Red Alert

Reflections on Mana

Posted by on November 22nd, 2010

There has been a lot of comment on Clare’s post on the by-election. My thoughts for what it is worth go something like this

Congratulations to Kris. He performed very well in his first campaign. By-elections put huge pressure on individual candidates. He has shown that he can handle the pace of a campaign, he is brilliant with people and has a good grasp on the issues affecting the electorate. He will have learned from the campaign, and has a great base to grow from. For what it is worth I think he will go really well as an electorate MP and by the time of the 2011 election he will be in a really strong position locally.

I also think Hekia deserves some credit. She is an articulate person who campaigned hard. Most importantly in terms of the result she has been campaigning/working in the electorate non-stop for about four years, compared to Kris’ few months. That makes a differenece. She had a profile and that worked to her advantage. She did not win, but no doubt she feels she put in a good result, and is pretty much hoping Key will reward her with a Ministerial post.

No one should get too excited about the margin. Of course it would have been good to have been bigger. (It will get bigger too. I think Kris will capture the vast bulk of the special votes, many of which were cast by late enrollees in the southern part of the electorate.)

The true majority in this electorate will only be tested in a general election with a normal (80% plus) turnout. At 54% we know that many Labour voters were not at the polling booth, despite the very best efforts of our team. I have to say that in the campaigning I did in the seat, it was hard to get people to engage. Initially the local body elections were a distraction, then later on it just seemed there was complacency about the result and a lack of understanding of what it was all about.

By-elections are idiosyncratic events. They do not have the pervasive context of a general election. They have lives of their own, issues and people that make them hard to predict and understand. This one was no different.

There are no doubt some things from a Labour point of view that we would want to do better and different. That’s the nature of a campaign. But overall from a Labour perspective there is much to be pleased about. Another young(ish) MP, with new perspectives enters the team. We have road-tested some campaigning tools and people and learned a few good lessons. The spin from the other side is predictable. But in the end its Kris Faafoi who arrives at Parliament ready to represent the people of Mana. Well done that man.


31 Responses to “Reflections on Mana”

  1. Alwyn says:

    We can only assume that you were out of the country during the campaign. Kris really seemed totally out of his depth.
    His campaign appeared to be little more than following Phil
    Goff around with a bemused smile on his face.
    He seems to have mastered one thing though. From today’s Dom/Post he understands where the power in the Labour party is.
    He says “My first thing is to get around all the schools and touch base properly with all the teachers and principals to see how we can help in opposition … ”
    THEN he would TRY to visit business to get feedback about jobs.
    Wouldn’t it be better to talk to parents to see what the schools should be doing for the kids?

  2. Spud says:

    Nice breakdown, Grant :-D , and great point about those special votes! :-D :-D :-D !!!!!

  3. Al1ens says:

    “The spin from the other side is predictable”

    As is the sham reporting from a largely right wing media.

  4. Shane says:

    I wouldn’t say that Mana is now necessarily a “marginal” electorate by virtue of having a small majority, would you?

    I doubt that the electorate will become marginal in the traditional sense, where the party that holds it changes frequently, as opposed to one party holding it most of the time.

  5. Mr. Infinity says:

    Good. I hope they cut all race-based funding. You shouldn’t get money just because you’re brown, black, white, red or purple.

  6. Tigger says:

    Let’s also acknowledge the election of an MP of Tokelauan descent. An increase in the diversity of our Parliament is a very, very good thing.

  7. Next year Kris should watch out for Jan Logie. We had alot of support around the electorate for our campaign. We held the candidate vote in a hostile situation. Matt and strategic voting for Kris hindered our opportunity for growth. Also, Jan is a committed local and will be out in the community for the next 12 months.

  8. Ella says:

    “I also think Hekia deserves some credit. She is an articulate person who campaigned hard. Most importantly in terms of the result she has been campaigning/working in the electorate non-stop for about four years, compared to Kris’ few months. That makes a differenece. She had a profile and that worked to her advantage.”

    Pretty much exactly what I was thinking. People were probably quite familiar with her – and if you aren’t particularly engaged with politics in the sense that you know what party/policies the candidates represented then you would most likely vote for someone you know – so Parata had the advantage there.

