Mrs Little

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

There’s a nice story on Stuff about the dilemma facing Andrew Little’s mother as she has been a National Party member for 30 years:

Andrew Little has his work cut out when it comes to winning his mum’s vote on Saturday.

By day Mr Little battles to win New Zealand’s most marginal seat off MP Jonathan Young; by night he lives under the same roof as his mother, Cicely, a National Party member of 30 years.

When Mr Little announced he would contest New Plymouth’s seat as the Labour Party candidate, Mrs Little said she wrote a letter to Mr Young saying her political beliefs would fall on neutral ground this election.

But with only four days until New Zealanders head to the polling booths, Mrs Little said she still hasn’t decided whether she will vote.

“What am I to do? Obviously my loyalties lie with my son but my husband and I were always National Party supporters,” she said.

This advice is for Mrs and Little only, but I reckon blood is thicker than water, and they should vote for Andrew. Everyone else should vote for Jonathan though!

He and his four siblings were never pressured by their parents to support the National Party, he said.

Mr Little’s parents had always been fully supportive of his achievements and political stance.

“Both my parents always expressed pride and support in my life and the direction I’ve taken.”

This is why I actually blogged on this story. I think this reflects on what excellent parents the Littles were and are. It is in stark contrast to the highlighting yesterday of the seven year old girl who had been so indoctrinated she was drawing pictures imploring John Key not to sell off her fish, treasures and toys.

I have strong political views, but if I ever have children I would make sure I always explain both sides of a political issue to them, as the critical thing is for them to develop skills of reasoning for themselves. And if they grow up voting Greens or Labour, I’d be absolutely fine with that. Thankfully NZ First will (statistically) be long dead, by the time any future kids of mine vote, so I don’t have to consider that nightmare scenario :-)

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Little says heart not in Wgtn but still lives here and will return here if he loses

November 10th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jo Moir at the NP Daily News reports:

Andrew Little says rumours in the blogosphere that his heart lies in Wellington are nothing more than “conspiracy theories”.

The New Plymouth Labour candidate said he has no plans for the Wellington-based Rongotai seat, currently held by Labour MP Annette King, and is putting his heart and soul into winning the New Plymouth seat.

Over the past few months right- wing blogger and political activist David Farrar hinted Labour’s 15th ranked candidate has been non- committal in his approach to living in New Plymouth because he plans to stand in the Rongotai electorate in 2014.

Actually I think I said he plans to stand in the 2012 Rongotai by-election.

Look Andrew would like to win New Plymouth, but he hasn’t gone about convincing people he is commited to the seat. Take this quote later on:

At a New Plymouth candidate debate on Monday night Mr Little said he would not live in New Plymouth if he lost the election then got into Parliament as a List MP.

He said the cost to the taxpayer in travel expenses ruled out that possibility.

Oh what nonsense. The expense of not being based in Wellington is a trivial amount of overall parliamentary expenditure.

If Andrew wanted to convince people he is commited to New Plymouth, he should have done the following:

  1. Given up his two full-time jobs in the first half of the year. He stayed on far too long as Labour President and EPMU National Secretary
  2. Not stayed on the staff of the EPMU, and campaigned fulltime instead of part-time
  3. Not be seen protesting with Young Labour on a weekday on Lampton Quay
  4. Moved the family up to New Plymouth, and rented out the Wellington house. Instead he commuted to the electorate to campaign up until recently. That does not indicate commitment.
  5. Pledged to live in New Plymouth, if he is a List MP

Note that Andrew has not in any way ruled out standing for Rongotai if he does not win New Plymouth. All he has said is he is elected the Electorate MP for New Plymouth, he will stand again for New Plymouth – well doh that is hardly a surprise. In the last 30 years only one electorate MP has ever ditched their seat, to stand for another seat while an MP for their original seat.

