The Dim-Post

August 4, 2014

Live by the coat-tail, DIE by the coat-tail

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:12 am

Via the Herald:

The Conservative Party has confirmed that Christine Rankin will stand in the high-profile seat of Epsom this election.

Mrs Rankin is the party’s chief executive, and former Families Commissioner and former head of Work and Income NZ.

It is a move designed to get the Conservation Party more oxygen as the media spotlight shines on Epsom, and to potentially rock the National-Act deal.

First. The Conservatives don’t want gay people to marry because they’re a party that believes in ‘family values’. Yet Christine Rankin is one of their leaders?

Second. I think this is less about the current election and more about Colin Craig positioning himself for 2017. If he can knock ACT out in Epsom then surely that’ll be the end(?) and Craig can attract those right-wing votes next time around, along with some New Zealand First votes if, as everyone assumes, Winston Peters will resign at the end of the next Parliament. That might get him to 5%.

Can he knock ACT out in Epsom? I dunno. Banks’ majority in 2011 was just over 2000 votes – quite low, because 50% of Labour and Green voters voted strategically for National’s Paul Goldsmith. The Conservatives won’t have to win many votes off ACT to have a spoiler effect.

42 Comments »

  1. I am increasingly beginning to think CCCP and NZ First are fighting over the same 8% or so of voters. The most likely outcome is they will score 3% and 4% each respectively. That’ll be the end of Winnie, and as you say – ensure CCCP morphs into the next NZ First.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 4, 2014 @ 7:30 am

  2. I am increasingly beginning to think CCCP and NZ First are fighting over the same 8% or so of voters. The most likely outcome is they will score 3% and 4% each respectively. That’ll be the end of Winnie, and as you say – ensure CCCP morphs into the next NZ First.

    Wasn’t this what National Party strategists were being quoted as saying was their strategy earlier this year, to which we all jeered and said “that’s moronic!”?

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 4, 2014 @ 8:05 am

  3. All she can do is spoil and the glitterati from Epsom will not like that at all.

    It’s a very silly move. Very silly. The PM has already endorsed Seymour; he’s hardly going to do au-turn on that. Rankin in in her early 60’s I believe, yet Epsom is the second youngest electorate in the country. It just won’t end well this for the Cons. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

    Comment by Nick K — August 4, 2014 @ 8:06 am

  4. The Conservatives don’t want gay people to marry because they’re a party that believes in ‘family values’. Yet Christine Rankin is one of their leaders?

    Hey – she likes Marriage so much, she’s given it a go four(?) times. That’s just natural.

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 4, 2014 @ 8:09 am

  5. It’s a very silly move. Very silly. The PM has already endorsed Seymour; he’s hardly going to do au-turn on that.

    So? This is basically a “screw-you” to National … if they won’t help the Conservatives, then why should the Conservatives worry about the effect of their decisions on National? And if there’s no Act in 2017, what will National have to do?

    Comment by Flashing Light — August 4, 2014 @ 8:11 am

  6. @Flashing Light: Why is that people who are strongly in favour of the right of gay people to get married are so often disdainful of the right of divorced people to get married?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — August 4, 2014 @ 8:32 am

  7. There’s another aspect here as well. At least some of the CP voters would be doing it because Craig was clearly aligning himself to National and a CP voter could feel (S)he was helping the right bloc.

    Now that Craig has given the finger to the Nats and going for utu he could lose votes there. It then becomes a question of whether he and Peters will go over the top in wooing the confused with odd mixtures of xenophobia, morals, race bashing, free trips to Disneyland for the oldies etc.

    It looks like Lange’s “reef fish” are going to get quite tired turning this way and that over the next month or so.

    JC

    Comment by JC — August 4, 2014 @ 8:51 am

  8. I remember when Christine Rankin went on Paul Henry’s breakfast show and, talking about child abuse, said “we do have a problem with Maori in this country” (something she was unqualified to talk about, and of course far more white kids are abused in this country, but, y’know, Paul Henry breakfast). A TVNZ security guard, who’d been with the company 24 years, spoke to her after the interview, telling her that it was “a bit harsh to blame all Maori for the actions of four idiots.” She complained to TVNZ and got him fired. I always thought that spoke volumes about the sort of person she is. It’s fine for her to denigrate and slander an entire people, but how dare anyone politely tell her she might be wrong. Fuck you, Christine.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/14824/TVNZ-defends-firing-employee-over-Rankin-comment

    Comment by James — August 4, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  9. Wasn’t this what National Party strategists were being quoted as saying was their strategy earlier this year, to which we all jeered and said “that’s moronic!”?

