The net result is: Labour increased its share of the candidate vote in the seat from 21 per cent in 2008 to 28 per cent on Saturday.
Moreover, it did so in the face of a number of handicaps – notably the party’s candidate, Michael Wood, committing one of politics’ great sins early on by saying he would not win the seat.
At a minimum, the result boils down to a psychological victory for Labour, one which Goff wasted no time milking by staging a lunch-time photo-opportunity yesterday at a cafe in Botany town centre.
His claim the result is a “significant swing” against the Government ignores National having won about the same share of the vote as it did in 2008.
Surely most of this swing is about the Greens failing to register, and Labour picking up the majority of the Green vote which was around 4% in the last election. Still, it was an FPP election in a safe seat – there was basically no point in Labour supporters turning out, so holding your share of the vote is actually pretty impressive.
The chart below shows the percentage votes by polling booth in Botany, with the results for National, Labour and the New Citizen Party. (No Greens in this election, ACT did too poorly to chart).
So the big surprise is how well the New Citizen Party did. This is a centrist party representing Chinese New Zealanders and they won 10% of the vote even though they have no representation in Parliament. I guess the message there is that ethnicity is a big deal in electoral politics.
The second thing to note is that Labour did poorly in a majority of the polling booths but in three of them they won massive majorities. I suspect they didn’t even campaign in most of the electorate but ran an intensive GOTV campaign in key areas. This is basically how they won Mana and it’s obviously their strategy for the election in November.