How Jacinda Arden loses the Mt Albert by-election


The more I think about the Greens decision to stand against Labour in the Mt Albert by-election, the more convinced I am that it is a stupendous political blunder.

Great New Zealander and human rights legend Keith Locke has argued that the contest between Greens and Labour in Mt Albert is actually a positive thing and that the Labour Party wouldn’t respond negatively if Julie Anne Genter won. 

Now I won’t speak against Keith because I truly hope he is right, but the level of positivity the Labour Party of NZ would need to be at to not be angry at Jacinda losing to the Greens suggests a level of MDMA that I just don’t think is available outside of Sydney Mardi Gras.

I’ve argued that this is a terrible blunder and my only hope is that whoever is running strategy has managed to look beyond the next 2 moves and seen Labour being checkmated here and have decided to announce at the Joint State of the Nation that Genter will step aside so that the two parties can focus on the general election.

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That’s my hope. My guess is they’ll say it’s going to be a positive thing and how Jacinda and Julie Anne will be singing Kumbaya together.

Comrade Trotter has already pointed out how the fog of war tends to throw those grand ideals out the moment the election starts and I’ve also pointed out that Green and Labour activists online and flown into the electorate are the kind of people who hold these values with all the humour of  Vegan CrossFitters and it’s highly likely those outburst will dominate media coverage.

And what happens if it starts looking like it’s close? How much more heightened will the passions of those involved start to get then?

No one is going to remember that they had a nice and friendly debate if Genter wins and no one is going to think that if Jacinda wins. All the wider electorate will remember is they were competing against each other when the electorate want to see a Government in waiting.

So how does Jacinda lose?

In 2014, The Greens had 8005 party votes, Labour 10 823 and National 14 359.

What happens if Bill English tells National Party voters that they could damage Labour’s election chances if Jacinda lost and they vote for Julie Anne Genter instead?

What if he was more subtle and says, ‘National could work with the Greens, you should vote for Julie Anne Genter”.

Suddenly those 14 359 National Party votes all have somewhere to go.

The blue green Auckland Transport Blog and blue green lite entertainment blog TheSpin will of course come out and endorse Genter, the standard will suddenly wake up and endorse Jacinda (not that any one will care) and momentum dangerously flips to the Greens.

How Labour haven’t seen this coming is distressing.

But it could get worse.

What if Gareth Morgan throws his hat into the ring at the last possible moment on February the first and stands as a candidate?

There are so many ways this can go wrong. So. Many. Ways.

Remember, this was supposed to be a simple box ticking exercise with Jacinda winning and momentum building for the general election. Now there’s the possibility National play games or Gareth Morgan steps in, if that occurs, this blunder will have turned what should have been a basic building of support into a possible threat to a Labour-Green Government forming.

But I could be wrong. I was horrifically wrong in 2014. I believed the Greens and Labour and MANA/Internet could form a majority. I believed NZers would turn away in revulsion at the dirty politics revelations and mass surveillance lies.

I was wrong.

NZers rushed out to vote to ensure their property speculation that Key had nurtured wouldn’t be hurt while those so disillusioned by poverty turned the 2014 election into the second lowest voter turn out since women fought and won the right to vote a hundred years earlier.

I’ve spent a lot more time since 2014 listening to the anger of those who don’t vote progressively or don’t vote at all. They’re ilk are the ones who supported Brexit and Trump which is why those wins didn’t surprise me at all last year.

Folks, if you think the Left dislike each other, you should see how the Right view us.

The only way you beat the Right is by working together, which is why I think Mt Albert has all the ingredients of a spectacular cluster fuck. If the Greens and Labour have wandered into this minefield thinking that because National weren’t standing that meant they could have a playful game of policy catch and kiss, they are horrifically mistaken.

Watch where Bill English mischievously places his support for those 14 359 party votes to go to.

I say all this as someone who desperately wants to see Labour as the backbone of any new Government and Andrew Little as the Prime Minister with a very Green Cabinet, but there are some terrible political blunders being made and the ramifications could be a Fourth National Government.