    Actually, *quietly clears throat* that was an idea that I got roundly jeered for by the Dimpost commentariat, late last year. I didn’t say it was the National party strategy, but I did make the point that the Nats could probably govern alone on 45% if it occured.

    Comment by Phil — August 4, 2014 @ 9:00 am

  10. Phil@9am & FlashingLight@8:
    I wrote about this in NBR last month. Behind paywall at http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nats-likely-spurn-conservatives-md-p-159498 but key pars were as below. I was told about this in early 2012 but thought it was far too elaborate to be a realistic strategy.

    “The so-called “three party strategy” was discussed secretly soon after the last election at the highest levels of the National Party.
    Back then, John Key, Bill English, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce, Judith Collins and Murray McCully knew that the chances of them winning the 2014 election were low.
    For all his woodenness – and the refusal of his finance spokesman David Cunliffe to adequately support him – Labour leader Phil Goff came within 10,000 votes of securing the top job and making Mr Key a one-term prime minister.
    Mr Key’s inner circle knew that every star would need to be aligned for their man to join Richard Seddon, William Massey, Sir Sidney Holland, Sir Keith Holyoake, Sir Robert Muldoon, Jim Bolger and Helen Clark as a New Zealand prime minister to win three elections on the trot.

    For most of the past two and a half years, the “three party strategy” was put on hold. It was a strategy that said National should try to engineer a situation where Parliament would consist of just three parties: itself, Labour and the Greens. If this could be achieved, National would need to receive only one more party vote than Labour/Green to form a government.
    Through most of Mr Shearer’s reign, this looked risky at best. National thought it was good for around 45% but Labour would surely get, say, 33% and the Greens 12%.”

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — August 4, 2014 @ 9:17 am

  11. @kalvarnsen,

    Not quite sure of the intent of your question? I think you’re doing one of your “ah ha! I have trapped you in an inconsistency!” comments, but it isn’t clear to me just how you think you’ve done so.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 4, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  12. Can he knock ACT out in Epsom?

    ACT might get knocked out in Epsom, but Rankin will make little difference either way.

    There are few actual ACT voters in Epsom — there are only some National voters who give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate. So, sure some National voters might give their electorate (and even party) vote to Rankin/Conservative instead, but the net effect will probably be just to make National’s electorate vote lower in Epsom. Other Conservative votes might come from either NZ First or new voters energised by the prospect of a crazy Conservative candidate. The net effect will probably be to damage (slightly) the National electorate vote, so simply slightly increase ACT’s chance of a win.

    You have to remember that the National voters who are voting for ACT’s electoral candidate are only doing so because it is the perceived wisdom of the National Party that they do so. They are not actually dissatisfied with National and looking for an alternative party to vote for. If they are sick of voting for ACT, they’re going to either not vote at all, or vote for the candidate from the party they actually want (i.e. the National candidate), rather than vote for a random crazy woman from the Conservatives.

    If ACT will get knocked out in Epsom it will be because significant numbers of National party voters choose to electorate vote National (alongside sufficient strategic National electorate votes from Labour/Green voters).

    Comment by RJL — August 4, 2014 @ 9:43 am

  13. “….that said National should try to engineer a situation where Parliament would consist of just three parties: itself, Labour and the Greens. If this could be achieved, National would need to receive only one more party vote than Labour/Green to form a government….”

    Then along came Kim Dotcom. No wonder the likes of Farrar and Slater direct so much pathological loathing at him, he is going to stick a great big oar into the spokes of that particular Byzantine calculation.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 4, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  14. I don’t care how many times Rankin has been divorced, but she had an affair with a married man whose wife committed suicide when she found out about it. Doesn’t that rule her out as someone who can tell other people about the morality of their relationships?

    Comment by Donna — August 4, 2014 @ 10:11 am

  15. I just went and looked at the actual Epsom results from 2011 – http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2011/electorate-12.html – and interestingly they suggest that the ‘gifting strategy’ isn’t quite as much of a lock as it’s portrayed. Removing the 949 ACT voters Banks got 14,896, but National got 23,725 party votes, so it seems like only around 60% of National supporters actually followed the plan and the rest stayed with Goldsmith.

