Mana claims they have a secret deal with Labour in Te Tai Tokerau

July 31st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.


Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.


Internet Mana is an unusual political beast, but whether you think it’s a roadshow or sideshow – it’s Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.


His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.


“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

Labour of course are denying it, but maybe someone who lives in Northland could comment on whether there are any or many billboards up for Kelvin Davis?

Even the Socialists are beating Labour up on immigration

June 12th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tom Peters at World Socialist writes:

Over the past month, New Zealand’s main opposition Labour Party, the Greens, the Maori nationalist Mana Party and the right-wing NZ First Party, have intensified their xenophobic campaign to restrict immigration, particularly from China and other Asian countries. The parties are seeking to make this a central issue in the lead-up to the September election.

Labour, which lost the 2011 election by a landslide, is floundering in the polls and widely seen as no different to the conservative National Party government. Since National was first elected in 2008 it has implemented a series of brutal austerity measures to impose the global economic crisis on working people, leading to soaring living costs and increasing poverty and inequality. Labour essentially agrees with the government’s attacks—including thousands of public sector job cuts, health and education cuts, and an increase in the regressive Goods and Services Tax.

Now Labour and its allies are whipping up hostility to immigrants, blaming them for the deepening crisis, particularly the soaring cost of housing. 

So the Socialists and the Greens are both attacking Labour for their attempt to blame house prices on immigrants.

They also attack Mana:

Depicting Chinese immigrants as a new colonising force, intent on dominating NZ’s economy, provides the rationale to support the US build-up to war against China, or else take a neutral position. At the same time, the campaign reflects the material interests of layers of big business and the petty bourgeoisie, including the Maori elite represented by Mana, who see foreign investors as rivals.

Mana’s statements are further proof that there is nothing remotely progressive about the party, which uses national chauvinism and racial identity politics to divide the working class and block any challenge to the capitalist system.

I think Mana gave up being progressive when they took the $3 million from Mr Dotcom.

Herald on Mana Dotcom plans

March 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald editorial:

That scenario was confirmed yesterday by Mr Harawira’s press secretary, who said the two parties would not merge but would share a list. The outcome, said Jevan Goulter on Facebook, could be two or three Mana MPs, “and we remain our own party”. It is almost superfluous to say that this would represent a new low in the defilement of MMP.

Two parties with little in common aside from an antipathy to John Key and covert surveillance would be guilty of a new level of cynicism based solely on mutual benefit. For Mana, there would be the prospect of boosted funding and a higher profile during the election campaign; for the Internet Party, a representation in Parliament that it could never achieve on its own.

One has to be careful about gaming the system too much. For example over the years several have suggested National split into two parties – one that stands list only and one electorate only, wit the outcome being National gets an overhang of around 40 seats and Government. But that has never been seriously contemplated as voters would backlash against such a manipulation.

The basic incompatibility of the two has been enunciated by Sue Bradford, the former Green MP who joined Mana in 2011 on the basis that it stood for self-determination and for all people on low or no incomes. She said she found it astonishing that the idea was even being considered. What Kim Dotcom stood for, said Ms Bradford, was “the antithesis of what Mana is about to me”. In her view, some people within Mana were looking for a shortcut to build the party, “but there aren’t any shortcuts to building a credible party or movement”.

Maybe if Hone turned up to Parliament more often, they’d get more publicity and profile?

Bradford against Mana Dotcom deal

March 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Now Hone’s proposed deal with the German multi-millionaire has been exposed, some in his party are wary. The Herald reports:

Mana member and former MP Sue Bradford is worried at the prospect of any deal with Mr Dotcom’s internet Party, which has yet to be launched.

“I would be extremely concerned if Mana was to go into any arrangement with Kim Dotcom because what I think he stands for is the anti-thesis of what Mana is about to me,” she told the Herald last night.

Indeed, normally you’d expect Mana and UNITE to picket him for being a bad employer. But Hone wants his money it seems.

“In any way joining forces with a billionaire who is very likely a fraudster and under various legal challenges would really go against the kaupapa that I believe in.”

She said there had also been concerns about the poor payment or no payment of staff and poor payment or low payment of creditors.

“All this does not really one to think he is a person of credibility that a political party with mana in Aotearoa would want to be associated with.”

