There’s going to be screeds of analysis written about what went wrong for National in Northland. Most of it is, I think, pretty obvious. So two quick points:
- I don’t understand why Peters decided this was a good idea. Maybe he has some clever strategy, or maybe he just saw an opportunity and took it. But this might not work out that well for him in 2017. He’ll be fighting a nation-wide campaign as leader of New Zealand First and a fierce electorate battle. I wonder if Labour will campaign for this electorate in the General election?
- By-elections have very low turnout so they’re all about motivating your base. You can see the strength of National’s campaign machine in the results: the polls had Osbourne at 34% but his actual result is 40% because National is very good at mobilising their voters. Peters still won though, because at least 5000 Labour voters turned out and voted strategically for a candidate from another party. I find this very suspicious and suspect that Peters had extensive support from the Labour Party in this campaign.