October 9, 2016
Notes on the local body elections
- It was a very good night for the left, and also whatever the hell Phil Goff represents. The left also did well in the 2013 local body elections, and everyone got all excited and said it was a harbinger of success in the General, and then it totally wasn’t.
- I still don’t understand the left’s success in local body politics. Bill Ralston reckons ‘centre right voters just don’t vote’, which defies almost everything we know about voter behaviour. Maybe the difference is that in local body almost no one votes, but the left uses their campaign machines to mobilise their voters and the right doesn’t. But why don’t they do that?
- Justin Lester won in Wellington. I wrote a feature about the Mayoral race and I liked all three of the leading candidates – we had good choices – who all seemed like contenders, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I met someone on Lester’s campaign team for a drink on Friday, and they were pretty confident. Sounds like it was a very, very well-run campaign.
- There was a lot riding on it for Labour. Guyon Espiner wrote a feature in the Listener endorsing Nick Leggett, calling him ‘the darling of the Mainstream Labour Party-in-exile’ and writing ‘He may be standing for mayor of Wellington, but having resigned from Labour, he’s also sending his old party a message: this is what Labour might look like if it actually wanted to win.’ Espiner’s opinion carries a lot of weight, and if he’d been proved right about any of this the narrative would have built up momentum and been very harmful for Labour, I think.
- Hamish McDouall, who came closer than he knows to becoming a character in one of my novels, is now Mayor of Whanganui.
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