Remuera, (Remmers), in Epsom is where the so called founding father of Auckland John Logan Campbell first came ashore on this isthmus, at Hobson Bay. Aptly for this time and place, Logan Campbell who was fluent in Maori, went on to become phenomenally wealthy and spectacularly successful as a land speculator.
Epsom is the ivy encrusted (in some parts literally), and the most conservative electorate in the country. Epsom is also the smallest electorate in the country, but way out of proportion to its size, the most influential. Epsom is where the National Party get the margin to govern.
Epsom is a blue ribbon seat, it will always vote conservatively, the most furtherest Left party candidate ever likely to win the seat of Epsom will be from the National Party. The statistics show why;
– Epsom has the lowest percentage of Maori of any electorate in the country, only 3.8% of the population of Epsom are Maori.
– The electorate of Epsom encompasses 30 schools, most of which are either decile 9 or 10. Statistically the people of Epsom are the most highly educated of all New Zealanders.*
– As well as being the smallest, the most well educated, and the whitest electorate in the country, Epsomites are the richest. Almost half of them earn over $100,000 p/a this is the largest proportion of high earners of any general electorate. (And many earn way over this).
Being comfortably off, and presumably happy with the status quo, Epsom voters are conservative, not wanting to rock the boat. Therefore it follows that Epsom voters first choice for their vote is to give it to the National Party.
To their credit the majority of the citizens of Epsom did not vote for John Banks
Epsom did not vote ACT!
Despite being openly directed to by John Key, leader of the National Party, and the most popular conservative Prime Minister of recent times. – Rejecting ACT’s extremism, over 13,000 of the National Party’s Epsom supporters ignored Key’s directive to vote ACT and in an act of rebellion voted National. Add that 11,000, to the Green and Labour vote – and the 15,000 votes received by the ACT candidate John Banks was crushed by the combined total of 18,000 votes from National, Labour and Green supporters.**
The hard fact is; ACT is not the popular majority choice of Epsom voters. And many of those who did vote for John Banks did not do so willingly.
At a guess I would say that more than three quarters of those who voted for John Banks did so reluctantly, maybe more. (And this was before John Banks’ donations scandal came to light.)
If I had to guess again, I would guess, that this time around, many of these reluctant ACT voters will follow their hearts and join their neighbours and friends in voting National, especially, as John Key has says, he will not be giving any overt signal like a tea party this time around.
Going on previous voting records, even without this possible shift away from ACT, – if the Labour and Green voters also voted National, ACT would be out, and the National/ACT coalition would collapse.
I find it strange that the Labour Party is more open to the idea of running a strategic campaign to oust ACT from parliament than the Green Party candidate.***
In my opinion, the message both should give to the voters of Epsom is, “Vote for the Candidate who you think is the least extremist”.
This is a message that will resonate with Epsom’s conservative National supporters as well as Left Labour and Green supporters.
Surely the Greens and Labour must realise this? Do they want the majority of Epsom voters, (including their own supporters), to be disenfranchised again?
If the Labour and Green candidates, Genter and Wood, think that they should chase the electorate vote in Epsom, then they and their parties are not being serious about winning this election, nor determined enough to do so. Either that, or they have let their egos run away with them in thinking that they can win the electorate vote in Epsom.
The most Left of the candidates running, with the most chance of winning in Epsom, is Paul Goldsmith for National.**** The logical thing the Green and Labour candidates should be telling their supporters is; give us your party vote, but not your candidate vote, give your candidate vote for the next most nearest Left candidate likely to win.
As the Mana candidate this is the message that I will be taking to the people of Epsom.
– The message I would like to bring to the people of Epsom is this:
Kia ora to the people of Epsom, my name is Pat O’Dea I am the Mana Party Candidate for Epsom. Mana is the Maori led movement for all New Zealanders. Though you, the good people of Epsom, are not our natural constituency.***** And your electoral choices are not ours, we recognise that your right to freely choose is being denied you. In effect your electoral franchise has been taken from you. As the Mana Party, we say to you, that you should have the freedom to select the candidate who you think best represents your views returned to you. And we think that your National Government should have done this for you and rest of New Zealand as the MMP Electoral Commission Review recommended they should. We know that you realise that voting for the National Party candidate Paul Goldsmith may not see the return of your preferred government this time, but I put it to you, that even if your preferred party loses the election, that this is the dignified and democratic thing to do. As the leader of the opposition in Britain in 1947, Winston Churchill said; “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried”. I think the truth of Churchill’s words have been proved in your electorate where the current electoral vote trading, is anything but democratic. Turning elections in Epsom into a scandalous and embarrassing spectacle before the eyes of the rest of the nation.
Finally I would also like to give my thanks to the people of Epsom. Though you are the residents of the most affluent electorate in the country, in arguably the most fortunate country on earth, the majority of you had the good sense and decency not to vote ACT. This was a prophetic decision, which has with hindsight, proven to be the right judgement.
As the Mana Party spokesperson for climate change I would also like to point out to you the citizens of Epsom that currently the cranks in ACT represent the only party in parliament that deny the reality of climate change. Climate change is a pending global disaster that if not faced by policy makers of all nations and parties, threatens the children and grandchildren of all of us, regardless of race or creed or nationality or position in society.
The ACT extremists an not only a danger to the natural environment that sustains us, ACT are a danger to the human environment we all have to live in as well.
ACT’s policy of environmental betrayal of future generations, (even their own children and grandchildren), is matched by their dog eat dog and devil take the hindmost economic policies which will operate to increase inequality in this country, threatening to degrade the unique social fabric of New Zealand, (possibly, beyond recovery). No decent New Zealander blessed to live in this country would want that. I feel that it is my duty to people of New Zealand to make sure that ACT are not returned to parliament in 2014 and you the people of Epsom can help me do it, simply by following your conscience and voting for the candidate of your choice.
Patrick John O’Dea 2014 Mana Candidate for Epsom
The strategy that I have laid out above, is the strategy agreed to by the Mana executive for Epsom in 2011. And which I did my best to carry out. In following this strategy I gained a total of 46 votes electorate votes on the night. Hopefully if I do my job right I will get even less votes this time around. As I said in 2011, “I wouldn’t know how to represent rich people anyway.” I have no idea what you want, or need that you don’t already have. But I do know this, that all people rich, or poor value freedom, in particular freedom of choice. I want to help you get it.
Yours in friendship Kia kaha.
And may the least worse man win.
Pat O’Dea is the Mana spokesperson for climate change issues.
*I owe my own education to Epsom. Raised as a boarder at the prestigious Dilworth Boys boarding School.
Founded as a “benevolent trust for boys from straitened circumstances” Dilworth School in Epsom is built on land donated by another early land dealer and contemporary of John Logan Campbell James Dilworth. (Unusually for an Epsom school, Dilworth is rated as a decile 4 school)
**Figures have been rounded.
***This is a direct change in policy for the Greens from last time. Running for the electoral vote against their agreed policy of only going for the list vote is the reason given by the Greens for the demotion of their last Epsom Candidate, David Hay.
****It is universally recognised by all commentators, and Parties, including themselves, that National are to the Left of ACT, (or at least not as extremely Right Wing as ACT)
*****The constituency that Mana seeks to represent in parliament, are the low paid, the disadvantaged and dispossessed, new migrants, and especially and most notably Tangata Whenua.