Well done Sue Bradford on staying true to her principles. She’s not in favour of selling out.

Labour’s Shane Jones said he visited the mansion late last year. But the discussion was limited to rap-music – and he had told leader David Cunliffe about the visit.

Rap music? Yeah, right. Are they any Labour MPs that haven’t visited Dotcom? If Shane Jones has been there, I presume every Labour MP has been invited at some stage. Maybe media can ask them all who has been?

It does make you wonder again if Dotcom is one of the secret donors to Cunliffe’s secret trust?

More Mana transparency issues

June 5th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

A Mana Party candidate who kept $12,000 that had been given for his cancer treatment says he was unable to give the money back.

Unable? Not normally a hard thing to do.

Mr Nikora was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago and his community raised between $30,000 and $40,000 for private treatment.

When the Auckland District Health Board did the operation free of charge, he said he would give the money to charities and the community.

Maori current affairs show Native Affairs asked Mr Nikora this week whether he had returned all of the money, and he confirmed that he had kept $12,000 which had been raised for him in an art auction.

“They wouldn’t let me give that money back,” he said.

Asked whether he felt it was right to keep it, he said: “Yes. My whanau gave it to me. We have to think of this in not so much a money way but in a Maori way.”

There’s two issues here. The first is the decision not to donate all the money to charity. The second is the decision not to be upfront about it.

I have no issues with someone who was the beneficiary of fundraising keeping the funds, if they wish to – and the donors are happy with it. But one should be upfront about that, and not claim you have donated all the money to charity when you haven’t.

Mr Nikora has said in previous interviews that he redistributed all of the money given for his treatment.

And that is the issue.

Thanks to Mana, we have asset sales

April 3rd, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Readers will be aware that the majority for asset sales is 61-60 in the House. A one seat difference means they would not proceed.

I had previously pointed out that if Labour won Te Tai Tonga, then the Maori Party would have four seats, and on asset sales the House would be tied 61-61. So that was an own goal to Labour.

But also an own goal  from Hone Harawira and Mana. If Mana had got say 0.3% rather than 1.1%, then Harawira’s seat would be an over-hang also, and again the House would be tied 61-61 as Labour would get an additional list seat.

Getting 1.1% was the worst possible result for Mana. If they had got 1.2% then they would have gained a second seat. But failing that, they would have been better to get under 0.4% and be an overhang seat.


Why there might be a low turnout in Mana

November 19th, 2011 at 3:44 pm by David Farrar

This billboard is up on display in Mana. It is not photoshopped.

Mana’s inflation policy

October 31st, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I guess economic literacy is not high on Mana’s wishlist.  They say:

Immediately increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour (1 April 2012) and peg it at two-thirds of the average wage (1 April 2013).

I guess someone has to outbid Labour/Greens who think higher wages come from legislation rather than economic growth. But Mana’s policy is even more stupid than the norm. Think about their pegging it to two thirds of the average wage.

In June 2011, it was $24.78, so two thirds is $16.52. So Mana’s policy is it should be illegal for a 16 year old to be hired for less than $34,500 a year.

But their policy will lead to never-ending increases, as if you increase the minimum wage, then you automatically increase the average wage. So even if there was nil wage growth for everyone else, the minimum wage would be going up.

If their policy was to peg it to the median wage, then it would just be moderately stupid rather than idiotically stupid.

I don’t know why parties of the left bother with all this in between crap. Why don’t they just come out and announce a minimum wage of $25/hr?

Trotter on Mana

October 11th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Trotter blogs:

For a while there it looked as though the Mana Party just might turn into something worthwhile – a second chance for all those who were dismayed to see the Alliance crash and burn over Afghanistan back in 2001-2002.