If you want to win a seat off an opponent, you have to throw everything at it. Some candidates give up theri jobs nine months before the election, and then campaign seven days a week for nine months. They don’t keep their Wellington based jobs and commute into the electorate to campaign, and announce that if they lose they’re out of there never to return.

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Campaigning in Wellington for New Plymouth

October 10th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil has a photo of Andrew Little leading a protest on Lambton Quay. Wow he must be super-confident of his chances in New Plymouth, if he has time to campaign in Wellington.

It’s not even clear if Andrew is a full-time candidate. Most candidates who want to win a seat off an incumbent will spent six to nine months working full-time in the seat. The EPMU website lists Andrew as remaining on the staff, as special counsel. I presume that takes up a bit of time also.

Or maybe Andrew is positioning himself for a by-election in Wellington, such as Rongotai or Hutt South?

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Will Little stay in New Plymouth?

August 22nd, 2011 at 7:51 am by David Farrar

A reader highlighted this story from July:

Mr Little joined the union as a lawyer in 1992 and was elected unopposed as national secretary in 2000.

His family lived in Wellington now, and although he planned to spend five days a week in New Plymouth campaigning, he would not move them there until he won the seat.

Would he move if he lost in the seat but was elected as a list MP?

“Not sure about that. I will gauge that closer to the time.”

Andrew is all but guaranteed to be an MP after the election. He could easily pledge to remain in New Plymouth. I don’t think locals will be overly impressed by someone who won’t commit to the region.

I suspect the reason Andrew won’t commit to New Plymouth, is because he will want to stand in Rongotai if there is a by-election after the general election.

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A little testy

August 16th, 2011 at 4:14 pm by David Farrar

The Taranaki Daily News pointed out in a recent editorial that Andrew Little will be in Parliament regardless of whether or not he wins New Plymouth.

Andrew wrote the letter above saying there is only a “slim possibility” there will be two MPs in Parliament with strong links to New Plymouth.

Now Andrew is ranked No 15 on the Labour list, which is No 6 on their effective list. So long as Labour gets 22% he should get elected to Parliament.

So when Andrew says there is only a “slim possibility” there will be two MPs in Parliament with strong links to New Plymouth, the only two interpretations I can take from this is:

  1. Andrew thinks there is only a slim possibility that Labour will win 22% or more of the party vote; or
  2. Andrew will not maintain any presence in New Plymouth if he fails to win the seat, and will be based elsewhere as a List MP – presumably Wellington

Perhaps Andrew could clarify which of these two interpretations is correct, or perhaps they both are?

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Light for Little

July 1st, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I blog at Stuff on how the recent New Plymouth poll may be better news for Andrew Little than it appeared on the surface.

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Key in New Plymouth

June 1st, 2011 at 10:08 am by David Farrar

Gordon Brown reports for the Taranaki Daily News:

More than 300 people turned out to hear Prime Minister John Key talk in New Plymouth last night and just about everybody, it seemed, went home happy with what they heard.

Mr Key was on stage for two-and-a-half hours at the evening organised by the Taranaki Daily News.

Editor Roy Pilott hosted the evening, which was held in the Theatre Royal at the TSB Showplace, asking questions on behalf of readers, while those present had no hesitation in trying to pin Mr Key down on a wide variety of issues.

After a 20-minute opening address, Mr Key sat on a sofa, microphone in hand and, it has to be said, turned on the charm. It would have been no surprise if he had a cup of coffee while he chatted away. It was that sort of a night.

There were the usual questions from vested interests which had too much of a narrow focus for many in the audience, but the Prime Minister welcomed almost every inquiry by finding something positive in the question. …

Mr Key was in a buoyant mood after the meeting.

“It was great. They were a great audience, very respectful but obviously there was a range of views.

“I thought we made our own case though.”

Mr Key said New Plymouth was only the fourth place he had participated in such an evening.

