The Mana result

November 21st, 2010 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

Labour came far too close to doing something that has never ever happened before in recent New Zealand electoral history – having an Opposition lose a seat in a by-election. No Government has won a seat off the opposition in the 59 by-elections since 1936.

And even worse it was not a marginal seat – it was a safe seat that has been held by Labour since 1938 (in that its predecessor seats were also Labour).

I was hoping the majority would be below 3,000 – my pick had been 2,500. I never thought it would almost drop to a triple figures and get as low as 1,080. In some ways it was the ideal result. If the margin had been 500 or so, then you’d be kicking yourself for not doing that extra bit to win it. And if Labour had actually managed to lose the seat, then Goff would be goneburger, and National doesn’t actually want Goff rolled.

So what happened? Well as I blogged during the week, I didn’t expect there to be a uniform swing – I expected different swings in different areas. I’ve divided the seat up into four areas – Porirua East, Porirua West, Northern Suburbs and Kapiti.

Porirua East

In 2008 Laban got 82% and Parata 9%. There was basically no swing here at all with 2010 as Faafoi got 82% and Parata 11%. The total vote was 72% of 2008, and McCarten got 4% here.

This shows how hard it is to win , when one large portion of the electorate votes Labour 9:1 over National. Even if the rest of the electorate votes 3:2 National over Labour, it is hard to compensate for such areas.

Porirua West

In 2008 Laban got 59% and Parata 28% so still very much core Labour areas. There was a good swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 51% and Parata 35%, so the margin dropped from 31% to 16%. The total vote was 66% of 2008, and McCarten got 6% here.

I had been expected Porirua West to be like Porirua East, and not swing much. But in some booths in Titahi Bay Hekia lifted her vote share by 9% and Faafoi lost 15%.

Northern Suburbs

These areas are pretty solid Nat, In 2008 Laban got 35% and Parata 54%. That was good enough, but there was a massive swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 25% and Parata 67%, so the margin grew from 19% to 42%. The total vote was 74% of 2008, and McCarten got 2% here.

Kapiti

The Kapiti area 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.

In 2008 Laban got 46% and Parata 41%. There was a big swing here as in 2010 Faafoi got 37% and Parata 47%, so the margin went from +5% to Labour to +10% for National – a 15% net movement. The total vote was 69% of 2008, and McCarten got 3% here.

Polling Places

In 17/42 polling places the vote share for Labour dropped by 10% or greater. That is huge.

Interestingly the advance votes actually had Faafoi getting a bigger vote share than Laban did in 2008. This reflects my view that Hekia got real momentum in the final week as several community leaders endorsed her, but by then many advance votes had already been cast.

CR v CL

didn’t achieve a great result (but he did get lots of signatures for his petitions) and the Greens had a solid third. ACT was battling it out with Legalise Cannabis for 5th place. What was the total CR and CL vote in 2008 and 2010?

In 2008 Labour & Greens got 60% of the electorate vote, and National/ACT got 37%. In 2010 Labour/Greens/McCarten got 57% and National/ACT got 42%. So even taking the minor parties into account, you had the centre-right close the gap by 8% in Mana!

Historical Comparisons

Labour did manage to retain the seat, but they had a massive swing against their candidate. Again, this is historically very rare in by-elections. I’ve gone through the last few by-elections to note what happened:

  • 2010 Mt Albert – remained safe for Opposition
  • 2004 Te Tai Hauauru – not contested by major parties
  • 1998 TKC – big swing against Government
  • 1994 Selwyn – big swing against Government
  • 1993 Tauranga – not contested by major parties
  • 1992 Wellington Central – was marginal Labour and majority increases slightly for Opposition
  • 1992 Tamaki – big swing against Government
  • 1985 Timaru – falls to Opposition
  • 1980 East Coast Bays – falls to Opposition (Social Credit)
  • 1980 Onehunga – Opposition holds comfortably
  • 1980 Northern Maori – stays with Labour
  • 1979 Christchurch Central – Government comes 3rd
  • 1978 Rangitikei – Government loses to Opposition (Social Credit)
  • 1976 Nelson – Opposition increases majority
  • 1977 Mangere – Opposition holds comfortably
  • 1977 Pahiatua – Government holds

So this has not happened in the last 35 years – an Opposition almost losing a safe seat in a by-election.