    The important thing was that Labour kept the seat :D

  9. tracey says:

    Voter turnout in Mt Albert was 48% of registered voters, and that was with enormous publicity around it.

  10. Jane Dear says:

    Phil said it was a referendum on the Government. Any comments?

  11. Sean says:

    Phil said it was a referendum on the Government. Any comments?

    Okay Jane, given it was a much reduced turn out from 2008, adding the percentages together the left right hasn’t realised changed from 2008 to the 2010 by-election.

    Labour’s vote increased from 43.91% to 46.4%, National’s increased from 36.67% to 41.6%, but it did it largely by canibalising 2% from the ACT vote (2.6% to 0.6%: who can blame those voters for going elsewhere?) and all of the United Future 1.32% of the vote. Peter Dunne having publicly backed National.

    Significant drop in voter numbers, which will have to be countered next year but the Labour base there is still strong. In 2011, the 3.6% who backed McCarten won’t have that option in the electorate.

    That’s how I read it.

  12. ghostwhowalksnz says:

    Thinking about this election and the previous one in Mt Albert.

    Both times the ‘media professional’ did worse than expected- Could it be the voters see people in the media as even lower in their opinion than politicians ?

  13. Al1ens says:

    “Phil said it was a referendum on the Government. Any comments?”

    Yeah, the voters knew that regardless of the outcome they couldn’t change anything in government, and that Labour were going to win anyway.

    “Phil said it was a referendum on the Government. Any comments?”

    National’s actual vote also decreased from last time around. What do you think that says about them and their candidate?

  14. Kereru says:

    At last a gracious Labour MP!

  15. Luke says:

    Interestingly turnout in Cannons Creek/Waitangarua turnout was at 80% of 2008 levels, compared to 65% overall.
    And there was effectively no swing compared to Winnie Labans vote.
    However we did have problems in Elsdon, with only 60% of 2008 turnout and a vote share of -18% from Winnie, and – 12% from the party. Although this area is just as deprived as Cannons Creek, the proportion of Pacific people is much lower, with far more european and maori voters, which does suggest we have some wider problems here.

    Also I wish the media would look up the demographics of the electorate, there are more votes in Whitby than in Cannons Creek and Waitangarua combined, and Kris only got 25% in Whitby, same as the 2008 party vote.

  16. Spud says:

    @Sean – excellent analysis :-D :-D :-D !!!!

    FAAF :-D I – B :-D Y kicked butt and nothing can take that away from him! Yee haa! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D !

  17. Thomasf says:

    The only two candidates who talked about policy and local issues were the Greens Jan Logie and Matt.
    Kris is a really nice bloke no doubt about it but certainly didn’t ignite this campaign
    When out canvasing,for The Greens I heard several Green supporters [one was a gp member :~)] say they were only voting for Kris to keep National out.
    I can see the Greens eating strongly into a lackluster Labour Party’s vote in 2011.

  18. Ian says:

    Mr. Infinity – is it pleasant being a European immigrant? I am one too, but unlike you I do not mind helping groups within the community who are disadvantaged.

  19. Dorothy says:

    McCarten’s only achievements were (1) to raise his profile (2) to make the popular demand for a $15 an hour minimum wage look like a fringe concern. Fortunately the vast majority of Labour voters recognised his candidacy for the total irrelevance it proved to be.

  20. swordfish says:

    @ Luke, I don’t think you’re right on Elsdon.

    My stats (hot off the press):

    Elsdon:
    ….. 2008 Party-Vote//2010 By-Election vote//Difference
    Labour…..64………………..70………..+ 6
    National…16………………..16……….. =
    Green……6………………….5………..- 1
    Other……15…………………9………..- 6

  21. Red Mart says:

    In a nutshell:

    - Kris was a new candidate, hence he didn’t have the profile that Hekia had, who’s been there for years.

    - National learnt their lesson from Mt Albert, and ran a very strong campaign. From what I can gather truck-loads of National MPs came through the electorate, if not a lot of money. Hekia is also very charismatic, and thus could woo voters. Thus Hekia was able to put a dent in Kris’s majority.

    - Matt McCarten stirred up Labour, and thus could’ve acted as a motivation by Labourites to get out and help Kris.