    Given that and the increasingly poisonous nature of the ACT ‘brand’ (and that it looks like around half of Greens and only a third of Labour voters voted strategically for the National candidate in 2011) I can understand why National saw the need to alter tactics a bit this year and have Goldsmith actively campaign against being voted for and Key being absolutely explicit about the need to vote for Seymour. In this environment, I also wonder if Rankin standing might actually benefit the Right by giving an alternative option to annoyed National voters other than staying with Goldsmith, thereby reducing his ‘base’ vote and making it more difficult for Labour & Green strategic voting to have an impact?

    Comment by NBH — August 4, 2014 @ 11:39 am

  16. @NBH – although your National voter preference number is bang on, the better source for finding out that sort of thing is the split vote report – http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2011/elect-splitvote-12.html

    The most interesting thing is probably that only 80% of ACT voters voted for Banks!

    Comment by minimalistme — August 4, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

  17. I wonder what those ACT Party voters who gave their electorate votes to Green and Labour candidates were thinking.

    Comment by danylmc — August 4, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  18. @minimalistme – that’s awesome, I wasn’t aware the EC actually published those stats. Thanks!

    Comment by NBH — August 4, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

  19. Danyl @ 17 “I wonder what those ACT Party voters who gave their electorate votes to Green and Labour candidates were thinking.”

    “I am a liberal. Banks isn’t and National certainly isn’t.”.

    Comment by RJL — August 4, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

  20. Kalvarnsen asked Flashing Light ‘Why is that people who are strongly in favour of the right of gay people to get married are so often disdainful of the right of divorced people to get married?’

    If there are such people, they may be followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ, who condemned divorce but (as far as we know) made no statements either way about homosexuality.

    Okay, not many people take Jesus’s teachings that seriously. However, a lot of people who don’t have a problem with either divorce or homosexuality see it is hypocritical for someone to suggest that homosexuality is somehow a threat to marriage but that divorcing in favour of another opposite-sex relationship isn’t.

    Comment by kahikatea — August 4, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

  21. @minimalistme

    I personally think it’s much more interesting trying to understand what was going through the heads of the 451 voters (yes, I converted the % into #) who party-voted Green and Labour, then selected Banks as their candidate. .

    Comment by Phil — August 4, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

  22. The equivalent results for Ohariu show that 90% of UF voters ticked Dunne.
    Conclusion: great hair is worth 10% more than stupid glasses.

    Comment by Phil — August 4, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

  23. @Phil in 21

    That presupposes people actually know what they are doing in at the ballot box. Perhaps that isn’t a given.

    Comment by Bill Bennett — August 4, 2014 @ 4:14 pm

  24. If Epsom voters are strategic voters, and ACT is looking like getting a party vote of less than 1% and Conservatives are looking like getting a party vote of 2% plus, then it would be better for National Party supporters to vote Conservative, not ACT.

    Comment by Andrew R — August 4, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

  25. Yes, that theory is fine. But both scenarios depend on each party saying to the country “your vote isn’t wasted because we will win Epsom”. Both can’t be right, but I know which party has won it 3 times and which one hasn’t won a thing.

    Comment by Nick K — August 4, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

  26. Doesn’t that rule her out as someone who can tell other people about the morality of their relationships?

    Not on the side of politics where a child rapist could campaign against ‘sexual perversion’, or a forger could campaign for law and order.

    Comment by richdrich — August 4, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

  27. @kalvarnsen: There’s nothing inherently wrong in doing a Liz Taylor. The point is that Christine Rankin seldom meets the standards she likes to foist on others – a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do!’.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 4, 2014 @ 6:30 pm

  28. And it seems apparent that Rankin standing in Epsom is a middle finger to the Nats rejecting a tea party with Colin. Watch this space.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 4, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

  29. Christine Rankin is only out for Christine Rankin, parties and policies don’t enter into it.

    Comment by Us2Olds — August 4, 2014 @ 9:17 pm

  30. @ Kumara Republic: “The point is that Christine Rankin seldom meets the standards she likes to foist on others – a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do!’.”

    That is indeed the issue. As I understand “family values” Conservative-style, they’re big on children having a mother and father to bring them up and provide a stable home environment. As far as I can tell, they don’t mean “serial family values”, but that is what the many-times-married Rankin would, perforce, be having to promote.

    I feel very sorry for those poor sods in Epsom; I’m guessing that they’re a well-educated lot, yet here they are being fought over by a bunch of right-wing ideologues, loonies and publicity junkies. It’s an insult to the collective intelligence of the voters.

