Peters standing to give Invercargill MP at Northland’s expense

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is standing in the Northland by-election.

. . . He said today that standing in the by-election was not an easy decision, but he had a long held concern for “Northland’s forgotten people”.

National had forgotten Northland for years, and the region was stagnating, Peters said. . .

He will be hoping that Northland voters have forgotten, or never knew, about the vagaries of MMP.

Should he win the seat he will become an electorate MP and the next person on NZ First’s list will get into parliament. That’s Ria Bond from Invercargill.

Quite how Peters will persuade the good people of Northland they will be represented by voting him in as an electorate MP with his reputation for talking big and doing little and in the process losing an MP from their end of the country and gifting parliament one from the other will remain to be seen.

Labour has confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate, and the Act Party will stand Whangarei orchardist Robin Grieve.

The Green Party and the Maori Party are not standing candidates.

If Labour sabotage their candidate in an attempt to unite opposition votes behind Peters it could happen.

Voters often punish the governing party in a by-election and a new candidate usually doesn’t attract the same level of votes a sitting one did.

The 2014 election results show:

NZ First didn’t bother standing a candidate in Northland last year. Mike Sabin won the seat for National with 18,269 votes and a majority of 9,300 over Prime who got 8,969 votes.

National gained 17,412 party votes; Labour got 5,913 and NZ First 4,546. the Green Party managed to get 3,855 votes and its candidate gained 3,639 votes.

National members in the electorate will select their candidate tomorrow.

The five in contention are: Grant McCallum, Mita Harris, Matt King, Mark Osborne and Karen Rolleston.






12 Responses to Peters standing to give Invercargill MP at Northland’s expense

  1. Andrei says:

    He will be hoping that Northland voters have forgotten, or never knew, about the vagaries of MMP.

    Should he win the seat he will become an electorate MP and the next person on NZ First’s list will get into parliament. That’s Ria Bond from Invercargill.

    That’s a vagary I never knew either.

    It just confirms my suspicion that voting has become an exercise in futility.


  2. Paranormal says:

    I’m not sure if that’s correct Ele. My understanding is NZF won 9% of the vote so they have 11 MP’s. If one of those becomes an electorate MP they are still only entitled to have a total of 11 MP’s in the house.

    With Mike Sabin going, if National don’t win the by-election wouldn’t it mean the next on the National list would enter parliament as National are entitled to 60 MP’s in the house? I assume that means Maureen Pugh from West Coast-Tasman would be in in the unlikely event National didn’t win the by-election.


  3. Andrei says:

    No Paranormal I’m sure Ele is correct and it makes sense in its own perverse way

    On Election night NZ First were entitled to 11 list mps – now if a NZ First candidate not currently in parliament stood and won the bye election then NZ First would gain an MP a sitting list MP would not have to give up their seat (which is right I suppose since penalizing a party by loosing an MP for winning a seat would be perverse).

    Thus if NZ First win the seat they gain an MP


  4. homepaddock says:


    support Andrei and me – if Peters went off the list the next NZ First candidate would become an MP.

    It doesn’t makes sense though because if Peters had won the seat at the election they wouldn’t have got another MP.

    Getting another as the result of a by-election would upset the proportionality of parliament, giving which is supposed to be one of MMP’s strengths.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    An election provides an indication of voter opinion on the given day and I guess that the status quo will remain only if the Government’s support remains. I’m not sure if this particular issue would have been addressed by the electoral commissions recommendations but it’s a pity that Judith Collins refused to allow them to go through. MMP is a much more democratic and representative system than the old First Past the Post, but it does allow for manipulation and some irregularities.


  6. jabba says:

    “An election provides an indication of voter opinion on the given day and I guess that the status quo will remain only if the Government’s support remains”.
    So why don’t the Greens stand somebody so the good people of Northland can tell us what they think of them?


  7. Why, Jabba, don’t you keep your nose out of Green Party business?, or, if you believe it’s okay for anti-Green Party commenters to ask questions of the party they dislike, perhaps you’d answer an anti-National Party commenters question: What will the good people of Northland think when they discover what it was that Mike Sabin is alleged to have done?


  8. Paranormal says:

    Well I’ll be. Thanks Ele and Andrei.

    Sorry DK but, unusually, I disagree with you. MMP is much more undemocratic in that it gives party leaders too much control and reduces the public’s democratic input.

    As for representative, that is just a lefty talking point without any substance. Quite frankly I don’t want a ‘representative’ parliament. I want a parliament of really good representatives. Notice the difference? One is full of identity politics and quotas, the other is, well, just better.


  9. robertguyton says:

    Chatted with Todd Barclay just now about Northland. He’s worried National will lose the by-election because of “the Sabin Business”, at least, that’s what I recall him saying. That other Nat MP, Simon What’shisface was there too. We had a nice chat. Howl at the Moon – Gore.


  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I think the party leader thing is all about the way the parties and the media have manipulated things and just remember the control and power Muldoon wielded under FPP. I also remember under FPP some pretty useless candidates getting elected in safe seats. Aaron Gilmour, Brendon Horan and Claudette Hauiti would have still been elected under FPP.

    In many ways MMP ensures the best candidates do get elected as most parties want their strongest candidates to get elected but under FPP if you were a strong National candidate in a traditional Labour seat your chances would be minimal, even if you out performed your rival.

    There were also a number of elections when the party that won the most votes overall lost the election under FPP.

    MMP isn’t perfect but it would be a lot better if Collins had supported the Electoral Commissions recommendations. For a party to get 2 MPs when they get less than 5% of the vote and another party gets none despite 1 in every 20 voting for them (Conservatives) seems unfair. I also think it is not reasonable for someone who was elected on the list to remain in Parliament when they are no longer a member of the party.


  11. Paranormal says:

    Sorry DK Gilmore and Hauiti wouldn’t have made it under FPP as they wouldn’t have passed scrutiny from their local voters. Horan may have, purely for name recognition under FPP, but he would still have had to pass scrutiny of his local voters under FPP.

    As for the ‘winning the most votes’ under FPP misnomer. The individuals in electorates were strong enough to create a larger margin over potentially weaker opponents (afterall you’re not going to stand your best in Mangere against Lange or Tamaki against Muldoon).

    It comes back to the old ways of enough individuals obtaining support from their local community to muster together to form a party in government. The essence of western democracy. Parties chasing government is a relatively modern thing by comparison.


  12. Paranormal says:

    The Act letter has provided more detail around how this works.

    For the proportionality of Parliament to be affected, Peter’s has to resign as a List MP. before being declared the MP for Northland. Of course that’s only if he is to overcome the odds and actually win the by-election.


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