Once candidates are named, the ensuing electioneering is New Zealand’s version of a TV sitcom where it’s really hard to take anything seriously.
Poor turnouts are stock in trade for by-elections in New Zealand. Northland, de-spite its lower socio-economic status, still favours National by a wide margin and somewhat remarkably over Maori parties.
The Greens, for one, custodians of mining and forestry obviously don’t care enough about Northland’s preservation to field a candidate at all.
Then, from way out of left field comes Winston pledging allegiance to the north when he’s rarely seen north of Ruakaka racecourse, and with the gall to tell the La-bour candidate she ‘hasn’t got a show of winning.’
Following some handshaking at the lo-cal bowling club, Dargaville seniors have been heard on radio in support of Winston
because ‘he gave us the gold card.’ Seniors generally have little need for politics anyway as they receive their fortnightly stipend re-gardless of who rules.
History tells us Winston has his own best interests at heart and feels put out if he’s not in the public eye for very long. If you accept it's true what Winston says about National not doing anything in Northland for 60 years then consider that New Zealand First did not bother to stand a candidate in the Northland electorate in the 2008, 2011 or 2014 general elections anyway.
Interestingly I noted when his tour bus pulled up in Wellsford the colour of his bus is blue (very close to Nationals colour) and National is a party that is also part of Win-ston’s political ancestry. The bus also fea-tures a pic of Cape Reinga – the place where the spirits of the dead leave. Hmmm… is there a message there or am I reading too much into this?
Mangawhai’s own rates revolt guru Bruce Rogan has also thrown his hat into the ring but while he is a self-confessed La-bour supporter, he too has asked the Labour
candidate to stand down in the hope Labour supporters will vote for Winston.
Either suggestion is most unlikely to eventuate. Despite standing, Mr Rogan says “I have no desire to be a politician. General-ly, with some exceptions, I despise them.” A contradiction maybe? Well, no more contra-dictory than anyone else in public office. In fact by his performance over the past cou-ple of years he’s acted more like a politician than most politicians.
However, at the end of the day I wish him well. Mangawhai is fortunate to have someone prepared to go into bat for them, along with the other 10 candidates. Despite a couple of notable exceptions, a field of 11 candidates is quite something but I feel it will only serve to spread the vote and the re-sult – whatever it may be – will not change things for Northland or Mangawhai one iota, despite what we consider Northland deserves.
But I could be wrong. Let’s hope I am.