The closest we have is 1992 Wellington Central, and they have a number of things in common

  • Both held in the first term of a new National Government
  • Both held two years into that term
  • Both had popular retiring MPs (Wilde and Laban)
  • Both had Labour put up a candidate with no background in the party (Laidlaw and Faafoi)
  • Both had a high profile third party candidate on the left (Denis Welch and McCarten)
  • Both times the National candidate was married to Wira Gardiner (Pauline Gardiner and )
  • Both times the National candidate had stood in the previous general election
  • Both times Labour got a narrow victory on the by-election

The really interesting thing is that in the 1993 general election, Laidlaw lost the seat to Gardiner – it was the only seat lost by the Opposition in that election.

Kris has won the seat, but it is now a marginal seat, and he is going to have to work very very hard in the community to match Hekia and retain the seat in 2011.

UPDATE:

A reader sent me this graph, of the ten largest polling places in Mana. It tells a big story about how Cannons Creek saved Labour.

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47 Responses to “The Mana result”

  1. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    There were some one-off factors operating here. But the biggest was National’s candidate had worked hard for 2 years prior and Labour parachuted an outsider in shortly before the vote. I expect Faafoi to do better at the general election. But this is not Mangere. The PI vote in this electorate is not that great and if Labour are going to make a racial statement with their candidate then they will get a racial response from the voters.

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  2. reid (16,091 comments) says:

    “National doesn’t actually want Goff rolled”

    No of course it doesn’t. It’s a bit like having the world’s worst Admiral in charge of the other side’s battle fleet. Aren’t we lucky.

    The good thing is however that next in line is Silent-T, since Shane Jones self-immolated and when he finally takes over after Labour’s massive loss in 2011, the public will be most interested in his leadership style. After they get sick of that it will be Jones’ turn cause Little won’t have had enough experience and if they make that change before 2014 a Jones-led Liarbore will be a formidable force heading into the Nat’s third term.

    “But the biggest was National’s candidate had worked hard for 2 years prior and Labour parachuted an outsider in shortly before the vote.”

    Yes, another tactical triumph from the world’s worst Admiral.

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  3. SHG (369 comments) says:

    Also bear in mind that Faafoi was “on leave” during the Mana campaign and able to campaign every day. Parata was doing her job – namely being in Parliament – during sittings and didn’t have a huge daytime presence in the electorate.

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  4. Pete George (23,277 comments) says:

    Overall this seems like a stuff you Labour, get your act together result.

    National should feel pleased, but shouldn’t be smug. There will be more opportunities for them to be told by the electorate not too stuff around too much and to get some real progress and reform going.

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  5. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    http://msn.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10689102&ref=rss

    Spinning at 100,000 rpm.

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  6. Sonny Blount (1,847 comments) says:

    The good thing is however that next in line is Silent-T, since Shane Jones self-immolated and when he finally takes over after Labour’s massive loss in 2011, the public will be most interested in his leadership style. After they get sick of that it will be Jones’ turn cause Little won’t have had enough experience and if they make that change before 2014 a Jones-led Liarbore will be a formidable force heading into the Nat’s third term.

    Shane Jones will not be labour party leader. He is an oaf, he was well before his little porn issue. Any greater profile than he had before then would reveal this to the public, there are a lot of very negative stories about his private behaviour out there.

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  7. davidp (3,556 comments) says:

    > Porirua East In 2008 Laban got 82% and Parata 9%. There was basically no swing here at all with 2010 as Faafoi got 82% and Parata 11%.

    Porirua East has always voted Labour. It is a dump. It is still a dump after 9 years of the last Labour government. So they vote Labour again, overwhelmingly.

    Misery and poverty is mostly self inflicted. Porirua East is an example.

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  8. somewhatthoughtful (455 comments) says:

    Yeah if only the could all eat cake eh davidp? ignorant bunt

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  9. reid (16,091 comments) says:

    “Shane Jones will not be labour party leader.”

