Not as blue as polls paint it

30/07/2014

The trend in the polls is encouraging but the future isn’t as blue as they paint it.

National is polling well, but still slightly below where it was at this time before the 2011 election.

The message is clear – if people want a third term national government with John Key as Prime Minister they have to vote and vote blue.

Ticking National candidates will help get them into parliament.

But it’s the party vote that counts most and only by ticking National for the party vote will help it into government.

 

Today I outlined National’s position on accommodating support parties in electorate contests at this year’s General Election. We will encourage National party supporters to give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate in Epsom and the United Future candidate in Ohariu. In East Coast Bays, Murray McCully will be competing for the electorate vote. Whatever happens in those seats, we will be focused on maximising the party vote for National across the country in all seats. It is only through delivering the strongest possible party vote that National voters will return National to Government. #Working4NZ ntnl.org.nz/1rK9sYa


When party vote doesn’t count

16/07/2014

Under MMP it’s the party vote that counts.

That’s the one which determines how may seats a party gets and ultimately which parties are in government.

That’s the message parties try to give to voters and it’s the one their MPs are supposed to give too.

But Duncan Garner has noticed that at least three Labour MPs are giving a very good indication that they’re a lot more interested in staying in parliament than helping their party get into government.

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

Mallard either turned down the list spot he was offered or chose not to go on it.  O’Connor and Davis will need Labour to get more support than it’s had in recent polls to get a list seat.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Labour MPs call it the holiday highway; David Cunliffe has campaigned against it. Labour, until yesterday, was going to can the project upon taking office. Who knows where they stand now!

Davis told me people in the north tell him they want the controversial project and so does he.

The rest of Labour don’t understand how important this road is to the people of Northland  and how insulting it is to them to refer to it as a holiday highway.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That this is the best idea he can come up with to get attention speaks volumes about him and the elvel of desperation to which he’s sunk.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

That supposedly showed his strength but it also showed he’s incapable of getting his party to see sense.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

They want to stand out and stand for something that their electorates want (not sure that Hutt South really wants the moa back, though!).

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

Who can blame them?

Their colleagues and the volunteers in the party who are still working to stem the slipping in support which threatens to turn into a landslide will blame them.

If they can’t persuade all their MPs it’s the party vote that counts, how can they hope to persuade voters?


It’s the party vote that counts

13/08/2013

Anyone who was involved in the National Party during Judy Kirk’s time as president knows it’s the party vote that counts.

She never lost an opportunity to remind members of that.

That was one of the reasons the party reorganised and began running centralised campaigns. These made it clear to voters that while the party wanted them to tick National twice,  if they were going to give us only one tick it should be the party vote one.

The party didn’t abandon electorates though, with the exception of Epsom and Ohariu where, for strategic reasons, National supporters got the message to split their votes.

The wee parties don’t usually try to win electorate seats.

They don’t even field candidates in most of them and where they do they make it quite clear it’s just the party vote they’re chasing.

Labour has rarely done as well in the provinces, and now it looks like the party won’t even try to regain the seats it’s lost.

In the Listener cover story regaining the love Labour’s lost, Ruth Laugesen writes:

Labour is firmly focused on boosting its party vote, possibly at the expense of the electoral seats.

To win back the Beehive, Labour must win hundreds of square kilometres of territory in the heartland. But as Labour rebuilds its party organisation towards the next election, winning electorates appears to be taking a back seat. . .

Is there anything Labour is doing specifically aimed at winning back electorate seats? There is a long pause. “Winning back seats. It’s always good to have … The electorate seats are important, so there will be seats that we are actually going to be ensuring that there’s a strong two-tick campaign, but it’s a party-vote and a candidate-vote campaign. We may have had some people focusing more on the seat than we would like in the future.”

This is another sign of Labour’s weakened state – too little money, too few members and probably too few credible candidates to fight a true two-tick nationwide campaign.

It is the party vote that counts in forming governments.

But abandoning the provinces means that when the party eventually returns to power, as sadly sooner or later it will, it will have little connection to, or knowledge of, great swathes of the country.

Under a Labour-led government the party vote will count and people outside the cities won’t.

We know they don’t understand farming but it’s still the mainstay of the economy and there’s a lot of other things happening outside the main centres which can’t afford the damage a left-wing urban government could inflict on them.

It will be even worse with a strong Green Party influence as well.

A government without connections to and an understanding of the provinces and their needs and concerns isn’t one which will be governing for the good of the country in both senses of the word.

