Red Landslide swallow Greens – Mt Albert by-election 2017: Winners & Losers & General Election Ramifications


It has been a remarkable and historic landslide for Labour.

At a mere 39% of the electorate it is one of the lowest by-election turn outs on record and with a 77% win of the vote, it’s one of the highest wins for a Politician.

Such warping of the stats was due to National not showing. The threat at the beginning of this campaign that Genter could split votes once TOP entered seemed to have scared the bejesus out of the Greens (why they chose to stand is still not clear at all) and they tempered down their campaigning and have limped home with a % barely better than what they achieved nationally at the ballot box in 2014.

Some have suggested that gaining just over 10% of the vote was evidence of a win.

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If you need to define success as getting a tiny bit above where you were 3 years ago, I’d hate to see failure.

This result has huge ramifications for the election.

Let’s look at the last 3 by-elections and consider this win by Labour in comparison:

Mt Roskill by-election 2016

Total votes: 17,476

Winning margin: Labour Candidate Michael Wood won with a 6,852 majority

Northland by-election 2015

Total votes: 29,548

Winning margin: NZ First Leader Winston Peters won with a 4,441 majority

Christchurch East by-election 2013

Total votes: 13,726

Winning margin: Labour Party Candidate Poto Williams won with a 4,837 majority.


Compare those three with the Mt Albert by-election


Mt Albert by-election 2017 

Total votes: 12,971

Winning margin: 8,511



Labour Party: This victory is even larger than their one in Mt Roskill, Labour gain a real sense of momentum towards the election and most importantly it gives Labour real muscle in their relationship with the poor old Greens who have had a dreadful night. It also allowed Labour to test out their new electorate machines with robocalling telephone programmes aimed at specific voters they think they can win over.

Jacinda: Finally her star rises. She has real pulling power as a retail politician and people recognise her as the next generation, a voting bloc Labour are desperate to attract. This win in Helen Clark’s historic seat has all the symbolism of the next Leader of the Labour Party about it.

TOP: A very small win to them tonight, they have managed to get just under the 5% threshold in this by-election, so their reason for existence remains. But they have to up their profile to be competitive come September.

National: By stepping back and allowing the opposition to squabble, Bill English showed he is a far more shrewd tactician than Key was.



Green Party:They should never have stood. The fear that they would split the vote didn’t eventuate, but something far worse for the party has occurred, they look a hell of a lot weaker than anyone suspected they would.

Perhaps it was getting spooked by the entrance of the TOP candidate, but the Greens went from feeling like they had a shot in this electorate back in December of last year to hiding in the corner least their performance rob Jacinda of her coronation.

Genter has limped home and the result suggests that the Greens have stalled, not knowing what to do or how to do it. They should be looking at a reorganisation of their list to bring new blood and candidates into the party (as I suggested here in their top 20 candidate party list rankings) so that they can appeal to the under 30 electorate who aren’t voting.

God knows what they were thinking by running in Mt Albert. It hasn’t won any converts and the Greens look  a lot less organised than they did before going into it.

It was dumb decision. They were damned if they did well and they were damned if they did poorly – it was far smarter to have not run at all.

Auckland Central: Jacinda’s extraordinary leap over to Mt Albert and just dumping Central Auckland because she couldn’t bear losing to Nikki Kaye for a third time in a  row means no one of any real profile will stand for Labour in Central Auckland. Labour could have stood a moderately priced bottle of Chardonnay in Mt Albert and it would’ve won, but having Jacinda take her star power away from Auckland Central has cost Labour winning Auckland Central altogether. Money is on Nikki Kaye romping home there for National in September.

Annette King: The fiercely territorial old guard of Labour will not like seeing the rise of this Auckland based whipper snapper. Kids these days, bah humbug. Why isn’t Coro Street on every night anymore? Etc etc etc. King holds the Deputy as part of the internal peace deals to the right wing of the Party, so Little would only look at promoting Ardern after the election and only if they succeed in forming a Government.


The weakness of the Greens for one of their star candidates will mean they will have real problems with Labour come the election.

National historically drops 4 points 7 months before the last 2 elections, so they are looking at around 40%-42% on Election Day while NZ First always poll 4% or 5% higher, putting them in a position to actually replace the Greens as third largest party.

This very weak showing in the Mt Albert by-election will firmly place the Greens as the 3rd wheel in a NZ First Labour Government.


  1. An almost pointless byelection 7 months out from the real thing. Cheers David Shearer.

    But it’s good we know TOP and it’s very rich founder would join this rotten corrupt National Party to prop them up meaning all their reasonable sounding policy will just be an attractive but substantless icing sugar on what would be the standard fare of National Party flavoured dead rat. And they would be there alongside other self servering cling ons like ACT, Dunne and the Maori Party, though fingers crossed all will be road kill this time around.

