Archives for posts with tag: elections

I thought I should follow up my electorate guide with a bit of assistance with the health board elections. This is the only part of the ballot that is conducted via STV, so can be a little more confusing. You need to rank all the candidates, from 1 to 26. Only seven get in, so you need to rank your faves at the top, and your worsts at the bottom. Here are my suggestions:

1. Paul McMahon

2. David Morrell

3. Heather Symes

4. Oscar Alpers

5. Jo Kane

6. Anna Crighton

7. Adrian Te Patu

8. John Paul Jones

9. Jimmy Page

10. Robert Plant

11. John Bonham

12. Davis Love the Third

13. Davis Love the Second

14. Davis Love the First of Spain

15. David Bain

16. Clayton Weatherstone

17. Scott Watson

18. Captain Scott

19. Ernest Shackleton

20. The Abominable Snowman

21. The Abdominable Snowman

22. Archie (the regular Snowman)

23. Jon Snow

24. Tim’s neighbour Wilson from “Home Improvement”

25. Electronic Schizophrenia Guy

26. Aaron Keown


This is a cross post, also up at the Daily Blog.

I dunno if you’ve noticed, but it’s local body election time. A few people have asked me for my thoughts on the various wards, so I’m going to out down who I’d vote for if I was in a certain ward, plus what I think will happen. I’ll start from where I am, and work my way around clockwise.

Riccarton Wigram
Who I’ll vote for: Jimmy Chen, Mike Mora
Who I think will win: Vicki Buck, Jimmy Chen

Quite a tight race here, between the two sitting councillors (Chen and Helen Broughton of iCitz), with the high-profile ex-mayor Vicki Buck. Buck has the name recognition to coast in I think, though I won’t be voting for her as I don’t like her position championing charter schools. Though I know that that is a government, rather than a council, decision, I still think that it indicates that she is quasi-Tory. Jimmy Chen has been given a hard time by the Press for having an accent, but the guy works incredibly hard, and runs the most remarkable campaigns. I think he’ll win out over Broughton, who is tainted by a number of decisions at council, including the Marryatt saga.


Who I’d vote for: Faimeh Burke, Raf Manji
Who I think will win: Jamie Gough, Raf Manji

I was looking at my Grandmother’s Fendalton-Waimairi ballot when I realised how bleak this ward is. I’d have a hard time voting for anybody really – but that’s one of the reasons I don’t live in this ward. Gough is running for iCitz with Cr Claudia Reid, who is moving across from Banks Peninsula ward. This is the only ward where the iCitz ticket really has any power. I’d expect them to take the community board, and get at least one councillor (sadly). Both Gough and Reid have been badly tainted by the Marryatt saga, but I think Gough has enough of a name to grovel his way back in. While I have reservations about Raf Manji – I think he’s a bit politically naive, and his policy is either waffly or non-existent – I’d rather have him than the other two, and I think he’s got a good shot of getting his feet under the table. Hopefully Lianne – who’s backed him – will bring him up to speed quickly on how to be an effective councillor.


Who I’d vote for: Pauline Cotter, Ali Jones

Who I think will win: Ali Jones, Aaron Keown

Shirley-Papanui is the ward with the two independent, non-politically aligned councillors who stand for nothing and something at the same time – Aaron Keown and Ngaire Button. Both are up against it, due to being part of the “A team” of councillors that turned out to be anything but. Ali Jones is high-profile, so I expect that she will get one of the slots. I think Keown and Button will both take a hit, but expect that given his name recognition – despite a lot of it being for him being an idiot – Keown will make it, whilst Button will miss out. However, I’m still hopeful that a strong campaign from the two People’s Choice candidates, Pauline Cotter and Gemma Maslin (who is running for community board) could see them elected. Cotter has been a good representative on the Shirley-Papanui community board for some time, so may be seen as a safe pair of hands compared to Button or Keown. Maslin is a very promising Young Labour activist, and if she makes it on, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her running for the council in this ward in three years.


