Comparing front benches

December 20th, 2011 at 10:43 am by Jadis

I thought I’d do a ‘quick and dirty’ analysis of the Labour front bench vs the National front bench based on individual electoral performance.

1. David Shearer holds Mt Albert with an impressive personal majority (23rd highest majority in the country) and took a face-saving 37% of party vote for Labour

2. Grant Robertson holds Wellington Central, but Labour took a huge hit in the party vote (finishing third behind National and the Greens)

3. David Parker holds no seat and barely made a difference in Epsom even at a strategic level (15.5% of party vote for Labour).  It also must have hurt having to tell voters to vote for the National candidate.

4. Jacinda Ardern has now failed multiple times to win a seat.  She couldn’t even get back the Labour stronghold of Auckland Central even with strategic voting by the Greens… scary to think that Tizard can hold that seat but not the anointed Jacinda.  The Labour party vote in Auckland Central was rather low as well (25.4% – Greens just behind Labour on 22%)

5. David Cunliffe holds a pretty good personal majority (over 5000) and, like Shearer, recorded 37% for the party vote in New Lynn

6. Clayton Cosgrove.  Labour website stillsays Clayton holds Waimakariri but he actually lost it to Kate Wilkinson.  Clayton returned 23.4% for Labour party vote

7. Shane Jones failed to win a seat again but did return one of the more respectable party votes for Labour (41.5%)

8. Nanaia Mahuta won Hauraki-Waikato again (by over 6500) and recorded the fifth highest party vote for Labour at 46.5%.

So, in all not exactly a stunning front bench as far as results.  Based on electoral performance, the Cunliffe/Mahuta combo certainly is more formidable than Shearer/Robertson but Shearer and Robertson are the ‘nice guys’.

Now let’s have a look at National’s front bench:

1. John Key recorded a  massive electorate vote (won by over 21,000) and party vote at 65.8%

2. Bill English also recorded a formidable electorate vote (won by over 16,000)  and party vote at 62.9%

3. Gerry Brownlee won Ilam by over 13,000 and a very respectable party vote at 60.4%

4. Steven Joyce, doesn’t hold a seat and didn’t stand in one in 2011.  However, as the Campaign head could claim the 48% party vote across the country

5. Judith Collins won the Papakura seat by almost 10,000  and captured over 59% of the party vote

6. Tony Ryall won Bay of Plenty by a massive 17,000+ and captured over 67% of the party vote

7. Hekia Parata lost Mana  but is closing the gap in a traditionally Labour-held seat.  Recorded an increase in the National party vote to a reasonable 42%

8. Chris Finlayson is a  List MP.  At an electorate level he only captured 33% of the party vote for National but this was an increase from 2008.  Annette King proved herself once again  to be a formidable opponent at electorate level.

Both front benches have a mix of electorate and list MPs, however based on the last election it is easy to surmise that National’s front bench have (as a whole) also done the work at the electoral level (even those only seeking the party vote).


How long will Shearer last?

December 13th, 2011 at 1:57 pm by Jadis

Bryce Edwards has an interesting piece on the Herald online.   Bryce suggests it is a bold move to elect Shearer in the hopes he can go head-to-head with Key.  Bold to the degree that Bryce suggests Shearer needs to perform within the next two years or he is gone; rolled by Robertson. I give Shearer eighteen months.

My learned Labour contacts suggested to me before the vote even took place that it didn’t really matter all that much who was elected Leader of Labour.  Their view was that the victor would never be the next Labour Prime Minister.  We are seeing Labour lurch from Phil ‘fill-in’ Goff to another fill-in guy.  Shearer’s going to find it tough.  He’s backed more by Labour’s old guard but without the real depth of relationships (or indeed institutional knowledge of the Party) while needing to reach out to the more progressive members of the Party.  Shearer has a timeline worse than English ever had.  Shearer may not even see an election.

And, despite the lauding of his CV and comparisons to Key, Shearer is no Key.  Key had the opportunity to develop from the more helpful part of the electoral cycle, and proved himself head-to-head with Cullen first.  Shearer has been rather clumsy in his debates to date, and that was against Cunliffe.

Let’s also take a look at Grant’s stellar record.  Well, does he really have one?  This is a guy that everyone likes.  I do too.  BUT has he really performed.  He’s held two very substantial portfolios in the last term, Tertiary Education and also Health.  He didn’t make any real public inroads into either portfolio area and certainly didn’t execute any great hits on Ministers, particularly Ryall in Health.  Indeed, Health is usually relished by opposition parties because constituents come to opposition MPs with stories of hardship and difficulty within the health system.  Usually, opposition MPs can pummel the Government with these stories of poor performance, waiting lists and more.  Where was Grant on those stories?  Biding his time, flying below the radar awaiting that moment where the “nice guy” can take over.

I suspect Grant will be a competent Deputy.  He is good at organising people, taking on a role very much like a deputy Principal while Shearer shines in the public sphere.  But why choose a guy like Grant to be your Deputy?  He’s a likely contender to your own leadership who as the Deputy can stoke the fires at home (in the Leader’s corridor and in the House) while you take a nice road trip around the countryside letting the voting public get to know you.

And then there is Cunliffe.  He can wait, watch and receive.  Wait for it to turn to custard.  Watch the Shearer lack of political experience while Robertson undermines. And, receive the “we should have chosen you” and “come to my office for a chat” conversations that will inevitably occur.