Voter Apathy in Christchurch East

November 28th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by Jadis

John Armstrong’s column today highlights the extreme levels of apathy in the Christchurch East by-election.

Byelection? What byelection? With just a couple of days to go until the polling booths open in Christchurch East, one thing is for sure: apathy is the big winner so far. It is difficult to recall a by election that has received such scant attention.

Both National and Labour – which has held the seat since 1919 – have made a point of talking down their respective chances of victory.

In Labour’s case, it is easy to understand why. Christchurch East may be one of the poorest electorates in the country. The long-serving Lianne Dalziel, whose decision to contest the Christchurch mayoralty triggered the byelection, may have secured a solid 5,000-plus majority at the last election. The popular politician may have given a strong endorsement of her would-be Labour successor, Poto Williams.

It is no accident, however, that Williams’ campaign manager is none other than Jim Anderton. It is a measure of Labour’s nervousness that it has called on the experienced former Alliance leader to motivate the party’s volunteers who do the donkey work of electioneering.

Most of the country has no idea a by-election is under way.  And they don’t really need to.  It could be argued that Christchurch East is a seat only ever held by Labour so what is the point of ‘taking a look’ at what is going on there.  The truly startling fact is that Labour are doing so little to showcase Labour.  A lot of this comes down to the candidate.  Poto Williams is underwhelming at best.  Why else get long time campaigner Jim Anderton to lead her campaign and scurry behind Poto cleaning up what she’s said by adding a few more layers of intellectual thought and political spin.  Labour’s problem is so much of Christchurch East being a Labour territory was all about Lianne, not all about Labour.  Poto simply does not have the personality or roots that Lianne had.  Armstrong alludes to this:

Labour has reason to worry. First – and most astonishingly – National won the party vote in the seat in 2011 by a margin of more than 4,000 votes.

That outcome had a lot to do with the decline in support for Labour in successive general elections in what was previously “Fortress Christchurch” for the party.

A Labour victory may hinge on the nearly 3,200 voters who backed Dalziel with their electorate vote in 2011 but who gave their party vote to National doing the same favour for Williams at the expense of National’s candidate, Matthew Doocey.

But there are no guarantees of that happening. Quite the reverse.

While I think it is unlikely Doocey will win the by-election he has done a good, safe pair of hands job.  Yes, he is kind of boring and won’t set the world on fire but as the less favoured to win (remember a Nat have never won the electorate vote in Christchurch East) he is doing everything that needs to be done, he is plodding, shaking hands, kissing babies and looking after the Party vote for the Election proper.  A strong showing by Doocey leads to a good future for him. You see that is the point of it for the Nats – yes, it would be nice to get a surprise win but if it means they can blood someone new into that seat who can in the Election proper keep the Party vote solid then in an MMP environment that is gold.  It seems that the Nats have finally matured into MMP politics – putting solid and safe performers into Labour strongholds means two things. First, can cause a bit of bother to incumbent Labour MPs and second, can increase that all important Party vote.

The reality is that National has nothing to lose.  This by-election is no gauge of support of Government instead it is all on Labour to make sure they win.  And they are nervous.

National has wasted no opportunity downplaying its chances, mostly so it can claim a huge upset should Doocey win. If Labour holds the seat on Saturday night, Key will simply argue that was always going to be the case.

Labour has realised it has a scrap on its hands. The capacity of that party’s machine to prod likely Labour voters in the direction of the ballot box should ensure a Labour victory, though not a large one.

So if voter apathy continues and Labour can’t get enough of the vote out it will suggest there is something wrong with Labour’s machine.