Who I’d vote for: Glenn Livingstone, Robyn Nuthall

Who I think will win: Glenn Livingstone, Robyn Nuthall

Glenn has done very well as a first time councillor, who served alongside Chrissie Williams and then Peter Beck. He’s going to find himself with a new comrade, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was his running mate Robyn Nuthall. In the four wards that are being strongly contested by the People’s Choice (Burwood-Pegaus, Hagley-Ferrymead, Spreydon-Heathcote and Riccarton-Wigram), there have been extensive, comprehensive campaigns. It’s hard to predict the success of these efforts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the running mates of a councillor standing for re-election is also elected due to the positive association with the existing councillor. That said, I think David East will go pretty close, due to his extensive lobbying around the New Brighton aquatic park, which is a very popular idea in the ward.


Who I’d vote for: Yani Johanson, Tracey McLellan

Who I think will win: Yani Johanson, Islay McLeod

As I’ve said before, I think this is the most interesting of the ward campaigns, and it’s a shame that some of the candidates are running here rather than being spread out into some of the other wards which are lacking in decent options. Yani is a sure thing, he’s a much-liked councillor who objected to the way that things were being done at council, and turned out to be right. Paul Lonsdale is running in this ward, and though he may get a bump from his futile mayoral campaign, he stands for the Central City area of the ward, which has a population of about 20 people. I don’t know how well that will translate to places like Woolston and Linwood. Actually, I do know how that will translate: not well. Islay McLeod was People’s Choice last election, but isn’t this time due to her turning out to actually be a Tory. That would probably be ok for her, but she and Wendy Gilchrist are likely to split the conservative middle-aged white woman vote, which could play into McLellan’s hands.

Banks Peninsula

Who I’d vote for: Andrew Turner

Who I think will win: ? (Andrew Turner)

I really don’t know much about what’s going to happen here. Banks Peninsula is still a weird one – it only has one councillor, and they don’t need very many votes, compared to what candidates will get in the city wards. In 2010, Claudia Reid won with 2133 votes, beating one Denis O’Rourke who came in second with 615 votes. Compare that with Hagley-Ferrymead, where Tim Carter got 7300, and Yani got over 10,000 votes. The two main population areas in the ward are Akaroa and Lyttelton, and the Labour Party is still well organised in the latter. I would think that this would translate into a win for Turner, but that’s based on not much more than a hunch.


Who I’d vote for: Phil Clearwater, Karolin Potter

Who I think will win: Phil Clearwater, Melanie Riwai-Couch

This race is wide open, with the two sitting councillors Sue Wells and Barry Corbett deciding not to seek re-election. Phil Clearwater has served on the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board for some time now, and is well respected. He got a huge number of votes at the last community board election – as did Tim Scandrett and Karolin Potter, who are also running for council. However, Scandrett ran last election on a People’s Choice ticket, but isn’t this time, and I’m not sure that he will be able to pull half that many votes without the Labour campaign machine behind him. UCSA student president Erin Jackson is running, but I’m not convinced that that brings her much profile in the ward. Also, her party affiliation is “Awake at the table”, which I find bizarre. Was there some problem with councillors drifting off in meetings? Does she advocate for supplementing the water supply with NoDoze?


Who I’ll vote for: Lianne Dalziel

Who I think will win: Lianne Dalziel

Not even a contest.

So earlier today, there was a Labour Party reshuffle, and as literally one person has asked me about my opinion on in, I thought I’d write about it here. When I read through Michael Parkin’s tweet, which had a picture of the shuffled list, I was pretty alarmed. The earthquake spokesperson wasn’t in the 13 top names on the paper. Turns out that the spokesperson hasn’t changed – it’s still Lianne Dalziel – but she’s dropped out of the top 20. I was pretty fucked off, to be honest. I care a lot about this city, and I’ve obviously written a lot about the way I think we are heading in the wrong direction, possibly towards a destination that is very bad indeed. I want to see Christchurch well represented in Labour.