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 5, 2014 @ 12:14 am

  31. “I feel very sorry for those poor sods in Epsom; I’m guessing that they’re a well-educated lot”

    They may well be – they’re certainly a well-off lot – but let’s bear in mind that it is a conservative electorate, and pretty much always has been.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — August 5, 2014 @ 12:51 am

  32. “I feel very sorry for those poor sods in Epsom; I’m guessing that they’re a well-educated lot, yet here they are being fought over by a bunch of right-wing ideologues, loonies and publicity junkies. It’s an insult to the collective intelligence of the voters.”

    Nah, you’re being way too soft. They brought this on themselves through a series of poor choices over several electoral cycles.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 5, 2014 @ 5:13 am

  33. D’Esterre: “I feel very sorry for those poor sods in Epsom…”

    Don’t be, they collectively chose to be represented by ACT in Parliament.

    Comment by RJL — August 5, 2014 @ 8:10 am

  34. Lets face it Labour and National would love to go back to the good old days of FPP where only they could ever win and none of these painful 3rd party groups got a say. They loved being able to win an election outright with around 40% of the vote.
    As for those bagging ACT. Can you please explain what is so wrong with:
    – Personal responsibility
    – lower taxation
    – lower government spending
    – smaller government in general
    – choice of provider for education, health etc
    – law that never mentions or considers race

    Comment by Ray — August 5, 2014 @ 8:35 am

  35. “Don’t be, they collectively chose to be represented by ACT in Parliament.”

    Which gave them a continuation of a National Govt, which is precisely what they wanted to achieve.

    However, this time around they may wish for more direct Nat representation.. if they do then thats what they’ll likely get.

    JC

    Comment by JC — August 5, 2014 @ 8:47 am

  36. @ Pascal’s bookie: “Nah, you’re being way too soft. They brought this on themselves through a series of poor choices over several electoral cycles.”

    You’re probably right, at least about the critical mass whose voting choices have left the electorate as a whole in the present unfortunate situation. But I guess that not everybody there will have voted thusly. And surely “well-educated conservative” isn’t an oxymoron?

    Comment by D'Esterre — August 5, 2014 @ 11:30 am

  37. Yes. Not ALL epsom voters. But still.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — August 5, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

  38. Another purpose for Rankin standing in Epsom is to give Key the option to have a cup-of-tea with her close to the election.

    If National’s polling for itself and ACT looks dire much closer to the election (and the Conservatives look likely to get something like 3-4% of the vote), then Key may decide to try to switch Epsom’s electorate support from ACT to Conservative. There are lots of risks to that for Key (looks like a shifty flip-flopper attempting to game the system, etc.), but running that risk might be better than losing the chance for a third term. Rankin standing in Epsom keeps this a live option, and the Conservatives (nor National) don’t lose anything by maintaining this as an option.

    Comment by RJL — August 5, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

  39. @RJL
    Surely that’s superficial, at best?
    We already know Craig is standing in ECB so there’s little need for a second fall-back option in Epsom. Key can have a cup of tea elsewhere in Auckland if he so pleases.

    Comment by Phil — August 5, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  40. @Phil

    ECB has McCully as the National candidate; he may be unwilling to fall on his sword for Craig.

    On the other hand, Goldsmith is prepared to fall on his sword for someone; it probably doesn’t make much difference to him whether it is Rankin or whoever the ACT guy is. Also the National voters in the Epsom electorate have form for understanding and doing what they are told.

    So, sure, if things get desperate for Key he could tell McCully (and the ECB National voters) to take a dive for Craig. Rankin just gives a different option, which may or may not be more convenient depending on the circumstances at the time — either way it costs the Conservatives nothing to create the opportunity by placing Rankin in Epsom.

    And perhaps a cup-of-tea with Rankin allows Key to claim he isn’t breaking his word (as maybe he “technically” only ruled out a deal with Craig, not one with Rankin).

    Comment by RJL — August 5, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

  41. D’Esterre #30: Too right. “Serial family values” is a classic case of Nixonian “it’s not illegal when the President’s doing it!”

    Ray #34: A visit to Somalia will explain a lot.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — August 6, 2014 @ 12:46 am

  42. Whyte admits he was looking for a “stunt”, according to the ACT candidate who has now quit in protest …

    http://www.critic.co.nz/news/article/4230/act-candidate-for-dunedin-north-resigns

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — August 6, 2014 @ 6:16 am


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