“I’ve done it a couple of times in Christchurch and once in Ashburton. We’re keen to get around the rest of New Zealand and get an opportunity for a longer form of debate, because so often people see me through their TV screens in a five-second sound bite and often that doesn’t do justice to the issues.

It is a tradition that I hope continues – having the PM face up to halls around New Zealand. And I don’t mean hand picked audiences, and moderated by a fellow MP. True town hall meetings promoted to everyone, and chaired by the local newspaper editor.

The reaction of everyone the Daily News spoke to as they left the theatre was complimentary.

“That was a really good night, he answered the questions very well,” agreed Joy and Brian.

Carl thought he had “character and charisma”.

But perhaps the final word belongs to Rusty Kane, the New Plymouth man who has fought and lost more elections than any Parliamentarians in the House.

“I think he’s a real people’s Prime Minister and he’s done very well.”

Mr Kane has indeed stood for a record number of elections.

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Taranaki Daily News on Little

March 9th, 2011 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

The TDN editorial is titled “Little’s prospecting fails to find paydirt“.

Labour’s Andrew Little wants to be the next MP for New Plymouth. So in an election year, with Labour desperate to bridge the gap on National, it seems fair to assume that if he says something of import, it has come from the man who would be our representative in the House; who would take forward our hopes, our ambitions and our concerns – should he be elected to do so.

The trouble is that Mr Little, at the moment anyway, wears several other hats: not only is he Labour Party leader and a premier in waiting, he is also head of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

Andrew promised he would resign as EPMU National Secretary and Labour Party President to focus on being the candidate for New Plymouth only. One has to wonder when? Many candidates are already campaigning full-time.

And that’s where it gets a little tricky. Because the path to such lofty leadership ambition is predicated on him winning the New Plymouth seat. And he must co-ordinate a campaign while delivering a number of messages in language suitable to the wider party and the national union. Messages that may be lost or, worse still, spurned by the ear of the electorate he hopes to sway.

Sand-mining off Taranaki’s coast is one such subject. It may be the official policy of Mr Little’s Labour Party to support the processing of offshore iron sands at a coal-fired steel mill; it may be the accepted doctrine of a national union and its leader who wants to keep his members in employment and their industries in work.

But it is too early to say whether the people whose votes Mr Little needs on November 26 are supportive of such endeavours when there are clear and valid concerns about the impact of sand mining on the Taranaki coast and its ecosystem.

In fact, it may be that Mr Little, in the act of putting on and adjusting so many hats, has misjudged the measurement and found the headgear slipping over his eyes and skewing his political balance early in what is a crucial year.

This is the difficulty when you were three hats.

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Not much to do in New Plymouth I guess

September 27th, 2010 at 5:19 pm by David Farrar

The Taranaki Daily News reports:

Fried chicken lovers caused traffic chaos in New Plymouth this weekend as they flocked to the city’s newly renovated Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

Closed since July, the Courtenay St cooked chicken outlet has undergone a $1.5 million makeover and was reopened last Thursday.

Customers almost immediately filled the restaurant floor while drivers created a snake of cars down Courtenay St as they queued up to use the drive-through.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. A KFC store re-opening causes a traffic jam. Was probably the cutural highlight of the year.

Despite knowing they were in for a wait, New Plymouth teenagers Sam Thomson and Daniel Phipps were prepared to trade 40 minutes of their Sunday for some chicken from the renovated restaurant.

A 40 minute wait and fast food don’t go together in my book.

“A few of my friends took the day off school to come down and get their chicken. It’s definitely better than before. Mind you, it might just be our minds playing tricks on us,” Mr Thomson said.

Oh yes the KFC chicken mind trick.

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A part-time candidate

July 20th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small reports:

Labour Party president Andrew Little has confirmed he will seek the party’s nomination for the marginal New Plymouth seat. …

If selected he would use accumulated leave and leave without pay to campaign one day a week initially,  stepping up to full time campaigning six weeks out from the election.