    Why do you say that, Sonny. His porn thing will permanently lose him lots of woman votes which is a shame but not critical. He’s the best in the caucus right now, for the job, were it not that not enough time has passed. By 2014 it will be ancient history.

    “Misery and poverty is mostly self inflicted.”

    Exactly david, it is, for it comes from one thing alone: bad attitude. If only the lefties would teach that to their own constituents, those constituents would be better off, but they don’t, for portraying them as helpless victims of oppression is much more helpful, to Liarbore.

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  10. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    This campaign was about Parata and Faafoi. The GE campaign will be about National and Labour. That will cause voters to revert to form and go with their party inclination, so I expect Faafoi to win easily then (though not so easily as Laban did).

    But what a great result for Parata! One thing this demonstrates is that list MPs are not just a bunch of hacks. Parata has proved that. And she could never have done so well without working in Mana as a list MP for the past two years.

    [DPF: Remember that under MMP, people get two votes]

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  11. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Saved by a bunch of troglodyte bogans, graffiti sprayers and junior crims from Cannons Creek? Jeez you lefties must really be feeliing proud of yourselves to know that these are the only people you can still fool…

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  12. Fisiani (991 comments) says:

    So would it be accurate to say that Hekia Parata won all of the Mana electorate except for the Cannons Creek booths.

    [DPF: Not quite. She didn't win all other booths. But Cannons Creek did vote 12:1 for Faafoi with a margin of 1,372 which is larger than his overall majority]

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  13. Christopher Thomson (376 comments) says:

    “Let them eat cake” a statement of lies. That remark, so falsely attributed to to Marie Antoinette was first coined by one of the lefts seminal philosophers and is trotted out in ignorance by those that try to smear anyone who points out the obvious failings of socialisms inglorious reality.

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  14. Sonny Blount (1,847 comments) says:

    “Shane Jones will not be labour party leader.”

    Why do you say that, Sonny. His porn thing will permanently lose him lots of woman votes which is a shame but not critical. He’s the best in the caucus right now, for the job, were it not that not enough time has passed. By 2014 it will be ancient history.

    Because people who have had dealings with him tell me he swears like a trooper and abuses his colleagues, ‘fucking cunts’ this and that and the like. This is totally unbecoming in a business environment and people I know have come away with a rather poor impression of him.

    He is another Tamihere waiting to happen, he just doesn’t have the class to step up.

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  15. Tails50 (4 comments) says:

    Strange how Ms Parata and Mr Key have turned defeat into victorty. There are a number of reasons why Labour got less votes than they would have liked. 1. Matt Mc Carten’s stunt in standing siphoned off a number of votes that would have usually gone to labour. 2. The electorate knew that regardless of how well Labour did, there was no chance of changing the government. 3. Ms Parata had campaigned in the electprate twice before and therefore, was far better known to the electorate than Mr Fafoi. 4. History proves that a low turn-out in any election always favours National. Come the next general election a very different picture will emerge. If national feel they are so loved by the electorate at large, they could always call a general election now and put that belief to the test.

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  16. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    As far as Labour PMs are concerned, Shane Jones scares me a lot less than any of the alternatives.

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  17. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Tails – Faafoi used to be on TV, so I’d suggest he was pretty well known.
    McCarten didn’t do a hell of a lot to siphon off votes – DPF has already covered that.
    In by-elections if people are unhappy with the government they tell them. As DPF said, the government having a big swing towards it in a by-election is very unusual.
    Which history proves a low turnout favours National? There was a really good turnout in 1990 and 2008 and National smashed Labour in both occasions.

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  18. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,830 comments) says:

    Tails, were you and Fa’aboy there in the bunker with Martin Borman as the Reds closed in, keeping the Fuhrer’s spirits up with those profoundly stupid comments?

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  19. J Mex (184 comments) says:

    This is bad for Labour insofar as they would have liked to do much much better against National. It is not bad for Labour insofar as it is absolutely irrelevant as to their performance in next years election.

