It’s the party vote that counts

Anyone who was involved in the National Party during Judy Kirk’s time as president knows it’s the party vote that counts.

She never lost an opportunity to remind members of that.

That was one of the reasons the party reorganised and began running centralised campaigns. These made it clear to voters that while the party wanted them to tick National twice,  if they were going to give us only one tick it should be the party vote one.

The party didn’t abandon electorates though, with the exception of Epsom and Ohariu where, for strategic reasons, National supporters got the message to split their votes.

The wee parties don’t usually try to win electorate seats.

They don’t even field candidates in most of them and where they do they make it quite clear it’s just the party vote they’re chasing.

Labour has rarely done as well in the provinces, and now it looks like the party won’t even try to regain the seats it’s lost.

In the Listener cover story regaining the love Labour’s lost, Ruth Laugesen writes:

Labour is firmly focused on boosting its party vote, possibly at the expense of the electoral seats.

To win back the Beehive, Labour must win hundreds of square kilometres of territory in the heartland. But as Labour rebuilds its party organisation towards the next election, winning electorates appears to be taking a back seat. . .

Is there anything Labour is doing specifically aimed at winning back electorate seats? There is a long pause. “Winning back seats. It’s always good to have … The electorate seats are important, so there will be seats that we are actually going to be ensuring that there’s a strong two-tick campaign, but it’s a party-vote and a candidate-vote campaign. We may have had some people focusing more on the seat than we would like in the future.”

This is another sign of Labour’s weakened state – too little money, too few members and probably too few credible candidates to fight a true two-tick nationwide campaign.

It is the party vote that counts in forming governments.

But abandoning the provinces means that when the party eventually returns to power, as sadly sooner or later it will, it will have little connection to, or knowledge of, great swathes of the country.

Under a Labour-led government the party vote will count and people outside the cities won’t.

We know they don’t understand farming but it’s still the mainstay of the economy and there’s a lot of other things happening outside the main centres which can’t afford the damage a left-wing urban government could inflict on them.

It will be even worse with a strong Green Party influence as well.

A government without connections to and an understanding of the provinces and their needs and concerns isn’t one which will be governing for the good of the country in both senses of the word.

Update:

Spot the irony – in today’s ODT Labour leader David Shearer is quoted:

There was no doubt the regions had been neglected in favour of the country’s major cities, he said. . .

He’s wrong that the regions have been neglected by the government but it looks like that is what his party is going to be doing in next year’s election campaign.

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12 Responses to It’s the party vote that counts

  1. Andrei says:

    Yep the whole purpose of MMP is to get unelectable freaks into parliament as MPs where they can push their repugnant agendas.

  2. “eventually returns to power, as sadly sooner or later it will,”
    From what I have been reading over the ditch here, I hope it is later, rather than sooner!

  3. AngryTory says:

    “eventually returns to power, as sadly sooner or later it will,”

    There’s no certainty about it. Labour and communist parties are being wiped out around the whole of the “welfare west”…

    A law banning union contributions and support to political parties would pretty much finish the corrupt undemocratic charade that is the NZLP.

    Given that John Key hasn’t seen a terrible communist policy he hasn’t adopted (just this week: “affordable” housing & paying for unionist jobs in the doomed useless smelter) what NZ really needs is a robust right-wing alternative to National – anti-bludger, anti-public “employee”, anti-union, anti-state school, anti-state hospital, and (we can but hope) anti universal suffrage.

    we can but dream!

  4. Gravedodger says:

    All politics aside the Tiwai point decision is a very good one economically for NZ Inc.
    100% sustainable energy consuming, clean, high quality product creating and well located on any criteria, allowing it to just close and “Detroit” would be an economic crime up there with “printing Money” in our economic structure.

    Aluminium has a very sound long term future for many reasons and to include the short term international market pressures on its viability says more about the economic nouse of those who would critisize the current government whoever was in charge.

