National list released – calculator updated

The National Party have released their list for 2017. It’s a boring affair, with virtually no new blood. The party leadership has, unsurprisingly, taken a conservative approach and kept their MPs largely where they are, avoding frightening the horses.

I’ve updated my National Caucus Calculator so you can figure out what their new caucus would look like at various levels of party vote support, and depending on which electorate seats they win.

If you use my current 2017 Election Forecast and the assumtion no electorate seats change hands, then National will only get two new list MPs: Nicola Willis and Paulo Garcia.

It’s an interesting contrast to Labour’s third term list in 2008 – where despite them losing government and a significant number of seats they gained eight brand new list MPs, including now deputy leader, Jacinda Ardern.

In the next few days I’ll try and get the gender calculator working again for both the Labour and National caucus calculators. I have a sneaking suspicion which party it will look better for…


Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Nats targeting overseas voters

Today an interesting thing happened to me. I visited the Otago Daily Times’ website to take a look at their coverage of Labour MP Clare Curran’s homelessness protest in Dunedin. She’s doing a great job, check it out.

However, one thing jumped out at me on the ODT’s website: a display ad from the NZ National Party asking me to enroll to vote.

Sure enough, I clicked on it and it took me to a National website with lots of information for overseas voting. (You can view a full screenshot of their overseas voting page here)

There are 518,466 people born in New Zealand now living in Australia (including one former Greens senator), so the potential untapped base of voters is large. However, it’s a pretty significant barrier to enroll and then vote from overseas, so it will be interesting to see how many follow through.

I’d assume the Nats have now cookie’d me as a potential overseas voter – it will be interesting to see what re-targeted ads follow.

National MP Calculator

I have to admit I’ve been a bit surprised with the response to my Labour MP calculator – it seems to be a hit, even though at the moment it’s only working with a modified version of the current caucus rankings.

I’ve now plugged the National Party’s caucus rankings and selected candidates into the back end, and have the first version of my National MP calculator working…

Calculate potential National MPs

There a bug with the gender calculations for the Nats, so I’ve removed it for the time being. They don’t have a constitutional gender requirement so it will create far fewer headaches for them, but I’ll include it as soon as I can get it working as a point of comparison.

Also, the Nats haven’t finished many of their selections, and have been very sporadic about issuing releases when candidates are selected. If you know of any National candidates that have been endorsed but are missing from my list, please let me know.


Labour MP calculator – NEW AND IMPROVED!

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on the first version of the Labour MP calculator I released on the weekend – I’m glad that so many people found it interesting.

I’ve re-engineered it to use a different framework, and it is now capable of producing lists for both Labour and National and showing exactly who would be elected.

Take a look at version two here.

At the moment the List it is simulating is the current Labour caucus rankings – but as soon as the actual list is released I’ll get that up, and I’ll continue to add electorate candidates as they’re selected.

Likewise, I’m working on a version for National which will have their list as soon as it’s released.

One thing jumped out at me while putting this together – just how hard it will be for the Labour Party to meet it’s constitutionally mandated gender balance. At this stage, with so many safe electorates going to men, virtually all of the winnable list slots will have to go to women. There are still two “marginal” seats still to be selected, New Lynn and Auckland Central, which will almost certainly have to go to women if the party is to meet it’s new 50/50 rule.

As always, if you’ve got any feedback please pass it along either via a comment here or via email (

2017 candidates

Just like in 2014, NZ Labour is leading the way with early selections, they now have seven electorate candidates in place. There is no word on when National’s electorate selections will begin, though I’d be surprised if they started this year.

As I did for the last NZ election, I’ve created a page that lists candidates who have been officially endorsed by a major party to contest an electorate for the 2017 New Zealand election. You can view it here and there is a link permanently at the top of this blog.

Incumbents with a strike through their name indicate they have announced they are not standing for re-election in the seat.

Candidates with a public Facebook Page have that linked from their name.