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Jim Anderton on Q+A

June 24th, 2012 at 5:30 pm by David Farrar

Some words of wisdom from of all people Jim Anderton on Q+A:

Well, there’s no question climate change is the number-one issue facing the future of the world.  I don’t have any doubt about that, but you’ve also got to have the ‘glass half empty, glass half full’ thing.  I mean, our major emitter, methane gas, for example, is our agricultural community.  50% of all our emissions come from there, and this is a very important exporting-food nation, so we live by exporting food, and yet we’ve got a big problem with the method of doing it.  So we’re putting a lot of research into that.  We’re encouraging farmers, and farmers have stepped up to the plate too.  I get— As a townie, but former Minister of Agriculture, I get a bit tetchy with the green kind of approach to this – that all farmers are dirty farmers and all the rest of it.  They are not.  There are thousands of young farming families in New Zealand that are putting their best endeavours into making their streams on their farms fenced off and planted and making sure that their farms are in better shape environmentally than anything they inherited from their parents and grandparents.  And sometimes we have to celebrate that instead of bashing into them.  And when we get into the clean-energy thing, well, try and dam a river these days.

This is the contradiction the environmental movement has. They want more renewable energy, but they oppose all and any law changes to make it easy to consent renewable energy projects such as dams.

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Why don’t they buy it?

May 27th, 2012 at 12:47 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Several thousand people have gathered in Christchurch this afternoon to protest the demolition of the city’s Anglican cathedral.

The protest rally began in Cranmer Square and saw past and present civic leaders, MPs and other high profile Christchurch residents calling on the Anglican Church to immediately halt demolition work on the quake-damaged Cathedral.

The rally came on the day an opinion poll showed the fate of the Anglican cathedral has divided the region, with 54 per cent of those polled favouring demolition and 42 per cent calling for it to be saved.

Former MP Jim Anderton told the crowd that 100 engineers had confirmed the Cathedral could be saved and restoration should go ahead regardless of the cost. If the city could afford to spend money on a new rugby stadium it could afford to restore the city’s most iconic building.

Jim must have missed a key word. It is a “new” stadium. That is very different to trying to restore a building that is dangerous and unsafe. But hey, if Jim has some engineers who think it is fine, I’m all for sending Jim in with a hard hat.

But Jim doesn’t just want to risk other people’s lives restoring the cathedral, he also says that it must be restored regardless of the cost.

Well if each of the 5,000 people who marched contribute $20,000 each they can buy the Cathedral and do what they want with it.

I presume Saint Jim has set up a trust fund which he has made a large donation to, encouraging others to do the same, to pay for the Cathedral’s restoration. I mean, surely he isn’t saying he just wants other people to pay for it, and not him.

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Anderton v Electoral Commission

November 9th, 2011 at 3:53 pm by David Farrar

When I saw that the Electoral Commission had referred Jim Anderton to the Police, I remarked to a couple of people that I was sure he would have a fit and attack the Electoral Commission. I was right. The Herald reports:

Progressive leader Jim Anderton has launched an extraordinary attack on the Electoral Commission for referring him to police for a possible breach of the Electoral Act. …

But Mr Anderton, who was referred to police over election advertising before the 2008 election, said he had done nothing wrong.

Jim thinks he has never done anything wrong in his life. His valedictory was full of how he was right and everyone else had been wrong. If you ask him hig biggest mistake, he will be stumped for an answer.

“I’m authorised to send my constituents any message I damn well like. This is my electorate.

First of all don’t you like how he refers to them as possessions.

Secondly he was not writing to them in his capacity as an MP for parliamentary purposes. He was writing to them to tell them to vote for Megan Woods. Even the thickest of MPs should have learnt by now that telling people who to vote for is not a parliamentary purpose.

Thirdly, MPs are not above the law. He is not a King or a God. He is merely an MP. That doesn’t mean he can do anything he damn well likes.

His arrogance is the same as that which destroyed the Alliance. He demanded the party members surrender total control of the organisation to him, and effectively make him dictator. They refused, so he left.

“And if the Commission wants to start stopping electorate MPs from communicating with their electorate, they’d better get prepared for a breach of privilege complaint, because that’s what it amounts to.

Oh I so hope he tries that – it would be most amusing. In reality all he is trying to do is bully neutral public servants and have them exempt him from the law.

They are interfering with the regular work of an MP.”

It is not the regular work of an MP to write to voters and tell them who to vote for. That is the role of parties and candidates.

“They have a few things like rape and pillage going on around the country, and this is simply ridiculous to tie up senior members of the police force with this kind of garbage.”