    - Despite National closing in on Labour’s vote, Mana isn’t marginal. The vote will return to Labour in the near future. This is because National won’t be able to put in the concerted effort that they did this time, as National MPs will be in their own electorates for re-election.

    - Hekia’s influence in Mana will fade, aswell as Colin DuPlessis’s, who I felt sorry for standing in a party that is effectively dying. Jan Logie COULD pick up more votes next time, but I can’t see her being a threat to Kris.

  22. swordfish says:

    In fact, I’ll give you the whole analysis.

    The following stats compare (1) the 2008 Party-Vote in Mana (which – as I’ve argued elsewhere – is the TRUE BENCHMARK by which to judge this By-Election) and (2) the 2010 By-Election vote.

    I give % figures for (a) 5 “sub-regions” of Mana (clusters of geographically-contiguous and, for the most part, economically and politically-similar suburbs) and (b) each suburb within each “sub-region”.

    …..2008 Party-Vote////2010 By-Election Vote////Difference

    (1) East

    East Sub-Region

    Labour…75……………..82……………………+ 7
    National.11……………..11…………………… =
    Green…..3………………3…………………… =
    Other….10………………5……………………- 5

    East Suburbs

    Ascot Park

    Labour…63……………71……………………+ 8
    National.21……………21…………………… =
    Green…..4……………4……………………. =
    Other….12……………4……………………. – 8

    Porirua East

    Labour…68……………75…………………… + 7
    National.15……………16…………………… + 1
    Green…..5…………….4…………………… – 1
    Other….12…………….5…………………… – 7

    Waitangirua

    Labour…80…………….85………………….. + 5
    National..9……………..7………………….. – 2
    Green…..2……………..2………………….. =
    Other…..9……………..6………………….. – 3

    Cannons Creek

    Labour…83…………….86………………….. + 3
    National..6……………..7………………….. + 1
    Green…..3……………..2………………….. – 1
    Other…..9……………..5………………….. – 4

    (2) West

    West Sub-Region

    Labour…55…………….56………………….. + 1
    National.25…………….28………………….. + 3
    Green…..8……………..8………………….. =
    Other….13……………..8………………….. – 5

    West Suburbs

    Takapuwahia

    Labour…48…………….50……………………+ 2
    National.25…………….35……………………+ 10
    Green….11……………..5……………………- 6
    Other….16……………..9……………………- 7

    Titahi Bay

    Labour…53…………….53…………………… =
    National.26…………….30……………………+ 4
    Green…..8……………..9……………………+ 1
    Other….12……………..8……………………- 4

    Elsdon (see earlier comment above)

    (3) Near North

    Near North Sub-Region

    Labour…28…………….25…………………….- 3
    National.54…………….65…………………….+ 11
    Green…..7……………..6…………………….- 1
    Other….11……………..3…………………….- 8

    Near North Suburbs

    Pauatahanui

    Labour…21…………….13…………………….- 8
    National.62…………….82…………………….+ 20
    Green…..7……………..3…………………….- 4
    Other…..9……………..1…………………….- 8

    Whitby

    Labour…26…………….24…………………….- 2
    National.58…………….67…………………….+ 9
    Green…..5……………..6…………………….+ 1
    Other….11……………..3…………………….- 8

    Aotea

    Labour…(No Booth 2008)…25
    National…(New Suburb)….69
    Green…………………..3
    Other…………………..3

    Mana

    Labour…30……………..27…………………….- 3
    National.50……………..63…………………….+ 13
    Green…..9………………6…………………….- 3
    Other….11………………4…………………….- 7

    Plimmerton

    Labour…31……………..27…………………….- 4
    National.46……………..58…………………….+ 12
    Green….12……………..10…………………….- 2
    Other….12………………4…………………….- 8

    Paremata

    Labour…30……………..28…………………….- 2
    National.50……………..62…………………….+ 12
    Green…..9………………7…………………….- 2
    Other….11………………4…………………….- 7

    Papakowhai

    Labour…30……………..29…………………….- 1
    National.53……………..60…………………….+ 7
    Green…..6………………7…………………….+ 1
    Other….10………………4…………………….- 6

