More Botany analysis

March 5th, 2011 at 11:06 pm by David Farrar
  • Total votes dropped from 30,919 in 2008 to 14,888 (+ specials) in 2011.
  • National/Ross won 17 of the 20 polling places
  • His best place was Howick, where Ross got over 68%
  • The worst place was Clover Park where Ross got 4.7% only, and Wood got 90.4%
  • Ross got over 60% in 10 of the 20 places, and over 50% in 15 of the 20 places
  • In Meadowlands, Paul Young of New Citizen got his best result with 16.7% – pipping Michael Wood on 15.8% to third place

Incidentially this is the first by-election in at least 30 years where the seat was held by the Government, with no significant decline in the share of the vote.

Taranaki-King Country, Selwyn, Tamaki, Timaru, East Coast Bays, Rangitikei all had the Government come bloody close to losing the seat, or actually losing the seat. The last by-election for a Government-held seat which saw the vote share not change much was probably Pahiatua in 1977.

Little change in Botany

March 5th, 2011 at 8:46 pm by David Farrar

Pansy Wong got 56% of the vote in 2008, and Jami-Lee Ross got 55% of the vote in 2011. The turnout was (I estimate) around 38%, which is very low – even for by-elections. The majority is 3,996 and will end up being above 4,000 after specials. The turnout is half that of 2008, so it’s equal to around a 9,000 majority in a general election.

Michael Wood got 28% of the vote, which is up from the invisible Koro Tawa. Of course there was no Green candidate this time as they didn’t nominate in time.

In third place with 10.5% of the vote was Paul Young of the New Citizen Party. Looks like he piced up some of the vote which went to Kenneth Wang last time.

Congratulations to Jami-Lee Ross, the new MP for Botany. He has a long career ahead of him. Kudos to Michael Wood also for a sold effort he’ll be pleased with.

The forgotten Botany by-election

March 4th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Botany goes to the polls tomorrow and unless a comet hits Earth, Jami-Lee Ross should be elected the MP for Botany.

Even before the Canterbury earthquake, it was going to be a low profile campaign. The Labour candidate conceded defeat the day after he was nominated, the Green candidate failed to get nominated in time and the ACT candidate boasts she is more left-wing than Jami-Lee. There is no sense of a contest or race.

Throw in the earthquake. Not only does it knock all other news off the media radar, it also means that candidates (correctly) pull back their campaigns.

By-elections traditionally have a very low turn-out – around 50% or so. This by-election will probably have the lowest turn-out in history. I suspect it will be well below 50%.

What this means is that the actual majority will be quite modest, because the turnout will be very modest. So the important numbers to look at will be the percentage of the vote each candidate gets, rather than the raw majority.

Weirdness in Botany

February 8th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

First of all, we have the Labour candidate conceding the by-election a month before the vote. Brian Rudman writes:

But a week later he pops up in a local newspaper across town to assure his supporters in Mt Roskill that his adventures in Botany are just a temporary folly and would not affect his role as a member of Puketapapa Local Board.

He told Central Leader readers that “Botany is a strong National seat that I’m not going to be able to win as a Labour candidate. It’s not going to be something that pulls me away from Mt Roskill.”

Reassuring for Roskillites, perhaps, but if I were a voter in Botany I’d be thinking, “If that guy has already decided he’s a loser, with nothing by way of policy in his back pocket that he thinks will change my mind, then why should I waste my vote and prove him wrong?”

I am surprised Michael’s concession of the by-election has not attracted as much publicity, as when Melissa Lee did much the same for Mt Albert. Arguably Wood’s actions are worse – Botany has a smaller majority than Mt Albert for one. But more importantly Lee’s statement was made under pressure on live radio. Wood has conceded defeat in a written column.

Of course it is highly unlikely Labour will win Botany – I don’t expect them to do so. But a major party candidate should never ever say they will not win – it is a kick in the guts for their volunteers. Experienced politicians (and Wood has stood twice before) know that you downplay expectations, but never outright concede until the vote is counted.

All in all it is a bad look for Labour that their candidate is more concerned about reassuring the residents of Mt Roskill that he won’t be gone for long, rather than giving Botany voters a reason to vote for him.

