The Northland by-election is shaping up to be a titanic battle of self interest masked as national interest.
First up, I don’t think there is much reality of Labour winning Northland. It’s not that Willow Jean Prime isn’t an incredible candidate, she is. The problem is the electorate. Northland is a banjo twanging red neck Hicksville bled white from most Maori being on the Maori roll rather than the general roll. These people voted for a thick necked Police thug for Christ’s sake, book burning is recreational here.
Progress in Northland is people not burning witches when there’s an eclipse.
So Labour are going to have one hell of a mountain to climb to win this. Do they have the money? Do they have the machine on the ground? I don’t think so. It’s a lot of money to spend to fight Winston who they are desperately trying to align with rather than the Greens.
Secondly National have real problems here. The moment the allegations against Mike Sabin comes out, the backlash from a conservative electorate like Northland will be immense and the fury from the rest of the country will follow close behind. Watch for Winston to start using Parliamentary privilege to out Sabin and base his entire campaign on that backlash.
Which thirdly leaves Winston himself. If he wins, what does he do? National will try and woo him with baubles and will offer him something in return for his vote, which they would require to gain Parliamentary majority to pass their legislative agenda. National may decide Peter Dunne is a better play thing to prop up their Government than Winston so will leave him on the outside.
If Winston does win, that bodes ill for the Greens who will have to watch NZ First and Labour cuddle up and quietly plot to push the Greens out of Cabinet again if 2017 goes the Oppositions way.
The Northland result has many ramifications.