But, no. Mana’s announcement that Kereama Pene, a minister of the Ratana Church, is to contest the Tamaki Makaurau seat has put an end to all that.
Mr Pene is a flamboyant character who has, at one time or another, been a supporter of the Mana Motuhake, Labour, Destiny and Maori parties. He is also on record as saying the Prime Minister, John Key, is “ a person who should be admired”.
Not content with singing the Prime Minister’s praises, Mr Pene has also publicly declared that: “National is actually the group that have done most of the great things for Maoridom over the past 20 years.” Identifying (erroneously) the Treaty Settlements Process, the Waitangi Tribunal and the Kohanga Reo Movement as National Party achievements, Mana’s Tamaki Makaurau candidate told the NZ Herald: “You’ve got to give praise where its due.”
These statements show Mr Pene to be, at best, a dangerously naive political novice, or, at worst, a ticking time-bomb, guaranteed to explode at the worst possible moment. His remarks have deeply compromised the Mana Party at a time when political journalists are already discussing its lack of momentum, and its failure to capitalise on Leader Hone Harawira’s success in retaining the Te Tai Tokerau seat. …
Too late now. Mr Pene’s selection is proof positive that not only is Mana’s talent pool woefully shallow – so, too, is its political judgement.
I almost hope that Mana gets more than one MP into Parliament so we can see them start to infight.

Mana candidate praises Key

October 10th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Well Hone’s party is certainly turning out to be a diverse one. Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

The Mana Party’s new candidate for Tamaki Makaurau is a Ratana Church minister who once praised Prime Minister John Key as “a person who should be admired” – and still thinks Mr Key has done a good job.

Kereama Pene was confirmed as Mana’s candidate in the Tamaki Makaurau seat currently held by the Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

Last year, while welcoming Labour leader Phil Goff to the annual Ratana celebrations, Mr Pene praised Mr Key as “a brilliant speaker” and “a person who should be admired”.

Yesterday, Mr Pene said he stood by his comments about the PM.

“We’re in a recession right now, and I’ve got to think like the rest of the country that he has done a pretty good job.”

But it isn’t just John Key he praises.

Asked what Mana leader Hone Harawira would think of his view, given that he had walked away from the Maori Party because of his dislike of National, Mr Pene said: “National is actually the group that have done most of the great things for Maoridom over the last 20 years. You’ve got to give praise where it’s due.”

He said the Treaty settlements process, the Waitangi Tribunal and kohanga reo were all implemented under National.

All true.

Te Tai Tokerau

October 1st, 2011 at 10:32 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A poll of Maori voters indicates Mana Party leader Hone Harawira (below) could face a challenge in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate seat.

The full results of the nationwide TVNZ Marae Investigates DigiPoll survey of 1000 voters will be released this morning.

In results released to the Weekend Herald of 93 Te Tai Tokerau voters polled, 30 per cent said they would vote for Labour candidate Kelvin Davis, compared with 28.6 per cent for Mr Harawira.

About 22 per cent said they would vote for Maori Party candidate Waihoroi Shortland.

The first thing to note is 93 voters is very small for a poll. I don’t like samples under 300. At 93 the margin of error is 10.4%, so a gap of 1.4% between the candidates is not statistically significant. In fact it is only 57% probable that Davis is ahead.

Also worth noting that a poll before the by-election showed Hone leading by just 1% and in fact he won by around 8% or so. That poll was from a different company, but is another reason to be cautious of reading too much into this poll.

Mana selections

September 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Former Greens MP Sue Bradford today confirmed she will stand for the Mana Party in the Auckland electorate of Waitakere against Social Development Minister and sitting National MP Paula Bennett.

That is great news for Paula, as Bradford will split the left vote with Carmel Sepuloni.

Meanwhile, Maori broadcaster Willie Jackson has decided not to stand for Mana in Tamaki Makaurau against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

And that is good news for Sharples. I think the risk of him losing was much greater if Jackson stood as Jackson would be competing with Sharples for votes.

He was also concerned he would split the vote in Tamaki Makaurau and enable Labour candidate Shane Jones to win the Maori seat.

And Willie knows Shane is the most right wing Maori MP in Parliament (after Jami-Lee Ross).

Mana’s Marxism

August 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

From Q+A interview with Mana candidate John Minto:

GUYON         OK, let’s talk about some of those economic ideas that you did raise in my first question.  You want a maximum wage of 10 times the minimum wage – minimum wage about 25,000 – so you want a maximum wage so that anyone who earns a dollar over $250,000 pays 100% tax to the government.

 JOHN That’s one of the ideas that’s in our draft policy, yes.