In Jim’s world, electoral law breaches are not an offence. I suspect Labour agrees with him.

Mr Anderton said the letter was sent outside the regulated period under the Electoral Act, but the commission referred it to police on the basis that the letter was not properly authorised.

The regulated period has nothing to do with this. In fact, the law for around 20 years has been the same in terms of requiring authorisation.

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn comments:

Yesterday, I was willing to attribute Anderton’s crime to (unforgivable) ignorance. Today, its clear that its one of arrogance. And he needs to be held to account for it.

Dead right.

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Anderton referred to Police

November 8th, 2011 at 12:06 pm by David Farrar

Jim Anderton has been referred to the Police, for his letter to all voters in Wigram urging them to vote for Labour’s Megan Woods.

The Electoral Commission has ruled on a complaint from Cameron Slater that Jim Anderton is ineligible to be a promoter of a candidate advertisement, as he is a party leader. He did not register as a promoter, and someone involved in the administration of the affairs of a registered party is ineligible to be a unregistered promoter.

This could be quite a lot more serious that the normal referral for forgetting to put an authorisation statement on an advertisement. There are two reasons this is much more serious:

  1. Jim Anderton has done something he was not allowed to do under the law.
  2. This was not an obscure ad on Facebook or in a school newsletter, but a letter sent to every voter in the electorate

Sadly we will not know before the election the outcomes of any of the complaints to the Police. In what appears to be a fit of cowardice, it seems they have a policy that they will not decide on any prosecutions until after the election. This is massively wrong, and actually encourages law breaking.

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Jim should back bringing back the youth minimum wage

July 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Georgina Stylianou at Stuff reports:

Youth suicide rates will peak over the next two to four years because of “shockingly high youth unemployment rates”, a Christchurch MP says.

Progressive MP Jim Anderton said high suicide rates followed high unemployment “as sure as night follows day”.

In which case it is abhorrent that Jim Anderton won’t back restoring the youth minimum wage at a lower rate than the adult minimum wage.

If Jim really thinks the high youth unemployment will lead to more deaths, then he should have no compunction in voting for a measure which will stop young inexperienced job seekers from being priced out of the labour market.

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Anderton’s Dental Levy

June 23rd, 2011 at 6:48 am by David Farrar

Georgina Stylianou at The Press reports:

A levy should be put on sugary soft drinks to help fund free dental care for all New Zealanders, a Christchurch MP says.

Of course. Jim has yet to meet a problem that a levy can’t fix. So how big a levy does he want?

Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton has released a dental policy that he hopes the Labour Party will adopt as part of its health programme for this year’s election.

Cost and access were still the major hurdles to dental care for most people, Anderton said. “The cost of extending free dental care to all would be around $1 billion a year at current prices.”

We’ve got a multi-billion deficit, and not even that is enough to stop Jim proposing an extra billion dollars of expenditure.

He said funding could come from an ACC-type levy, a reduction in tax cuts or a levy on sugary soft drinks.

Surely Jim wants all three.

I wonder what his billion dollar dream would mean for soft drink prices. We have 1.5m households, so that is around $700 per household he wants, which is an extra $14 a week on their shopping bill. Can’t really see Labour adopting this one, as they try to campaign on cost of living. But I’d say the average household only spends less than $14 a week on soft drinks currently, so Jim’s proposal would be in fact to double the cost of all soft drinks. This will probably excite the Greens!

He supported fluoridation of all drinking water. He said children from affluent families in Christchurch had worse dental health than those from low socioeconomic families in South Auckland because Auckland has fluoride in its water.

I don’t know why anyone would not want their water fluoridated, but each to their own.

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Is wood the answer?

March 17th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Jim Anderton writes in The Press:

Wigram MP and Progressive Party leader JIM ANDERTON explains why he favours rebuilding Christchurch in wood.

