A guest post by Dave Crampton:
I have lived in the Ohariu electorate since Helen Clark became Prime Minister on 27 November 1999.
I remember that date well. It was my wedding day.
I cast a special vote and voted for Peter Dunne. The National Party did not put up a candidate. Labour had a union boss as a candidate. Dunne went on to support the Labour government.
He doesn’t now – but this year I am voting Dunne again despite now being a Green Party voter for many elections and Dunne’s apparent support for National. This post explains why.
First, a bit of background.
1n 1999 Peter Dunne had been the area’s MP for 15 years, first as a Labour MP, and since 2002, a United Future MP. I spent the weeks before the wedding covering the 1999 election for the media.
In 2002 Dunne continued to support the Labour Government, with his party getting 6.69% of the vote. Most Ohariu residents voting for Dunne, however, split their vote – and continue to do so. I was a first-time Green party voter.
Since 2008 Dunne has supported the National-led government, but an increasing number of people want him out of parliament altogether, despite his very good record as a local MP advocating for local electorate concerns – and the 2017 election seemed the right time to do it, provided Labour put up a decent candidate.
Then Labour and the Greens waded in and spoilt the party. First Labour chose a candidate – former Police Association president Greg O’Connor – that many party activists in the electorate simply do not like. Both Nationals Brett Hudson and Peter Dunne are superior on social issues. Green candidate Tane Woodley certainly is.
Some Labojur supporters were all set to vote for Woodley – assuming he was lined up to be the Greens candidate – or, alternatively, not voting for any candidate – while party voting Labour.
Then the Green Party pulled its candidate. Woodley, got more votes in 2014 than sitting MP Gareth Hughes did when he stood. Maybe its because he lives in Johnsonville. The Greens got the highest party vote in the electorate ever in 2014 – 3000 more than its candidate. Labour only got 3150 more Ohariu party votes.
So who were Labour voters to vote for now?
Many Green voters vote for Peter Dunne – and Dunne is getting my electorate vote this year as I consider he is the best on offer to be my local MP. I don’t care what political party he is from in that regard.
He is getting my vote for three reasons. He is the most progressive candidate on offer, he has been a pretty good liberal local MP, and has stuck up for his community on issues such as Transmission Gully and the Petone to Grenada link road.
I can’t vote for O`Connor and the Greens should have done their bit to try and keep him out. He’s simply the wrong candidate for the electorate. I can’t party vote Labour as it does not appear ready for government and, unlike the Greens, you don’t know what you are getting with Labour. I certainly do not want to vote National – I think the last time I did that was 1993.
I might add if it was a First Past the Post election and all we had was National’s Brett Hudson and Labour’s Greg O’Connor as realistic offerings, I`d vote for Hudson for reasons stated.
While I`m voting for Peter Dunne in 2017, I`d go further and suggest that if National is to do a “deal” where Hudson suggests voters cast electoral votes for Dunne, perhaps Dunne would like to suggest left-leaning Ohariu voters party vote Green to keep Labour’s vote down.
He won’t, though. Then again, such a strategy will probably be more effective than the Greens strategy of supporting a Labour candidate they don’t like in a party they don’t want their supporters to cast party votes for – on the basis that it is more likely to change the government.
It is nothing of the sort.