Labour leader David Cunliffe reckons the Christchurch East seat is National’s to lose.
So despite Dalziel’s solid 5334 majority in 2011, Cunliffe has been talking up National’s equally emphatic victory in the party vote in 2011, by 13,252 (46 per cent) to 9100 for Labour (31.65 per cent).
Labour’s “key message” is that the seat is National’s to lose.
For Cunliffe “any old win would do”, he said yesterday.
“I would say 50 per cent would be great.”
He is adamant the party vote is the best measure of “underlying party allegiance” available.
But this isn’t a general election where people get two votes. It’s a by-election for a seat Labour has held for decades.
No-one would expect a new candidate to get the support Dalziel built up over several terms as the local MP,even though, contrary to her assertion she would be an independent mayor, she is helping Poto Williams.
But it would be a serious blow to Labour, its candidate and its leader if National’s Matthew Doocey won the seat.
People in Christchurch East have had more than enough of living with the aftermath of earthquakes, dealing with insurance companies and all the other challenges which make day to day life more difficult. There’s little more the government can do about most of these than it’s already doing but even so, people at the end of their tethers can use their votes to send a message about their frustration.
This all makes the seat Labour’s to lose and it’s Cunliffe’s to lose too.
He hasn’t made much progress in the polls since becoming leader and anything but an emphatic win for his candidate, chosen over those supported by the locals, will be a big blow for him.