Most voters don’t want the National Party to stand aside in Epsom and Ohariu to help coalition partners if a Horizon poll conducted for the Sunday Star Times (not online) can be believed.
In Epsom, only 16% think National should stand aside, with 55% saying it shouldn’t. The bulk of Act (53%) want National to stay out of the electorate.
In Dunne’s Ohariu electorate, 48% want National to field a candidate, 16% want it to stand aside and 36% don’t know. Of National’s 2008 voters, 54% oppose the party standing aside for United Future.
This is a sorry reflection on the respondents’ understanding of MMP and recent history.
It’s the voters in the electorate who’ll determine who wins the seat not National.
National fielded candidates in both seats in 2008, and previous elections, it was the people in those electorates who voted tactically who gave the seats to Rodney Hide and Peter Dunne.
Having Act in this parliament gives National the ability to govern with its support although at times it has turned to its other coalition partner, the Maori Party, to pass legislation Act didn’t favour.
It’s debatable whether there is any advantage to National in having Dunne in parliament.
If around half those who voted for the Green candidate had voted for the Labour one in Ohariu in 2008 Dunne would have lost his seat and United Future would have gone with him. The votes which that party received would have been distributed among the other parties in parliament and National would have got another MP.
From 1999 – 2005 votes for Dunne enabled him to prop up the Labour-led government.
Dunne’s hold on the seat was strongest in 2002 when National was at its weakest, since then his majority has slipped and the electorate could now be regarded as marginal.
Hide had a bad year as party leader last year, although he performed well as a minister. If he’s worked hard in his electorate the people of Epsom might overlook his use of the perks he’d campaigned against and return him to parliament.
As in previous elections they’ll work out what to do themselves regardless of any nods or winks from National.