It would be fair to say that the results for Election 2014 did not go as anticipated.
The Left has had a drubbing – and some of it was of our own making. In other aspects, there were some interesting lessons to be learned…
1. Green Voters & Electorate Votes
Some Green supporters are either woefully ignorant of MMP – or have been smoking to much of a certain herb. Or, gods forbid, they are so desperate to remain ideologically pure in their principles, that they are willing to allow a right wing candidate to be elected, rather than supporting a candidate from another party on the Left.
In Ōhāriu (as well as other electorates) Peter Dunne was returned to office because Green Party supporters cast their electorate votes for Dunne, instead of the Labour candidate. Preliminary election results for Ohariu yield the following;
ANDERSEN, Virginia: (Labour)11,349
DUNNE, Peter: (United Future) 12,279
WOODLEY, Tane: (Greens) 2,266
Had supporters of the Green Party given their electorate votes to Viriginia Andersen, Peter Dunne would have been defeated by 1,336 votes.
The Greens need to get it through to their supporter’s thick heads that giving their electorate votes to their own candidates is a waste of effort and an indulgence we cannot afford.
When elections are close-fought and majorities slim, such indulgences cannot be tolerated, and the Greens need to educate their supporters quick-smart, if we are to win in 2017.
This is a problem I blogged about three years ago. Why am I still having to point out the bleedin’ obvious?!
2. The Conservative Party
All ridicule and derision aside, Colin Craig’s Conservative Party deserves accolades. The CCCP got damn close to the magical 5% threshold – without a jot of support from Dear Leader Key and his National Party strategists.
No cuppa tea for Colin Craig – the Conservatives worked their backsides off to achieve a credible result. The Conservatives won 4.12% of the Party vote.
Meanwhile, the rort that is the ACT-National dirty deal was rewarded with a parliamentary seat in Epsom. ACT won 0.69% of the Party vote.
Kudos to the CCCP – and a curse upon the walking political corpse that is the ACT Zombie Party.
3. The killing of Mana
‘Congratulations’ to the Labour Party for successfully killing of Mana.
Question: what kind of a fool destroys his own ally, to the eventual benefit of his enemy?!
It takes a spectacular degree of sheer stupidity to achieve such a feat – and still not win the election! At this rate of ‘success’, Labour will kill off all it’s allies; then self-destruct; leaving the National Party and it’s henchmen (Peter Dunne and ACT) last men standing.
If this is ‘clever strategy’, what am I missing?
4. Nicky Hager & ‘Dirty Politics’
Make no mistake, Nicky Hager wrote the truth in his expose, ‘Dirty Politics’.
Some critics have suggested that it was not the “right time” to release the book, so close to the election. So, when was the right time? Afterward? When it’s too late to do anything about it?
No, the right time to reveal the truth is always now. Not later.
What New Zealanders ultimately decide to do with that truth is up to them. But at least they can never say they never knew what was going on. The excuse of ignorance cannot be used when the truth is laid bare for all to see.
Nicky Hager revealed the dirty side of politics.
1,010,464 voters chose to ignore it.
5. National did not increase their support!
The media – as usual – are being sloppy and lazy when they excitedly exclaim about National increasing it’s support. No such thing has happened.
In 2011, National gained 1,058,638 Party Votes.
This time, they gained 1,010,464.
According to my trustee hamster-powered calculator, that’s a drop of 48,174 votes. Their electoral support fell, not increased.
It’s this kind of sloppy reporting that actively assists the National Party avoid real scrutiny by the media.
6. The Labour Leadership
If Labour want to indulge in an orgy of purging, sackings, rejuvenation, or whatever euphemisms they want to employ – fine. I say, “Enjoy the bloodletting. Knock yerselves out. ”
But please. No more changes in the Leader of the Labour Party.
It takes years for the public to get to know a political leader.
And it takes years for a political leader to become truly experienced and confident in his/her role. Otherwise you get this kind of event – where he is blindsided by a media-pack ambush and caught badly off-guard.
Changing leaders every time plans do not succeed invites organisational instability and undermines any opportunity to build rapport with the public.
Stick with Cunliffe. Support him. Let him grow into the role. Let the public have a chance to get used to him.
The alternative? Just look at ACT to see what effect four leadership changes in six years has achieved.
7. No more Teflon John
John Key may have won a third term – but his problems just got worse.
Lurking in the background;
- Increasing child poverty and inequality
- an economy about to tank
- housing unaffordability that will worsen
- Judith Collins and National’s restless right-wing faction
- Cameron Slater and his unpredictability
- and an increasingly aggressive media chasing stories that will become harder and harder for Key to ‘casually’ dismiss
Teflon John is gone – and in his place is a very mortal, vulnerable politician.
8. Stuart Nash
Pundits and media commentators on TV3 gushed at Stuart Nash’s “awesomeness” at winning the Napier electorate. At one point, I thought Josie Pagani on TV3’s election panel was going to declare her undying love for the guy and call for his immediate canonisation at a Saint.
It’s rubbish, of course.
Nash did not “win” Napier.
The National candidate, Wayne Walford lost the electorate when Garth McVicar from the Conservative Party split the right wing vote in the electorate. Remember; electorate contests are still fought using First Past the Post – not by any proportionality or preferential voting.
The actual results were;
McVICAR, Garth: (Conservatives) 7,135
NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 14,041
WALFORD, Wayne: (National) 10,308
Add McVicar’s 7,135 to Walford’s figures, and the combined 17,443 would have trounced Nash easily.
Be wary of media hype. It maybe useful to sell advertising, but is useless for factual purposes.
9. Kelvin Davis
Likewise with Kelvin Davis. Davis did not “win” Te Tai Tokerau. It was “gifted” to him as a dirty little rort, when John Key, Winston Peters, and the Maori Party told their supporters to vote for Davis, over Hone Harawira.
This was a disgusting, shabby example of dirty politics.
Kelvin Davis is “Labour” in name only and, like Peter Dunne and David Seymour, he should not forget who his political patron really is. He is John Key’s errand boy.
Kelvin Davis has no mana from this dishonourable “victory”. By contrast, Hone Harawira, may have lost his seat – but he retains his mana.
10. “The forces on the right…”
… are very united, said Josie Pagani, on TV3’s political panel. And she would be 100% correct.
This is one of the lessons that Labour should be taking from the 2014 elections; unity is strength.
National did not seek to destroy potential allies. With the exception of the Conservative Party, it actively supported them. Either with direct deal-making (Epsom and Ohariu), or with “nods-and-winks” (Maori Party).
Even with the Conservatives – though Key refused any actual deal-making, he did not go out of his way to under-mine Colin Craig’s party. Just in case they reached the 5% thresh-hold and thus became potentially useful to the Nats.
By contrast, Labour campaigned to destroy the Mana-Internet Party, and the Greens undermined Labour with it’s comment that Labour’s policies would have to be “independently audited” – a phrase picked up by Key and used to attack Cunliffe.
Key projected stability and co-operation on the Right.
The Left projected intense rivalry and a hatred of each other that was volcanic in intensity.
Who did Labour and the Greens think the public would vote for?
Ten things Labour and the Greens should consider in the coming days, weeks, months, and next three years.
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Ōhāriu
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Overall Status
Wikipedia: 2011 General Election
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Napier
Fairfax media: Greens eye bigger supluses
Previous related blogposts
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