Herald says Hutt South more likely to go to National

July 27th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A decision by Labour’s Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard to stand on the list only next election makes it more likely the seat will fall to National.

Mallard has had a strong personal following in the seat, having held it since 1993.

But in the 2014 election, National’s young candidate Chris Bishop reduced Mallard’s majority to just 709, from 4825 in 2011.

Mallard would also have picked up votes from local Green candidate and list MP at the time Holly Walker, who was retiring from politics.

The greater indication of where the seat could head in next year’s election in in the party vote: National overwhelmingly won the party vote with 17,648, well ahead of Labour on 10,903.

Even with the Greens added to Labour, National was ahead on the party vote by more than 2000.

Generally there are only two reasons an Electorate MP goes list only:

  1. They are a senior Minister and don’t have the time to carry on being an effective Electorate MP (Michael Cullen, Bill English)
  2. They think they are going to lose the seat (or the nomination) and want someone else to wear the loss

It will be quite extraordinary if National picks up electorate seats in 2017, going for their 4th term. Normally governing parties lose electorate seats at their 4th election. The history is:

  • 1946 Labour lost three seats
  • 1957 National lost six seats
  • 1969 National lost one seat
  • 1984 National lost 10 seats
  • 1999 National lost five seats (lost seven electorate, gained two list)
  • 2008 Labour lost six seats (lost ten electorate, gained four list)

So National potentially winning new electorate seats in 2017 is a big thing – it goes against all post WWII history.

Mallard pulls out of Hutt South

July 25th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Harman reports at Politik:

Long serving MP Trevor Mallatrd is to give up his Labour seat of Hutt South and stand for the list only at the next election.

He says he is doing this because Labour will nominate him as Speaker and he told them he had come to the view that it is very hard to be both an effective electorate MP and chair the house in an unbiased manner.

Or he knows he is highly likely to lose to Chris Bishop and can’t handle that possibility.

Lockwood Smith was an electorate MP and a very unbiased speaker.

Margaret Wilson was a List MP and a very biased speaker. I see no connection.

And he says the move will help the party with its process of renewal by bringing in a new MP.

That means that he is not expecting Leader Andrew Little  who does not have an electorate, to stand in the seat.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Annette King appeared to confirm this last night when she told POLITIK that she did not expect Mr Little to stand in any seat.

Despite his best efforts to find one!

But the move also opens the way for one of National’s young rising stars, Chris Bishop, to possibly win the seat.

Mallard only narrowly won the seat over Bishop at the last election nwith a majority of 709 but the aprty vote went National’s way by 17,648 to Labour’s 10,093.

However Mallard said last night that a large recent poll showing an 8% swing to Labour in the seat since the last election reinforced his view that the seat would  be held by Labour.

This would be like their other polls claiming National is behind Labour/Greens vote. Rarely believe a poll they won’t publish.

Mr Mallard said he had spoken to Party President Nigel Haworth and Leader Andrew Little about his decision and he was confident he would be put in a “winnable” position on the list.

Labour may only get one or two List MPs. Would Mallard be ranked higher than Ardern?

Mallard is currently an Assistant Speaker in Parliament and has been amkimng it clear that he would like the top job if Labour got back into power.

He was a controversial choice though, given his reputation as something of Parliamentary bad boy who had often been thrown out of the Chamber and once punched National MP, Tau Henare in one of the Debating Chamber lobbies over remarks Henare made about Mallard’s private liufe.

But when he was nominated for Assistant Speaker, Gerry Brownlee few MPs knew Parliament’s rules like Mallard did, saying: “He is at heart a true Parliamentarian.”

I’ve not heard any complaints about Trevor as Assistant Speaker and he is partly responsible for some very beneficial changes to Standing Orders such as extended sittings instead of urgency.

Dom Post asks whether Bishop will beat Mallard

July 11th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Prime Minister John Key visited Wainuiomata  recently to open an office for  National List  MP  Chris Bishop. 

The Hutt South electorate has never been held by National, nor were the electorates of Pencarrow or Petone that preceded it before MMP.

But the seat could turn blue after the next election, Key told the crowd assembled for the opening.  