‘Ridiculous” and “stupid” are how Richard Field, the Canterbury president of the Master Builders’ Federation, described my recent call to use wood as a primary construction material in the rebuilding of post- earthquake Christchurch. Setting aside the obvious question of why a building industry leader would dismiss wood in this way, the comments from Mr Field ignore mounting scientific and engineering evidence which shows that wood has the characteristics and qualities needed for a safe, modern city. As well as being safe, there are a host of other reasons why wood should form the mainstay of Christchurch’s building recovery – it is ecologically sound and sustainable, it is less expensive than many alternatives and it’s an attractive, iconic New Zealand product. There is another aspect too, and that is in the psychological recovery of the thousands of people who work in the inner city, many of whom now live in fear of working again in high-rise buildings. Those people need to feel secure, and wooden buildings, even up to six storeys high, can afford them that security.

I don’t know enough to say whether Anderton is right or wrong. I tend to think it is more likely the head of the Master Builders Federation will know what they are on about, but it would be interesting to hear reasons for why wood is or is not impractical.

Since 2007, research carried out under the guidance of Professor Andy Buchanan at the University of Canterbury has looked at the potential for commercial buildings to be constructed of wood as opposed to concrete and steel. That research was motivated in part by the Government’s wish to pursue policies towards greater sustainability; its rationale including that modern engineered wood products, along with advances in structural timber engineering and innovative design, positioned timber as a viable alternative to concrete and steel for multi-storey buildings. There are a number of other reasons to look at wood for major construction work. It is a renewable, low-energy resource.

I wonder what the cost differential is?

Another important element when it comes to safety is fire resistance. Strange as it may seem, large wood beams have excellent fire resistance because the slow rate of surface charring protects the wood inside the beams and columns. Fire safety is further increased by sprinkler systems, giving people time to evacuate buildings during an emergency.

Compare that with the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York during the 9/11 event, where the steel frame lost strength as a result of fire. That sort of collapse would be unlikely in a wooden building.

Any engineers with an opinion on this?

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Anderton’s anonymous donations

December 21st, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Jim Anderton is one of those who has railed against anonymous donations in politics. So The Press reports:

Big spending did not necessarily translate into success in October’s local body elections, figures show.

Mayor Bob Parker paid for most of his $60,281 campaign to win a second term, but nearly two-thirds of the $62,283 campaign run by his main rival, Wigram MP Jim Anderton, was from anonymous donations and contributions from two Christchurch Labour MPs.

Election expense claim forms obtained by The Press also showed that two new city councillors, Tim Carter and Jamie Gough, both spent more than $20,000, while several sitting councillors who were re-elected spent a fraction of that.

Others who spent a large sum failed to win a council seat. Former councillor Bob Shearing spent more than $15,000 in his bid to retain his Riccarton-Wigram seat, only to lose by 32 votes, while Sir Kerry Burke spent more than $15,000 for a Spreydon-Heathcote seat but was defeated by the two incumbents, who together spent just over half that.

In the US some candidates spent $150 million and lost massively. Spending money gets your message haerd, but doesn’t mean that it gets well received.

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Anderton fails MMP 101

November 27th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Jim Anderton has had an op ed published in the NZ Herald, which demonstrates a total ignorance of MMP. It is unbelievable that an MP could get the most basic things so totally wrong. The key aspect is:

But the most critical factor, crucial to victory, is the National-held “marginal seats”, many of which have been traditionally Labour-held seats. Their importance in any election result has been largely ignored. We only need to look to recent state and federal elections in Australia to see how important these seats are in determining the outcome.

Both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott spent what seemed like a disproportionate amount of their time in marginal seats. They knew only too well how important those seats were.

Marginal seats are oftetn pivotal to election victory and that’s where New Zealand’s election next year will be won or lost.

I might forgive a first year politics student for getting things so horribly wrong, but not an MP. Yes marginal seats are crucial in Australia – that is because they determine the election – whomever wins the most electorates wins.

But NZ has MMP. And apart from the occasional minor overhang, wining electorate seats does not gain you mroe overall seats in Parliament, as you get fewer list seats if you do. Your totla number of seats is determined by your share of the party vote.