    But it was always going to go to Labour despite the doom and gloom brigade and I really don’t think it’s the end of the world for the Greens. Personally it was an equally pointless exercise for them too.

  2. The voters aren’t stupid – social media is teaching them well – isn’t the plan to get rid of the National Government. The more momentum to the left, by whatever means, is great. I’m sure the Greens will take their place in parliment this year.

  3. This was a by-election that does not change anything much at all, I must say. The total votes are only about a third of the votes cast in the general election 2014, so the ten thousand or so who voted for National’s Melissa Lee then, and many others, stayed home. Let us also not forget that the Nats got about 14 thousand party votes in the general election in the Mt Albert electorate, significantly more than Labour did.

    So Shearer will be replaced as MP by Jacinda Ardern, who has already been an MP for many years, instead a list MP now becoming an electorate one. Raymond Huo will come in as a new Labour MP from the list, so the numbers will not change at all.

    As the Nats did not bother, this appears like a clear and significant victory for Ardern, but reflecting on past elections, she only got half the votes that Shearer had got.

    Jacinda has “shone” in the past by talking nice stuff, but not really doing much walking of the talk. I am no fan of hers, she is just another career politicians with insufficient substance.

    Labour can rest assured they keep Mt Albert, that is all that they have “achieved”.

    The Greens must be disappointed though, and also the TOP party, given their hard efforts, they are only on the margins, which is not that encouraging for their plan to go for the general election.

    Such ones as Penny Bright and Joe Carolan remain fringe acteurs, who do not appear to appeal to the many suburbanites owning homes, two cars or more per family, in a suburb that is known to be home to many professionals working in and around the city.

    There is of course a significant migrant component, but they do not appear to have gone voting in large numbers.

    Here is Wikipedia’s info on this and the past elections:

    For those more interested in hard data, the Electoral Commission’s report on the last general election:

    Past voter turnout in 2014:

    Stuff’s report on Jacinda’s win:–who-will-win

    I am disappointed about the Green’s poor showing, and had also expected TOP to do much better. So I am not celebrating a status quo of sorts with Labour keeping this somewhat safe seat, but let us remember, how many party votes the Nats got in 2014. That is a real worry, and Andrew Little and Jacinda should perhaps not indulge too much in champagne tonight, and rather sit down and think about how to get more party votes in September this year.

  4. I think it was a good result. Labour needed to storm home.

    While Julie Anne Genter may be a good politician – her policies are not about the environment – more social engineering and fitting as many people in Auckland as possible and how to transport people around.

    It does not surprise me that she did not do well. It’s the Generation Zero/Transport Blog group think at work again.

    Greenies tend to be more concerned about the environment than people, and many believe more in the Green movements of sustainability and having less people and more environment. More green spaces.

    So transport for shoreites might NOT be on every Kiwi’s NO 1 list of issues of the environment. Especially the majority of Kiwis that don’t live on the Shore.

    People are supposed to share the planet with other species not take over every square inch!

    Greens need to really think about what their messages are, because my feeling is that Aucklanders are pretty sick of ‘policy’ experts telling everyone what to do and how they should do it.

    We now have Bill English telling everyone it’s the environment’s fault about the housing crisis!

    The types of environmental issues that drew people together in Auckland were sticking up for the Kauri tree and for Ports of Auckland stealing the harbour. The environment needs an advocate in a party and Greens used to be there.

    Every other party is for the advancement of people – it would be nice if Greens could go back to their roots of environmental activists rather than social policy “experts” – because a hell of a lot of Aucklander’s for a start are getting sick of being told how to live their lives and housing and transport costs and changes, to fill the artificial demand of Natz immigration policy, and being told by all parties that that is more important than long term environmental sustainability.

    • “While Julie Anne Genter may be a good politician – her policies are not about the environment – more social engineering and fitting as many people in Auckland as possible and how to transport people around.”

      Issues to do with town planning and transport are fundamental to “greenism” since they impact on fossil fuel use and global warming.

      • Transport and town planning are for people and under National and seemingly supported by the left, the focus is wholly on that.

        The environment has become forgotten and overwritten by the quest for more people into NZ, the quest for more short term profits for individuals for shallow economic gain and so forth.

        Yes trains and houses can be environmental. But most people think of forests, green spaces, lakes, rivers and sea, the natural environment and other animal and plant species.

        Most people do not imagine a train or a house when they think of the environment. They think of nature.

        • “Most people do not imagine a train or a house when they think of the environment. They think of nature.”

          This may be true of right wingers, and of course greenies generally are also interested in nature, but the main green focus is on global warming, peak oil, and sustainability.

          Appropriately houses and townships can minimize fossil fuel use.

          • Just trying to help the Greens get a few votes there, Mikesh, because nature is an emotional issue and widely used by Kiwis for fishing, hiking, swimming, relaxing. People can identify with it and fear the loss of it. I personally want to make it better not worse for the next generation.