Also weird if this description from the ACT candidate: (H/T: Not PC)

Business lecturer Lyn Murphy has won the party’s candidate nomination and she intends to win. …

Politically, she puts herself to the left of Mr Ross and to the right of Labour’s Michael Wood.

“I am the person for the central voter,” she says.

Has ACT transformed into United Future? Is Lyn Murphy saying that Ross stands for less spending and lower taxes than her? If not, on what basis does she say he is to the right of her?

So we have a Labour candidate who has already conceded defeat, and an ACT candidate who effectively has said ACT supporters should vote for Jami-Lee. Maybe the New Citizens Party will do quite well after all!

Ross v Wood

January 28th, 2011 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

Both major parties selected their Botany candidates last night, and they have a certain amount in common. Both are married men in their 20s (actually Michael may have just turned 30) and both are currently elected local body representatives.

There are differences also of course. Jami-Lee Ross is local, and Michael Wood is not. Also Jami-Lee is on the Auckland Council, and Michael on the Puketepapa Local Board. Michael is a professional trade unionist and Jami-Lee has been an elected Councillor since he was 18.

Jami-Lee ran an error-free campaign for the nomination, and expectations are he will do the same in the by-election. He is an experienced campaigner and his wife, Lucy, works tirelessly on his campaigns also. People at the selection meeting say he gave a good victory speech, and importantly thanked Pansy Wong who still has considerable good will.

It is hard to see a scenario where Jami-Lee does not become the MP for Botany, and has a long parliamentary career ahead of him.

Incidentially the person most delighted with Jami-Lee’s win is probably Len Brown. Jami-Lee was very effectuive at holding the Mayor to account.

Labour’s candidate Michael Wood, is also expected to run an excellent campaign. Michael is an experienced campaigner and will be effective at prosecuting Labour’s case against the Government. Equally Jami-Lee will respond robustly.

Pansy won 56% of the vote in 2008 with a 10,872 majority. There is no doubt this will be greatly reduced. The Labour candidate in 2008 was pretty invisible and fewer than 70% of even Labour party voters voted for him. By-elections traditionally go against the Government (Mana was the exception). The majorities in the last few by-elections where the Government was defending a seat were:

  1. 1998 TKC – majority of 988 (down from 10,000+)
  2. 1994 Selwyn – majority of 428
  3. 1992 Tamaki – majority was under 1,000 off memory, vote share went from 59% to 45%

Add in that ACT are strong in Botany, and could campaign strongly and I’d say the likely vote share for National is betwene 45% and 50%. If you also add on that turnout will be much lower, I’d be pretty surprised if the majority was over 5,000 and could even be around the 3,000 mark. I would not read too much into that if it occurs, as at the general election it normally bounces back.

The Botany selection

January 27th, 2011 at 4:23 pm by David Farrar

UPDATE: Jami-Lee Ross has won the nomination. It went to a fourth ballot between Jami-Lee Ross and Maggie Barry. Aaron Bhatngar dropped out on the third ballot. Commiserations and thanks to the unsucessful contenders, and congrats to Jami-Lee who will have a lot of focus on him over the next five weeks as he is set to become Parliament’s youngest MP at the age iof 24.

A reader sent in this cartoon they drew, which is timely with the selection tonight.

For those who don’t know how the process works, the selection is done by 60 party members. The Regional Chair chair’s the selection panel and has a casting vote but no deliberative vote (unless he is himself a delegate).

The five candidates will speak for 10 minutes each, The order is random. After each speech the Chairman asks them two questions, which have been provided by the Party President and the Prime Minister. They have (I think) three minutes to answer each question. There is no questioning from the floor but note they have attended three meet the candidates meetings where there is rigorous questioning. And delegates must attend at least one of those meetings, to be eligible to vote. You can’t just be bussed in for the selection meeting, and get a vote.

After the five speeches, the first round of voting starts. It is a secret ballot. To win selection, someone needs to gain 31 votes. If no person wins, then the lowest polling candidate drops out. This is announced to the delegates, and they vote again amongst the remaining four candidates. There are no further speeches. The voting carries on until there is a winner, which might not occur until the 4th ballot.

Normally one or more MPs will provide light relief as guest speakers while each round is counted.

It is highly likely that whomever wins the nomination will become an MP in March.

I’ll update with results once they are known.