Currently, the National-led coalition Government of four parties has 16 more seats in Parliament than the Labour-led opposition of three parties. How many more seats does Labour have to win to be in a position to form the next government by having more seats than National?

The answer is only nine seats – if the nine seats are won by Labour off National and Labour wins all its current seats.

In Labour’s favour, National has nine “marginal” seats which would be lost to Labour with a swing of less than 3 per cent.

Anderton is horribly wrong. so wrong, I don’t know whether it is stupidity or worse. If Labour won nine more electorate seats, then they would have nine fewer list seats.

What Labour need to win is to lift its party vote by 7%, not to win nine more electorate seats. Winning electorate seats is desirable, but Anderton fails POLS101 by making such moronic errors. And winning more party votes happens in all seats, not just nine marginal seats.

As far as the “party vote” is concerned, the clear evidence is that where a major party is picking up electorate seats from its opponent, it is also increasing its share of the party vote.

Actually it goes the other way around. If you increase your party vote in a seat, then the electorate vote tends to increase. But you need to increase your party vote in all seats.

If the party vote grew by 14% in the nine marginal seats, and stayed the same everywhere else, then the overall growth in the party vote would be around 2% only.

Anderton also makes some other errors, or over-states his case:

For example, Roy Morgan polls over the past six months show National and its support parties tracking downwards, with the latest (October 17) showing their support has dipped to 55 per cent from a high of 58.5 per cent in July. Meanwhile, Labour and its support parties have slowly but steadily tracked upwards – support now at 45 per cent compared to 41.61 per cent at the 2008 general election.

The 45% for the opposition includes NZ First who are not in Parliament and who have not made the threshold.

On that Roy Morgan poll Labour and the Greens would win only 51 seats out of 123 – which is fewer seats than they got in 2008.

More importantly, the confidence rating for the Government is down from a 72 per cent approval level late last year to the current 60.5 per cent. The disapproval rating over the same period has increased from 16.5 to 24 per cent.

Find me one other Government in the world with a confidence rating so high after two years in office. A net approval rating of +36% is staggeringly high.

Of course National can lose the next election. As they say a week can be a long time in politics. But Anderton’s op ed is literally garbage – it is a FPP analysis of an MMP election. If he was a student at university he’d get a F.

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Jim’s pretend party

October 12th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Sam Sachdeva in The Press reports:

Defeated Christchurch mayoral candidate and Wigram MP Jim Anderton will retire from Parliament next year.

Anderton lost to Bob Parker, who retained the mayoralty by a margin of more than 16,000 votes after the Canterbury earthquake. …

He acknowledged his retirement would mean the end of his Progressive Party “in an informal sense”.

There is no Progressive Party. Candidates Josie Pagan and Megan Woods have sought Labour nominations. The members have been encouraged to go to Labour, and there will be no Progressive candidates in 2011.

But Anderton maintains the myth that he is a party leader. Why? Well it means his salary goes from $131,000 to $144,500, and his parliamentary budget gets an extra $100,000.

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Jim’s latest excuse

October 10th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports Jim’s latest excuse:

Jim Anderton believes national politics had a big impact on his mayoralty campaign in Christchurch.

The Wigram MP came in almost 17,000 votes behind Bob Parker, who took more than 68,000 votes.

Mr Anderton says he’s almost certain there was a polarisation around party politics during the campaign and with Len Brown winning Auckland, it could have been seen as a seismic shift in national politics if he’d won as well.

So Jim lost because Len won.

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Never been so happy to lose $2,500

October 9th, 2010 at 1:47 pm by David Farrar

I just lost $2,500 on iPredict. I had purchased a massive amount of Anderton too win stock when he was 30% ahead in the polls.

I can honestly say I have never so happy to lose $2,500.

Bob Parker has won with around 68,000 to 51,000.

Mayor Parker made some mistakes in his first term. But his response to the earthquake has been excellent. It has been more than just talking to cameras as Anderton snidely put it. A natural disaster does not always help the incumbent – look at Hurricane Katrina and Bush.

I wonder if Anderton will persist, in his final year in Parliament, with the myth he is a party leader.