            The environment is a smarter way to promote the Green party to the wider population.

            I’m less sure that of Trains for Shore promotion, will do that. (Even if you live in the Shore, and the Shoreites tend to be wealthy people, migrants and not Green!).

            Anyway I’m pushing for Labour/Greens and I think the Greens are a good influence on Labour. But the Greens need to get votes too to support them and not become across as bossy policy bureaucrats under Metiria, Genter and Davidson who ‘appear’ to have a lot less interest in the environment than social policy.

            Big announcements like compulsary Te Reo, insulation, transport and zoning. Might be great policy but is making people want to vote Green?

            They may be great people, but remember it was the light bulbs that took down Helen Clark.

            Kiwis do not like being constantly told what to do. That is why National always try to front their un popular policy through other parties that whither. (ACT, Maori Party, United Future).

            With unitary plan and the flags National successfully suckered in the Green party to take part of the flak.

            Greens are losing their environmental identity with too many social policies. And National is sure to mimic greenwashing policy prior to the election by announcing a big Green policy result by 2030!.

  5. iam labour member the greens are not weakened mt albert was aways going to labour and honestly the greens fit into labour quite nicely there isnt really any greens policies i would disagree with at the joint state of nation address metiria turei could easily have been the deputy leader of the labour party in fact she looked the part i was very impressed with her humanity

    • Less than thirty percent probably does represent the level of interest in politics or the level of faith voters have in any candidate or political party.

      The politics of failure continues.

      • Even the recent low turnout at the recent general elections has been around 60%. It’s pretty clear that most Mt Albert voters expected Labour to win and were either happy with that, resigned to it (like National), or didn’t care either way. The 30% who did turn up were most likely the “if you don’t vote you can’t complain” brigade who think it’s important to participate in the process, regardless of whether the outcome makes any difference. Interesting that the majority of such people appear to be Labour voters (at least in Mt Albert)

  6. Not too bad a result for the Greens; pretty much in line with past performances in that electorate. And of course your contention that they should not have stood is absolute rubbish.

  7. National isn’t a winner on this one, unless not losing because you didn’t enter the game somehow makes you a winner.
    National were chicken s…t in the way they ignored the by-election and showed supreme indifference to their supporters.
    National basically thought that if it didn’t show up the by-election would falter and die.
    Although it was comparatively low key, mainly because the MSM wanted to believe that it was so they made it so by chiefly ignoring it, it didn’t die. One moral of the story is that the political process is not going to wither and die just because National wants it to on this occasion.
    National – who needs ’em?

  8. The Opportunities Party, as well as the so-called NZ People’s Party, should be placed in the Losers column. Less than 5% in a relatively high-profile by-election with the, ahem, opportunity to pick up NZ First and National votes is a derisory amount, and now Morgan should think seriously about contesting the election.

    • No Andrew, the losers were National supporters because their party showed how gutless they are.
      Must be hard being a boon supporter of such a chicken s….t political party but I’m sure you will do your best.

      • Na, Nats pulked out because they want to be sure of a Robertson/Arden ticket in 2020.

        Genter ran because she wants profile to ensure a high list placement (read:job).

  9. Labour, like Caligular, might have entered a horse and still have had a resounding victory. It may be different though in 2017 if National enter a worthwhile candidate.

  10. Not quite sure what Bowie was on about in all of this song but somehow…. it seems to fit….

    As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent
    You asked for the latest party

    With your silicone hump and your ten inch stump
    Dressed like a priest you was
    Todd Browning’s freak you was

    Crawling down the alley on your hands and knee
    I’m sure you’re not protected, for it’s plain to see
    The Diamond Dogs are poachers and they hide behind trees
    Hunt you to the ground they will,
    mannequins with kill appeal

    (Will they come?) I’ll keep a friend serene
    (Will they come?) Oh baby, come unto me
    (Will they come?)
    Well, she’s come, been and gone.

    Come out of the garden, baby
    You’ll catch your death in the fog
    Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs

    The Halloween Jack is a real cool cat
    And he lives on top of Manhattan Chase

    The elevator’s broke, so he slides down a rope
    Onto the street below, oh Tarzie, go man go

    Meet his little hussy with his ghost town approach
    Her face is sans feature, but she wears a Dali brooch
    Sweetly reminiscent, something mother used to bake

    Wrecked up and paralyzed, Diamond Dogs are sableized


    In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch
    Sashay on the boardwalk, scurry to the Ditch
    Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
    (There’s gonna be sorrow) try and wake up tomorrow


    Ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs [x2]
    Bow-wow, woof woof, bow-wow, wow
    Call them the Diamond Dogs [ad lib]

    Keep cool – Diamond Dogs rule, OK
    Beware of the Diamond Dogs [repeat]

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