Home > Uncategorized > Four reasons McCarten will flop in Mana

Four reasons McCarten will flop in Mana

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

UPDATE THURSDAY

Matt McCarten has a trigger-happy band of loyalists, that’s for sure.  Here is the latest:

What do you base your analysis on? An informed and sophisticated voter base?

McCarten has the charisma and the contacts to enthuse a large activist set.
Your first point is flat wrong. McCarten has excellent name recognition. There will be many voters who mark his name simply because they have heard of him.
Your second point is BS. Plenty of people on the right respect him and would vote for him to slap Labour.

Your third point is based on no empirical evidence from a similar situation. And your fourth is equally misguided. McCarten had no more to do with Hobbiton than Goff did. People are as likely to associate Labour as they are with the unions.

You seem to be suffering from the common delusion that Mana is somehow special and different from elsewhere. It is not. If you want to put some money on it let me know.

I can see him taking the seat with a combination of strong on the ground campaigning and voters quite happy to give Labour the slap they deserve by going further left.

Harsh, although nothing compared to the never-to-be-published sledging I copped after my Faafoi posts.  I still blush.  Is it just me, or is there a tiny bit of Manson Family in all this McCarten arm-flapping.  Or maybe I was in the bathroom (or, more likely, drunk — or both) when New Zealand fell head over heels with Matt McCarten including conservatives whom sagenz appears to believe will vote for MM as a way of punishing Labour when conservatives who don’t like Labour usually…I don’t know… VOTE NATIONAL.  Anyway my response to all this is available under comments if you’re interested.

UPDATE: Just read this on Kiwiblog.  Wow.  I am having trouble recalling when I last read anything this completely wrong. It is borderline hysteria.  I can only assume that Mr. Edwards has never once set foot in the Mana electorate or met anyone from the electorate, even in a passing fashion.  This paragraph made me wince:

McCarten will have a huge support infrastructure that he can tap into. There’s a number of left intellectuals like Laila Harre, Chris Trotter, Marty ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, John Minto, Mike Lee, Cathy Casey, etc, who might be expected to help rally the troops and design a leftwing political platform that will resonate with Mana voters. Maybe even some more Labour/Green partisans like Andrew Campbell and Sue Bradford might also pitch in.

Oh dear. The only way any of these characters can deliver votes in Mana is if they live in Mana.  Otherwise, their support makes McCarten’s defeat even more inevitable.  This is predominantly middle-class seat with large pockets of Maori and Pacific voters in the east and west.  And Edwards is saying that John Minto can deliver these voters?  The Chris Kuggeleijn of the NZ Left?  But check this out for political happy-clapping:

McCarten’s campaign has much wider political ramifications – for example, it could be the launching pad for a new party to fill the gaping big hole on the left of the political spectrum in New Zealand.

Is this satire? If so, it’s hilarious.

Original post follows.

If Matt McCarten gets more than 400 votes in the Mana by-election, I will be surprised.  Here’s four reasons why:

  1. No-one really knows who he is. His celebrity is worth as many votes as Faafoi’s: zero.
  2. McCarten’s people are hard-left union (Pakeha) households and urbane (Pakeha) Trots, and neither group really exists in Mana, except for a few disgruntled Marxists in Titahi Bay and about a dozen in Ranui Heights, Cannons Creek and Ascot Park.
  3. Left-wing protest candidates do better when Labour is in power.
  4. Running with explicit trade union backing at this moment, given Survivor: Hobbiton, is like running for Governor of Michigan on a Goldman Sachs’ ticket.

The only reason he may reach 400 votes is that McCarten may attract the stray redneck who would rather not back a Faafoi or Parata. More likely 200-300.

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  1. October 27, 2010 at 22:05

    Some good point there, PQ. So we’ll have to see if you’re right. But be careful not to underestimate the power of a left-field option being thrown into what was looking like a fairly boring by-election, especially by someone with the campaigning talent of McCarten.

    Anyhow, for a counterview, see my blog post here:
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/10/matt-mccarten-for-mana-the-return-of-the-left.html

    • PQ
      October 27, 2010 at 22:07

      I am afraid I have been a little scathing in my updated blog. Please don’t take it personally. It’s all grist to the mill.

      • October 27, 2010 at 22:20

        All’s fair in love and war (and politics)! 😉

        Nonetheless, I stand by my claim that leftwing opinion leaders like Minto or Bradford might be able to ‘help rally the troops and design a leftwing political platform that will resonate with Mana voters’. This is what leftwing political campaigning is all about – marshaling the troops (from outside of Mana to campaign) and putting up a good political message.

        I’m not saying that such names are going to be successful as canvassers themselves. But there is actually a substantial but dormant layer of (disenchanted) lefties around Wellington that McCarten will obviously try to bring into Mana. We’re have to see if he has any success in doing so.

        I happen to agree that McCarten may get less than 400 votes. But it all depends on many factors, and if they all come together nicely, then I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he manages to win over 4000. But I guess I’m only making you chuckle louder….

      • PQ
        October 27, 2010 at 22:25

        I agree there are such voters in the region, but not Mana. Matt would do a lot better in Wellington Central, Rongotai or even the Hutt. Message will be critical, of course, but the ability to cut through is severely hampered by the fact that National, not Labour, is in office. And the voters of Mana, who have just endured a local govt election, could not care less. This is not an antsy electorate. They are not on verandas, as Wayne Goss might say, with baseball bats.