  1. Gareth has recently endorsed Key and is perhaps angling for Gnat support here. He is much smarter than the average Gnat (So’s lettuce, but still) and thus far publicly untainted by the stench of systematic corruption that wafts from that decaying wreck. He might well make a plausible substitute for Peter Dunne, at least in the minds of those for whom the association is not entirely negative.

  2. I would have thought Genter would have a good shot in in Thames where a community based project is trying to rehabilitate the firth of thames and is in need of an understanding mind and party that can see this project over its multi decade cycle. I just cant believe how good people can just drop issues like that chasing cash.

      • That’s a weak excuse for rail expansion. That’s a 1-8 billion dollars for 40ks.

        When you add more and more into the mix it doesn’t make sense.

        Government spending is typically buy at the highs and sell at the lows. If these case models where brought to me I’d take your BMW away for over reach

  3. It’s a risky move and could go wrong for all the reasons you suggest, but if the campaign showcases the best of both parties and Jacinda wins by, say, a 2:1 margin, then that would be the perfect way to start an election year. And, let’s face it, Labour-Greens need things to go perfectly in order to defeat National and they they need to take a few risks along the way. Playing it safe will lead to three more years of National.

    At the end of the day, I think it will come down to the behaviour of the candidates (and other party spokespeople) during the campaign. If everyone sticks to their lines, it should be ok because both candidates have a strong public appeal. I also have confidence in the level-headedness of both women (if not, their parties’ hierarchies).

    The Nats will, undoubtedly, try to stir things up a bit. If that is their strategy, though, they may live to regret not having their own candidate to do that.

  4. Again Martyn – you studiously ignore (in my opinion) the growing call for transparency in public spending and growing concern about corruption.

    The tip of the rotten iceberg of NZ corruption has been revealed.

    There is a LOT more to come …

    What have any of the other candidates, which include existing MPs and their parties, ever done about corruption and the lack of transparency in the private procurement / ‘contracting out’ Neo-liberal model for the provision of public services?

    What is THEIR proven track record?

    While we’re at it – what is your proven track record Martyn?

    Just asking – nicely ….

    Penny Bright

    Proven ‘anti-privatisation / anti-corruption campaigner’.

    2017 Independent candidate Mt Albert by-election.

    • Oh FFS, Penny, you’re standing as a candidate? Again? Go pay your rates. Like every other working class family.

      • Ah? Perhaps you need to go and ask Sally if she’ll make you a nice cup of tea, then off you go for a wee lie down.

      • Ditto. Your nagging drives me nuts, you are full of your own importance and give little credence to others who have been championing the causes of the poort and down trodden. It is all about Penny and how wonderful she is.

    • @ Penny Bright. Well, good luck with that Penny. Most thinking humans suspect that NZ local governments are a cadre of mini narcissists sucking on public funds tits as they carve out their little fiefdoms. Work experience for bigger, better central government things perhaps but no one, as yet, has figured out what to do about it.
      NZ= 4.7 mil bodies
      NZ= Fertile+ size of UK
      NZ= Almost entirely export earned revenues ( So who would really know just how much the scum have skimmed off that particularly rich income stream although one can get an idea when looking up at the massive bank buildings shoulder to shoulder along Awkland’s waterfront. )

      Personally? I get bored with interminable links to this and that but I have to say, when I read this ? My mind went back to dwell on The Wine Box Inquiry in all its dirty machinations.
      Courtesy Wikipedia.
      “The Winebox Inquiry was an inquiry undertaken in New Zealand to investigate claims of corruption and incompetence in the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Inland Revenue Department (IRD).”

      “Vulnerable to lawsuits? Have a wealth manager put your fortune into a Cook Islands asset-protection trust, as the Rothschilds and the less well-known wealthy families of the world have done.”

      NZ’s been cleaned out. Gutted. And our once world famous work force has been beaten to its knees by liars, swindlers and con artists and if you’re struggling to feed your kids and want to find those fuckers who did this to you? The Banks are all lined up along Customs St.

      RNZ website this AM.