I’ll also be creating public Facebook lists to keep track of the candidates, you can follow the lists so you can see what they’re up to on Facebook without having to like all their pages. Here’s the first one:

NZ Labour 2017 candidates

If you have any updates for these lists please contact me at

How to lose friends and alienate people

2014-06-17 11_27_28-Launch_Flyer-1.pdf

A reader has sent me this gem from Colin Craig’s Conservative Party.

Now, I’m no genius, but if my entire political future rested on being gifted a safe seat by the National Party, I’m not sure I’d use my campaign launch as a vehicle to simply attack National:

Had a guts full of National’s abandoning their principles? Had enough of their arrogance? Had enough of them ignoring referendums; like the one on asset sales and the one on anti-smacking? Had enough of Bill English’s borrowing habits? Had enough of the two waka Government?

Come and meet the man who isn’t afraid to say ‘enough is enough’. Come and hear Colin Craig’s antidote to National’s toxic behaviour. Come and meet the man who will give our next Government some backbone.

Now look, I know Colin and his millions are the only asset the Conservatives have. But can they please get photo of him where he doesn’t look like he’s just killed someone?

NZ Facebook pages

As you may know, I have been trying to keep my 2014 candidates page up to date with not only the names of the candidates, but a link to their Facebook page if they have one.

If you’re reading this blog, there is a pretty good chance that you’re interested in New Zealand politics, but are probably also very partisan. So while you probably are interested in what some of the candidates on the other side to your team are doing, it’s unlikely you want to Like their pages.

One handy feature that Facebook has is you can create lists of pages, and you can simply follow the list. So, if you are as tragic as I am, you can now have the joy of following these lists I have created…

NZ Politics – Parties and Leaders

NZ Labour Party – 2014 candidates

NZ National Party – 2014 candidates

Hopefully people find these useful.

And thanks to those people who have been sending me info on selections, and candidate Facebook pages. Please keep them coming in!

More National selections

Good to see the National Party taking a leaf out of Labour’s book and publishing a list of their electorate selections online. You can see their page here, and I’ve updated my own multi-party candidates list. Amusingly, they seem to have forgotten the two new electorates of Kelston and Upper Harbour.

The Nats seem to be taking a totally different tactic to Labour, in that they are selecting their candidates for their own safe seats first. Which is why there are very few surprises or new names on the list so far. For the seats they don’t already hold, they have selected:

  • Epsom – Paul Goldsmith
  • Mana – Hekia Parata
  • Rongotai – Chris Finlayson
  • West Coast-Tasman – Maureen Pugh

Only one new face there, and Maureen Pugh is very unlikely to be able to beat Damien O’Connor’s 2500 vote majority.

There are however two interesting points to note on their current selection list.

Firstly, they’ve selected Lindsay Tisch to stand again in the Waikato seat. Tisch was long rumoured to be standing down at this election – so National’s grand rejuvenation wasn’t quite as complete as some expected.

Secondly, nominations for Napier closed on the 2nd of February, but they list the candidate as TBA. Either the selection hasn’t happened, or they have decided but there is some other issue at play preventing them from announcing who will take on Stuart Nash. Time will tell I guess.

Should Joe Hockey be looking up to Bill English?

My new local cafe stocks a range of newspapers, and I’ve been finding myself reading things like the Australian Financial Review (Australia’s equivalent of New Zealand’s NBR). Yesterday I almost spat out my morning coffee while reading an incredible op-ed from Jennifer Hewett.

She spent several hundred words extolling the economic skills of Bill English, claiming that the New Zealand economy should be the envy of Australia.

I have to give her credit for originality – it’s certainly not a line of logic I’d heard before.

My friend and fellow ex-pat New Zealander, Marcus Ganley, has written an excellent piece for Crikey pulling the op-ed apart. Read his full post here.

While National have got the treasury’s books on a path to surplus (made far easier due to the strong fiscal management of the 5th Labour government), they’ve done it at the expense of actually looking after the economy. Growth has been stifled and unemployment is simply too high.