Labour’s Botany nominees

January 22nd, 2011 at 9:11 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small in the Dom Post reports:

Meanwhile, Labour has announced its nominees as candidates for the Botany by-election with a virtual concession of defeat.

Labour Party president Andrew Little said Botany was a safe National seat. “So we don’t expect to win.”

The party would use the by-election, forced by the resignation of National MP Pansy Wong, as an opportunity to promote policies, issues and values it believed were important to the electorate and the country, he said.

Its nominees are former Botany Community Board member Roy Bootle, electrician and Howick Local Board member David Collings, and Michael Wood, a former unionist and candidate for Pakuranga and current Puketapapa Local Board member.

Interesting that Raymond Huo is not seeking the nomination. I guess the Tizard factor is still concerning them, as if Huo won the seat, Tizard would be offered his list place.

The Botany Five

January 20th, 2011 at 7:29 pm by David Farrar

National has annoucned the five short-listed candidates for Botany. In alphabetical order they are:

  • Maggie Barry
  • Aaron Bhatnagar
  • Darron Gedge
  • Jami-lee Ross
  • Edward Saafi

I picked four of the five correctly. I thought Denise Krum would make it also. Edward Saafi I had not profiled previously – his local body election profile is here. Dr Saafi has a PhD and MBA, working as a biomedical health research scientist. Seems a very solid candidate. However he appears to have stood for the Destiny Party in 2005 in Mangere, so I think fair to say not my first choice.

Selection is on Thursday 27 January.

The growing race for Botany

January 11th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

UPDATE2: And now Maggie Barry has confirmed she is seeking the nomination. If she gets a waiver for length of membership, then I would assume she will be one of the final five.

UPDATE: I’ve heard from two sources that broadcaster Maggie Barry may soon announce she will seek the nomination, if she can gain a board waiver for not being a member long enough.

Belinda McCammon in the SST reports on the latest in the Botany race:

With days to go before nominations close, 12 people are vying for National’s nomination in Botany – including former Labour Party member Daniel Newman.

The 34-year-old Property Council policy director and Auckland Council local board member said he was approached by a number of National Party members to stand.

Newman, who once shared close ties with Manurewa MP George Hawkins, said he had been a National Party member for four years and had been active in Judith Collins’ Papakura seat.

So who are those seeking the nomination:

  1. Aaron Bhatnagar, former Auckland City Councillor, an electorate chair
  2. Jami-Lee Ross, current Auckland Councillor, co-leader of C&R
  3. Denise Krum, was No 3 on United Future list in 2008, a party regional deputy chair
  4. Ram Rai, restaurant owner, an electorate chair
  5. Darron Gedge, regional policy chair, teacher at Elim Chris­t­ian Col­lege
  6. Youngshin Watkins – no 69 on 2008 party list
  7. Ken Yee, former Manukau City Councillor, former candidate
  8. Daniel Newman, Chair of Manurewa Local Board
  9. Michael Williams, current Howick Board Chair

I’m not sure who the other three are.

Nominations close in a few days. After that nominations have to be approved by the National Board. One has to have some seriously nasty skeletons in your closet not to be approved.

Then the next step will be pre-selection. A nine person committee interviews all the candidates, and whittles the field down to a maximum of five.

I would be astonished if Aaron Bhatnagar, Jami-Lee Ross and Denise Krum are not three of those five. All are good people, who would be good MPs.

I think it is also highly likely Darron Gedge would make the final five.

So to some degree, the main focus may be on who gets the fifth slot.

Once pre-selection has occured, the names are officially released and they start the meet the candidates meetings.

What the US Embassy was interested in

December 28th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve found the Wikileaks cables fascinating, as it shows us what the US Embassy was interested in, and reporting on.

In some areas, they have done an analysis which is superior to anything I have read in the local media.

This cable analyses the Kiwi Muslim community, and looks at whether they are heading for integration or insulation.

New Zealand’s small but active Muslim community points to a member of parliament, regular appearances on national television by community leaders, ready access to the Prime Minister and her cabinet, and joint statements with Jewish organizations as hallmarks of movement into the political mainstream. But a recent influx of Arab and African immigrants is creating tensions within New Zealand’s traditionally South Asian Muslim population. This changing ethnic makeup is causing some disagreement over members’ identity and assimilation, as well as concerns about preventing terrorist groups and Wahhabi ideology from gaining a toehold here. The community also faces other challenges )from hate crimes to job discrimination ) as it deals with its continued growth.