He  said Bishop was a “hugely talented” young MP who ran a strong campaign against incumbent MP Trevor Mallard at the last election.

“Chris is the face of the future,” Key said. 

Wainuiomata was famous for three things, Key said.  Its “sensational” rugby league team, its “really, really good” golf course, and for being where Tony Abbott’s in-laws came from.

He joked that Bishop could accidentally end up becoming Australia’s next Prime Minister if he took another trip across the Tasman with “the way things are going”.

Bishop said National hadn’t committed enough to Wainuiomata in the past but that was changing.

“This is a great part of the Hutt Valley and it has a big future. I personally feel we don’t do enough to sell the benefits of Wainuiomata.”

He acknowledged the need for a mall upgrade and a local retirement village were challenges the area was facing.

Lower Hutt mayor and Wainuiomata local Ray Wallace said it was the first time he had ever known National to have an office in his hometown.

Bishop had been great to work with as an MP.

“I’ve got to say before the election, a lot of us said ‘Chris Bishop, who is this guy?’ But two years in and my nickname for him is ‘the everywhere man’,”  Wallace said.

High praise from the local Mayor.

I am not sure I can recall a more active local MP than Chris Bishop. Every week his newsletter is full of the numerous activities he is doing around the electorate ranging from lobbying the Council on parking, to setting up youth awards, promoting businesses, supporting community groups etc.

Former Labour MP for Hutt endorses Bishop over Mallard

March 24th, 2016 at 11:58 am by David Farrar


This is an extraordinary letter. John Terris was the Labour MP for Western Hutt for four terms – 1978 to 1990. He was also Mayor of Lower Hutt from 1995 to 2004.

His key paragraph is:

Despite old allegiances, I would vote for him (Bishop) at the next election because we need a new face and new ideas, not an old attack dog with no teeth.

Bishop, despite being a List MP, has done an amazing amount in the Hutt in the last year. He’s set up awards, supported local businesses and community groups, taken issues to the Council, and done more as a List MP than many electorate MPs do.

He deserves to become the MP for Hutt South and I am confident he will do so.

Walker won’t endorse Mallard

September 19th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard wrote yesterday:

Key has confirmed Hutt South is close race. I’m lucky that Holly Walker has said she only wants party vote. I’m asking green supporters to vote tactically and support me to stop National winning electorate.

Today Holly Walker responded:

To the lovely voters of Hutt South. Thanks for supporting me these three years. I’m stepping down for now, so even though my name’s on the ballot, I don’t want your candidate vote. It could be close, so make sure a vote for me doesn’t get in the way of your preferred local MP.

This is very different to many other seats when the Green candidate is openly encouraging people to vote for the Labour candidate.

Mallard v Bishop

September 5th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

“Nervous.” Trevor Mallard’s response about his chances of holding on to Hutt South seems odd, considering he has held the seat for 21 years.

But boundary changes this year could swing as many as 2500 votes from red to blue. The seat now covers all of the Western Hills, formerly in Peter Dunne’s Ohariu seat, and loses Labour-leaning suburb Naenae.

Throw in National candidate Chris Bishop, highly regarded by his party, and a few high-profile visits to the electorate by John Key and Steven Joyce, and the contest heats up.

If Chris Bishop does win the seat, I suspect David Cunliffe may send him a bouquet of flowers!

Bishop selected for Hutt South

May 22nd, 2014 at 10:29 am by David Farrar

Normally Labour held seats only get one or two people sticking their hand up to be the National Party candidate. But unusually five candidates contested the nomination for Hutt South, and Chris Bishop got selected last night. Great to see so many people keen to take Trevor Mallard on. The new boundaries mean the seat is not as safe Labour as it used to be, and a strong campaign could do very well there.

I’ve known Chris for the best part of a decade. One of the funniest brightest people I know, and he is one of New Zealand’s top debaters. He does or has spent a huge amount of time organising and coaching school debating tournaments and teams.

I’m looking forward to Meet the Candidate meetings with Trevor, Chris and Holly Walker. I recommend people who like a good debate go along.

Chris won the selection despite a Dominion Post editorial urging National not to select him. That was because, like Todd Barclay, Chris spent a couple of years as a regulatory and public affairs manager for Philips Morris. How dare National select two former tobacco lobbyists!