    (4) Far North

    Far North Sub-Region

    Labour…36……………..42…………………….+ 6
    National.40……………..41…………………….+ 1
    Green….14……………..13…………………….- 1
    Other….11………………5…………………….- 6

    Far North Suburbs

    Paekakariki

    Labour…41……………..50…………………….+ 9
    National.23……………..24…………………….+ 1
    Green….28……………..20…………………….- 8
    Other…..8………………6…………………….- 2

    Paraparaumu

    Labour…37……………..47…………………….+ 10
    National.42……………..40…………………….- 2
    Green…..8………………7…………………….- 1
    Other….12………………5…………………….- 7

    Raumati South

    Labour…34……………..43…………………….+ 9
    National.38……………..40…………………….+ 2
    Green….17……………..14…………………….- 3
    Other….11………………4…………………….- 7

    Raumati Beach

    Labour…34……………..38…………………….+ 4
    National.46……………..49…………………….+ 3
    Green…..8………………9…………………….+ 1
    Other….12………………4…………………….- 8

    Pukerua Bay

    Labour…35……………..36…………………….+ 1
    National.37……………..42…………………….+ 5
    Green….17……………..15…………………….- 2
    Other….11………………6…………………….- 5

    (5) South

    South Sub-Region

    Labour…39……………..41…………………….+ 2
    National.41……………..48…………………….+ 7
    Green…..7………………5…………………….- 2
    Other….12………………6…………………….- 6

    South Suburbs

    Tawa/Linden

    Labour…38……………..39…………………….+ 1
    National.42……………..49…………………….+ 7
    Green…..7………………5…………………….- 2
    Other….12………………6…………………….- 6

    Kenepuru

    Labour…55……………..60…………………….+ 5
    National.22……………..27…………………….+ 5
    Green…..5………………6…………………….+ 1
    Other….18………………6…………………….- 12

  23. swordfish says:

    Compare, for instance, the Lab and Nat changes in the Far North suburbs (above) with the following analysis from David Farrar:
    “Kapiti voted Labour last time and flipped to National this time. And what is more extraordinary about this is it happened despite noisy local opposition to a new expressway…There was a big swing here in 2010… a 15% net movement (from Labour to National.”

  24. swordfish says:

    Farrar has also been leaving the impression that every area in Mana except Cannons Creek preferred Parata over Fa’afoi.

    The reality is that Fa’afoi won Ascot Park, Porirua East, Waitangirua, Cannons Creek, Takapuwahia, Titahi Bay, Elsdon, Paekakariki, Paraparaumu, Raumati South and Kenepuru.

    Parata won Pauatahanui, Whitby, Aotea, Mana, Plimmerton, Paremata, Papakowhai, Raumati Beach, Pukerua Bay, Linden.

  25. jennifer says:

    @ Swordfish, let’s hope Audrey Young reads your analysis, having written “some in Labour who should know better are creatively suggesting that Labour actually did better in the byelection than at the last general election …” It is now clear who was running the “creative” numbers.

  26. Adrian says:

    Give that man Swordfish a job.

  27. Sean says:

    Give that man Swordfish a job.

    Swordfish did a great job, I agree.

    Sad thing is that he did the media’s job. Seriously, our veteran political reporters can’t look over the polling booth returns?

  28. Al1ens says:

    Ever since tv3 was sold to the aussies, whoever has been in editorial charge of the news room has done the process of open, fair journalism no favours at all. Look no further than cia asten’s piece on Winston Peters the day before the 2008 poll, or anything by Duncan Garner.
    I swear that after Worth went, while doing a piece on National’s worst week in government so far, he was almost appologetic, nay teary eyed. Every story that adversely affected the Nats was countered by one from the previous administration. Cringeworthy stuff. At least that’s stopped now.

    I thought these journalists would have more pride in their careers than they obiously have.
    At let’s not even start on that dinosaur Holmes or the racist Henry.

  29. Spud says:

    Well, even with the break down of the suburbs and numbers it seems that Faafoi kicked butt! :-D :-D :-D !

    He W :-D N !!!!!!!!!!

    His mug is going to be seen around parliament and that’s great! :-D

    Na na na na na! :P