Goodness, one day a week until the final six weeks is at the light end. I guess Andrew knows he will have a high list spot also to fall back on.

Most candidates who actually win seats off incumbent MPs go full-time six to nine months out.

He would quit as party president as early as next May and leave his union job if he was elected.

I guess one of the Vice-Presidents will become Acting President?

Interesting that Andrew will remain in his EPMU job as the EPMU will no doubt be running an “independent” anti-National election campaign. So Andrew will be in charge of the EPMU’s independent campaign against National, and be campaigning for Labour as a candidate.

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Little for New Plymouth

July 1st, 2010 at 4:55 pm by David Farrar

Paddy Gower at TV3 reports:

Labour high-flyer and union boss Andrew Little will launch his Parliamentary career by standing in the New Plymouth electorate.

Nominations open today, and 3 News has learned Little will put his name forward – confirmed by top-level sources in the Labour hierarchy.

This is an interesting, but not unexpected, development. There was some talk of Andrew standing in Rongotai or even Hutt South if the incumbents retired or went list only. That obviously is not going to happen now.

New Plymouth is the most marginal electorate in the country – Labour’s Harry Duynhoven lost to Jonathan Young by 105 votes.

By putting their local boy and big gun in, Labour are showing they want this seat back.

But it’s a risky move.

Duynhoven had a hugely loyal following in New Plymouth.

Look at the party vote; there’s a 6611 majority to National. So, really, Little needs 6716 votes to overturn Young.

The electorate vote margin is rather misleading, due to the Duynhoven factor. Andrew will be a strong candidate, but it is not really a marginal seat.

So the risk is Little may not win – a loss would be hugely embarrassing and set his career off to a stuttering start.

Of course, he would still come into Parliament on a high list spot.

If Little really backs himself and cares about the New Plymouth, maybe he will have the guts to go all-or-nothing and not take a list spot.

I don’t think Andrew will turn down a high list spot. And as he chairs the list ranking committee, I think it is safe to say he will rank himself highly. He will be busy though, as he will also be running an independent third party campaign for the EPMU.

While risky, there are huge rewards in this – a power base from which to launch his career. Electorates are still vitally important to those who want to make big moves in politics because of the base they give.

You don’t generally become leader if you are a list MP. Hence the need for a seat.

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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,

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Young holds New Plymouth

November 21st, 2008 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

The Taranaki Daily News reports that National’s Jonathan Young has held onto New Plymouth by 100 votes or so. His election night majority was 314. Congratulations to Jonathan.

The fact the newspaper can publish this the day before the Chief Electoral Office publishes all the final results, shows how wrong their policy is to keep all the final results secret until the last one is done. Election results should be disclosed the moment they have been certifed and checked as correct. There is no redeeeming value in having the Chief Electoral Office keep them secret so it can release all 70 of them at the same time.

Each electorate gets through its final count at a different pace. Once the final count has been certified, and sent to Wellington, then it should be published as soon as possible after the Chief Electoral Officer has verified it.

By delaying the final counts, you get two classes of citizens. People like me have had progress reports from people on the ground scrutineering at some of the counts. So I know stuff such as the fact the majority in one marginal seat has grown to almost 1,500, not shrunk. But this should be public to everyone – not just a few insiders.

It would also allow those three candidates affected by the party vote count (National’s Cam Calder, Labour’s Damien O’Connor and the Greens Kennedy Graham) to have a pretty good idea by now of whether any of them are in or out.  Why keep them waiting another day just for the sake of a stage managed announcement?

I’ll be adding to my list of desired electoral law changes, that the Chief Electoral Office should release all results the moment they are certified correct, and not hold them back for one big announcement.

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Could specials change any electorates?

November 17th, 2008 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve previously blogged on whether specials may change any allocation of List MPs. The other question is whether any seats held by narrow majorities could change due to specials. The answer is yes, but unlikely.