This policy is not new. It is identical to what the Soviet Union and other communist countries had. They declared doctors should not be paid a huge amount more than street cleaners. They did indeed set maximum wages.

It failed. It has failed in every country that has tried it.

But nevertheless Mana is unhappy Labour will only whack the rich pricks for 39%. They want a 100% top tax rate.

You’ve got the people who work the hardest, work the longest hours on the lowest pay

Minto is wrong with his assertion that lower paid workers work longer hours. A 2008 study of working women found 50% worked for over 40 hours a week, while only 33% of lower paid women (less than $15.30 an hour) worked over 40 hours a week.

Of course Minto’s 100% proposed top tax rate only applies to people who don’t work for UNITE. If you work for UNITE your tax rate is 0%, as they don’t pay their taxes.

Mayhem from Mana

August 11th, 2011 at 4:37 pm by David Farrar

In my Stuff By the Numbers blog, I look at Mana’s likely candidate selections, and how they may help the right more than the left.

No Mana

July 28th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A new Fairfax Media-Research International poll asked voters which parties they preferred as a coalition partner and which parties they opposed.  …

However, the poll found no voters, whether they were National, Labour or Green supporters, preferred Mana as a coalition partner.

Not even 1 in 1,000 voters think Mana is a preferred coalition partner.

Hone is likely to get re-elected in November, and even bring a benchmate with him. But they will be an impotent party, that will be able to do little beyond angry press releases.

Mana disqualified voters

December 2nd, 2010 at 1:58 pm by David Farrar

I was curious about the 485 people who tried to vote in Mana who were listed as not enrolled. I inquired whether these were people not enrolled at all, or just not enrolled in Mana.

The answer is that only 40% were not enrolled at all, 38% were enrolled on the Maori roll and 22% were enrolled in another general electorate.

So 60% of those who tried to vote would have been able to cast a party vote, if it had been a general election.

Final Mana Result

December 1st, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The final Mana result is out – 1,406 final majority, under 1/4 of 2008. Faafoi got the polling day specials go his way 3:1.

The final margin is 6%, down from 18% in 2008. Turnout was 55%.

Of interest 485 people tried to vote who were not enrolled.

Area Parata % Faafoi % Parata ^ Faafoi ^ Margin
Porirua East 11% 82% +1% 0% 2940
Porirua West 35% 51% +7% -8% 654
Northern Suburbs 67% 24% +12% -10% -2241
Kapiti 47% 37% +6% -8% -634
Advance Votes 37% 51% -4% +2% 341
Specials 27% 63% -3% +9% 346
Total 41% 47% 6% -6% 1406

This table shows the final result broken down by area.

As one can see it is the margin in Porirua East that makes such a difference. And it was the one area where there was effectively movement.

Faafoi did very well on special votes – 63% of them.

Armstrong on National barbarians

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

John Armstrong writes in the NZ Herald:

For most Wellingtonians, Pukerua Bay is notable only for a couple of kilometres-long stretch of State Highway One where the speed limit briefly but annoyingly drops from 100km/h to 50 km/h and creates another bottle-neck on the slow trip north.

Not for me. My grandmother lived in Pukerua Bay and I would often train up there as a kid to spend weekends and holidays there. I have an intimate knowledge of all the playgrounds in Pukerua Bay 🙂

It is here that a major shift in voter behaviour was noticeable in last Saturday’s extraordinary outcome of the Mana byelection. …

In Pukerua Bay, where a large proportion of people designate themselves as “professional” for Census purposes, National’s Hekia Parata won by 249 votes to 217. Go back to the 2002 and 2005 elections and you find Labour winning the booth on the party vote – the fairer measure as the candidate vote was distorted by the huge personal appeal of Winnie Laban, whose retirement prompted the byelection.

Pukerua Bay went narrowly in National’s favour in 2008 – an indication that Clark’s cross-over appeal was on the wane.

But the trend was replicated elsewhere in outlying settlements of Porirua City, such as Plimmerton and Pauatahanui. National’s share of the vote even increased in less well-off Titahi Bay.

There are still wealthy pockets of Mana, such as Paekakariki and Raumati South, where Labour’s support remains staunch. These settlements may have saved the blushes of Labour candidate and now MP, Kris Fa’afoi. But with the Key machine carving out more territory in middle New Zealand for occupation by National, Fa’afoi should not be relying on them remaining faithful next year.

