South Auckland is another country. The country New Zealand could have been, had colonisation unfolded differently. The country New Zealand may yet become, if current immigration policies are abandoned.
South Auckland is a Pacific country: where the faces are brown; the neighbourhoods are poor; and the churches – of which there are a great many – are full of worshippers.
South Auckland is also Labour country – and that is not something one can say about many other places in New Zealand. In 2005 it was the voters of South Auckland that saved Helen Clark’s Labour-led Government and sent her back for a third term as their Prime Minister.
If Labour is saved again – if it avoids a fourth consecutive defeat at the hands of the National Party – then it will be the people of South Auckland that Andrew Little and his party have to thank.
I think Labour needs more than South Auckland. They already get most of the votes there but it’s not as large as it used to be. Here’s the top five party votes for Labour:
- Mangere 18,470
- Manukau East 16,925
- Manurewa 14,579
- Kelston 12,934
- Mana 12,601
The top five for National are:
- Tamaki 24,091
- Rodney 24,051
- Epsom 23,904
- North Shore 23,762
- Hunua 22,929
So only three seats really for Labour, and they don’t even come close to the best seats for National.
No surprises, then, that the place Labour chose to launch its Community Action Network (CAN) was in the spacious hall of the Otara Mormon Church. …
CAN itself is something of a paradox. It’s prime organiser, Keiran O’Halloran, is an import from Ireland via the British Labour Party. Now, someone who grew up under the government of Tony Blair, and has the accent to prove it, might not strike every observer as the ideal pick to organise the South Auckland Vote. Yet, there he was on Saturday, belting out slogans which may have resonated in the London boroughs, but which left this “Southside” audience visibly underwhelmed.
As an organisation dedicated to recruiting and training hundreds of local volunteers to get out Labour’s South Auckland’s Party Vote, CAN boasts a rather confusing name. A cynic might say that CAN’s gloriously non-partisan moniker testifies to the dwindling potency of the party’s brand. “Volunteers For Labour” would have been a more accurate description of the project: but if that was its name – would they have come?
So is this why they are hiding their affiliation?