National wins Northcote but with lower majority

National's victorious Dan Bidois: a high school dropout who became a Foodstuffs strategy manager

National has held on to the Northcote seat left vacant by Jonathan Coleman’s retirement but its majority has been slashed.

Its candidate, Dan Bidois, won 10,147 votes, beating his Labour opponent Shanan Halbert by a majority of 1362.

In 2017 Dr Coleman won the seat with a majority of 6210 votes. Fewer people voted in today’s by-election – 19,900 compared with 36,995 in 2017 – but even taking that into account National’s majority has slumped.

National Party pollster and conservative commentator David Farrar pointed out on social media that National's vote had slipped only slightly in percentage terms amid low turn-out, Labour benefiting from NZ First not standing a candidate and the Greens running a light campaign.

However, lawyer and commentator Graeme Edgeler noted it was the only post-MMP byelection, besides Mana in 2010, where the governing party had increased its share of the vote.

Before today, National leader Simon Bridges had been confident but cautious that the vote could be close because byelections can be unpredictable.

Mr Bridges said National had been careful to make the byelection about Mr Bidois (a high school dropout who wound up at Harvard and worked as a Foodstuffs strategy manager before entering politics) as the local candidate.

“We’ve deliberately made it a local campaign about Dan Bidois because he is a compelling candidate and I think that’s what the people want. They want someone who’s a champion for their area and we’ve talked his story and so on. He’s a compelling guy and it’s that local grassroots campaign about the candidate, not about National.”

Despite that though National also attacked the coalition government’s record on housing and transport during the byelection campaign.

Mr Bridges will be satisfied with the win but Labour will also be buoyant that despite criticism of the coalition government it has substantially cut National's majority. Labour was helped by the fact that coalition partner New Zealand First did not stand a candidate.

The Green Party did stand in the seat but its candidate, Rebekah Jaung, won just 579 votes

Special and overseas votes are still to be counted and the final result will not be announced until June 20.


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40 Comments & Questions

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Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Shanan standing last time so would assume he was “better known”. Also if you look at the percentages technically labour are cannibalising the left. I would be rightly chuffed if I was National. Spin it how you want but an unknown and “out of electorate” candidate just beat someone who stood last time and is backed by our PM.

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Very average result by National

The Simon Bridges factor was a big negative for the party

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Halbert would have won the seat if Winston was allowed to make the final decision.

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Fantastic result for National. They beat the entire Socialist left wing crew and Winnie on their own.

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With a guy that said he was a fighter. But when asked what he now planned to do after his win, just continued to say he was a fighter. So just another National party yes man then.

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A win's a win. Also you have to factor in that this is an unknown candidate compared to Coleman.

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Don't be silly. The Greens and Mr NO did not field a candidate this time around. And they still LOST.

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A major blow to the left that should (if they listen) have them worried. Tactical voting "all in" for the Labour candidate - an extremely well known one - failed and they couldn't get close to over 50%, suggesting the coalition is not happy. A very large public vote of no confidence in this govt, especially Ardern, who went all out in her support of Halbert.

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Or National held the seat for 4 previous elections and had a 6300 majority last election but only scraped in this by election.
No ruling government has taken a seat from the Opposition for about 30 years.

Spin it how you like but this is nothing to celebrate for National apart from saving Simon Bridges for another week

That is the reality

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Please remember Scribe that reality in your world is a lot different to anyone with balanced or righter leaning views.

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Spin it how you want but this is nothing to celebrate for Labour. Couldn't even beat an unknown.

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And yet in your post on the 15th of April you were trumpeting the fact that Northcote is not an historically safe National seat. You stated that the seat may well go to the government particularly if the 3 coalition parties were aligned (which they were). Guess what mate. You lost.

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Correct, And I add that National won Northcote a whole lot more democratically than did Labour when they won the government benches.

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Good gigantic yawn by election. Read nothing into it either way. The real test will be 2020 if the coalition of the hypocrites is still intact.

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Yes it will be interesting to see if they last. The Greens seem to be making a bit of noise of late, and while their leaders happy to sit back and think of the pay packet, the rest of them are starting to kick-up a bit. Plus Labour are now shifting into their old mode of sit back and just do their nothing about anything, while at the same time their leader has now started to drift into Dame mode.
Interesting times ahead.

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The point is National maintained their vote despite being in opposition and NZF tactical voting. The rest is just noise between the other parties. You can't take too much out if it, although Bidois is a good candidate and pleased he won.

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The only swing to Labour was Greens voters being tactical and NZ First not running anyone. Added together, the coalition percentage of the vote was no better than last time... against a first time candidate who now has the time and a platform to build his profile. Labour didn't do well.

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Bidois was the winner, with apathy a close second. Shanan Halbert will need to reflect on why he couldn’t excite the punters despite the factors of a bellwether seat, a popular PM, and policy winds behind his back.

National got 52% in 2017’s general election, and were 51% this time around. They’ve got some work to do on turnout as well.

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People are fed up with Labour policy stealing hard working home owners equity and having to listen to housing hate speech everyday !

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Exactly, as well as their war on business, their war on success, their war on farmers, their war on Taranaki, and finally their war on singles and couples without kids.