    National should be justifiably happy with their result. I doubt there was one person in NZ that thought National would win. However, there would be few that picked it being so close. In that regard, much better for National than Labour. Relatively insignificant otherwise.

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  20. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    There is no comfort in the by-election result for labour. Only the most deranged Labour supporter could spin this any other way. And there is no comment from Goff saying so – is there?. Goff must be thankful that the general public have their thoughts elsewhere

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  21. J Mex (184 comments) says:

    I also think that National winning Mana would be bad for National.

    Goff would be gone.

    I don’t think National really want Goff gone.

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  22. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    National will take whatever leader the Labour Party throws up. The only political strategy for National is to hit Labour hard and keep hitting until the political death of the Labour Party is final. But if this by-elecion was won in Cannons Creek the Labour Party lost everywhere else. That is not a party that is heading for Government. You cannot become Government on Cannons creek.

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  23. J Mex (184 comments) says:

    No tvb, but Labour became government on the back of South Auckland in 2005.

    Len Brown became mayor of Auckland on the back of South Auckland in 2010.

    You can become government on the back of Cannons creek and South Auckland et al.

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  24. NX (603 comments) says:

    Cannons Creek is to Parata as Mangere is to Don Brash. I’m always deeply suspicious of places that vote overwhelmingly in favour of a particular party/candidate. Are they all lemmings in Cannon’s Creek?

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  25. reid (16,091 comments) says:

    If national feel they are so loved by the electorate at large, they could always call a general election now and put that belief to the test.

    Why ever would we conservatives want to do that, Tails? We’re in the box seat, watching Liarbore gradually disintegrate. I’m not sure about my fellow conservatives but I’m personally enjoying it immensely and I don’t want it to end, just yet.

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  26. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    Tails, what do you expect would happen to a government that called an early election just because they felt like it? Do you think the public would be happy with that? I reckon your comment would be up there with some of the stupidest I’ve ever seen on kiwiblog, and I’ve seen a fair few stupid ones.

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  27. Shazzadude (521 comments) says:

    Those who actually knew the electorate well knew this would be close, simply because Mana is overrepresented in higher income earners as well as beneficiaries/low wage earners, and by-elections have low turnouts, which usually favours the votes of higher income earners. For the Porirua East vote to remain static percentage-wise but for there to be a significant swing against Labour overall suggests the turnout there would’ve been quite low.

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  28. Shazzadude (521 comments) says:

    “Cannons Creek is to Parata as Mangere is to Don Brash. I’m always deeply suspicious of places that vote overwhelmingly in favour of a particular party/candidate. Are they all lemmings in Cannon’s Creek?”

    I think you’ll find close to two-thirds of the electorates always vote the same party in, whether Mangere or Clutha-Southland.

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  29. Aye Aye (4 comments) says:

    Laidlaw threw it away at the following General Election. He hadn’t liked his small taste of Parliament and he said as much when he conceded defeat on Election Night. I’m guessing he didn’t like life on the Back Bench.

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  30. reid (16,091 comments) says:

    Sonny my apologies I missed your 2:18. I do agree it he does indeed have this attitude I’ll need to revise my assessment of him, thanks for that background.

    BTW, I think Tamihere would have made a very good first Maori PM. He was blown out of the water by the Sisterhood, but he’s still standing. He’s a good thinker, IMO.

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  31. Manolo (13,514 comments) says:

    “Are they all lemmings in Cannon’s Creek?”

    Yes. A vast majority are dummies and the political equivalent of lemmings. Unfortunately, the system is called democracy.

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  32. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    McCarten, today’s Huruld:

    Getting over 5 per cent and hopefully closer to 10 per cent of the vote gets me skiting rights.

    McCarten got around 3.7% of the vote. What does he consider that? Other than a waste of Unite funds they could have used elsewhere.

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  33. kiwi in america (2,466 comments) says:

    AyeAye
    Laidlaw was an appalling candidate – arrogant, disdainful of retail politics, reluctant to debate Gardiner and extremely difficult to prep for the debate and always a sense that campaiging was beneath him. When left to his own devices in the 1993 General Election without the intense hand holding and the presence of crack campaign people from Mike Moore’s office he sunk beneath the waves of Gardiner’s far better ground game.

