband and mobile coverage. In Dargaville, the cable is right next to them but they can’t hook in. Only the schools can. What’s that about? It makes it so difficult to do business from the North and it’s a lifestyle thing we like to have too, to connect us to the rest of the world at the same speeds everyone else has got. I can’t even use Skype in my home [near Moerewa].

Prime should be popular on the left and across to the centre and could have built her (and Labour’s) support if her party hadn’t decided to try and hand the election over to Peters. This looks lightweight and earnest – I think Prime comes across better in person.

Democracy weeps as cynicism swamps Northland by-election

The Northland by-election began sort of normally. Labour’s candidate from the last election, Willow-Jean Prime, put up her hand to stand again soon after the by-election was announced. She and Labour then launched a normal looking campaign.

But then a week later King Cynical confirmed he would also stand, claiming Northland had been “forgotten”. Winston Peters hadn’t stood for a northern electorate since the 1970’s – before Prime was born and NZ First hadn’t stood a candidate for about a decade.

Some of the media jumped on the Winston bandwagon, becoming his willing orchestra “because Winston is fun” – and generates headlines. The free publicity given to one candidate is far more cynical than journalistic.

Next to join the cynical politics was Labour leader Andrew Little. He has all but strongly endorsed Peters, even repeating Winston’s main ‘send a message” message many times. And he has effectively dumped Prime under Winston’s bus.

Not to be outdone John Key and National have knocked things off the cynicism scale.

John Armstrong writes in National crosses into the cynical side of politics.

Brazen, shameless, cynical and more than a little desperate – yesterday’s contribution from National to the Northland byelection campaign was about as subtle as the concrete blocks which will go into the construction of the replacements for no less than 10 existing single-lane bridges in the electorate. Now we know why the Transport Minister goes under the name of Bridges.

The announcement heralded the return of pork-barrel politics – not so much with bells on as an orchestra at top volume, and with a lot more pork and precious little barrel.

Pork-barrelling has become less furtive under John Key’s prime ministership. The Future Investment Fund – which holds the billions of dollars from the sale of shares in the big state-owned electricity generators and Air New Zealand – has long been attacked by National’s opponents as the ultimate “slush fund” which the governing party uses to fund capital spending on major infrastructure items, such as new schools and hospitals.

Yesterday’s announcement is classic pork-barrelling. It indicates three things: that National is seriously worried that Winston Peters may well carry off what initially was seen as an unlikely victory; that such a victory will have serious implications for National’s legislative programme; and that National has few scruples about how it halts Peters’ momentum.

Prime has been muzzled, and Little may feel chastened with a strong negative reaction to him undoing his “cut the crap” persona by shitting on his own candidate while trying to maintain two contradictory messages.

But expect Winston to rise to the challenge and go toe to toe with National on cynical.

Big Time Wrestling has more credibility than the Northland campaign.

It’s a pity there’s no candidate standing for “Pox on All Parties” to really send a message to the campaigners on cynicism overload.

Meanwhile democracy weeps.