Well the answer is they got selected despite their former jobs, not because of them. Unless you’re George Clooney, it’s not the most popular job around. Fair enough.

But I’d make two points. The first is that National’s policies and decisions on tobacco issues have been almost everything the anti-tobacco lobbyists have been asking for. Excise tax has been hiked 50% over five budgets. An official goal of getting smoking to under 5% of NZ in the next decade was agreed to and being resourced. And the Government has agreed to plain packaging of tobacco products (subject to the WTO not ruling it illegal). I actually think the Government has gone too far (I’d trial plain packaging to see if it actually is effective), so any suggestion they are soft on tobacco is silly.

The second point is that Governments make decisions that impact companies in many industries. And every company deserves to have its voice heard on those policies. Some seem to think that tobacco companies should not be allowed to advocate on policies that affect them. I disagree. And judging someone on the basis it was their job to advocate for a tobacco company, seems akin to judging someone because they are a defence lawyer who represents undesirable clients. Everyone deserves a voice.

Anyway congrats again to Chris for winning a hotly contested selection, and commiserations to the other four who missed out. Hutt South is going to be a very interesting seat to watch.

Bishop announces for Hutt South

April 17th, 2014 at 12:21 pm by Jadis

Nice to see a local lad going for the National Party nomination in Hutt South.  Chris Bishop has been around the Party for many years, is a very strong debater and will give Mallard a run for his money.

I’m putting my name forward to be the National Party’s candidate for Hutt South as I believe the electorate needs a fresh face in Parliament and a strong voice in Government.

Lower Hutt is my home. I was born in Lower Hutt Hospital in 1983 and attended Eastern Hutt School and Hutt Intermediate. I played cricket on the Strand in summer, rugby on the Hutt Rec in winter, and waterpolo in Naenae Pool.

Those of us from the Hutt know what a great place it is. It’s a fantastic place to bring up a family, to work in, and to have fun in. Lower Hutt is full of friendly, creative, hard-working people who are proud of where they live. It’s my community, and I’m passionate about making the Hutt even better.


He’s got a pretty tidy CV for his age and thankfully a mix of Wellington and real world work experience – especially for his age.   He is of course a Senior Adviser to Joyce.  A role he will need to step down from through the selection process.

I work as a Senior Advisor to Steven Joyce at Parliament, helping him implement the National government’s programme to lift our economic growth and deliver better public services for Kiwis. From 2008-11, I worked in a similar role for Gerry Brownlee.

Between 2011 and 2013 I spent two years living and working in Auckland as a Corporate Affairs Manager for a large international corporate. I learned a lot, very quickly, about what makes business tick. I believe it is important MPs understand not just Wellington and government – but also how government decisions affect business and economic growth. My time in the private sector has given me that knowledge.

I have a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University. While at Victoria I was elected to the University Council, tutored law, and was President of the Debating Society, winning three NZ University Blues. I’ve won 10 intervarsity debating tournaments, including at the Cambridge Union and the Sydney Union, and I was twice ranked as one of the top 10 debaters in the Asia Pacific. I’ve also won awards for mooting (legal arguing) and oratory.

I’m an active contributor to the community and have served on a range of charitable organisations in Wellington and overseas. From 2008-12, I was President of the NZ Schools’ Debating Council, a charity which organises debating in secondary schools in New Zealand. I’ve adjudicated hundreds of school debates around New Zealand and also overseas. In 2006 I was named Young Wellingtonian of the Year.

I didn’t know that Chris had been Young Wellingtonian of the Year.  

Of course, Chris still has to win the nomination and with today’s announcements about boundary changes there may be some competition for the Hutt South nomination. 

Little for New Plymouth?

March 15th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Taranaki Daily News reports:

Labour Party top-dog Andrew Little could step forward for a tilt at the New Plymouth electorate seat in next year’s national elections.

Mr Little, the party’s president and touted by many as a future Labour leader and prime minister, has refused to rule out the possibility.

“It’s certainly no secret I want to get into Parliament next year,” he told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

“As to how I do that, or where, I’ve made no decisions.”

