LOCAL ELECTION RESULTS: How the Left beat the Right and Why Chloe Swarbrick is the real winner



The most boring election known to human kind is over, and it’s been a sprawling failure for democracy (barely 40% voted) and it’s been the dullest (nothing much will really change).

Local Government NZ spent 8 months trying to get the participation rate up, they failed. Sack the lot of them alongside the clowns at the Electoral Commission.

The voting system is rigged against poor people, I’ve pointed this out a thousand bloody times, (you can read how our electoral system stops poor people from voting and the solutions here) and the same reasons generating apathy are impacting local elections.

Without a major rethink of how we are keeping the poor out of the voting process, our electoral participation rates will continue to meltdown and the rich will continue to pass policy that enables the powerful. This is an issues that only burns bright for 2 weeks after the results are in and is then forgotten until the next 3 years.

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Goff won (of course), Minto built a good core group of activists for the 2017 election, the forgettable Labour bloke in Wellington is the Mayor of a dying city (who cares who runs bloody Wellington) and the Spinoff and Transport Blog will be crying into their soy latte’s that Mike Lee won. Showing their true political colours too early was a strategic mistake for The Spinoff. Their charm only lasts if you think they aren’t right wing. Poorly played by the blue millennials, that will come to bite them in the arse in their political coverage of the election next year.

The Left have spanked the Right across the country not because the Left were far better organised but because the Right were so greedy and more keen on fighting each other for power than working together. It seems the constant winning in the national political arena has breed an arrogance that is fuelling regional political  frustrations in local politics. The fact that there were 3 right wing candidates standing in Auckland highlights how vicious the internal power struggles have become.

Chloe Swarbrick of course is the real winner here. Utterly ignored by the media until Wallace Chapman and Waatea 5th Estate started interviewing her, Swarbrick has shown to be an incredible candidate and a real new voice for progressive politics. Radio NZ, The Nation, Q+A and the NZ bloody Herald should all hang their heads in shame over the way they censored and cut Chloe Swarbrick out of the early political process. The Herald hysterically even did a piece called ‘what next for Chloe Swarbrick‘ – the Herald hadn’t even included her in their break down of candidates until they were embarrassed into giving her some coverage.

First thing the local councillors should do is demand real power. One of the reasons not voting in local elections is justified is because our actual democratic representatives have bugger all real power when it comes to local government. This means the old boys network of vested interest land bankers call the shots. without real power the democratic process is just a facade.


  1. Absolutely excellent points.

    Chloe Swarbrick, well done. Never has 3rd place been so resepctable. And those who make the big decisions at NZME must be thinking this morning what I am thinking, fewer and fewer people are taking any notice of your shitty National Party sponsored “media” outlets like the NZ Herald. You ignored her alright but she beat your boy Palino. After the Bevan Chuang – Len Brown honey-trap dirty politics debacle that had the National Party’s grubby fingerprints all over it, Palino should have been treated as the electorate leper.

    I picked up on Swarbrick some time ago, ironically on the Transport Blog, and some of their pundits rated her, then started looking everywhere else except our corporate media to learn more about what she stood for. She was an easy vote to give because Goff’s beige/non-existent vision was so uninspiring. And the Nat stooges could not wait to sell every asset they could get their filthy hands on. She is one to watch alright!

    The left surely did cane the right and I wonder how, if at all, this will have a bearing on the general election and what can be learnt from it for the left. Good on John Minto, he got a respectable vote considering and turned the spot light on really worthwhile issues and may well have prevented asset sales, much to the Nat’s horror.

    Yes make sure Auckland’s elected officials have control over the council they were elected to. The current bullshit arrangement is NOT democracy and other local body’s are rightly against National trying to fuck them over with our arrangement. And as you say, make voting dead easy and allow voters to have their privacy guarded as a paramount principal. Treat voters like National manage their donors, with total secrecy!

    And a huge round of applause and thanks to the National Party. I knew who your creepy candidates were even if the National Party was shrouded in another name, simply by the fact your bill boards were 10 to 1 of non Nat organisations. Your million$ give you away, you rich pricks.

    • 10% XRAY, National failed in the Eastern Provinces Gisborne/HB also even though they tried to helicopter in dubious candidates Tory policy friendly, and instead failed miserably.

      Now we are about to wind up our efforts to repeat the process come the General election.

  2. If we had genuine democracy voters might take more interest. The sham democracy we have inspires disengagement.

    Whoever gets elected, everything that matters will continue to be made rapidly worse: the globalized financial-economic system [which NZ is now deeply embedded in] requires it to be so.

    • In what way? Phil Goff was a cabinet member of the neoliberal Lange government (you know, the one with Roger “ACT” Douglas in it). I don’t remembering him crossing the floor or resigning over the greatest right-wing movement this country has ever undergone,PRESENT government included, do you?