      “Auckland has held onto its spot as one of the most expensive cities in the world to buy a house, and another New Zealand city is quickly rising through the ranks to join it.”'severely-unaffordable

      Gee Ms Penny? Does that mean higher rates to buy shinier 4×4’s that never see mud? And fatter salaries, and higher expectations of richer bribes when contractors come knocking for the sweeter council contracts?
      So @ Penny? Just how corrupt do you think NZ and its local governments really are? Because I think they, and their central government cronies, are corrupt beyond your wildest imaginings.
      The Mt Albert bi-election is, at best, a cheap sideshow featuring old limping monkeys that can’t do much more than fling their shit at each other and shriek. Oh, and spend your money, of course.

  5. The only way to beat the right is to take up arms against them; as the right becomes more foreign by the day, this will come to pass. The idea that Labour is left-wing is an absolute joke, Bomber. Given that National (as Clark did) is importing hundreds of transnational capital National supporters from overseas every DAY, the most likely outcome is a disaffected swing behind Winston, who will destroy National (and his own party) when he goes into coalition with them, thereby guaranteeing a victory for the so-called “left” after the implosion (if you own property, you can’t be left-wing, but are simply a chardonnay socialist). The Wingrenade option outlined is the most likely outcome. The best possible outcome for 2017 election-wise will be the extinction of Peter Dunne if Labour and the Greens go strategic in his electorate. Why does No Zealand allow permanent residents to vote? This is the height of madness and effectively a treasonous suicide of our nation state. Voting should be for CITIZENS ONLY.

      • Peter Dunne will do a deal with the devil whatever it takes for him to be a minsiter again. A real united concentration of all minor parties and Labour on his seat would be a great thing to get rid of this toady forever.

  6. Jacinda must come out against deep sea oil drilling.

    Simple as that.

    Then I promise you Martyn it will be all sweetness and light in the Mt Albert by-election.

    You are Right Martyn when you say that this contest will be bitter and hard fought if Labour does not differeniate themselves from National over the environment.

    “The only way to beat the right is working together” MB. Currently Martyn the Labour Party are of one mind with the Right, on climate change.

    The Green Party need someone in the Labour Party caucus to come out against deep sea oil drilling. That person could and should be Jacinda Adhern, (Currently there is no one within the the Labour Party caucus with the courage to stand up openly against Labour’s neoliberal dominated caucus on this issue.

    Phil Goff had to leave the Labour Caucus before he could vote against deep sea oil drilling in the Auckland region.)

    You may not think so Martyn, but climate change will soon become the biggest political issue of all time.

    For those of us who have children and grandchildren, who don’t want to see them coming of age in a world seriously degraded by climate change this fight must be had out. If not in Mt Albert then where?

  7. “. I was horrifically wrong in 2014. I believed the Greens and Labour and MANA/Internet could form a majority.”

    Don’t forget Martin, there was a chance this could have happened . At the start of the election campagin Internet/Mana were polling 4.5 percent and getting a good buzz, I had high hopes.

    I went to the campaign launch and came away excited, unfortunately it all began to unravel shortly (a hour or so) after for a number of reasons.

    Yes , I do admit I am clutching at straws here but I still think Internet Mana had a chance in that election.

  8. Unconvential Fossil Fuels (UFF), stands for the fossil fuel technologies, Tar sands and shale oil, (and pertinent to this debate), Fracking and Deep Sea Oil Drilling.

    James Hansen formerly head climate scientist at NASA on UFF:

    “I’ve come to believe that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”

    That was how renowned US climate scientist James Hansen, in his 2009 book Storms of my Grandchildren, set out the consequences for humanity of going after the last joule of fossil-carbon energy. The “Venus syndrome” refers to the prospect that Earth, like the planet Venus eons ago, will heat up unrestrained to the point where life becomes impossible.

    To develop “unconventional” fossil fuels in a big way is, therefore, to court the ultimate environmental catastrophe.

    I ask you Martyn, in the case of the above catastropy unfolding, will future genrations really care, if we elect a National led government or a Labour led government committed to UFF?

    And if this issue can’t be sorted out in Mt Albert, then where?

  9. Such a delicious sport to plot the demise of the Labour Party. Chris Trotter has made a pastime of it and he would love nothing more!