He said he hopes to have made a decision within the next two or three months and wouldn’t rule out running in New Plymouth.

This is no surprise. The fact that Labour did not open nominations for New Plymouth at the same time as the other seats they lost, was obviously to keep options open for their President.

Andrew can of course just place himself at No 3 on the list, and be assured of entering Parliament that way. However a seat is almost a pre-requisite to becoming leader.

The city electorate is often viewed as a swing seat come election time and in 2008 National candidate Jonathan Young squeaked in past Labour’s 15-year encumbent MP Harry Duynhoven, with the tightest margin in the country – just 105 votes.

Mr Little has strong personal and family links to New Plymouth, having grown up here.

It was a very tight contest between Young and Duynhoven, but that is not the same thing as being a marginal seat between National and Labour.

While the electorate vote margin was only 0.2%, the party vote margin was a whopping 19.1%. Now nationwide the party vote margin was 11%, so 19% is a huge amount.

Harry Duynhoven had 13% of National voters, voting for him as the candidate. Will Andrew Little attract 13% of National voters?

It is a difficult decision for Andrew. His four main options are:

  1. Stand for Rongotai, with Annette King going list only, allowing Annette to retire easily if Labour lose in 2011.
  2. Stand for Hutt South if Trevor decides to retire in 2011 to become a full time blogger
  3. Stand for New Plymouth.
  4. Stand list only

No 1 is what I would go for if I was Andrew. There are rumours that Darren Hughes may seek that nomination though, and Annette is very good mates with Darren and would probably support him. It is also possible Annette will want to keep her seat, as many would see her going lost only as an indication she is not confident they will win the election.

No 2 depends on whether and when Trevor makes a judgement call that Labour are unlikely to win in 2011. He has said he doesn’t want another term of opposition. But I think Trevor still thinks the Government is on the verge of collapsing and is looking pretty comfortable where he is.

No 3 is Andrew’s for the taking. But the big negative is that he may lose, and lose big – which would not help him with his leadership aspirations.

No 4 is the default fall back option. As President, he would receive a massively high rating. But no one has yet become Prime Minister without not just a seat, but in fact a safe seat,

Little for President then Parliament

December 1st, 2008 at 9:10 am by David Farrar

The National Secretary of that independent third party, the EPMU, is set to become Labour Party President, and then a Labour MP no later than 2011.

Personally I think this is a good move for Labour. Andrew Little will bring a proven organisational track record to the job, and will also be a very good MP for them. In fact if Labour lose in 2011 he could rise to a leadership position very very quickly.

It’s almost a pity the Electoral Finance Act will be just a bad memory by 2011, as we won’t get to see Andrew argue that he can be the Labour Party President and the National Secretary of the EPMU, yet the EPMU would still be eligible for third party status.

The challenge is to find a seat for Andrew. Andrew is far too smart to rely on being a List MP. Before Annette King became Deputy Leader, I would have said Rongotai. That may still happen. Annette will be 64 at the next election and could step down as Deputy in late 2010, having helped stabilise the Opposition.

If not Rongotai, then Hutt South is the logical other choice. Now Mallard will choose the timing of his own departure but he entered Parliament in 1984, and it is not impossible he’ll retire in 2011 unless Labour are looking to have a good chance of winning. Even if they do win though, Mallard will not be guaranteed to be a Minister with all the ambitious new MPs wanting promotion. He may also be too associated with the Clark era.

Hipkins and Robertson won’t be giving up their seats, and Ohariu will favour National if Dunne retires. Mana is a dark horse possibility for Little. Winnie Laban is a lovely person, but not well suited to Opposition. Will she want to do six or more years in Opposition, with no guarantee of a Ministerial role when they do make it back? Labour now has several Pacific Island MPs.

The other item of interest is who will suceed Little at EPMU in three years? Will it be a moderate like Andrew or is there an opportunity for a more radical leader?

The Lower North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 4:32 am by David Farrar

Whanganui had a 3% lead in the party vote in 2005, and this expanded out to 22% in 2008. And the 3,500 majority for Borrows goes to 6,000.

Rangitikei sees a 25% lead in the party vote and Simon Power moves his majority from 9,000 to 11,000.