They correctly highlight the tensions between the traditional sources of Muslims – South Asia, and more recent migration from the Middle East and Africa. We have seen this play otu in just the last week with battles over the main Auckland mosque.

The Embassy also looks at the Wahhabi faction of Islam, and the internal politics within NZ:

In a meeting with ConOff, XXX2, president of [REDACTED], said FIANZ is essentially a Sunni establishment. X said Shias do not feel represented by the national organization. Although X claimed there are no tensions between FIANZ and the Shia community, X criticized FIANZ for not doing enough to educate New Zealanders about Islam.


Contrary to assertions by XXX1 (see ref A) that there are no extremists in New Zealand, XXX3 told Conoff that Wahhabi groups have “overtly tried to influence New Zealand’s Muslim society.” XXX3 said [REDACTED] has sponsored speakers from Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Haramain. XXX3 claimed these two groups receive Saudi money for their activities. [REDACTED]’s alleged drift towards or tolerance of Wahhabi ideology made it difficult for Shias and even some Sunnis to stay with the group, and so XXX3 and other disaffected members left to form [REDACTED].

And a warning:

Reftel A showed that the first large wave of Muslim immigrants from the 1960s through the 1980s had no choice but to interact with their non-Muslim neighbors, and was thus quickly initiated into traditional New Zealand life. They were largely English-speaking, educated service providers whose language abilities and job skills dovetailed with Kiwi society. However, since the 1990s, immigrants with limited language and educational backgrounds have come into an already established Muslim community with mosques, Halal meat butchers, and government services available in their native language. If not carefully managed, this could lead to the kind of insulation seen in some Muslim populations in Europe that can potentially serve as a breeding ground for homegrown extremists. While we don’t see extremism taking hold here yet, our GNZ counterparts and many Muslim leaders recognize the ingredients are there.

But the Embassy also followed domestic politics closely – not just the national race, but even electorate contests, as seen in this cable about the Auckland Central race in 2008:

The National Party is making a serious play for Auckland Central, an electorate that has been in nearly uninterrupted Labour control for almost a century. That a 28-year-old virtual unknown has a serious chance of ousting a Labour stalwart demonstrates just how vulnerable the Labour Party is in this election cycle.

That was their summary. And they profile the electorate:

The electorate is dominated by well-educated young adults. It has the lowest proportions of children and pensioners of any electorate in the country, but the highest proportion of people in their twenties. It is the third-wealthiest electorate in the country, but is socially liberal. It ranks last of all New Zealand electorates in the percentage of inhabitants identifying themselves as Christian, and first among those who ascribe to no religion at all. It has the country’s lowest share of married residents, but highest share of partners in non-marriage relationships. It has a higher ratio of single people than any other electorate.

And in this cable they look at the Chinese vote in NZ:

New Zealand’s Chinese can be divided between those with deep roots in the country and more recent arrivals. Members of the first group trace their ancestry to the market gardeners and Otago gold miners that arrived in New Zealand as far back as the mid-19th century. Their forebears suffered overt racism and often toiled in poverty on the margins of society.

4. (SBU) Members of this group to this day often keep a low political profile. While many enjoy a standard of living their grandparents could not have dreamed of, they often stay loyal to the Labour Party. They remember Labour as the social welfare party that was most ready to help the working class and as the most racially tolerant party. This loyalty is weakening as Chinese Kiwis grow wealthier and as the National Party leaves race-baiting in its past.

The 70% of Chinese who arrived in New Zealand after 1991 make up the second group.

So a 30/70 split between those with traditional loyalties to Labour and those who are more heterogenous in their voting.

Huo nonetheless remains Labour’s most important Chinese candidate. Despite not getting the nod to run in Botany, Huo was given a far higher place on the party list than Tawa. Indeed, Huo placed higher on the list than a number of veteran Labour MPs. In a meeting with the CG, Huo’s lack of partisan passion was notable. While paying lip service to Labour policies, his remarks suggested he was drawn into politics not to support a particular ideology, but because the Chinese community’s voice “was not being heard.”