The most marginal seat is New Plymouth – Jonathan Young got 48.6% of the vote to 47.6% for Harry Duynhoven. There were 32,029 valid votes. There are 2,351 known specials for the seat and we estimate 1/70th of the 32,000 overseas specials, so the numebr of specials is predicted to be 2,808.

The specials would have to be 6.1% better for Labour and worse for National for Harry to win. Or in other words they would need to go Harry’s way 53.7% to 42.5%.

In Auckland Central Nikki Kaye beat Judith Tizard by 1,181 votes. However there are a large 6,420 specials plus overseas votes. Niiki beat Judith 43.0% to 38.8%. Judith would need to win the specials 49.5% to 32.3% to close the gap.

In Christchurch Central, Nicky Wagner would need specials to go her way 53.3% to 32.2% – 12.1% better than on the day.

New Plymouth looks to be the only seat which could seriously change, and even that isn’t very likely.

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The Central North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 12:15 am by David Farrar

Oh I do like that solid blue look. And in 2002 only a handful were blue.

Hunua is a new seat. The party vote is another 60:20 type solid seat. On the electorate vote Paul Hutchison narrowly beat Jordan Carter by 14,738 votes and Roger Douglas another 2,700 votes behind Jordan.

Waikato is 58% to 22% on the party vote. And Lindsay Tisch drove his majority from 7,000 to almost 12,000.

Coromandel went from 45% to 31% up to 51% to 26%. And Sandra Goudie scored a 13,400 majority for the seat she won in 2005.

The two Hamilton seats are no longer marginal weathervanes. Hamilton East went from a 9% party vote lead for National to a 19% lead. And David Bennett turned a 5,300 majority into one of over 8.000. Hamilton West saw an 11% lead in the party vote for National after being 2% behind in 2005. And Tim Macindoe turned his 1,100 loss in 2005 to a 1,500 victory in 2008.

Bay of Plenty is another 60:20 seat on the party vote. and Tony Ryall got a massive 16,500 majority up from 11,000 in 2005.

In 2005 in Tauranga, National had a 15% lead in the party vote. In 2008 the lead was 32%. Bob Clarkson beat Winston Peters by 730 votes in 2005. This time Simon Bridges beat him by 10,700. Simon will be happy to be the Member of Tauranga for some time.

Rotorua saw National lift the party vote from 43% to 51%, and Todd McClay scored a majority of almost 5,000 over a sitting Minister.

Taupo saw a party vote victory of 15% and Louise Upston beat Mark Burton by almost 6,000 votes. She ran a good campaign and for a big enough majority to make it safe for National. Burton got 2300 more votes than Labour so even harder for any future Labour candidate.  I also heard a rumour that Louise held the first meeting of her 2011 campaign committee at 8.15 am on Sunday morning :-)

The East Coast had a 15% lead in the party vote (the graphic has it wrong) and on the electorate vote Anne Tolley turned a 2,500 majority into a 6,000 majority.

The growing seat of Napier saw National go from a 1% lead in the party vote to a 12% lead. And Chris Tremain drove his 3,300 victory over Russell Fairbrother in 2005 to a 8,400 margin. Remember this is a seat Labour held for all but three years from 1928 to 2005 and Tremain is building John Carter or Nick Smith type majorities as a brilliant local MP who owns his seat.

Over on the west coast, we have the huge Taranaki-King Country seat which is another of those lovely 60:20 seats.  And the 12,000 majority motors up to 14,500.

Finally we have New Plymouth. National was ahead on the party vote last time by 8% and this time it was 20%. And it was too much for Harry Duynhoven who lost the seat by 300 votes. In 2005 he held it by almost 5,000 votes and in 2002 his majority was a staggering 15,000. New candidate Jonathan Young will be watching the special votes though.

Labour will struggle to form a Government again, while so many seats have them getting just 1 in 5 party votes. Every seat in this region had at least an 11% gap in the party vote, with many having a 40% gap.

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