    The Generation that supplies Rio Tinto’s smelter is as good as it gets for all criteria and to say its production would be of some advantage in stabilising energy costs for Joe and Josephine Citizen is almost trainspotting.
    All that generation capacity transferred to the National Grid would be almost worthless without massive additional infrastructure costs as energy demand in the southern half of the South Island is secure and where more expensive demands are concentrated the grid is struggling to deliver now.
    The elephant in the room where the coalitition from hell is endeavouring to gain electoral traction over electricity costs is all about transmission costs, still a state owned monopoly not generation costs where reforms removed from state control under the partial privatisation moves are delivering.

  5. Viv K says:

    “anti universal suffrage”- who were you wanting to deny the vote to?

  6. Frustrated of Tasman says:

    It does seem that National have abandoned West Coast Tasman though. Auchinvole’s profile is next to zero.

  7. Gravedodger says:

    @ FoT, maybe in the light of his performance and utterings, Damien O’Connor would find it easier to serve his electorate as an independent, he seems so often cut off at the knees by his party’s lunacy and it will only get worse as the Melons influence increases.
    There are Nats who appear less suited to their party than O’Connor displays in local issues, until his pragmatism is submerged by party politics.

    Clearly in the absence of the anti Clark syndrome his electors like the cut of his jib.

    A facinating facet of Aus Politics with their preferential system is the number of independents it throws up.
    I note the seat presently held by the disgraced Craig Thompson, a union hack caught fingers in the till and standing again in Dobell is the nomination of Kyren Bracken a recent Aus international Fast Bowler who could bat a bit.
    A crowded field makes for a very unpredictable outcome there.

    Back to the thread The Coast including Tasman has a better economic future under the blue team than the chaos the coalition from hell will deliver, think mining, infrastructure, dairy, and tourism, how long would it take to gain progress needing Winnie, Hadfield, Te Mardi Party and the Aussie Commie on side with an increasingly urban welfare focussed NZLP.

  8. Andrei says:

    But here’s the thing about MMP GD, by giving Damien O’Conner an electorate seat the West Coasters deprive a worthless Labour list mp their place at the trough and given “the cut of his jib” that probably was an excellent outcome.

    Actually looking into it the person whose “wisdom” we no longer have to endure due to the excellent voting skills of West Coasters was probably non other than The Hon. Mrs Stephanie (Steve) Chadwick :)

    Didn’t they do well.

  9. Frustrated of Tasman says:

    @ Gravedodger – I don’t disagree and I think National will win the party vote again in WC/T – but much as I respect O’Connor for the occasional independent stand he takes, I’d still like to see National regain the seat. To do so is going to take some hard work from the National candidate.
    The Australian election is as ever fascinating and I’m looking forward to seeing how both the LNP and the ALP (?) try to snuff out the Greens.

  10. stuart nash says:

    A couple of points:
    1. your line that “Labour has rarely done as well in the provinces” is simply not true. In 1999 and 2002, Labour won more provincial seats than the Nats. I predict this will once again be the case with the Nats complete disregard of provincial issues (snapper quotas being the latest in a long line of blunders).
    2. Andrei – you obviously know nothing about MMP or the Labour list: the next Labour person on the list is none other than Kelvin Davis. A fantastic MP and a real loss to the party – and the country.
    3. Damien is a fantastic MP and Auchinvole was simply hopeless. Just one term of him was enough for the good people of WC-T to realise this, so in a massive swing against Labour, Damien beat Auchinvole. Says something about both men…

  11. jabba says:

    goodness me Stuart .. the good people of the west coast loved Damien’s slagging off of the gaggle of gays and self serving unionists .. I would have voted for him as well.

  12. JC says:

    “In 1999 and 2002, Labour won more provincial seats than the Nats.”

    It would be more correct to say Labour won the cities in some provincial areas, but from 2005 Labour was increasingly squeezed down to winning only about 1-2% of the total land area.

    Its a long way back for Labour in the provinces, especially with the Nats backing away furiously from the fishing quota and the dopey Nathan Guy whilst toughening up on child abusers. Labour meantime is stuck on beltway issues and outdated green ideas..

    JC

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