Labour’s stranglehold on Wellington is under threat; the National barbarians are storming the city’s northern gates.

I’m going to be watching Mana with interest in the 2011 election.

Trotter on Mana

November 24th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

Analysing last weekend’s Mana by-election results, I’m wondering if we might be witnessing another seminal political moment. Like the 1972 general election, it is possible that the closely- fought Mana contest holds some crucially important lessons for the major parties.

At the most superficial level, the result was a clear moral triumph for the Government and its very effective candidate, Hekia Parata. In a country only slowly emerging from recession, in an Opposition- held electorate perfectly positioned to send the Government “a message”, it almost beggars belief that the by-election campaign ended with a 14 per cent swing towards the governing party.

A moral triumph indeed. Heh it reminds me of the caption that my brother’s rugby team had on their team photo. It was “Played 15, Won 11, Moral Victories 4” 🙂

Indeed, without radical Left-wing trade unionist Matt McCarten’s last-minute entry to the by-election race, it is entirely possible Parata would have won the seat.

Umm, that is an unusual interpretation.

His challenge to Labour was to give on-the-ground, practical expression to the progressive policy ideas announced at its annual conference by campaigning – as he did – on low wages, inadequate housing and the urgent need for job creation.

Labour’s candidate, the woefully inexperienced television journalist Kris Fa’afoi, wasn’t equal to that challenge, but McCarten’s sudden intervention was sufficiently worrying for the Labour hierarchy to pour everything it had into the Mana campaign.

It was this massive intervention that ensured Fa’afoi’s victory – albeit with a sharply reduced share of the popular vote.

I think Labour were always going to pour everything into the campaign, but McCarten’s candidacy may have cemented that.

To the cynical observer, McCarten’s 3.6 per cent share of the Mana vote might seem derisory. But then, so did the 2 per cent share won by Values in 1972. Besides, there are moments in politics when, as Key told Parata’s jubilant supporters on Saturday night, “losing is winning”.

Hopefully Labour’s “got the message” McCarten was sending it throughout the campaign. That, if it is to successfully counter Key’s (obviously still effective) appeal to aspirational Kiwis, it has to maintain the sort of on-the-street presence for which McCarten and his radical Unite union are justifiably famous, and which, ultimately, is all that rescued Fa’afoi from catastrophic defeat.

But, even more important than getting Labour out on the street, McCarten’s candidacy – like Values’ campaign in 1972 – should remind Labour that getting people to vote is only half the battle; the other half is giving them something to vote for.

What you mean no GST on fruit and veges is not enough?

Dom Post on Mana

November 24th, 2010 at 10:23 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

However much Labour nabobs may try to spin the Mana by-election result, they cannot disguise that it was a walloping for their party which shows it in danger of again being the wallflower next year. …

The bald reality for Labour is that it, in what is according to many politicians the only poll that counts, came uncomfortably close to losing the seat. Its majority of more than 6000 has been turned into one of a smidgin over 1000.

The National Party achieved a 6.6 per cent swing against Labour on a straight two-party comparison – something that just does not happen in by-elections where the disgruntled usually take the chance to give the party in power a kick, even if just to show they can.

This is a key point. Governments generally do not get swings towards them in by-elections.

However, their biggest concern must be the inability to convince voters they should have a problem with the Government, much less that Labour has the solution to that problem.

Labour had set much store in its campaign to scrap GST on fresh fruit and vegetables, and hammered the rise in the cost of living during the campaign. It did not translate into votes, particularly in the middle-class areas of the electorate. Nor did its heartland supporters get out and vote in sufficient numbers to send a message. …

One of Mr Goff’s predecessors, David Lange, was fond of saying that elections were usually won or lost nine or 10 months before polling day. That is around now.

Mr Goff’s problem is not that he has not yet overtaken National. It is that he is standing still, or even going backwards.

Voters hung up the phone on Labour long before the last election. The Mana result confirms they are not yet showing any sign of being willing to pick it up again, much less agree to a date.

Part of Labour’s problem is the domination of the parliamentary wing with figures from the 5th and even the 4th Labour Government.