    I am particularly disappointed that Andrew Little’s epitaph has not been written here also, I mean he’s got to be toast if they lose surely, come on people, there a whole other story there. Is that not what the jokes they call journalists in the Herald and other corporate media predicted in Mt Roskill?

    Thing is it’s Shearer’s parting “Fuck you” gift to the Labour Party that is the cause of this, months out from a general election and there appears not much Labour could do about it. Dave could give a flying shit at the millions or so costing the tax payer, he’s got other things on his mind. And there were many here who thought Shearer was too right of centre to even be in Labour. So they have to go into a by-election, like it or not and they cannot choreograph the result and nor should they be able to.

    But I don’t see Armageddon, I just see a by-election with a very good Labour candidate.

  10. ‘The only way you beat the Right is by working together,’

    Martyn, the ‘Right’ cannot be beaten, well not in the short term, because they control practically everything except a few ‘leftwing’ blogs.

    The ‘Right’ control high finance, the banking system, the healthcare system, the education system, the retail system, the police and the ‘justice’ system, the energy systems that keep everything working, local government, regional government, central government and all the bureaucracy that keeps the wheels of government turning, all the mainstream media -that is all ‘newspapers’ and free ‘community’, magazines, television stations and radio stations, and they also control the ‘Labour’ Party and the ‘Greens’.

    Even if, by some miracle, Labour and Greens were to somehow gain a majority in parliament (as was the case around the turn of the century) we would still end up with a ‘right-leaning’ government which would continue to betray the people of the country, and wreck NZ society and the environment, just as every government since the 1970s has.

    Politics, as practiced in NZ and all other ‘free and democratic nations’, is smoke and mirrors game and can never provide answers to our collective predicament because it is all a rigged game played within the framework of totally inappropriate and dysfunctional rules; politics has been set up to fail, and therefore it fails.

    What we WILL see is a complete collapse of all economic and political institutions some time over the next decade or so, as all the fundamental issues that needed to be addressed decades ago, but were not, bring the system to its knees.
    Never forget that we are perilously close to global energy decline and without energy nothing happens; and never forget that the present energy system is certain to completely wreck the environment if it is allowed to persist much longer (it may already be too late). And the plan is to keep burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible to prop up the financial system.

    I’m afraid the only action that will be effective will be action OUTSIDE the puppet show of the political theatre that constitutes parliament. And the way the system has been set up, action outside the puppet show generally leads to incarceration or assassination.

    We live in the most ‘interesting’ of times.

    Pity those who follow us.

  11. Martyn, despite your track record for being terminally wrong on most things over the years, you’re spot-on with this one.

    It seems that only you can see the genius of English in not offering a National Party candidate for this by-election.

    For us conservatives, it promises to be glorious entertainment when the bitch fight begins in earnest.

    Popcorn on! 🙂

    • I reluctantly admit that Andrew is right on Martyn’s assessment: “Watch where Bill English mischievously places his support for those 14 359 party votes to go to”. Indeed.

  12. Bugger !!!

    As I mentioned on The Standard, you and Christopher have anticipated much (though not quite all) of the argument I’ve been working on with a view to publishing a post on my blog. Had the working title of “Mt Albert Mousetrap”. Dang ! Hate it when that happens !!!

    Rather than scoring an upset victory, I think it’s far more likely that Genter could slash Labour’s majority. That, of course, will still generate both enormous hostility within the Left and dire headlines in the media.

    Potentially a remarkable own goal. As I wrote in my draft … “In trying to win a relatively trivial battle for their own Party, the Greens are in danger of losing the entire War for the Left.”

  13. One of the long-established rules of war is “divide and conquer”. Labour and Greens have jumped at the opportunity to do National’s job for them. This has “we probably shouldn’t have done that” post-election confessions written all over it. I think Martyn is on the ball here; there is so much that can go wrong, and the right-wing MSM will be eager to trumpet “two parties that cannot work together” messages.

    • +100…to that!…looks like Left in competition rather than cooperation ( cf Kelvin Davis against Hone Harawira)

      …and this is how most will see it

      …so someone is going to lose

      … and lose face

      …NOT good!

