People that know me on Facebook already know I was a mess on election night at the ACT Party Party in Parnell, and my media appearances have been awful. My interview on Close Up on Monday 28th was like a Muldoon moment. That aside, elections are bizarre times where all sorts of crazy shit happens in the name of democracy. So how did everyone do?
1st - National
- Didn't get into much trouble
- Good policies
- Last 3 years have been good, stable incumbents
- Tea pot tapes
- John Key refused to debate Phil Goff all the time
- Asset sales aren't popular, but it's OK, John Key is
As the winners of the last election, they've gained a few extra seats to strengthen their caucus (with the need of an additional whip) and continue the good progress they've made so far. They appear as the cool, calm, and confident leaders that can get through a financial mess and ensure the peace of mind of New Zealanders - brilliant. The 'Tea Pot Tapes' were a slight bit of damage,with Key storming out of a press conference and continuing to refuse to comment on them. The lesson John Key teaches us is that sometimes the less that is said, the better; leaving no room for questioning and uncertainty, delivering a strong message and a positive image. Yeah, he basically walked into parliament this time.
2nd - Labour
- Powerful advertising and branding
- Thirst for debate and discussion on policy
- Kept Trevor Mallard on a leash
- They lost, BADLY
- Goff appeared bland and incompetent, clear loser in a presidential-style election
- No clear leaders or any future in current caucus
- They lost seats!!
- Announcing raising the retirement age to 67 was a gamble that was probably responsible for bring Winston back from the dead
- Trevor Mallard
- All their economic plans seemed to come out wrong, as if they couldn't count or something
- Appeared comparatively outdated and irrelevant against the Greens
Their worst result in a long time, mirroring National's 2002 campaign under Bill English. They lost seats, lost support, had their votes split by other parties, and appeared to be outdated and irrelevant against their coalition partner, the Greens. Their economic boldness backfired over bad costings and analysis, and they were torn apart over the extra borrowing, despite few good suggestions such as the $5k tax free threshold. Phil Goff just lacked the media coverage and interest that John Key had, and appears to be on the way out, the problem is, there doesn't seem to be a competent leader in the current caucus. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any future talent or potential in the party. They'll need a big overhaul before 2014.
3rd - Greens
- More powerful advertising, following last election's memorable branding
- Appeared very relevant, conscious, and competent (at least in comparison to what they were before)
- Appealed to a bigger audience, and won more votes and seats than ever before
- Split the left vote, took many votes from the more intelligent left and center and weakened Labour significantly
- Some of their economic plans were shot down for being inaccurate, ACT found huge flaws in it
- People scoffed at 'Green Jobs' and 'Green Economy' as not practical enough to get out of the economic mess
- Their stupid cringe-worthy mass vandalization of National's billboards!!!! Political suicide much!!
- Denise Roche and Catherine Delahunty
- Robyn Malcolm, like WTF?!?!
Their best ever result, thanks largely to Meitiria Turei and Russell Norman's tinkering of the Green brand to downplay the hippy-feminazi-treehugging-communist-dropkick image and create a more middle class and mainstream brand. The growth in votes and seats was huge, playing mostly on three policies; improving living standards for 100000 children, green economic policies, and cleaning up rivers. They sound a bit wishy-washy, but they did strike a chord with many Kiwis who do care about children and the environment. The rumors of a partnership with National excited and disgusted many simultaneously, with each party's most faithful warning against it. Many people would like to see it happen, but I personally don't see much good coming from such an agreement.
4th - New Zealand First
- Winston First
- Tea Pot Tapes exploitation
- Tracey Martin
- The Clown of Campbell's Bay
- Brendan 'Failed Weatherman' Horan (who sets "feminine hearts aflutter" apparently...)
- Curwen Fuckin' Rolinson
- Still hasn't paid back that $158k, still waiting Winnie…
Probably at the expense of Labour, a strange and unexpected resurgence of New Zealand First, who just got over the 5% threshold and stole 8 seats in Parliament. The catalyst was probably the proposal of raising the retirement age by Labour that got them attention, then stirring shit over the Tea Pot Tapes which created the controversy and the popularity. The problem is, he's been vindicated by winning, where the media have dismissed and outcast him completely, and he's complained about being left out. The media should have let him join in debates and discussions, so that people could see how much of a fool he is before they got for him, and not after.
5th - Māori Party
The party that had the least say, the least advertising, the least input, and some of the fewest party votes. The Māori Party held onto their Māori electorate seats again, with the exception of course, being Te Tai Tokerau. Dr Pita Sharples comfortably held onto Tāmaki Makaurau despite the opposition from Shane Jones. National wants their support, as they got it in the last parliament, and all the Māori Party seem to want is for iwi to have a say in asset sales. Exciting…
6th - ACT
- Dr Brash had fantastic economic policies with recommendations from top economists, if only anyone else could understand these policies…
- Plenty of talent and potential down the party list, David Seymour and Stephen Whittington making a great start
- John Banks won Epsom, despite the polls
- Total turnover of MPs
- Brash rolled Rodney, promised us 15% of party votes but only got 1%
- Lowest presence in parliament ever
- Tea Pot Tapes
Don Brash and John Banks have accused the media and the pollsters for deterring people away from ACT with what proved to be inaccurate polls and news about gaffes and not policy. People back winners, and ACT was pitched to be losers from day one. Having said that, the ongoing hiccups that seemed to occur in the party didn't help one bit, with Don Brash announcing a cannabis reform as an unofficial policy without telling Banks who is vehemently opposed to such. Dr Brash has already resigned from the party and takes responsibility, the tricky part is working out which direction the party will take for 2014, with the media still interested in the divisions and setbacks in the party, even after the election.
7th - Mana
- Hone Heke tax
- "Feed the kids"
- Sue Bradford, John Minto, Pat O'Dea
Apart from in Māori communities, electorates, and in poor neighborhoods; Hone Harawira's presence was almost non existent. In the Epsom electorate on the streets of Newmarket, his name was only a rumor from far away. His policies grabbed some support from the lowest income earners, as he positioned the party away from being concerned exclusively with Māori, to being a champion of the poor. Scrapping GST and creating a tax-free threshold was one thing, but it was supported by a 'Hone Heke' tax, which was a financial tax on all transactions. Lovely. Pat O'Dea made a dick of himself in Epsom by having a campaign concerned exclusively with trashing the ACT party and maintaing a conspiracy theory behind bankers and speculators. Crazy talk, mostly.
8th - United Future
- Again, one seat
- Again, Peter Dunne
- Again, Peter Dunne's hair
Nothing happened. With Peter Dunne in charge of United Future, all that will ever happen is nothing. They need a huge makeover, starting with Peter Dunne's hair.
Conclusions and reactions to all of this are more complicated, and will require another post. But campaigning for 2014 should be starting now if parties should seek re-election. The result so far is the guarantee of a good night's sleep with a strong, stable, center-right, John Key led National government. Winston First and his cronies will provide plenty of entertainment at the expense of the taxpayer's money and patience. Every party except the Greens and National will need severe rebranding, hopefully the conference calls and strategy plans are being worked out now.