Turning blue – or at least purple

December 1, 2011

One of National’s active supporters in Dunedin reckons the city isn’t so much red as purple.

The cover of the give-away paper DScene and story on the election result – National winning the party vote in Dunedin South and nearly doing it in Dunedin North – backs her up:

One of the benefits of MMP has been the presence of a National MP in the city.

Former MP Katherine Rich helped raise the party’s profile and present its softer side. She was succeeded in Dunedin North by Michael Woodhouse who has made an impressive start to his parliamentary career and worked hard for the people of city.

Conway Powell started turning the tide towards National in Dunedin South in 2005, built on that in 2008 and this year’s candidate Joanne Hayes carried on to win the party vote.

Boundary changes which included more rural areas and lifestyle blocks in the electorate, and demographic changes have helped cement the base. But it takes dedicated candidates and supporters to build on that and turn it into more votes.

There were special circumstances this time. It wasn’t just the National vote which went up, the Green vote did too and Labour’s went down.

But the result is an encouraging indication that the city could be changing from red to purple, though not blue – yet.


False complaint backfires

November 17, 2011

What is believed to have been a politically motivated complaint against the National Party’s human hoardings team backfired when it resulted in a story and photo in the ODT.

A complaint to Dunedin police yesterday morning about the potential hazard posed to drivers from these National Party hoarding carriers appeared to be politically motivated, Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken said.

The complainant had been on foot, not driving, she said . . . 

Dunedin North National candidate Michael Woodhouse also suspected the complaint was politically motivated, as the supporters had carried out the promotion responsibly.

He believed Dunedin Labour was concerned by the “visibility” and energy of National’s Dunedin election campaign.

Dunedin is supposed to be a red city.

A dedicated group of National Party members, supporting Michael and Dunedin South candidate Joanne Hayes, are doing their best to turn it blue as this photo of the “Hayes stack” shows:

The human hoardings are part of the strategy and thanks to the false complaint they’ve been seen not just by passers-by but everyone who reads the ODT.


Diversity in electorates takes pressure off list

May 18, 2011

Damien O’Connor was criticised for the intemperate language he used to describe the Labour list.

His criticism shouldn’t have been directed at the list, one of its roles is supposed to be to add to the diversity of parliament.

The question to ask of Labour is why doesn’t it have much diversity among its electorate MPs?

Labour’s selection is strongly influenced by unions and head office which makes it relatively easy to select people who don’t fit the WMM (white middle-aged male) category as candidates for red seats.

In National, providing an electorate has 200 members, it is they who select the candidate and the party hierarchy has no influence at all over who they select.

In spite or because of that, Kiwiblog points out, National has eight MPs of Maori descent now.

Georgina te Heuheu is retiring in November but the party has new candidates of Maori descent in Northland (Mike Sabin), Wellington Central (Paul Foster-Bell), Dunedin South (Joanne Hayes) and Mangare (Claudette Hauiti).

That means 11 out of 63 National candidates in general seats are of Maori descent.

Is part of Labour’s problem the Maori seats? Has it taken for granted it would win them and thought that means it doesn’t need Maori in general seats?

Perhaps if Labour trusted its members and exercised a little more democracy in selecting candidates for electorates,  it wouldn’t have to depend so much on its list to get a caucus more representative of New Zealand.

Footnote:

 Apropos of yesterday’s post on participation, National’s Northland selection would be the most democratic of any for any party in the country. It was made by 275 voting delegates representing a membership of more than 4,000.


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