Doocey for Waimakariri


The National Party has selected Matthew Doocey as its candidate for Waimakariri.

Mr Doocey was selected by a meeting of local party members tonight.

“Matthew proved himself an effective campaigner in the Christchurch East by-election, with a real passion for advancing and rebuilding Canterbury. He will be a strong, fresh, and energetic local MP if elected in September,” said Canterbury-Westland Regional Chair Roger Bridge.

“Kate Wilkinson has served the electorate well, winning the seat for National in 2011. However we are taking nothing for granted this election and will be running a strong campaign in Waimakariri.”

Mr Doocey said he was honoured to be selected and looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“It’s an honour to be selected as National’s Waimakariri candidate,” says Mr Doocey.

“North Canterbury has been well-served by a Government which is making the rebuild a priority, investing in infrastructure, and backing rural communities.

“Having a strong local voice inside National has been crucial for Waimakariri. I will be working hard to carry that on if I have the privilege of being elected to serve these communities inside Parliament.”

Matthew Doocey – Biographical Notes

A born and bred Cantabrian, Matthew Doocey (41) lives in Redwood with Hungarian-born wife Viktoria and their new-born daughter Emily.

After pursuing opportunities in the UK, Mr Doocey decided to return home last year to give something back after the earthquakes.

He currently works at the Canterbury District Health Board as a manager in its surgical division.

Mr Doocey went to St Bedes College before studying counselling psychology at WelTec (Wellington). He has a Bsc (Hons) in Social Policy, an MA in Healthcare Management from Kingston University in London, and an MSc in Global Politics from Birkbeck College – University in London. He is also studying towards a Doctorate in Health by distance with Bath University in the UK.

Matthew Doocey has a long career in healthcare management including in the delivery of community health, mental health, and social care services both in voluntary and Government settings.

Kate Wilkinson won Waimakariri from Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove.

If proposed boundary changes are confirmed, the electorate will be a bit bluer than it was.

One of biggest electorates will get smaller


Statistics New Zealand’s release of census data yesterday gives the first indication of changes in electorates.

  • The number of electorates will increase from 70 to 71 at the next general election.
  • The number of North Island general electorates will increase from 47 to 48.
  • The number of Māori electorates will remain at seven.
  • The number of general electorates in the South Island is set at 16 by the Electoral Act 1993.
  • In a 120-seat parliament (excluding any overhang seats), a total of 71 electorates will result in 49 list seats being allocated. This is one less list seat than in the 2011 General Election.
  • The Representation Commission can now review the electorate boundaries for the next general election.

The excel sheet under downloads on the link above shows population changes in electorates.

Kiwiblog has checked that out and found:

Since the 2006 census, the SI electoral population has grown by 3.7%, the NI by 6.6% and the Maori electoral population by just 0.9%.

The seats that are the most over quota and must lose territory are:

  1. Auckland Central 70,406
  2. Hunua 68,951
  3. Helensville 68,026
  4. Selwyn 67,818
  5. Rodney 67,134
  6. Wigram 65,433
  7. Waitaki 64,962
  8. Hamilton East 64,577
  9. Waimakariri 64,454
  10. Wellington Central 64,374
  11. Rangitata 64,142
  12. East Coast Bays 64,005
  13. Maungakiekie 63,274
  14. Epsom 62,990
  15. Tāmaki 62,779
  16. Tauranga 62,741

So those 16 seats must shrink. What seats are under the 5% tolerance and must grow:

  1. Christchurch East 45,967
  2. Port Hills 53,667
  3. East Cost 53,960
  4. Christchurch Central 54,104
  5. Rangitikei 56,364

The other 49 seats can stay the same size in theory. But it is likely many will have some change because of flow on effects from neighbours.

The migration after Christchurch’s earthquakes is probably the reason for most of the growth in Waimakariri and Selwyn.

They will lose some ground to boost the Christchurch electorates which now have too few people.

Selwyn might have to push south into Rangitata which will then extend into Waitaki, both of which are over quota. It would make sense for the area closest to Timaru which moved from what was the Aoraki Electorate into Waitaki, to be in Rangitata.

Waitaki will have to shrink. It is now 34,888 square kilometres in area, the third biggest general electorate in the country. Any reduction in its size will be welcomed by its MP Jacqui Dean and her constituents.

Tweaking MMP won’t be easy


Proponents of MMP say the system needs tweaking to make it better fit New Zealand.

That won’t be easy.

A spokesperson for the Keep MMP campaign, Sandra Grey, says one of the main issues that should be looked at is the ability for candidates to stand for both a party list and an electorate.

One of the biggest issues people have with the system is the ability for someone who has been rejected by an electorate to remain in parliament on the list.

Changing that would have very little impact on the wee parties when few of them win electorates but it would have a major impact on National and Labour and would worsen the perception we have two classes of MP.

