Holmes interviews Anderton

From Q&A today:

JIM: Ha-ha. Well, I’ve had a bit of experience winning electorates and any analysis of the election result last time would show that the National Party is not as secure as commentators think. For example, they have nine electorate seats that come within a two party swing of less than 3%, now that is relatively easily won in a contest like this. And you only need Wigram on top of that and one more seat for Labour to hold more electorate seats in Parliament than National. I don’t think that’s a common understanding of the election system at the moment.

PAUL: No, let’s be clear about that. National have nine seats and was left with less than a 2000 majority.

JIM: that’s right, that’s less than 2000 votes.

But Jim is wrong. National has only seven, not nine seats, with a sub 2000 majority. They are (in order) New Plymouth, Waitakere, West Coast-Tasman, Otaki, Auckland Central, Hamilton West and Maungakiekie.

The eight most marginal seat for National is Rotorua which has a 5,065 majority – that is larger than Anderton’s own majority of 4,767.

His adding his seat to Labour’s total is silly also, as one could add ACT’s to National. National has 41 seats and Labour 21. For them to get more electorate seats they need to win 11 seats. The 11th most marginal seat for National is Taupo with a 6,445 majority.

PAUL: but to change the government the Nats have to lose 4,000 votes in each electorate is what you also told them, then it starts to look a bit harder doesn’t it?

JIM: No, well that’s the total, but actually on a two party swing National only have to lose 1900 votes and Labour gain 1900 votes so that’s not as big an order as it looks in the first instance. Look, Paul, all I’m saying to you is that I ran an election in 1981 with Bill Rowling where the Labour caucus had a coup against Bill Rowling in the middle of an election campaign and we still ended up winning more votes than National but we lost the election because there was no proportional representation system then.

Jim again gets it wrong. The attempted “fish and chips” coup against Rowling was in December 1980. The election was in November 1981.

PAUL: But essentially you have come home haven’t you, Progressives can now joined the Labour Party as well as the Progressives and Progressives are not going to stand in Constituency seats in the next election.

JIM: No, they’re not going to stand as a List but we can stand in constituents like mine for example.

Great strategy. Split the centre-left vote to make it easier for National candidates. Thanks Jim.

PAUL: But with Progressives now being able to join the Labour party, essentially you’ve rolled over haven’t you, I mean it’s the beginning of the end for the Progressives. The only reason the Progressives still exists, or are going to continue to exist can I suggest to you is that the public pays the party $164,000 of taxpayers money for the Party expenses and you get $13,000 more for being the leader. Isn’t that the only reason for the continuation of the Progressives?

JIM: No, you’re absolutely wrong Paul. The Government or the Parliamentary Services Commission pays no money for the Party, the Progressives pay their own money, and the money that’s paid to me as an Electorate MP and as Leader of the Progressives in parliament is for Parliamentary purposes, that’s for the work that I do, I have 1500 constituents coming through my electorate office each year and we help them sometimes in matters of life and death – and it’s a privilege to do so – and that’s why my electorate office is funded and why my parliamentary office is funded.

But the point Anderton passes over is his funding is enhanced because of the convenient fiction that he is a party leader.

JIM: That’s rubbish. I continue because people in Sydenham have voted for me for 25 years, I probably hold the Guinness Book of Records for representing the largest number of parties in the same electorate, increasing my majorities most of the time. The people of Sydenham have the right to say that and that’s what they’ve been saying.

1996: 10,039
1999: 9,885
2002: 3,176
2005: 8,548
2008: 4,767

Again Jim is wrong. And when he waka jumped from the Alliance in 2002, his majority took a big hit.

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