My initial thoughts on the winners and losers from the election.
John Key. Key has broken his own record for the highest party vote percentage achieved under MMP. Governments normally lose support, not gain it. The Clark Government did increase support in 2002 by 2% but this was really just picking up some of the Alliance vote which had been 7% and collapsed. Key is not only re-elected Prime Minister, but has the ability to implement National’s policy programme.
Steven Joyce and Jo de Joux. This is the third campaign in a row for the campaign chairman and manager (plus three by-elections). In 2005 the National vote went up 17% which at the time was all attributed to Don Brash, but the campaign played a major part also. They ran the 2008 campaign to victory and in 2011 set a target of 48% of the party vote. The count closed last night at 47.99% so that is as precise as you can get.
Gerry Brownlee. National won the party vote in all Christchurch electorates and have won Waimakariri plus tied in Christchurch Central. This would not have happened if there was wide-spread dis-satisfaction with the Government’s response to the earthquake.
Winston Peters. Made the 5% threshold with room to spare. A remarkable comeback. Will have little influence in the next three years, but is well positioned to hold the balance of power in 2014. Biggest challenge may be to avoid scandals. Will soon be in his 70s so may need to start thinking a leadership transition, which could be Andrew Williams.
Damien O’Connor. Only Labour MP to win a seat off National.
Nikki Kaye and Paula Bennett. Both with-stood massive challenges from Labour in Auckland, who targeted all their regional resources into winning Auckland Central and Waitakere. Even massive tactical voting from Green voters wasn’t enough to knock them out.
Metiria Turei and Russel Norman. They made 10% and got four extra MPs. A very good night for them.
John Banks and Peter Dunne. Partly thanks to the rise of Winston, centre-right voters showed their intelligence and voted to help ensure a National-led Government can implement a centre-right policy programme.
Phil Goff, whose political career is over. However he should not be judged by the last three years. I’ll blog in more detail on Goff later, but he has done many things to make New Zealand a better place, and was handed a poisoned chalice by Clark.
Trevor Mallard. Labour’s campaign manager managed to knock nine of his colleagues out of caucus, and drop Labour to their lowest share of the vote since the Great Depression. The disgraceful smear pamphlets reminded many people of why they voted to evict Labour in 2008.
Don Brash, He promised up to 15% and in the end failed to even get himself elected to Parliament. A sad end to a great contribution to NZ public life.
ACT. Great for National that Banks won, but will a Banks-led ACT be viable for the future? I’m not so sure.
Colin Craig. He boasted for months on the back of a very misleading poll that he would win Rodney and he got thrashed. He spent a huge amount of the party vote and got nowhere near the 5% threshold. May have had a future if NZ First had not made it back (as policies in many areas similar) but hard to see where he can gain extra support from now.
Horizon Polls, the Sunday Star-Times and Radio Live. I will post in detail on this, but the media who kept running that poll as news worthy should be humiliated. Almost all year they have been saying National has only around 35% of decided voters, and the election results shows their methodology is fatally flawed.