Kate Wilkinson and Nicky Wagner didn’t need to win seats, they would have been in parliament on the list. But they are justifiably delighted at winning their electorates, Waimakariri and Christchurch Central for several reasons, one of which is that they have a mandate from the people rather than just being in parliament at the pleasure of the party.

They were already hard working and effective MPs, they wouldn’t have won their seats had they not been. That won’t change but the perception of their role will because even after 15 years with MMP, being an electorate MP is still regarded as being better than a list MP.

That perception would worsen if there were no dual candidacies.

If candidates could stand in only an electorate or for the list the wee parties wouldn’t have candidates in any seats unless they came to an arrangement with one or other of the bigger ones, as has happened in Epsom and Ohariu.

The bigger parties would find it much harder to get candidates to stand in marginal or unwinnable seats if it meant there was no possibility of entering, or staying in, parliament on the list.

It could also make list MPs more removed from a wide cross section of people. Electorate MPs and those who hope to win electorates can’t pick and choose who they serve. List MPs, knowing they weren’t ever going to have to contest an electorate, could work only with those who were likely to support their parties.

The two seats I’ve mentioned were won by National list MPs, Waitakere has been won by  a Labour list MP.  The people in these seats have had two advocates rather than one. They might still have a buddy list MP, if people could stand only for an electorate or the list, but the motivation for the buddies wouldn’t be as great as it is for those who know they will be trying to win not only party votes but the seat as well.

Without the protection of a list place, MPs might forget that while they represent and must advocate for their constituents, they are also in parliament for the good of the whole country.

Lindsay Mitchell argues that Paula Bennett should wear the loss of Waitakere as a badge of honour:

Sue Bradford stood for Mana in Waitakare to play up welfare hysteria. Carmel Sepuloni was the feasible Labour candidate able to represent the anxieties Bradford stirred. Labour also did some shitty things to stir up fear and paranoia among beneficiaries. In the face of these two influences it is hardly surprising that a welfare-reforming Minister half serious about the job would lose electorate votes.

Paula’s achievements as a Minister might well have cost her the seat, although with only an 11 vote loss that is not yet certain, but as a list MP she will still be in parliament working so that welfare, as Lindsay says is:

the safety net it once was rather than the career (too respectable a word) choice it has become.

Paula has first hand experience of life on a benefit. She knows it’s hard but she also knows it’s possible to get off it. Parliament is a better place for having people with her life experience in it, it would be worse if losing an electorate cut her career short.

Another factor, unlikely to win much sympathy from the wider public, is party control of candidates and MPs.

One reason Labour did so badly this election is that most of their candidates gave up campaigning for the party vote and fought old-fashioned FPP campaigns for electorates. If candidates could stand only in a seat or on the list that would happen every election.  People like a bit of independence from MPs but most also punish parties for disunity and disloyalty and there would be a lot more of that if candidates had to opt for either an electorate or the list.

I understand why people who reject MPs in electorates find the party votes of the rest of the country keep them in parliament but under MMP its the party vote that counts.

Tweaking the system won’t change that and any tweaks that reinforce the distinction between list and electorate MPs would make the MMP worse.

Many measures of diversity


Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty is unhappy about the first decline in the number of women MPs since MMP was introduced and is blaming National.

National having only three female MPs in the top 20 shows a lack of commitment to gender representation.

“No country or Parliament is better off if women are blocked from political leadership,” Ms Delahunty said.

No-one’s blocking anyone and it’s got nothing to do with National’s commitment to gender representation.

National has a lot of electorate MPs which reduces the number of places available on the list, many are long serving, including those selected before MMP was introduced.

Among those with relatively new MPs are the three big central South Island electorates Waitaki, Rangitata and Selwyn, which might be regarded by some as conservative. All are represented by National women, – Jacqui Dean, Jo Goodhew and Amy Adams respectively. So is Waimakariri which Kate Wilkinson won on Saturday and Nicky Wagner is waiting for specials to see if she can take Christchurch Central which finished with a draw on election night.

There haven’t been many opportunities for new candidates in the last two elections but it is probable that a good number of the older MPs will retire this term or next which will provide openings for new entrants.

Anyone, man or woman, who wants to be a National MP should start working towards selection now if they haven’t already done so. That means taking an active role in the party and building up membership.

National is the only party which allows members to choose their candidate providing an electorate has sufficient members to do so.Candidates who’ve proven themselves as active members will have a better chance of winning selections.

Gaining selection with the support of members is far better than hoping you’ll get a winnable list place through tokenism.

Kiwiblog has a chart showing the demographics  of the new parliament, illustrating gender isn’t the only measure of diversity.

What he doesn’t show though is what the MPs did before entering parliament nor how many got a pay rise and how many took a cut.

That’s another measure of diversity in which I suspect National would do very well.

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