The core front bench is 100% former Ministers, and only Charles Chauvel is on the extended front bench.

Phil Goff has talked about a reshuffle. He should do one before the year ends, and promote some of the Class of 2008.

Why Grant Robertson will be PM one day

November 22nd, 2010 at 3:27 pm by David Farrar

I’ve found some of the spin from Labour around the unprecedented 80% drop in an Opposition seats’ majority in a by-election very amusing.

The worst excuse is from Su’a William Sio, who said:

“Low-income people can’t think about the future, let alone about voting in a by-election, when they are being forced to focus on just surviving.

So Labour almost lost because low-income people are focusing on survival. Worst spin attempt ever.

Audrey Young also highlights some terrible spin:

Some in Labour who should know better are creatively suggesting that Labour actually did better in the byelection than the last general election, despite having its majority slashed from 6155 to 1080.

From three senior figures has come the suggestions that Kris Faafoi winning 47 per cent of the candidate vote on Saturday was a better result than the 43.9 per cent party vote that the party got in 2008, when Winnie Laban stood.

That is like comparing raisins and sheep droppings.

So true. Phil Goff is one of those pushing that desperate line.

I saw on Twitter a blog post titled “Reflections on Mana” on Red Alert had appeared. I clicked on the link wondering which MP would be spinning. And I saw it was Grant Robertson, and commented to the person with me “Aha, this will be very very clever spin”. And so it proved.

Grant did something none of his colleagues could do, and something very different to Kris Faafoi’s own comments. He praised Hekia.

I also think Hekia deserves some credit. She is an articulate person who campaigned hard. Most importantly in terms of the result she has been campaigning/working in the electorate non-stop for about four years, compared to Kris’ few months. That makes a differenece. She had a profile and that worked to her advantage. She did not win, but no doubt she feels she put in a good result

Everyone in the press gallery knows Hekia is a very good MP, who ran a good campaign. Grant makes the point that Hekia had a head-start on Kris, and this is right. But what is implicit, but worth stating explicitly, is that the head-start is only useful if you use it effectively. Hekia spent two years supporting community groups, helping with fundraising, sorting out constituent problems, arranging Ministers to visit etc etc. If she had not done that (and done it well) then her headstart would not have assisted her much.

And the challenge for Kris is to spent the next year showing if he can be as effective as Hekia.

There are no doubt some things from a Labour point of view that we would want to do better and different. That’s the nature of a campaign.

And again Grant shows his smarts. Conceding there were mistakes made (but carefully not detailing them) means that his blog post comes over as balanced, thoughtful and not some desperate piece of spin. He should offer tutoring to some of his colleagues in political communications.

A gracious victor

November 21st, 2010 at 9:40 pm by David Farrar

On tonight’s One News:

She’s trying to make herself feel better. She lost, and this is the second time the people of Mana didn’t want her.

That was Kris Faafoi talking about Hekia Parata.

Such a gracious victor.

The Mana result

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

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

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

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

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

Porirua East

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

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

Porirua West

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

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

Northern Suburbs

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


The Kapiti area voted Labour last time, and flipped to National this time. And what is more extraordinary about this is it happened despite noisy local opposition to a new expressway.

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

Polling Places

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

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


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

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

Historical Comparisons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Mana Results

November 20th, 2010 at 7:30 pm by David Farrar

2033: huge applause for Hekia and PM as final booth comes in and e night majority is a small 1,080. Hekia picked up 7% from 2008 and Labour is down 7%. I doubt Labour are celebrating much tonight.

2030: This is like a victory party. One booth to go and down to 1,365.

2029: Only two booths to go and majority is 1,500. What a great result if it holds.

2026: Wow another good Hekia booth in. Majoriy now down to 1,174. Faafoi 47%, Parata 41%. That is a 6% gain so far for Hekia and 6% down for Labour. But I suspect things may change with some big Porirua booths to come. 7 booths left.

2024: Heh McCarten is on 666 votes. How apt. He is well back in 4th behind Jan Logie. ACt has now pulled ahead of Legalise Cannabis.

2022: Nice Whitby booth for Hekia just come in – majority now down to 1,773. At this stage Faafoi has 49% and Parata 39% for a 10% gap – in 2008 it was an 18% gap. But this will change as more come in.