As Marcus says…

Taking the size of the economy in 2008 (when the National Party was elected) as the base, the New Zealand economy is 1.18 times bigger today. This compares with Australia, where the 2013 economy is 1.25 times bigger than in 2008. Growth under the previous New Zealand government averaged just under 3.5% per year.
Under Clark’s government from 1999 to 2008, unemployment in New Zealand was continually below Australia’s. From 2005 to 2007, unemployment in New Zealand was below 4%. In 2005, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics unemployment was in New Zealand was 1.2 percentage points lower than Australia. This has changed completely under the National Party. On the latest OECD figures unemployment in New Zealand is nearly 1.7 percentage points higher in New Zealand than Australia. At the same time, the wage gap between Australia and New Zealand has increased by nearly $NZ90 per week since the election of the National Party government.
At its essence government is about priorities. Strong fiscal management is important. It ensures government services are sustainable and avoids placing undue burden on future generations for the services provided today. However, fiscal management is not everything. Before heaping too much praise on New Zealand’s National Party, it is worth looking at the economy as a whole.
If Joe Hockey took the time to visit New Zealand, I can’t say he’d be impressed with our economy. It’s a country full of empty shop fronts, low value exports and dire unemployment.

National’s targets for 2014

I started this blog post by quickly writing up a list of seats which I think National may target in the 2014 elections. It didn’t take me long. Over the last few elections Labour has lost so many of its electorate seats there are virtually no swing seats still in Labour hands.

Which means that a goal of winning electorate seats off Labour is unlikely for whoever is the National leader when the 2014 election comes around. They are almost certainly going to focus their effort and resources on maintaining their current level of support, and perhaps doing some sensible electoral deals to ensure they still have coalition options after the election.

Still, there is a small handful of seats which the Nats may have their eyes on…

Upper Harbour

The only seat in the north island which National is sure to pick up is the new seat of Upper Harbour, at the far reaches of the Waitamata Harbour. Paula Bennett has already put her hand up for the seat, and will almost certainly get it. Interestingly, like the last new seat created in Auckland, Botanty, it is seen as a safe National seat right from day one. I have a theory that this in large part due to how disconnected Labour is to the heavily-morgtaged, hard working and aspirational Kiwis settling in the sprawling subdivisions at the periphery of the large cities, but that’s a topic for another blog post…

Prediction: National gain


Ohariu has been a solid blue seat for many years, and the latest boundary changes will only cement that. The only way Labour has ever had a chance at winning the seat is in a very strange three way split with Peter Dunne – if we had preferential votes for electorate seats, they would never even get close.

While there is still a reasonable chance that Peter Dunne could retain the seat, the days of him ever being able to bring in any more MPs in with him off the list are well gone. 2014 may very well be the right time for National to pounce and take the seat that they should have held for many years in their own right.

Interestingly, the latest boundary changes bring in Wadestown from Wellington Central, and with it, Wellington City Councillor, Jo Coughlan. If National do decide to take Ohariu seriously, expect Coughlan to be one of the leading contenders for the selection.

Prediction: National gain, if they want it

Port Hills

The seat of Port Hills was never natural Labour territory, but thanks to the very hard work of Ruth Dyson and her team she’s managed to keep the seat red. The people of Port Hills like Ruth and the work she does for them, despite the party she comes from.

Unfortunately, the boundaries for Port Hills have changed dramatically, bringing in almost 20,000 people from Banks Peninsular and Halswell from the seat of Selwyn.

Dyson’s only chance of staying in Parliament is if she gets a good list spot, because despite her good local profile, this seat is now very blue.

Prediction: National gain

Mt Roskill

Like Port Hills, Mt Roskill has long been served by a very hard working local MP, Labour’s Phil Goff. Ever since he was first defeated in 1990 and then worked his way back in 1993 he has taken nothing for granted in Roskill. He is a true local icon, loved by the electorate.

Unfortunately, just like Port Hills, the electorate boundary has changed substantially, now taking affluent chunks of Epsom and Maungakiekie, and losing working class New Windsor and Blockhouse Bay to New Lynn.

Phil’s personal majority is large enough that he can probably survive the boundary changes, but when he does move on, so too will the seat of Mt Roskill.

Prediction: Labour hold, while Goff still stands


Next in the series will be a look at which seats the minor parties might be targeting…