Only National wants the provinces

The 2005 election resulted in a blue-wash through the provinces.

The only general seat outside the main centres which stayed red was Palmerston North.

If the attention being paid to provincial and rural seats in the south by political parties is anything to go by it seems the only one interested in them is National.

That’s par for the course for the wee parties which only turn up for photo ops between elections and have token candidates, if any, standing in electorates but only interested in the party vote.

But you’d expect Labour to at least look as if it was interested, if only to give some heart to its supporters but they don’t appear to be even trying.

The party’s 2005 candidate for Waitaki conceded defeat to National’s Jacqui Dean a couple of weeks before the election much to the disgust of the local party people. It doesn’t seem to have done him any harm with the hierarchy though, he’s number 4 on the 2011 list.

This year’s candidate for Waitaki is number 64, the candidate for neighbouring Rangitata is 56 and the Clutha Southland candidate is 54.

The Invercargill candidate, former MP Lesley Soper isn’t on the list. That’s not surprising when the party couldn’t even find an MP willing to support her at the electorate AGM.

List MP Damien O’Connor who lost he West Coast Tasman seat in 2005 isn’t on the list either because:

“I wouldn’t trust them. Between a gaggle of gays and some self-serving unionists, I’m not sure that a straight shooter such as myself would be given a fair deal.”

Labour leader Phil Goff said he had “scolded” Mr O’Connor about the comments, which the MP had told him about, “although … it will probably help him no end on the Coast. He’s a pretty straight talker and he used West Coast language.”

West Coast language?  Why doesn’t he just call them feral as his predecessor did? The coasters I know don’t talk like that but perhaps I know a more tolerant and pleasant sample of the people than he does.

O’Connor also said:

. . . he was disappointed the system did not deliver better results for rural and provincial candidates, such as himself, who were outside the party’s power blocs.

It’s not just Labour’s system which short-changes the provinces, it’s MMP.

Electorates are far too big and rural or provincial don’t feature among the categories which are supposed to make parliament more representative.

7 Responses to Only National wants the provinces

  1. Andrei says:

    I was staying with my sister during the 2005 General Election, she lives in the Hutt and her electorate that year was Ohariu-Belemont.

    Here are the results for that electorate in 2005.

    What do you notice about the candidates who stood for this seat? Especially some of the “unsuccessful ones”.

    It was repeated in 2008 except for Heather Roy.

    This is not the only electorate that features this anomaly. Big city professional politicians who can cultivate the right people by attending the right cocktail parties and do the maneuvering necessary to get a good number on the list.

    And people I put it to you who would struggle to win an electorate seat, particularly a rural one


  2. gravedodger says:

    The best news for the future of the country is the quality candidates National is getting to the parliament by way of the provincial seats that if continued will result in an overhang under the idiotic MMP system when the tide goes out for National as it will eventually and the good sitting members will have made their seats safer by hard work and name recognition.


  3. Sinner says:

    If NZ was serious about respecting the regions and our export industry – we’d move towards geographically proportionate electorates

    Every electorate the same size, including (especially) rural and regional electorates.


  4. homepaddock says:

    Ah Sinner, tempting as that is for someone living in one of those impossibly big electorates, that would give disproportionate power.

    However, a bigger tolerance over or under the number of people in an electorate would help. It’s 5% now, 10% would make rural electorates a bit smaller without making urban ones much bigger.


  5. Cadwallader says:

    By restricting voting entitlements to those employed outside the government, representation would alter dramatically in favour of rural areas. This is non-achievable of course, but how many MPs would the greater Wellington region end up with?


  6. homepaddock says:

    The state is usually among the bigger employers in the provinces too – schools, hospitals . . .


  7. Andrei says:

    By restricting voting entitlements to those employed outside the government, representation would alter dramatically in favour of rural areas.

    By restricting voting to only those in a state of Holy Matrimony we would end up with far more family friendly policies.

    I guess all of us given the chance would disenfranchise certain groups who do not share our values – I doubt if it would make for a better society though.


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