2017: 29/44 amd majority for Faafoi is 2,046.

2004: Clear that Labour will retain seat and Kris Faafoi is the next MP for Mana. Congrats to Kris and Labour. 21/44 booths in and majority is 1503. As we do not know which booths are in hard to project end majority. The tribal Labour booths go Labour 90/10 so just one of those coming in moves things about heaps. Parata has won some booths she lost in 2008 though so in some a.eas there is a swing.

Damn. even though they have the data, the Electoral Commission is not displaying booth data as each booth reports. This means my booth spreadsheet to predict swings is useless as it will have no data. Aargh it annoys me when they have the data and just choose not to make it available in a timely manner.

So really all I will be doing is looking at the main results page.

Two of 44 booths in and Faafoi ahead by 346.

Dom Post on Mana

November 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Today’s Dom Post editorial:

It used to be said of safe National electorates that the party could pin blue ribbons on donkeys and still win them. Mana is the Labour equivalent of such a seat – a predominantly working-class electorate that Labour has held since its first incarnation as Porirua in 1963.

And in fact the predecessor seats to Porirua have also been Labour held since at least the 1930s.

However, a combination of circumstances has given Labour leader Phil Goff and his handpicked candidate, Kris Faafoi, cause for a restless sleep tonight.

They include the strong local profile of National candidate Hekia Parata, the independent candidacy of unionist Matt McCarten, the increasing prosperity of the northern half of the electorate and Mr Faafoi’s lack of campaign experience.

The restless sleep won’t be over whether Kris will be elected to Parliament. Few are not expecting that. It will be over whether there is a significant swing to the Government’s candidate – a very rare thing in a by-election.

He and his supporters have erected so many billboards on Mungavin Avenue, the main road in Cannons Creek, that locals have taken to calling it Faafoi Avenue but, despite the attempts of the Christchurch-raised candidate to suggest he grew up in the electorate, he is not as well known as Ms Parata, who has continued to build links in the area, despite losing to Labour’s Winnie Laban at the last election.

Hekia has done what good List MPs should do – to get out there and be active in the local community.

For those reasons, and because Labour has not managed to turn the spotlight on National, the by-election is reversing the usual trend. Instead of serving as a referendum on the performance of the Government, it has become a referendum on the performance of the Labour Opposition.

I disagree to some extent on that. I do not think it is a referendum on National or Labour. I think it is more a referendum on the candidates. If National cuts the majority significantly it will be because of Hekia. Likewise if Labour has its majority take a tumble, it will mainly be because of resentment over the selection of an inexperienced non local. By this I don’t mean that Kris has done anything wrong – he has run a good campaign and if elected will be a diligent MP. But the nathie of his selection, with his successor being offered his job as Goff’s press secretary before he was selected etc is what has gone down badly with some locals.

A majority of 3000 plus would represent a solid victory for Labour, which will have MPs, activists and union supporters ferrying voters to the polls tomorrow. Fewer than 2000 would represent a triumph for National and trigger a fresh round of speculation about Mr Goff’s leadership.

I think it is too simplistic to look at the result for the entire electorate. My view is there are too “halves” of the electorate.

One half is what I call tribal Labour. And it is tribal. They may like John Key. They may think Hekia is great, but they vote Labour – always have and always will. There may be some vote loss to Matt McCarten, but in these areas I would not expect Hekia to necessarily get any movement at all compared to 2008.

Also in these “tribal Labour” areas you will have scores and scores of salaried union employees getting out the vote. They have been campaigning fulltime for Labour for weeks – and of course their salaries do not count as part of the $40,000 cap. With that extra GOTV, Faafoi might even get more vote share than Laban did in that area.

In the other half, there could be a different story. In the other half, there could well be a swing to Hekia and away from Labour. Don’t think this is just the Whitby areas. Areas like Pukerua Bay and Raumati South are what I call “trendy lefty” and voted for Laban quite strongly last time – however they are not “tribal Labour” and they may vote Hekia on the basis of her work since the last election.

So do not assume there will be a uniform swing. What I will be looking at on the night is what happens in Porirua, what happens in the northern suburbs, and what happens in the Kapiti areas. They might all do the same thing, but I suspect not.