I disconnected from twitter for a bit, and wandered off to do something at the bank. I calmed down a bit, and started to think of a way to put my thoughts into words.

It’s worth starting off by looking at what Labour has done since the quakes. Initially, Clayton Cosgrove was earthquake recovery spokesperson, up until the 2011 election. Since then, Dalziel has been spokesperson. As a strategy, this hasn’t worked. Labour is seen to be too negative, to have no ideas for Christchurch. The government is perceived to be doing a good job of the rebuild – as reflected in the hammering Labour got in Christchurch at the 2011 general election. What was done, first with Cosgrove, then with Dalziel, was to put someone in a role directly counter to Gerry. Cosgrove didn’t work as he was too similar (there was a fantastic line from one commentator – I think it was Jane Clifton – who said that if you squint, he could be a member of the National Party). Dalziel hasn’t worked as she’s seen as too negative, when people want positive (if you’ve read anything of this blog, you’ll know that I’m far more critical of the direction that the city is going in that Lianne has been. Another who is seen as being too negative is City Councillor Yani Johanson. It’s a perception problem, but more on this later.)

The problem with this strategy is that it feeds Gerry. The things that opponents see as his flaws – dictatorial, uncultured, not following due process – are things that his supporters see as strengths – decisive, straight-talking, getting things done. We’ve built up this caricature of him as Bulldozer Brownlee, that like Crusher Collins, is incredibly powerful as a narrative, not only for him, but for the National Party as whole, to get all the horrible things that they want done done. He’s making the tough calls. He’s not afraid to ruffle some feathers, to pull down some dungas. His image is so strong, I’d argue, that he can do all these terrible things, and they actually feed the beast. He has extraordinary powers, and yet he still managed to break the law (and I’m not talking about the time he pushed a pensioner down some stairs either). He heads a government department – the EQC – that has registered 11,000 official complaints, and yet there is no talk about the minister taking responsibility and stepping down. Even the story about his efforts in a 1980 talent quest – which sounds unremittingly horrible – serves to enhance his reputation.

Going at him headfirst has frankly played straight into his hands. The collective opposition – in and out of parliament, at the Council, at the protests around town – have helped to build this giant up. Now, he’s too big to taken down. Certainly not by one person. If we want to take him down, we have to do it Lilliput Style.

That’s why I think that the reshuffle could actually work out well for Christchurch. Dalziel still runs the earthquake issues – those around insurance, EQC, zoning. Gerry has unreal powers, and it is the responsibility of the opposition to make sure that he is held to account for them. Labour cannot shy away from criticising the decisions he makes – but they also need to counter it with a vision, with something that people of Christchurch can get behind. Phil Twyford comes down and talks about Kiwibuild and affordable housing, Chris Hipkins continues to press on the closure of schools and the process around that, Grant Robertson talks to the Council about how we might be able to get the Art Gallery open sooner than 2015, Megan Woods outlines why Labour thinks the University of Canterbury is too critical for the government to let it fail. None of these MPs have been around Parliament for too long, so they have a lot to prove – and now would be a good time to deliver. All the while, Dalziel, Woods and Ruth Dyson continue with their remarkable, largely unreported efforts in their own electorates.

This might be a naive, or an optimistic take on the situation. But these are the cards that Labour was dealt at the 2011 election, and they have to play them. I’m not convinced that reshuffling the earthquake spokesperson would have made any difference. Labour needs a new strategy to take back Christchurch, and this might actually turn out to be a round-about way to find one. 


As with the previous post, this is a rough map of where the school closures are on a map of social deprivation in Christchurch. I say rough as the map doesn’t come with roads, so I’ve had to correlate the two. Deprivation data is from 2006, from the Christchurch City Council’s website. Blue is least deprived, yellow is most deprived. It’s pretty easy to see that most of the closures and mergers (which are closures by another name) are in the yellow parts of the city. Even in the closure in the Ilam electorate, they’ve managed to target the one school in the most deprived part of Burnside!

I’ve added an asterix to denote the Aranui cluster, a decision on which was put off today. But remember, they want to merge 5 schools into one, in the poorest part of town.