A fascinating insight into the Labour MP.

Huo argued that National’s Wong “does not connect well” with most Chinese New Zealanders because she’s from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese rather than Mandarin. …

Also, like Huo, Wang told the CG that Wong is “not Chinese enough” and that Botany’s Chinese would prefer a Mandarin speaker like himself to a Cantonese speaker like Wong.

The importance of language!

Wong’s future

November 14th, 2010 at 8:20 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday reports:

The political future of Pansy Wong was looking dire last night as it emerged that her husband Sammy may have got taxpayer discounts for business travel after booking his trips through her office.

To be blunt, there is no political future. The only issue is a matter of timing. I can’t imagine Pansy will want to continue on as an MP after this, as her chances of returning to the Ministry are pretty non existent.

So really it is just a matter of whether she will retire at the next election as MP for Botany, or if she will resign before 27 May (triggering a by-election). Botany has an almost 11,000 vote majority, so there is likely to be considerable interest in the National nomination.

The Auckland Seats

November 12th, 2008 at 1:34 pm by David Farrar

Starting at the top, the three northern seats of East Coast Bays, North Shore and Northcote were solid blue. Their party votes went up 9%, 4% and 11% respectively.  In East Coast Bays almost three times as many people voted National as Labour. These seats now are counters to the South Auckland seats.

The personal majorities were 12,800, 13,200 and 8,500 respectively. Northcote was held by Labour up until 2005 and Jonathan Coleman this tme incraesed his majority by around 6,000.

Out west we saw the near impossible – National won the party vote in all three West Auckland seats. Tim Groser worked hard on New Lynn to lift the party vote by 10% to 41%, with Labour dropping 12%. Te Atatu went from 32% to 42% and Waitakere from 33% to 42%. Listing the vote 10% in Westieville was great work.

Paula Bennett’s win in Waitakere is all the more remarkable because of the new boundaries. They had her 6,000 votes behind in 2005 and she won by 900. Groser reduced Cunliffe to 3,500 from a paper majority of 12,000 – also one of the biggest swings! Finally Chris Carter dropped to 4,500 from 7,500.

In central Auckland we have Auckland Central. National lost the party vote by 12% in 2005 and won it by 5% this time. This seat has been held by Labour since 1919 (apart from once going further left to the Alliance), making Nikki Kaye’s 1,100 vote victory all the more remarkable.

Mt Roskill also just went to National on the party vote, and Goff’s majority went from 9,400 to 5,500 – still very safe. His leadership predecessor in Mt Albert won the party vote by 6%, and had a slight dent in the electorate majority from 11,400 to 8,700.

Epsom went from 58% to 63% for National on the party vote, with Labour falling to under 20%. Rodney Hide drives his majority from 2,000 to a staggering near 12,000. They liked his dancing. Tamaki also remains solid blue with another 60:20 split on the party vote. Allan Peachey saw his majority go from 10,300 to over 15,000.

Maungakiekie was another big mover. The party vote went from a 13% deficit to 45 lead. And Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga scored an 1,800 majority from an close to 7,000 majority to Labour previously. Sam is one of the most well liked guys in the National Party, and had one of the biggest teams in recent memory on the hustings. He had between 10 and 25 people door knocking both days every weekend.

Out East we have Pakuranga which was no surprise. It is another close to 60:20 seat. Maurice is very popular locally and scored a 13,000 majority.

Botany. This brand new seat got the second highest party vote in Auckland for National – 62%. Pansy Wong also got a 10,000 majority. ACT’s Kenneth Wang was in third place but got a respectable 4,500 votes.

Papakura. The party vote went 52% to 28% for National, and Judith Collins took a 6,800 paper majority and turned it into a 9,700 real one.

Finally we have the three M seats in South Auckland. Mangere, Manurewa and Manukau East. Mangere saw Labour’s party vote go from 73% to 61%. In Manurewa it was from 61% to 50% and Manukau East from 65% to 57%. But turnout was down also and in absolute terms, Labour went from 55,000 votes to 38,000 over the three seats.

Thankfully Labour’s Sio beat Taito Phillip Field by 11,300 to 4,700

Note the above comparisons are all to 2005 results adjusted to new boundaries. Also a more formal analysis will be done when we have final results.