      • My thoughts entirely, I can’t help but think Auckland can only increase in problems with Goff’s limited ability to do anything for others unless he benefits as well.

      • Incredibly correct NITRIUM 20 /20 vision there!!

        We need a real left wing government again urgently.

        They are all navel gazing at their boated views and pay-packets.

  3. “the forgettable Labour bloke in Wellington is the Mayor of a dying city (who cares who runs bloody Wellington)” : A pity to see you buying into John Key’s line on Wellington, Martyn.

    Earlier this year, when Bob Jones did one of his outbursts on clearing beggars from the streets, all sorts of people jumped onto that nasty little bandwagon. Justin Lester had the balls to say that there were reasons why people were forced into begging, & we would do better to address the causes.

    That was memorable enough for me.

  4. Probably will be more of the same – the activists of ‘old’ New Zealand are being replaced by a poor and dumbed down generation.
    New Zealand seems now to be more followers not leaders.
    We fear real change!

    • 100% KIM DANDY,

      We seem to have lost our sense of fight after 8yrs of Nactional enslavement but next year we may see a change finally, as the tide is turning.

      Nactionals secret soft austerity is really now taking its toll now all around the country, they cant keep wriggling our necks and destroying us all there are just to many of us Tory haters now.

  5. I think you underestimate the power of Wellington, Martyn.
    Wellington, in its own indeterminate way, is a lot more progressive than Auckland.
    Due in part to its position of capital city, it is definitely the least apathetic and probably the most politically active large city in New Zealand. Sleepy hobbit syndrome is definitely not encouraged in Wellington.
    Wellington has often stood against the trend in one way or another. Not always for the right reason or right result, of course. But they don’t take kindly to John Key’s half arsed non-solutions being shoved down their throats. They have shown what they think of the political right’s solution to all transport problems (build more roads and flyovers) in the election.
    Now if we could get that to spread throughout the country!

    • Here here, bring back rail as tyre dust 1,3, Butadiene is now the most toxic pollutant coming off those roads and will kill who live within 35kms of a busy road as every day on a road carrying 20 00 vehicles the tyre’s deposit 9kgs of tyre dust on every km of the road.

      Auckland is now full of tyre dust and wellington hopefully will learn from this and use rail as they don’t use synthetic tyres do they?

      Ministry for the Environment places 1,3, Butadiene on the hazardous list see here as it is the main component in tyres’.


      Hazardous air pollutants

      This page provides information on sources of hazardous air pollutants and their effects on health. It includes usual levels in New Zealand and guideline values to protect human health.


      There are many potentially hazardous air pollutants including:

      dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) xylene mercury
      benzene toluene chromium
      polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) styrene arsenic
      1,3-butadiene formaldehyde lead

  6. So just over 35 percent of voters bothered to vote. Goff was a favourite as the beltway in Wellington plus media promoted him, also business interests, who saw him more “competent” than the others.

    Chloe got some young votes and a few protest votes.

    I would hardly call the results in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch a win by and for Labour, as the candidates all stood as “independents”, if I remember rightly, certainly Phil in Auckland. They made every effort not to be perceived as being associated with Labour or “the left”.

    And the ones who votes were mostly the same who always vote, those that simply believe it is their duty, those that have vested interests in the status quo and/or as ratepayers, those who want a “business friendly” future.

    “The right” was poorly organised, stood too many candidates in Auckland, one former one who lost his reputation three years ago, one aspiring business woman, one Council bureaucrat, who wanted to give it a go. So no concerted effort there, a wasted effort for Auckland Future, just as well.

    Now comes the time to deliver, and we will soon realise, at least in Auckland, we will be back to the same, that is with an effort to use corporate experts to give the Council “image” a “face lift” (better PR and marketing, to “lift” the reputation).

    I am not enthused, cast my protest vote, and expect little, apart from very high debt for decades to come, as money is needed for much infrastructure and housing, which will need to be borrowed, whether you call it “bonds” or else.

    Wait for the City Rail Link costs to explode, same as Britomart’s costs once exploded, that will put the nail in the coffin.

    They never learn, I see old mistakes repeated, I see new ones made, endless talk, endless BS, endless promises, and the solution will be to “grow” more, i.e., the population, consumer and worker base, to get more ratepayers and taxes to pay for projects, but the increased population will simply lead to new investment and costs being created at the same time, to be resolved the same way as just described.

    A vicious cycle kind of, that is what we have, no productivity gain, no per capita gains, no progress in real terms, growth for growth sake, until the system collapses.

  7. It would have been interesting to see the voting margins if Aucklanders had the STV system rather than the crappy archaeic FPP.
    FPP favours candidates with big budgets and big organisations behind them rather than the best ones.
    FPP is the sleepy hobbit’s choice

  8. Pro TPPA Goff and pro PPP & developer friendly Swarbrick are not a win for the left in my view.

    Both were backed as left candidates, but the reality is that Goff was financially supported with huge donations by the rich and Chloe with media like the Spinoff who are openly developer focused.