The N!’s represent new schools, but I can’t put them any where meaningful as we don’t know where they will go at this point.

CLOSURES VS SocioEconomic

Someone asked for a map like this via twitter. It is not the prettiest and it is not the biggest. But it should give you a rough idea of where the closures map out across Christchurch (as well as the reprieves and the new schools). There is a map up on stuff, but it doesn’t show electorates.

I can’t promise it is 100% geographically accurate, but I’ve tried my best.

Closures vs electorates


The big black dots are closures. As you can see, there are actually 4 in National held seats, and three in Labour seats. However, there are far more mergers in the Labour held seats, mainly Christchurch East and Port Hills. The location of the New Schools is indicative, as Rolleston, Rangiora and Lincoln are all off the map. Of the new schools, 4 (West Halswell, Rolleston x 2, Lincoln) are in Selwyn (Amy Adams) and one (Rangiora West) is in Waimakariri. The already announced rebuild of Halswell school is in Selwyn, and the new school at Pegasus is in Waimak.

Update: One of the dots in the Wigram electorate is wrong: Greenpark school is in Selwyn, about 6km from Lincoln. Stuff’s map has it wrong too.


Branston Intermediate (Wigram)

Glenmoor (Central)

Greenpark (Selwyn)

Kendal (Ilam)

Linwood Intermediate (Central)

Manning Intermediate (Wigram)

Richmond (Central)


Burwood with Windsor (East)

Central New Brighton with South New Brighton (East)

Lyttleton Main with Lyttelton West (Port Hills)

North New Brighton with Freeville (East)

Phillipstown with Woolston (Central and Port Hills)

Discovery with Unlimited (Selwyn / Wigram? and Central)


Bromley (Port Hills)

Burnham (Selwyn)

Burnside Primary (Ilam)

Duvauchelle (Selwyn)

Gilberthorpe (Wigram)

Okains Bay (Selwyn)

Linwood Ave (Port Hills)

Ouruhia Model (East)

Shirley Intermediate (Central)

Yaldhurst (Selwyn)

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Whanau Tahi (Wigram)

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Waitaha (Port Hills)


* Lincoln (Selwyn)

* Rangiora West (Waimak)

* West Halswell (Selwyn)

* two in Rolleston (Selwyn)

Tonight, parliament are discussing the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery bill. No-one is saying that we shouldn’t be trying to make sure this process as swift as possible, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need checks and balances. There is a very good legal take on it over at Public Address; essentially, instead of amending individual laws, this bill says that is too difficult, so we’ll just write legislation that allows for the over-riding of EVERY existing law, except the Bill of Rights. It doesn’t even pertain specifically to Canterbury, so someone could use the bill to over-ride laws in Auckland, or Wairarapa.

It hasn’t been a good year for democracy fans in Christchurch – first the scrapping of ECan, then this. And now that the election has not been delayed, there will be very major issues with the campaign. I am running for community board, and we had 9 meet the candidate meetings / mayoral forums set up, from last week till the close of polls. All have been cancelled. So while Bob Parker tells us he’s too busy to campaign, whilst spending hours a day fronting for the cameras for whatever reason, the public have had almost all chance of local democratic interaction stripped from them. I would like to think that people are engaged with the political process, I really would; but sub-40% turnouts would suggest that it was a struggle at the best of times, and it certainly isn’t the best of times down here right now.

The rush to legislate, to demolish, to rebuild, seems a pathological obsession. Rushing leads to mistakes; mistakes with buildings can cost millions, mistakes with urban design could cost our city in ways that are more than just financial. We don’t need to have Christchurch rebuilt before the local body elections are over; a good suggestion might be to take a break with the rebuild until that date, just to let things settle a bit. Then the incoming council – whoever they may be – can work together for the next term to make this city great. Until then, let’s keep the focus on keeping people safe, well housed, and stabilising and minimising the damage to structures, so that proper assessments and timely decisions can be made.