    Tails
    Did you not even read David’s post? This result is hugely historic. It’s like the famous test match in Perth in 1991 (I think) when the scorebook showed the we drew with Australia and yet the manner of the draw was incredible with the most tenacious hanging on the tail end NZ batsman. The record book will enter a Labour win but a huge pro Government swing in a by election only ever happened in the aftermath of the welfare state introduction by the 1st Labour Govt in 1938 – a hugely popular move. Without a massive union ground game in Porirua East/Cannons Creek (run mostly by paid union hacks) Faafoi would’ve lost turning this result into a landmark victory.

    There is no doubt that Labour will fare better in Mana in 2011 but as snapshot from real voters (versus an opinion poll) of the relative strength of National and Labour and the CL v CR there is much for Goff and Labour to fear in this result.

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  34. Pete George (23,277 comments) says:

    Hurf, I think McCarten has to see that as a blow to his ambitions. In a by-election that didn’t matter in the greater scheme of things, a couple of out of electorate candidates for the major parties, people pissed off with Labour’s ring-in selection and pissed off with not enough action from the National government – if he wanted to make a mark this should have been the time to do it. Failed.

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  35. jaba (2,095 comments) says:

    ahhhh .. didn’t take Faafoi long to get into the labour zone .. on the news when he was asked about Hekia, he said (may get a word or2 wrong), I/we won, the people of Mana have now rejected her twice … wow, didn’t take long to show what an arsehole he really is

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  36. godruelf (55 comments) says:

    I would also wonder how much real opposition there is to the Kapiti Expressway considering the results of the local body poll. There was little support for those totally opposed to it. Might be a lot of noise but not much substance.

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  37. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Re TVNZ News tonight (as with NZ Herald yesterday), they talked about a 14% swing. Indeed, the two-party swing from National to Labour was big, but if National is up 7%, Labour down 7% – my understanding is that is a 7% swing (using the traditional David Butler calculation method http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_(United_Kingdom) )

    Perhaps I am out of date?

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  38. burt (7,988 comments) says:

    Rodders

    It depends on who writes the press release.

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  39. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Fair comment Burt

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  40. 3-coil (1,204 comments) says:

    jaba (7:14pm) – yes, those were his words – plus: “she’s only trying to make herself feel better” etc.

    Typically graceless in victory, a la Cullen’s “we won you lost eat that” – it does appear to be a peculiarly revealing trait among Labour pollies.

    The bunny is happy with his 1080 (majority). Now let’s see how he can perform in parliament – so far he’s just a timid little yes-boy, can’t see him amounting to much.

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  41. pq (728 comments) says:

    yes Mana my friends
    this is good New Zealand is recovering
    peterquixote

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  42. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    I hope Carter releases the list of 17…

    Someone e-mail him and let him know he’s never going to get a better chance to roll Goff than this week…

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  43. dave (986 comments) says:

    So would it be accurate to say that Hekia Parata won all of the Mana electorate except for the Cannons Creek booths.
    No, a high proportion of voters in Waitangirua voted for Fa’afoi than Parata, which brought the East down to about 9:1 from 12:1

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  44. Rich Prick (1,628 comments) says:

    Fuck! I have more facebook friends than Matt McCarten had votes, and that’s not counting my Mum! Serriously, I do. And I don’t even try to be popular, nor have a bunch of thugs in tee-shirts working for me.

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  45. Rich Prick (1,628 comments) says:

    I am pleased to see the Green moonbat who thought there were far too many “rich people” in Mana who’s wealth should be taken off them, was given the heave-ho as well, go back to tending your dung pile sweetheart and leave the important stuff to the grown ups.

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  46. Jinky (181 comments) says:

    Anyone heard from Mr Du Plessis. He was on here every day last week? Got only a few more votes than the Cannabis Party.!

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  47. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    The people of Cannon’s Creek are very realistic. They know there is nothing for them in NACT Government except unemployment and union bashing. They’ve been hurt too many times before to have any confidence in the National Party.

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