Home > Uncategorized > Six Givens, Two Whys: How the Expectations Game Favours Nats in Mana

Six Givens, Two Whys: How the Expectations Game Favours Nats in Mana

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

To astute Mana-watchers, a National win in the by-election will not be a shock upset — it would not even qualify as much of an upset at all. The political environment in the lead-up to the by-election heavily favours National.

So here’s six givens:

  1. Given the absence of Winnie Laban on the ballot, the party vote from the last election is the best indication of the respective standings of Labour and National in Mana;
  2. And that the party vote margin favours Labour by only 2,500 votes or so;
  3. And that the National Party candidate is a Mana-based list MP who carries an element of incumbency;
  4. And that the PM is riding a wave of popularity, buoyed by a post-quake glow;
  5. And that the turnout in a by-election will be lower than a General Election by many thousands;
  6. And that low turnout is traditionally very bad news for Labour…

And two whys:

  1. Why has the media mindlessly bought National’s — and their allies in the blogosphere’s — spin that Mana is a “safe Labour seat”, and that winning it will therefore be a Herculean triumph?
  2. Why has Labour utterly opted out of the expectations game, and allowed the bar to be set so unreachably high?

Phil Goff is a credible alternative PM, and easily the best leadership talent within the Labour caucus. He’s tough, too, but no-one can forever withstand unrelenting waves of bad advice.  Allowing the view that Mana is a Labour fortress to take hold is the direct result of an ill-advised political strategy.  (It feels both churlish and  a little necessary to mention here the recent examples of installing Faafoi’s replacement before the nomination was settled, the heavy-handed treatment of local members by paid political staff, and the Radio Australia debacle — it doesn’t take much to detect a pattern).

Perhaps I am being “controversial” again.  I am certain there are elements still in the Labour Party who confuse candour with disloyalty.  But, it feels neither disloyal nor controversial to plead via this piss-ant little blog that Labour needs to smarten up and toughen up — or else face not just a loss in the Mana by-election, but a loss far more damaging than it needs to be.

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  1. markus
    October 8, 2010 at 10:41

    Hi, Phil.
    Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been indulging in some number-crunching regarding the 2008 Mana figures. And I’ve come to very similar conclusions.

    Excellent post.

    • PQ
      October 8, 2010 at 11:24

      Markus — I am far from happy about it, but I fear the writing is on the wall for Labour in Mana unless they direct a stupendous effort at turnout, turnout, turnout. I may be wrong — my instincts are off-whack if the recent indicators in the Super City race turn out to be right. PQ

  1. September 29, 2010 at 23:02

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