Money can’t buy me an election


More proof that the amount you spend on electioneering isn’t directly related to the result:

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull spent more than $13,000 in his campaign to win the mayoral chains – nearly $30,000 less than Peter Chin did in his campaign not to lose them.

Documents Mr Cull filed with Dunedin electoral officer Pam Jordan this week show he spent $13,517 on his successful tilt at the city mayoralty.

It would be difficult to win an election without spending some money but this is one of many cases where the winner spent a lot less than the loser.

Money helps but it can’t buy love from voters. It is only one of many ingredients in successful campaigns and spending more doesn’t guarantee a better result.

Some old mayors some new in south


Two southern mayors lost their seats in the local body elections.

Central Otago District elected Tony Lepper, with sitting mayor Malcolm MacPherson coming in third place behind another challenger Jeff Hill.

Clutha District’s new mayor is Bryan Cadogan who beat the incumbent Juno Hayes who was seeking a fifth term.

Queenstown Lakes District has its first female mayor – Vanessa van Uden . Sitting mayor Clive Geddes didn’t seek re-election.

Waitaki District re-elected Alex Familton with a majority of 1183 over the only serious challenger and former Deputy mayor, Gary Kircher.

Invercargill people gave Tim Shadbolt a majority of more than 11,000 over challenger Suzanne Prentice.

Southland mayor Frano Cardno was returned for her seventh term.

Gore mayor Tracy Hicks was not challenged.

Timaru returned sitting mayor Janie Annear for a third term.

Mackenzie District elected Claire Barlow as its new mayor by only 30 votes.

Further north I’m delighted Christchurch voters returned Bob Parker as mayor – and not just because he defeated Jim Anderton.

Len Brown beat John Banks to be first mayor of the new Auckland council. Voters also delivered a left-leaning council which disproves accusations from the left that uniting Auckland was a right-wing plot.

I think this means Robert Guyton, a regular commenter here, won a seat on the Southland Regional Council. If so, congratulations.

Will polls influence vote?


In general elections advertising or polling which might influence voters is not permitted after midnight on election eve.

With postal voting for local body elections campaigning and polling continues after the ballot papers have been distributed.

The ODT published a poll  last weekend of Clutha, Central Otago, Waitaki and Queenstown Lakes Districts which showed a couple of close results but will it influence the vote?

In Clutha Juno Hayes, the sitting mayor, had 34.8% with challengers Hamish Anderson and Bryan Cadogan tied on 31.3%.

In Central Otago sitting mayor Malcolm Macpherson had 38.7% support with Tony Lepper on 37.8% and Jeff Hill on 23.4%.

The Clutha race appears to reflect dissatisfaction with the incumbent but the split in the opposition may let him slip through. However the poll had a margin of error of 11.4% so it’s still anyone’s race.

In Central results show those who support the incumbent should vote for him and those who don’t you’d have a better chance of unseating him if they vote for Lepper than Hill.

In Queenstown Lakes Vanessa Van Uden received 62.5% support with Simon Hayes on 32.8%. In Waitaki sitting mayor Alex Familton had 54.8% support with current deputy mayor Gary Kircher gaining 37.5%.

Both should give the leaders some comfort but with margins of error of 9.6% in Queenstown Lakes and 9.3% in Waitaki there  is still the possibility of an upset.

Did the poll influence my vote? No, I posted my ballot paper on Tuesday after reading the results but they didn’t show change my mind over who I was supporting.

However, had I not already decided who I was supporting the poll may have been a factor I took into account.

UPDATE: The NBR quotes AUT University’s Institute of Public Policy director David Wilson who says those worried about the influence of polls shouldn’t underestimate voters.

Ticked, numbered, posted


The local body voting papers have been sitting on my desk since they arrived a couple of weeks ago.

The Regional and District Council choices provided little difficulty for me but I laboured over the health board options.

It’s impossible to know enough about 12 people from throughout the whole of Otago to rank them intelligently.

There were a couple I wanted to put in the last two spots but that would have meant putting people about whom I knew little or nothing in spots 6 – 10.

In the end I ranked the five I supported and left seven blank.

It’s all pretty academic anyway. The voting power is in Dunedin so candidates from the regions don’t have much chance. But that doesn’t mean much anyway when the people elected aren’t answerable to the voters but the government.

The government should accept that it’s not worth wasting money on health board elections which are really only pretending to give people a voice.

With that in mind I ticked, numbered and posted my ballot paper but, even given my respect for democracy and the right to vote, I didn’t do it with any great enthusiasm.

Reasons to be pleased I live in the country #1


We get to vote for the best people without the complication of party tickets in local body elections and don’t have central government politicians using our money to tell us for whom we should vote.

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