  14. It’s painful to watch the Labour Party slip deeper into the sucking tar pit they’ve fallen into. The harder they struggle and refuse to support the Working Class, the harder they get stuck in the tar.

    It would be so easy for Labour to win, if only they would BE what they are supposed to be. But they won’t! They flatly REFUSE to represent the Working Class, just as Tony Blair did, and they always will. They are secretly contemptuous of workers. They are an Establishment party, paid by the Bosses to keep the Working Class deluded and in thrall.

    The Labour Party only continues to be a major party at all because there is still a significant number of Working Class voters who cannot bring themselves to vote for anyone else under any circumstances. But their abysmal numbers are set to get worse. That generation of die-hards is passing away. It will be hard enough to get the next generation to vote at all, much less vote loyally as their parents did.

    If the Labour Party in NZ doesn’t wake up and reinvent itself soon, the Greens will overtake it, and Labour will find itself a distant third. But it must be hard, probably impossible to put away the Chardonnay and pretend to love Workers, once you’ve been corrupted by the the good life that these professional politicos have come to enjoy. I don’t hold out much hope for them.

    • The NZ Labour Party needs a Jeremy Corbyn but I don’t see one anywhere in NZ. We desperately need a big change on the left. The current Labour and Green party’s are not it.

      • At the risk of sounding like a young shit head, I’m going to say this because I don’t know any other way.

        There are differences in economic functions that has emerge that we can attribute to Trump. You can’t put old labels on them because one was financed by debt, this new one seems to be financed by credit. This may sound the same but it’s a reverse tax, you receive taxes in the form of infrastructure (it’s complicated so I’ll leave it there)

        Similarly people tried to attach old names to the Internet when that was first mainstreamed because they didn’t understand it at the time. Those that jumped into the Internet and dominated the content wars became the owners of that new world, those that couldn’t adapt ate el la cart and sipped Whisky while typing with two fingers into extinction

    • Thank you so much for presenting my ideas so clearly!

      Yes, I’ve actually known for a long time now that Labour is no longer the party of the workers.

      I still see no sign of that changing so Labour has yet to hit rock-bottom (sorry AA!). Only after they do, and it may well be this year, will they be persuaded to look at what they represent and possibly change it.

      In the meantime, we poor suckers have to put up with another long term of National’s “business and farmers know best” neo-liberal conservatism.


  15. “Standing room only at Jacinda Adhern’s campaign launch” Russel Brown.

    A tweet by Russel Brown headed this post, all very well I ‘spose.

    But where was the report of this launch I was expecting to read when I clicked on this post?

    Did any reporters bother to turn up?

    Are then any links to an article anywhere, where we could read what went on?

    Did Jacinda Adern mention any policy, that could be written down and reported back?

    If the answer to even only one of these questions is, “No”, then Adern’s campaign is in serious trouble right from the beginning.

    I hope this omission can be fixed soon and we can read a full report of Jacinda’s campaign launch.

  16. The last general election for Auckland Central, with both Jacinda and Julie Anne against Niki Kaye, never descended to being nasty. Why would they now?

    Martyn presumes that in Mt Albert, National voters can vote strategically, while Labour and Green voters can’t. Green voters seemed to be very stategic at the last general election.

    • Because Labour has already sold out and the Greens are well on the way to doing the same. “Niceness” will only go so far once the machine-guns open up.

      And no, the Greens are not inteligent enough to vote strategically. They are, after all, just middle class wankers with their own middle class values to protect…

  17. NZ First appear to be the only safe bet in the 2017 Election, I doubt whether NZF will go with National especially after Jenny Shipley nearly destroyed the party after the 1st MMP Election, Winston I doubt would trust National to honor any agreements. A Labour/Green/NZF coalition covers all the bases, NZF is pro-business and export orientated, they want to look after the workers and the less fortunate which Labour used to subscribe to, they are anti-corruption, and they have softened their opinions on the Greens hence a coalition of the three parties is logical.

    NZF have some strong candidates and will poll somewhere between 15-20% in the upcoming 2017 Election.

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