Labour leader Andrew Little’s gamble in backing Willie Jackson for a position on the party’s list has not cost Labour any support so far according to last night’s One News Colmar Brunton poll.
The polls showed National had dropped four per cent and two per cent had gone to Labour while one per cent went to NZ First.
It’s that flow of votes out of National and into NZ First that Little’s backing of Jackson and also former Police Association President, Greg O’Connor as a candidate for Ohariu, is designed to head off.
O’Connor’s opposition in Ohariu, United Future MP, Peter Dunne, appears to be abandoning his “Mr Sensible” middle-of-the-road political positioning and is now pinning his colours to the National Coalition mast.
In his newsletter last Friday he said: This is not a “change the government” electorate, so appeals to vote for the Labour/Green candidate to “change the government” are likely to fall on deaf ears.
“If anything, they are more likely to drive voters to the National/UnitedFuture side, and, as the dominant candidate of that bloc, the UnitedFuture candidate is likely to be the beneficiary.
“If, as is claimed, Ohariu is to be the electorate that determines the fate of the government, then, given National’s current dominance in the polls, the lines will be drawn even more clearly – namely, the way to keep the current government in office will be to re-elect the UnitedFuture candidate.
“In that scenario, a vote for any other candidate (including, perversely, the National candidate) will effectively be a vote to “change the government”, something Ohariu voters have shown no inclination towards.”
Whether Labour’s decision to mount a serious challenge in Ohariu is behind Mr Dunne’s statement is not clear.
But Labour though it is improving, is still some distance off needing to speculate on coalition partners.
Assuming there was no change in any electorate seats at the election then the website, the Labour seat calculator, says Labour would get 10 List MPs over and above its electorate MPs.
The party has four sitting List MPs who are standing — Andrew Little, Annette King, David Parker and Sue Moroney.
Assuming Jackson and O’Connor were the only two males in other six list positions then Labour could end up with a gender ratio of 20 males to 18 females; probably near enough to satisfy those who want to see a 50/50 split.
And Labour continues to select high-profile female candidates.
The party has selected, Helen White a barrister, specialising in employment law for Auckland Central to replace Jacinda Ardern who they assume will win the Mt Albert by-election next weekend.
Ms White worked at the EPMU union as a lawyer when Andrew Little was its general secretary.