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Jim: I’m still right

October 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

An interesting insight in The Press:

Jim is incredibly determined when it comes to chasing up issues for people. He can also be incredibly stubborn – on several occasions, he re-affirmed his (mistaken, in my opinion) belief that he could have been mayor and MP, had it not been for the earthquake.

Of course he could have been both. He could have done them both “standing on his head”  if I recall his quote correctly. And remain a party leader also.

But it looks like Jim may have lots of time to stand on his head – the latest Press poll has him at 20%, 16% behind Parker.

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Parker in the lead

September 29th, 2010 at 5:11 pm by David Farrar

UMR have just released a poll on the Christchurch Mayoralty.

  • Bob Parker 55% (+27%)
  • Jim Anderton 41% (-19%)
  • 88% say Parker has handled earthquake well
  • 55% have positive impression of Parker (+20%)
  • 44% have positive impression of Anderton (-19%)

What I find interesting is not that Bob Parker has gone up, but that Anderton has had a 19% drop in his favourability. That should be unaffected.

I think two things have contributed to it. The first is his statement that he could do Mayor and MP standing on his head came back to haunt him. And the second is his snide comments about Parker. He couldn’t bring himself to say anything genuinely nice about the job Parker did, so he did a veiled insult – “Bob is very good at appearing on television” type statements. It looked (and was) cheap.

The only bad thing about the poll is it means we probably keep Jim as an MP for another year!

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The Press on Anderton

September 13th, 2010 at 12:40 pm by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

Anderton has been weakened, though, by his insistence until now that he would not quit Parliament if he won the mayoralty. He asserted that he could handle both jobs “standing on his head”. It was an assertion that did not go down well before the earthquake and has now been shown to be horribly overweening. Anderton belatedly recognised this with his announcement yesterday that he would in fact relinquish his parliamentary seat if he became mayor. But the concession was made slowly and reluctantly. He had dithered over it long enough for some voters at least to call into question his judgment and temperament for the job.

I’d forgotten that quote that he could do both jobs standing on his head. Anderton has never suffered from a lack of confidence.

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Anderton finally does the right thing

September 12th, 2010 at 3:59 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Christchurch mayoral candidate Jim Anderton will resign his Wigram seat if he wins next month’s election.

Anderton has just announced his new position at a press conference in Christchurch this afternoon.

Anderton has previously insisted he would stay on as an MP if elected Mayor. But he has come under pressure to change his position since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region last Saturday.

“The events of the last nine days have changed circumstances dramatically,” Anderton said.

I would say it exposes how flawed his original decision was.

I hope he does not change his mind after the election – if he wins. Maybe he should resign now, so there can be no doubt!

Anyway it is good that people in Christchurch can vote for whom they want as Mayor, knowing they will get someone who will be  a full time Mayor. The election should be about whether Parker or Anderton will be the better Mayor, not about whether Anderton would cling on to his parliamentary job also.

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Mixed messages re Anderton

September 10th, 2010 at 1:18 pm by David Farrar

Earlier today it looked like a glimpse of common sense from Jim Anderton. The Press reported:

Jim Anderton has praised Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker for his leadership since Saturday’s earthquake – and now says he would consider quitting Parliament if he wins the mayoralty because the southern city needs a full time mayor in the aftermath of the quake.

Anderton, Progressive Party leader and its sole MP, will stand for the Christchurch mayoralty in the October 9 election.

He has previously indicated he would stay on as MP for Wigram even if elected as mayor.

Today, he told Newstalk ZB he would consider leaving Parliament to be in Christchurch full time if he won.

Anderton said he was too busy helping people following the quake and would make the decision later.

You’d have to be a moron to think that one can be Mayor of Christchurch, and only be in Christchurch on Mondays and Fridays during the week. This is not a hard call to make. Anderton just needs to say his previous insistence he can do both was wrong, and if elected he will resign as an MP.

But Anderton has now backtracked from even saying he will think about it.

NZPA report:

Jim Anderton has denied saying he would consider quitting Parliament if he won the Christchurch mayoralty.

