At risk of losing seat?

April 9, 2011

Labour is ranking its party list this weekend and Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel has opted out of it.

“I came to the conclusion that if I wasn’t re-elected by the people of Christchurch East I wouldn’t want to be a member of Parliament. I wouldn’t want to be anything other than the MP for this area, especially now with the challenge we’ve got.” She said she had not enjoyed being a list MP because the connection with her constituents was not as close.

Why would a senior MP opt out of the list?

She is right that list MPs don’t have as close a connection with constituents as electorate MPs do but is this an admission she’s at risk of losing her seat?

That is the only way she would be in danger of reverting back to being a list MP.

Lianne received 20,969 votes and Labour got 18,893 votes in 2005. National’s candidate David Round got the support of 8,996 people and the party got 9,851 votes.

In 2008 she won the seat with 17,969 votes from National candidate Aaron Gilmore who gained 12,204 votes. Labour received 15,585 party votes and National gained 12,289 party votes. 

The trend is down but a 5,000 majority would hardly be called marginal.

Does opting out of the list mean she’s expecting a demotion this time and wants to avoid that? She was 26th in 2005 and 15th in 2008.

Standing for the electorate only without the protection of a reasonably high list place gives her the opportunity to tell voters the electorate vote is the only way she’ll be returned to parliament.

But it’s the party vote that counts. A candidate who is standing for both electorate and on the list can say, ask for both but tell voters if they’re going to split their vote it’s they should give her/his party the tick.

A candidate who will only get in by winning an electorate is hardly likely to give that message.

Manakau East  MP Ross Robertson has also opted out of the list, as he has done before.


Miracle it’s only a disaster

September 7, 2010

The sign at the supermarket told me there was no bread because of the earthquake in Christchurch.

I had a moment of irritation then I realised it didn’t matter at all. I have the ingredients, including clean, fresh water, and the power needed to make bread.

No doubt over the next few days, and possibly longer, we will find there are other gaps on the grocery shelves because a lot of South Island supermarket stock is produced in or distributed from Christchurch.

But we’ll cope with what will be relatively minor inconveniences as the people of Canterbury are coping with far more.

I spoke with a friend who lives in Merivale last night. She said it was terrifying on Saturday morning and repeated aftershocks are keeping them all on edge. She lost a few bits and pieces but her house is okay. They were without water for a day, people just a block away got water back on last night, others will have to wait days and maybe longer.

But, she said, it’s a miracle no-one was killed.

That’s a sentiment expressed by Christchurch MPs Aaron Gilmore and Nicky Wagner.

It’s also the message Christchurch mayor Bob Parker keeps repeating. He says everybody has lost something but no-one lost someone.

It’s a disaster. But it’s not a tragedy for which the city, the province of Canterbury and the whole country can be very grateful.

Compare that with the 1999 Athens earthquake, the anniversary of which is today. It killed 143 people and it was 5.9 magnitude compared with Canterbury’s 7.1 magnitude.

P.S.

Chris McDowall at SciBlogs has a chart of the quake and the aftershocks – he points out the tall line on the left isn’t the axis, it’s the first earthquake.


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