Wellington Scoop

Split personalities

Wellington voters demonstrated split personalities on Saturday, by voting for Labour MPs at the same time as they voted for the National Party.

As Gordon Campbell writes this morning:

Even where Labour stalwarts won their electorates quite handily … they proved incapable of successfully conveying a “two ticks for Labour” message and time and again, Labour finished well behind National on the party vote. Thus, even where Labour “won,” it consistently lost.

Annette King held her Rongotai seat with more than twice as many votes as Chris Finlayson. But the party vote in her electorate favoured National, though by less than a thousand.

In Wellington Central, Grant Robertson held his seat with a majority of more than 6000 votes, but National was way ahead on the party vote with 12,006. Labour (with 7351), wasn’t even in second position – 8227 voters gave their party vote to the Greens.

Chris Hipkins defeated his National opponent in Rimutaka by more than 5000 votes, but National won the party vote by more than 3000.

It was the same in Mana. Kris Faafoi held the seat with more than 6000 votes ahead of Hekia Parata. But the party vote showed an opposite result: National 13,327, Labour 10,818.

It was a personal close call for Trevor Mallard in Hutt South – he held his seat by less than 400 votes. But it wasn’t a close call with the party vote – National was way ahead with 15,935 compared with Labour’s 9563.

The greatest disconnect was in Ohariu. Peter Dunne won the seat with 900 more votes than his National opponent. But what did Ohariu voters think of his United Future party? They don’t like it at all. Only 241 people supported it in the party vote, compared with National’s total of more than 16,000.

The size of National’s party votes have been noticed by New Zealand’s biggest lobby group, Federated Farmers. On Sunday they said the unprecedented increase in support has delivered a clear mandate for reform of the Resource Management Act which had been stalled for want of support from National’s partners in the last Parliament. In support of their message, they refer to two of the Wellington electorates:

Some of the electoral majorities are staggering … In urban areas, National won the Party vote in liberal Wellington Central and in blue collar electorates like Hutt South.

Which, say the farmers, leaves no room for ambiguity or conjecture. The result does, however, leave plenty of room for political analysts to explain the split personalities of so many of this year’s voters.

Wellington’s election results