Mr Anderton, Progressive Party leader and its sole MP, is standing for the Christchurch mayoralty in the October 9 election.

He has previously indicated he would stay on as MP for Wigram even if elected as mayor.

But in comments broadcast by Newstalk ZB, he said he would consider leaving Parliament to be in Christchurch full-time if he won because the city would need a full-time mayor in the aftermath of the earthquake there.

This morning he told NZPA he never said that.

“I’ve made no such comment.

NewstalkZB should make the audio available online, to clarify.

“I’m concentrating on things that need to be done, there are urgent things here and survival of people and the terrible problems they’ve faced are our number one consideration, I haven’t thought about that and I’m not going to comment on it now.”

He hasn’t thought about it? Yeah Right!

An emotional Mr Anderton told NZPA he was concentrating on helping people and was appalled by stories about his possible mayoralty.

“You should come down here and then you’ll understand it. We’ve had 200 aftershocks and I’ve got people buildings all around me going down, I’ve got people in trauma, I’ve got people in my office crying their eyes out. Have you experienced any of that?”

Mr Anderton said the media were getting a bad reputation as “almost vultures” in Christchurch.

“Peering at people at their worst hours and all the rest of it, going on and on with cameras and microphones.”

He said he was working with the community and not thinking about other things.

There’s only one problem with Jim’s insistence that he is not at all thinking about the mayoral elections – his comments in The Press two days ago:

Parker said his head was not in the right place for next week’s scheduled Press mayoral debate, which has been cancelled.

His main challenger, Jim Anderton, wanted the event to go ahead, saying he did not want to see the elections cancelled or delayed.

“I think we have to be careful not to too easily suspend democratic processes,” he said.

So Jim wanted a mayoral debate to go ahead, yet is now saying he is just concentrating on helping people, and is appalled by stories about his mayoral bid. Really.

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Timaru Herald on Mayoralty

September 9th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Timaru Herald editorial says:

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker’s leadership has been flawless. His political arch rival Jim Anderton must feel like Cinderella stuck at home while the disaster ball is in full swing.

Certainly it would be hard to imagine Mr Anderton’s case for being a part-time mayor while he continued his MP duties now stacking up as a viable proposition.

It was questionable before the earthquake, and the disaster makes Mr Anderton’s position now look nonsensical.

It is the height of arrogance for Jim Anderton to continue with his insistence that the Mayoralty is a part-time job.

An MP is required to be in Wellington on house sitting weeks from Tuesday to Thursday. This would have a Mayor Anderton available Mondays and Fridays only during the week.

I know it is a bit unseemly to be politicking so soon after the quake, but the fact is that ballot papers go out next week. There are only a few days left for Jim Anderton to renounce his egotistical stance, and announce he will resign immediately as an MP, if he is elected Mayor.

Considering the Government is pouring the best part of $2 billion into the earthquake repairs, Anderton’s insistence he has to do both jobs to save the taxpayer $500,000 is laughable.

If Jim Anderton backs down, and announces he will resign immediately as an MP, if elected Mayor, then he will boost his chances considerably. If he continues to refuse to do so, then he will have no one but himself to blame if he loses.

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Think if the earthquake was in 2011?

September 6th, 2010 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A friend has just made a very good point to me,

Think if the Christchurch earthquake had happened in a year’s time.

If Jim Anderton wins the mayoralty, he will spend over a year being an MP (and a party leader) and a mayor. Thank about what this means.

If the earthquake had occurred during the week, the Mayor would probably be in Wellington attending Parliament. The “first citizen” would be missing in action, around a third of the time.

I think the earthquake reinforces that being Mayor is not a part-time job, that you can do along with two other jobs.

Jim Anderton should use this opportunity to change his position, and announce he will resign as an MP if he is elected Mayor. Christchurch needs a full-time Mayor in the months ahead.

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The cause of the earthquake has been identified

September 5th, 2010 at 4:12 pm by David Farrar

UPDATE: Seems the Herald got it wrong, and the reference to earthquakes by Anderton was about him leaving Labour.