Update:

Spot the irony – in today’s ODT Labour leader David Shearer is quoted:

There was no doubt the regions had been neglected in favour of the country’s major cities, he said. . .

He’s wrong that the regions have been neglected by the government but it looks like that is what his party is going to be doing in next year’s election campaign.


It’s the party vote that counts

06/10/2011

It took National far too long to get to grips with MMP.

In 1996, 1999 and 2002 we were still running FPP elections with each electorate working more or less independently to win the seat and little national (or National) strategy for the party vote.

But anyone who has been involved with the party in subsequent elections is in no doubt that it is the party vote that counts.

Winning electorates will get the victors into parliament. But it’s winning enough of the party vote to form or be part of government that gets them into power.

It’s obvious from the blue hoardings which have sprouted up around the country that National wants the party vote.

It is much less clear what Labour is seeking.

Dene Mackenzie, pointed out  in the ODT that Labour MPs and candidates don’t regard being associated with Phil Goff as any help which explains why neither his name nor photo are on any hoardings outside his own electorate.

They are red and have the Labour logo but they do not expressly solicit party votes.

Anyone who doesn’t understand MMP and know the importance of the party vote – and there are still a lot of them – could well think they’re just being asked to vote for a candidate.


Desperate Act

24/09/2011

If I was a member of Act I’d be looking hard for a saboteur inside the upper echelons of the party.

There is no other rational explanation for the board’s decision to have Don Brash contest the North Shore electorate.

What on earth can he, or the party he’s leading, have to gain in the way of party votes by putting him head to head against Maggie Barry?

She is number 58 on National’s list which means she will have to win the seat to become an MP.

Like every other National candidate she’s campaigning for the party votes which are needed to ensure National stays in government. But she will be running a two-tick campaign to ensure she gets in to parliament too.

Where will that leave Brash?

Saying, “don’t vote for me but vote for my party and get me anyway”?

He’d make far more impact saying that without complicating the issue by being a Clayton’s candidate in an electorate.

It looks like a desperate act and a desperate Act.

Brash gained the party’s leadership by unorthodox means, losing another constituency contest – which is what he’s aiming to do by seeking only, or mainly, party votes, will do nothing for his credibility or that of his party.


Claytons campaigning for electorate vote

16/08/2011

Remember the sanctimonious comments about National and Act doing post-election deals over some electorates?

The Greens aren’t going that far in Waitaki but their candidate, Sue Coutts,  has made it clear she’s running a Clayton’s campaign for the electorate vote:

The focus for all Greens candidates was getting support for the party vote, Mrs Coutts said. “Getting the party vote is the way the party is going to get ahead.” Winning the electorate was not the priority “this time around”.

Getting the party vote is the way every party will get ahead becuase, as we were reminded yet again at National’s conference last weekend, it’s the party vote that counts.

However, while winning seats doesn’t help a part get into government, it is still something that National takes seriously.

Labour is still trying to win city seats but like the wee parties, it’s making little effort in most provincial seats and in Waitaki it too appears to be running a Clayton’s campaign.

Jacqui Dean comprehensively won the seat for National at the last election and is working very hard to earn the electorate’s support in this one.

iPredict gives her a 92.5% probability of doing that in contrast to a .5% chance for the Labour candidate and .1% for any other candidate.


The colour of the house

09/11/2008

Total Votes Counted:

2,103,842

Special Votes:

208,001

Less than 6 votes taken in Polling Places:

1,261

Party

Party
Votes

%
Votes

Electorate
Seats

List
Seats

Total
Seats

National Party

951,145

45.45

41

18

59

Labour Party

706,666

33.77

21

22

43

Green Party

134,622

6.43

0

8

8

ACT New Zealand

77,843

3.72

1

4

5

Mäori Party

46,894

2.24

5

0

5

Jim Anderton’s Progressive

19,536

0.93

1

0

1

United Future

18,629

0.89

1

0

1

New Zealand First Party

88,072

4.21

0

0

0

Kiwi Party

11,659

0.56

0

0

0

The Bill and Ben Party

10,738

0.51

0

0

0

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

7,589

0.36

0

0

0

New Zealand Pacific Party

6,991

0.33

0

0

0

Family Party

6,973

0.33

0

0

0

Alliance

1,721

0.08

0

0

0

Democrats for Social Credit

1,112

0.05

0

0

0

Libertarianz

1,070

0.05

0

0

0

Workers Party

824

0.04

0

0

0

RAM – Residents Action Movement

405

0.02

0

0

0

The Republic of New Zealand Party

298

0.01

0

0

0

 

70

52

122


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