  2. October 27, 2010 at 23:25

    You ignore one thing: McCarten is one of the best political campaigners in New Zealand. He ran three byelections in the ’90s in safe National seats, two of which the Alliance nearly won, and the other one in which he carried the two main towns in the electorate.

    He knows how to connect with people in a way that Faafoi probably does not. I’m not saying he will win, I’m just saying that he knows what he is doing, and that is a rare thing in the amateurish world of NZ politics.

    • PQ
      October 27, 2010 at 23:37

      I didn’t ignore it at all; I just don’t think it will add up to many votes in Mana in this particular by-election. Campaign gurus are never as good as their legend would have it. Ever. Circumstances, timing, message — these things are far more important than the guy running the campaign meetings. Happy to shout you a latte if I’m wrong.

  3. October 28, 2010 at 14:36

    What do you base your analysis on? An informed and sophisticated voter base?

    McCarten has the charisma and the contacts to enthuse a large activist set.
    Your first point is flat wrong. McCarten has excellent name recognition. There will be many voters who mark his name simply because they have heard of him.
    Your second point is BS. Plenty of people on the right respect him and would vote for him to slap Labour.

    Your third point is based on no empirical evidence from a similar situation. And your fourth is equally misguided. McCarten had no more to do with Hobbiton than Goff did. People are as likely to associate Labour as they are with the unions.

    You seem to be suffering from the common delusion that Mana is somehow special and different from elsewhere. It is not. If you want to put some money on it let me know.

    I can see him taking the seat with a combination of strong on the ground campaigning and voters quite happy to give Labour the slap they deserve by going further left.

    • PQ
      October 28, 2010 at 14:50

      If 10 percent of the electorate can pick him in a police line-up, I would be surprised. Most people are too busy with their lives to commit Matt McCarten’s name to memory. If you really think he will get a lot of conservative votes who want to punish Labour, then good on you. If you really disagree that left-wing protest voters tend to do better when centre-left governments are in power, then I don’t even know where to begin. My fourth point about the Unions is not a major one, but an explicit trade union affiliation is unlikely to help in the current climate. I am not arguing that Mana is unique at all. Mana will act electorally pretty much in line with its demographic make-up, no surprises there. I am just saying it is not a hot-bed of Alliance types. I carry no vendetta against Matt McCarten; I just get annoyed with people who talk about Mana from the basis of very little actual knowledge, mainly from the misguided perspective that is a state-housing Labour bastion, when it most certainly is not, at least not anymore. I don’t bet with money, mostly because I have very little. I may turn out to be wrong, so might you. No injuries will be sustained. Oh, and nice to meet you too.

      • PQ
        October 28, 2010 at 15:14

        sagenz – I failed to answer your question about the basis for my views. Well, firstly — since when do I need to have a basis for my opinion in order to express it in the relative privacy of my own blog? It seems a little elitist and non-egalitarian to suggest otherwise. Secondly, I know a little about this subject because I have been an activist and participant in local Mana politics on and off for 23 years. I ran twice for the Porirua City Council (won once in 89, lost in ’95) and managed and advised several other city-wide campaigns over many years, by and large with success. In the list of things I know nothing about — an incredibly long and growing list — the electoral inclinations of Porirua is not easily found. That said, I could well be wrong. I live in New York, for one thing. And I could be missing something, namely the immense charisma of Matt McCarten that will, apparently, attract votes, left and right, from all over Mana. I am strangely immune, although I am sure he is a top bloke.

  4. markus
    October 30, 2010 at 09:42

    I’m a big fan of Matt, always have been. And I’m currently agonising over whether to give my vote to him or Kris Fa’afoi ( I’m a little concerned about splitting the Centre-Left vote. I really don’t want Parata to win – and I think we both agree, Phil, that such a possibility is nowhere near as remote as most commentators would have it).

    But, realistically, I just Can’t see Matt McCarten coming close to even second place, let alone winning. Labour’s vote in Mana would have to absolutely collapse for that to happen. In order to win, I’d estimate – taking into account the inevitably lower turnout – that a candidate would need to take 11, perhaps 12, thousand votes (unless, of course, the voters of BOTH major parties moved en masse to Matt – highly unlikely, I’d suggest).

    But while I think many are grossly over-estimating Matt’s chances, I also think 200-400 votes is way too low, Phil. I can see him coming a close fourth behind the Greens’ Logie, possibly even just sneaking into third place. Matt is pretty well-known and should receive enough support from a (relatively small) minority of Labour voters and a (somewhat larger) minority of Green, NZ First and minor-party voters to take maybe 1300-1600 votes. But that would still leave him over 9000 votes behind the first and second-placed candidates.

    That won’t necessarily stop me voting for him though. Have yet to decide.

    (Incidently, the Alliance took 3031 Party-Votes in Mana in 1996, 2351 in 1999 and (after the great split) 507 in 2002).

    • PQ
      October 30, 2010 at 16:37

      Markus, you might be right. I don’t claim have superhuman prognosticating skills. We’ll find out soon enough. As to your dilemma: what dilemma?? If you don’t want the Nats to win, you vote for whomever is most likely to win who is not a National Party candidate, i.e. Labour, in this case. No?

  1. October 27, 2010 at 21:51

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