    Property is the main export of NZ, so it’s a billion dollar industry and having the ‘right’ politicians in place is vital. Their victories are more a long term strategic victory for the right.

    Chloe has little in common with the average 22 year old youth but a lot in common with the neoliberal youth in waiting to take over the left votes with right wing policies and the sell off of our cities.

    With under 40% turn out and people saying how Swayback got the youth vote. Yeah right… more fiction…

    • Apartments are such a ‘win’ for affordability… or so we keep getting told…who’s paying for this infrastructure and where are all the high paid jobs to support all these new expensive apartments and houses we are told we need?

      I don’t buy the ‘tickle down’ approach we have been sold that fiction before. If you want affordable houses, they needed to be legislated in the unitary plan. However we did not hear cries of disgust about that from all the poverty advocates, Spinoff and Gen Zero rolled out in the media who supported the unitary plan.

      Developer claims record $15.3 million unit apartment sale

  9. Wellington a dying city? Only an Aucklander could parrot that Key line – gotta be better than someone, right Bradbury?

  10. A Great result for Goff, Cathy & Mike!
    I’m sure they’re smart enough to recognise the potential talent that Chloe has and maybe they’ll keep her in the loop within the machine? – Invest in the future with proper on the job training!

    As for the shift towards the left with Mayoralty’s across the country is a good indicator of a subtle breeze turning up. It could be an onshore breeze or possibly one of our own making?
    Wards too in general have been a Green/Red shift with the bonus of a few of the regional provinces have had a bit of a mood change away from the Nat’s?

    The next trick, is to consolidate this “sentiment” and translate it into next years election which I’m sure we can all agree that the campaigning has already started.

    Kill off Dunne, Act, MP and the Nat’s are fucked! Kill off the MP & Dunne; by default that maybe enough to kill off Act as the Nat’s will need that seat to stay alive if the count is close?

  11. First Wellington is not dying, its actually doing rather well economically and is far more livable than arrogant Auckland. It’s still affordable, but housing is starting to rocket as Aucklanders head south.

    With respect to voting in the local election – I didn’t bother, I had no idea what any of the candidates stood for and I work to many hours to go to meetings or dig any deeper than read the bumf on each candidate – basically its something I would expect pensioners (with lots of time) or political zealots (with to much spare time) to dig into – for the rest of us it was a democratic lottery.

    The most interesting statistic from local politics is that 35% vote and of that 90% are over 65 – effectively making us a Gerontocracy – I cant see this changing any time soon given the worthlessless of a single vote and the time needed to make an informed choice – expecting any improvement is a utopian fantasy.

    • In Wellington at the moment, I can attest, it aint dying. Far from it. Excellent win for Labour’s Justine Lester knocking out Leggett. Good job.

  12. CHloe Sawbrick is indeed a rising star. more than that, she is a role model for young people in politics. GOod on you, Chloe!

  13. What an odd heading ‘how the left beat the right’. Really! Goff has many claims to fame all of them pretty bloody negative and definitely right wing, introducing fees for tertiary students, GST, supporting TPPA, helping to drive rogernomics. Goff is right wing and always has been all I can say is thank goodness he is no longer in parliament keeping the Labour party in opposition. That is why the ‘right’ don’t bother to put up a great candidate, the have the mayor they will be happy with, same in Christchurch! Absolutely delighted to see Chloe’s vote really impressive.

  14. It will be interesting to see how Goff proceeds.

    1. He’s promising fanciful infrastructure projects for which he has no funds.

    2. If Auckland borrows anymore, it will suffer credit rating downgrade.

    3. He is promising a fuel levy for which he needs central government approval and which he’s unlikely to get because it would lose National the general election.

    Interesting times!

  15. “who cares who runs bloody Wellington”…we should all bloody care. Unless you have a particular fondness for the endless unfettered growth of Auckland.
    Otherwise the answer is growth in the Provinces…and I’m going to include Wellington as being ‘provincial’.

    We need Mayors all over the country who can nurture their towns and cities, to make them viable places for Businesses to establish and move to.

    Now I’m shutting the shop for a few hours to go watch the spectacle of the second debate. Living in the provinces…I can be home in 8 minutes…

  16. Electoral system stops poor people from voting…lol… It costs nothing to mark the postal ballot and send it back in the postage paid envelope.

  17. we really need to ask ourselves what is affordable housing with an average income in new Zealand of 28 thousand dollars theres a major disconnect to reality and bubble new Zealand i would argue those who are voting living in bubble world (planet key)there world is artificial its a world built on a mountain debt.where a home a roof is also an ATM a tax dodge . i think people will vote when bubble world goes bang and new Zealand becomes Greece buried under a mountain of toxic bad debt
    its sad we need to wait for the china syndrome to get real change but its comeing

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