The ODT has been examining the southern seats and today turns its attention to Waitaki.
The seat is made up of most of the existing Otago electorate, excluding Queenstown, Arrowtown and the Central and East Otago bits of Dunedin, and most of the existing Aoraki electorate excluding Timaru, Pleasant Point and Temuka.
The paper rightly points out that Otago MP and National candidate for Waitaki, Jacqui Dean, has worked very hard in what is the third biggest geographical electorate in the country.
In her first three years, Mrs Dean has been a hard-working MP with regular clinics throughout the third-largest (geographically) electorate in New Zealand, with a voting population (over 18 years) of about 47,000.
Mrs Dean has retained a high profile, often turning up at events where people would not normally expect to see an MP.
What it doesn’t point out is that Jacqui is the only one actively seeking the seat.
It’s the party vote which counts and all candidates are seeking that, but Jacqui is the only one who is making it obvious she is asking for the electorate vote as well.
I’ve been to most parts of the 34,888 square kilometres of the electorate in the last few weeks. It’s dotted with blue hoardings exhorting people to support Jacqui and National. I’ve spotted a very few Labour hoardings, a similar number of Act ones and nothing at all from the other parties.
There’s a lot more to a campaign than hoardings though. But if anyone else has been making appearances at gatherings throughout the electorate and wearing out shoe leather door knocking it hasn’t been to good effect because Jacqui’s the only one anyone I’ve talked to has noticed.
That is far from scientific of course, but Jacqui is doing everything humanly possible to meet as many of residents spread across the huge area of the new electorate to convince them she’s earning both ticks and there’s little evidence that anyone else is trying at all.