One detail in the general election results shows Labour again lost the all-important party vote race to National in three of its heartland West Auckland seats – despite the campaign ‘stardust’ of Jacinda Ardern. Tim Murphy reports.
The party won all four electorates in the inner and outer west – Mt Roskill, New Lynn, Te Atatu and Kelston – but only in Carmel Sepuloni’s Kelston did Labour also win the party vote.
Parties’ share of the party vote ultimately determines the government and Labour’s nationwide total was 35.8 percent, 10.3 points behind National.
Mt Roskill was former leader Phil Goff’s old base and is now in the hands of Michael Wood, Te Atatu is held by Labour’s campaign chief Phil Twyford and New Lynn is another former leader David Cunliffe’s fortress now held by Deborah Russell. In 2014 the seats saw Labour fall behind National in the party vote, but hopes would have been high given the profile and promise Ardern brought to the battle these past two months.
In each of the losing cases the margins were not large, with National winning by between 400 and 700 votes from total electorate party votes of 24,000 or so.
But Labour needed to hoover up party votes in its own territory like National managed to do in its safe seats across Auckland and in the regions. Sharing the spoils in its bloc of red urban seats was a costly washout.
In National’s safe East Coast Bays seat, for example, National scored 63.3 percent of the party votes cast (12,000 ahead of Labour); in its Hunua stronghold south of Auckland it pulled in 64 percent, or about 15,000 votes more than the red team.
Labour’s South Auckland seats did perform: Mangere gave its 69.3 percent of its party vote to Labour (meaning 15,000 more votes than National); in neighbouring Manukau East it was 64.3 per cent (an 8500 party vote margin).
The party vote battle in west Auckland could have been swung by National’s intense courting of voters from minority ethnic groups. It fielded Paulo Garcia, a Filipino, in New Lynn, its Indian list JMP Parmjeet Parmar again in Mt Roskill and Bala Beeram, who is of Indian descent in Kelston. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro, a Cook Islander, flew the flag in Te Atatu.
When Bill English visited the west six days before polling day, he paid tribute to those representing Pacific and Asian communities. “They reach a broad range of New Zealanders that, frankly, the National Party didn’t used to. It brings a whole lot more people to us who share our aspirations. He singled out Beeram, who was in the audience with his supporters at the Croatian Society club rooms, as one of the hardest working candidates National had anywhere.
In the two seats New Zealand First had hopes of winning, leader Winston Peters’ Northland and star signing Shane Jones’ Whangarei contest, NZ First not only got beaten in the electorate vote but received low party vote returns as well.
In Northland, National’s farmer support base gave 16,839 party votes to the government, 10,059 to Labour and just 4776 to NZ First. In Whangarei, it was a similar result. The party’s two biggest drawcards could not deliver party votes in the numbers it needed nationwide.
In the Māori seats, Labour not only swept the seven electorate votes but hammered the Māori Party on the party vote shares, with the Māori Party in the low double figures and Labour in the late 50s to mid-60s.
Labour’s Māori caucus will also feature Manurewa MP Louisa Wall, Rongotai MP Paul Eagle, and from the list Willow-Jean Prime, Kiri Allan and Willie Jackson.
On election night preliminary results, the four parties qualifying for list MPs would bring the following candidates to Parliament:
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
(Just missing out would be Agnes Loheni)
(Just missing out, and a possibility after the special vote count would be Bay of Plenty’s Angie Warren-Clark and the Auckland Central candidate Helen White.)
NZ First: 9
(Just missing out, and a possibility after specials, would be incumbent MPs Mahesh Bindra and Pita Paraone. Three other MPs, Ria Bond, Denis O’Rourke and Richard Prosser are out due to being dropped down the list and NZ First’s drop in party vote from 8.6 percent last time to 7.5.)
Julie Anne Genter
(Just missing out and a possibility after specials would be new candidate Golriz Ghahraman, and incumbent MP Mojo Mathers)
In the battle for electorate majorities, the highest went to National’s current defence minister Mark Mitchell in Rodney, with a 17,768 election night margin.
Next was Justice Minister Amy Adams, who won by 17,600 votes in Selwyn, National’s Andrew Bayly in Hunua, 17,256, Erica Stanford in East Coast Bays, 14,175, Barbara Kuriger (National, Taranaki-King-Country) 13,994, and newcomer Tim van den Molen (National, Waikato) 13,933.
Labour’s biggest margins included leader Jacinda Ardern, who was 11,935 votes ahead of National rival Melissa Lee, and Aupito William Sio in Mangere, 11,480.