Critiquing Mike Williams electorate run down in the NZ Herald


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Firstly, thank God Mike Williams has written this column  explaining how MMP and a handful of electorate seats will be all the difference between forming a Government and not forming one. To date, large chunks of NZ (and the political punditry) keep insinuating, via flawed landline opinion polls, that almost half the country love John Key and the expectation is he will sleep walk to a landslide victory.

The reality as TDB has been pointing out for some time is that a landslide for National is unlikely to occur because Labour will use MMP tactics to win.

Mike’s overall point that this election will be FAR closer than the corporate media are pretending it will be is sound, however some of his intel on electorate strategy seems slightly out of the loop. I’m told Mike was telling Vernon Small on the day the Matt McCarten rumour for Chief-of-Staff was broken that he was wrong an hour before Mike had to appear on RNZ Nine to Noon where he suddenly U-turned after being filled in that yes, Matt was really going to be the Chief-of-Staff, so Mike’s view on things isn’t from inside the war room.

Let’s run through it.

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Mike thinks Epsom is safe ACT. I disagree. This election there will be a strong social media push for Labour, Green and MANA voters in Epsom to hold their nose and vote for the National Party candidate. There were 6000 wasted votes last election for Labour, Green and MANA candidates that could never win while a high profile name like Banks only won by 2000 votes. David Seymour is as free flowing as C3-PO with arthritis…

…expect to see Labour, Green and MANA Epsom candidates to pull some surprises in the campaign to see ACT eliminated.

I think Mike is being hopeful here. Labour’s strength in Ohariu was driven by Charles Chauvel’s personal popularity, minus him the National Party vote is still large enough to leak to Dunne. As much as I would like to see Dunne go, I don’t think he will.

Conservative Party seat
I think Mike is closer to the mark here. National know a Conservative Party-National Party coalition scares the bejesus out of National’s socially liberal urban vote. Any plan to throw Colin an electorate lifeline with a hot milo in Pakuranga will be made desperately two weeks out from the election.

The Maori electorates
Cunliffe’s brilliant selection of Matt McCarten as Chief-of-Staff was partly driven by Matt’s knowledge of using MMP tactically. The amount of white media in NZ who have written off Hone winning his seat is too numerous to list, and suggestions he will lose seem based on pundit dislike of Hararwira than genuine insight. Kelvin Davis will gain very high place on the Party list so Te Tai Tokerau voters will know voting Hone will gain them Davis anyway. Two representatives for the price of one.

In terms of Waiariki, Mike is well off. Annette slashed Flavell’s majority from 7000 to under 2000 in just 6 weeks of electioneering, she has devoted the last 3 years to building one of the largest electorate networks in any of the Maori electorates. Seeing as the Maori Party will lose their other two electorates in this election, if Flavell holds on to Waiariki with a 2% Party vote the Maori Party could bring in 3 MPs. That’s 3 MPs for National. Waiariki is crucial for the Left to win and MANA is best placed to do that.

Dotcom’s Internet Party and Mana
Mike gives my passion project 2% support, I say 3%+. The strongest argument for a possible alliance between MANA and the Internet Party is that their combined weight of numbers could be the difference between a Labour-Green Government or a Labour-Green-NZ First Government. If progressives want real change, a Labour-Green Government with a supply and confidence agreement majority via the MANA-Internet Party would do that. My thinking is that even if Labour and the Greens were to secure such a majority, the smart money would still be on including Winston into the mix (if he gets over 5%) and cement him in with a legacy policy.

I think progressive voters who want this Government out are going to be very tactical about their voting this election and I think social media will play a critical role in being the vehicle for those strategies to be communicated.

This year for the first time, The Daily Blog will launch a ‘Progressive Voter Guide’ detailing who progressive voters should vote for in each electorate to see a change of Government.  This guide will be available in the first week of the 6 week campaign and list strategic explanations as to why progressive voters should adopt tactical MMP voting.

John Key may certainly win the most seats on the night, but he will have no mates to form a majority. A Labour-Green-MANA-Internet Party could well be the next Government in an arrangement with NZ First while the Maori Party and ACT could well disappear from the political landscape altogether.

No one in the mainstream media punditry seem to be barely aware of this possible outcome.



  1. I suspect the National Party relationship with the Conservatives will be dictated by internal polling. If National needs the Conservatives expect a deal to be done. If they don’t need the Conservatives to govern then it will be status quo.

    I’m confident ACT will win Epsom. Any social media campaign by the left can be met with an equal social media campaign by the right.

    You need to list the “white media” who have written off Hone. I’m yet to read anyone who has written off Hone retaining Te Tai Tokerau. It’s definitely in play, though Hone has to be favoured.

    The ultimate problem for the left is that even if Labour/Green/Mana/Dotcom get close they are still likely to need New Zealand First onside to get over the line. With a clear option for Winston to join that group or to support National I would lean to Winston supporting National. Winston hates the Greens and won’t play second fiddle to anyone.

    • “I’m confident ACT will win Epsom. Any social media campaign by the left can be met with an equal social media campaign by the right.”

      …What possible social media campaign could the right possibly put together to counter the left’s one in Epsom? Another hilarious David Seymour video?

      Even the teapot saga couldn’t get a bunch of nat voters to go for John Banks in 2011, and he actually has a public profile – as for some kind of campaign, I don’t know how you could possibly get more publicity than that cup of tea – it was all over the news along with the reasons why, and he barely beat out the National candidate. So, good luck with that.

      • You’re both wrong. Social media means fuck all in in local elections. It’s impossible to refine facebook and twitter to Epsom, so trying to use either to encourage voters to vote for the National candidate will likely backfire on the left.

        What is needed is a good local campaign. Old school politics, knocking on doors and shaking hands at supermarkets. However, if the left are too overt about this they’ll only encourage the hoards of right wingers in Epsom to do what they’ve done for the last three elections and vote Act.

  2. Waiariki is crucial for the Left to win and MANA is best placed to do that.

    Sure, but that might be asking too much of Labour. I think that Labour should give Hone a free run, because he’s a good MP and a powerful voice for Maori.

    I don’t see anything wrong in principle with Labour allowing Sykes to win, but you would have to place another Maori candidate high on Labour’s list to compensate for that. Again, that’s not something I’m personally opposed to, but then I’m not currently a politician on the Labour list.

    So, place Davis high on the Labour list, and Sykes second on the MANA list, which she was last time, if possible.

  3. “There were 6000 wasted votes last election for Labour, Green and MANA candidates that could never win while a high profile name like Banks only won by 2000 votes. ”

    You make some good points Martyn, but on Epsom you’re wide of the mark.

    In 2011 National won 13,574 party votes, more than double the ‘wasted’ votes you correctly highlight. Assuming every single one of the 5977 Labour, Green, MANA votes went to National (which won’t happen), it would take less than half of the National electorate votes to switch to Act to counter that, and even less if you allow for the existing 2200+ majority.

    • I disagree. Banks who is a far larger name than whatshisface who ACT have appointed as the candidate, and Banks was barely able to gain 2000 majority, whatshisface won’t get what Banks got

      • Banks didn’t win anything, ACT did. It was strategic voting, pure and simple. The reality is that National have far more to play with in Epsom that Labour do, over twice as many votes in fact.

        ACT will win Epsom, Mana will only win one seat, the Greens, NZF will win none, and the centre right (including the Maori Party) will have the numbers overall.

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