The NZ Herald reports:

Christchurch mayoral aspirant Jim Anderton told CTV on Friday that it would take an earthquake for him to lose the election race against incumbent mayor Bob Parker.

So God just filed his vote early.

iPredict shows that Bob Parker’s chances of beating Anderton increased three-fold in the aftermath of the earthquake. So Jim may have got what he claimed was necessary for him to lose.

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The Press on Anderton

August 13th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A great editorial from The Press:

It is true that Anderton’s energy and work ethic are high and his well-organised electorate office could do the bulk of his constituency work. But his Wigram voters would surely expect their MP to be representing their interests in Parliament, playing the role of a vastly experienced politician in opposing the current Government and attending to the other duties of an MP, such as select committee work.

The more time he spent on his central government commitments, the less attention he could devote to Christchurch issues. And if Anderton’s stinging criticism of the present council is well- founded and his analysis of the city’s problems is correct then the mayoralty must certainly be a fulltime position. …

Jim – campaigning to be a part-time Mayor.

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Goff on MPs with second jobs

August 11th, 2010 at 7:23 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Mr Goff expected the byelection to be close.

He said Ms Laban’s new job was not something she could have delayed until the next election, nor could she have done it at the same time as being an MP.

So Phil Goff is saying that one can’t take up an academic appointment and be an MP, but his party is fully backing Jim Anderton in his desire to be a Mayor, an MP and a party leader?

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Jim’s role model

August 2nd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

news.com.au reports:

NICK LALICH, Labor MP for Cabramatta and mayor of Fairfield City Council, is one of State Parliament’s ”double dippers”.

When he was elected to Parliament in 2008 at a byelection he decided to keep his job as mayor and collect both salaries.

His parliamentary salary is $130,540 a year, his annual electoral allowance is $39,950, his logistical support allowance is $31,380 and he has a mail-out allowance of $65,384. Total pay and allowances: $267,254.

As mayor he receives $53,980, plus $20,320 as a councillor. He enjoys the full-time use of a council-supplied Ford sedan, and ratepayers pick up the tab for his petrol, registration, insurance and servicing. Total council remuneration: $74,300.

To sum up, as MP and mayor Lalich receives a total of $341,554 a year, which is more than the salary of Prime Minister Julia Gillard ($335,580).

Jim will leave his mentor for dead. His combined salary and expenses if he gets to triple dip may approach one million dollars.

I calculated here his annual parliamentary cost will be $690,000. The Mayor gets paid around $170,000 and one can easily imagine Jim will rake up expenses of $130,000 around his mayoral office. So I reckon Jim may end up costing taxpayers and ratepayers a combined $1 million if he wins.

Plus of course as a 72 year old, Jim is also getting his non means tested national super.

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Anderton wrong on by-election

July 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Anderton said it was “a fair call” on the dual roles of mayor and MP, but the self-confessed “workaholic” said he was more than capable of handling both jobs. “I was a Cabinet minister with seven portfolios and an MP  of course I can do both jobs.”

He said that if the Government called an early election next year, as he suspected, rules dictated a by-election could not be held six months out from a general election.

If he quit, that could leave Wigram constituents without representation for several months, he said.

For someone who has been an MP for 26 years, Jim Anderton doesn’t know much about the Electoral Act.

The rules do not dictate a by-election could not be held six months out from a general election. S131 of the Electoral Act merely allows a super-majority of 75% of the House to resolve not to have a by-election if it is within six months of the expiry of Parliament.

Anderton could pledge to resign if he is elected Mayor, and a new MP for Wigram could be in place before Christmas. Instead he is going to run up $500,000 of salaries and expenses.

Parker said the Progressive Party leader was paid $144,500, his party received $200,000, and staff and electorate office costs brought the total close to $500,000.

“Ironically, he has estimated the cost of a by-election as $600,000 to the taxpayer,” Parker said. “He seems to have split-vision on the value of democracy.”

Anderton said his party received no government funding, and all money went into running his electorate operations.

Again Anderton is being deceptive. His parliamentary party receives around$170,000 of taxpayer funding – and this is on top of his electorate operations.

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