Tukituki has an 18% lead in the party vote, and a 2,600 majority for Craig Foss gets a boost thanks to Labour’s sacking of the local District Health Board to over 7,000.

Palmerston North has been held by Labour since 1978. The party vote was narrowly won by National but Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway held off Malcolm Plimmer by 1,000 votes.

Wairarapa has National 17% ahead on the party vote. And John Hayes turns the seat safe with a 2,900 majority converting to 6,300 in 2008.

Otaki was a huge battle. I’ve door knocked Otaki in the past and it is not natural National territory in the Horowhenua parts. So winning the party vote by 8% is good for National after trailling by 3% last time. Darren Hughes put up a huge fight to protect his sub 400 majority but Nathan Guy grabbed the seat by almost 1,500.

In Wellington, Labour does a lot better starting with Mana. Labour remains 6% ahead on the party vote but reduced from 18% in 2005. Winnie Laban’s 6,800 majority shrinks only slightly to 5.300.

Rimutaka was the last hope for NZ First. Labour won the party vote there in 2005 by 11% and in 2008 by 0.3%. On the electorate vote just as narrow with Labour’s Chris Hipkins pipping Richard Whiteside by 600 votes. Ron Mark got a credible 5,000 votes but stll trailed by 7,000.

Hutt South is home to Wainuiomata and Trevor Mallard. Trevor delivered a party vote margin for Labour of 4% and a 3,600 majority for himself. In 2005 the party vote margin was 14% and the personal majority 6,600 so some movement there.

Rongotai is now the home of the Labour Deputy Leader. But even before her ascension, Rongotai gave Labour a massive 11% margin on the party vote – 43% to 32% for National. And her personal 13,000 majority in 2005 was only slightly dented to just under 8,000. If that is her low tide mark, she’ll be happy.

Wellington Central saw in 2005 a party vote for National of just 33%, Labour 43% and Greens around 16%. In 2008 it was National 36%, Labour 34% and Greens around 20%. Marian Hobbs had a 5,800 majority and Stephen Franks cut that to 1,500 against new MP Grant Robertson with some Green party votes giving Robertson their electorate vote to keep Franks out.

Ohariu was assumed by almost everyone to be safe as houses for Peter Dunne. But it got close this time. First on the party vote, National beat Labour 43% to 40% in 2005. This time it was 47% to 33%. On the candidate vote Peter Dunne dropped from 45% to 33% making him vulnerable. National’s Katrina Shanks lifted her vote from 21% to 26% and Labour’s Charles Chauvel from 26% to 30%. The Greens candidate got 7% of the vote and may have ironically saved the seat for Dunne.

Hutt Local Bodies

October 8th, 2008 at 8:53 am by David Farrar

Hutt News has an article on whether the local candidates support local body amalgamation.

I am an advocate of amalgamation. It does not have to mean less local control, because the best models overseas strengthen the role of community boards with regards to making decisions solely affecting their local community – but allows one regional body to run services across the region.

Sadly all the local candidates have said they do not support any amalgamations. But there was one candidate at least prepared to question the status quo:

The sitting Hutt South MP admits he “sometimes wonders” why the Hutt and Upper Hutt councils remain separate.  “It doesn’t seem that logical to me.”

That is because it isn’t.

But they’re steadily increasing the number of issues they co-operate on anyway, and restructuring can sometimes involve so much “fighting, expense and uncertainty” it’s not worth it.

He notes that constituents don’t come to his electorate clinics clamouring for the two councils to amalgamate.

I give Trevor some marks for at least questioning the status quo, even though in the end he backs it.

Hutt South Billboard

July 29th, 2008 at 1:29 pm by David Farrar

Sent in by a reader. Would make a great billboard in real life!

Paul Quinn wins in Hutt South

April 4th, 2008 at 9:01 pm by David Farrar

Congratulations to Paul Quinn, who has won the Hutt South nomination for National.

Paul will be a strong contender (but amongst many) for the List also.

Paul is an experienced company director and principal of his own strategic planning and commercial advisory services company.

He is most well known probably as a former Captain of the NZ Maori and Wellington rugby teams. Paul is also a current board member of the NZ Rugby Football Union.