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Leaving the party politics aside, saw both candidates for the first time on Friday night’s news and the thing that stuck out so strongly was these candidates seeming lack of “real” life experience to be able to effectively contribute or manage the hard issues that need addressing yesterday - low incomes, under funded health and education, homelessness, housing affordability, falling economic productivity....and the list goes on!
Is this the face of NZ politics to come?

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Says alot about politics and the current state of democracy.

If asked the question, there would be few (if any) politicians that I would ask to look after my money. Democracy is now a popularity contest, with those elected to represent the masses more interested in continued profile than making hard choices.

Businesses lobbyists knew and pray on their lack of spine, and thats why NZ has one of the highest costs of living in the world. Politicians have been too weak to take them on, with the idol threats these lobbyists make.

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I agreed with you up until your last paragraph. There are a few other lobbyist and special interest groups out there who are doing more harm than business lobbyists

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Really I'm curious. At what point in your mind will health and education not be considered underfunded?

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We don't have a democracy so stop pretending.

There is no respect in the House for our Constitution, the Attorney Generals are wagging the law like monkeys, Opposition says the Speaker is biased, PM-elects promise of transparency were broken before they were out of her mouth, Deputy PM betrayed his electoral promises and his Minister's show no remorse and suggest on national television we "move on". Lefty presenter smiles and gives her verbal cuddles.

We have to be responsible for our own mental credibility and not facing the fraud that is going on by the PM and the House is no help to anyone.

There is no lawful government if there are no responsible ministers.

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You seem a touch melodramatic. Perhaps spending some time outside would help?

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A very good comment. New Zealand is now is now in very big trouble with a socialist Prime Minister who is going to cost us dearly; a Deputy Prime Minister who nobody believes any more - with good reason; and the state of affairs where party politics has become so fascist that not even ministers are informed when the leader's hierarchy make a decision.

This is the corruption of democracy - and we have to get rid of party politics... We certainly need MPs of integrity to stand up to the leaders publicly. But then I think the country is too far down the drain for this to happen now.

We need genuine electoral reform - not playing around with voting systems - but where New Zealanders themselves can control our politicians. The seesaw has gone too far the other way.

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Serious questions need to be asked about Arderns fitness for office.

So she has completely messed up on housing. She was the one gunning English saying she could do better and she hasn't. Not by a million miles. Bear in mind English was talking off the back of the Earthquakes in which billions of dollars of housing work was done. Ardern is not facing that and has simply launched some talk fests. BS should walk but doesn't in this case.

The issue is that her optimism however genuine actually clouds her judgement in a very serious and material way. To such an extent that she is not fit to be Prime Minister. This is a role that requires credibility. She does not have it(I'm coming to the oil).

She has defied her own supporters around releasing the Coalition Agreement despite her promise of greater transparency. Remember this was a serious plank in her campaign. She said she would do better, but she hasn't even done ordinary.

Again her optimism clouding her judgement, causing her to open her mouth and say things she simply cant deliver on.

Its difficult to talk about the oil. You may recall people used to discuss electoral mandate. Notice how this language is long forgotten. That was the real price of this coalition. They took power against the expressed will of the electorate by way of broken promises and defying the genuine basis of their bargaining power.).
So they don't care any more. They don't pretend to care any more.
And when we challenge them they say its Nationals fault.
Well, its not.

National wasn't in the room when the oil tap got turned off.
In fact it sounds like nobody really except Ardern was seriously in that room.
And that is why she needs to go. Not later but now.

Because however sensitive the gender issues are, we are now faced with her lack of credibility about whether she will be at work or not and whether she will be able to do the job. We now have to politely remain quiet while she opines about how she will perform during her pregnancy.

Anyone with any life expectancy knows she has no idea. No one does. But at least we know that and face that.

This is not about womans rights. This is about her credibility , whether she has a track record of being realistic and showing sound judgement.

She does not.

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You must have been in one of those P houses that National cleared out to have an insane view like that

National caused the housing problems and the Earthquake $1B housing build were rebuilds and repairs funded by EQC levies over 50 years. And ask any Christchurch people involved in the EQC repairs and rebuild and most will tell you it was a complete cock up and they are still trying to repair the first repairs that were shoddy and/or not done properly at all

Wake up and stop smoking that stuff

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Writing from Christchurch. Moved there to help after the Earthquakes. Brownlees a legend. 900 buildings down in the CBD, thousands and thousands of homes repaired.
I'm sick of hearing old white men getting bagged. I'm in awe of what Key, Joyce and English achieved. I'm very very grateful.

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Yes they did well in that regard, but like the previous Labour govt you must admit they had gone on to ignore other issues like increasing power costs, and doing absolutely nothing about out of control city councils. I won't even start about the housing issues around the place. So regardless of what main party you support, as far as I'm concerned they've both failed badly addressing those issues and need to pull thumb out fixing them.

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Why then have Key, Joyce, English and Coleman all deserted ship mid-term? As a voter I would expect a political candidate to honour that implied three-year contract.

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Well for a start they're businessman with other career options, unlike many of the Labour party career politicians that are there until the pension cuts in. Goff, Mallard, Clark etc.

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My vote was a foregone conclusion because frankly I wasn't going to vote for the candidate of a party that does nothing but cost me money.

If I had been undecided the four or five phone calls to my house by Labour party lackeys would have been sufficient inducement to vote for National. I particularly enjoyed the two almost directly after each other from the same Wellington phone number, the second being a recording of Ardern talking about who knows what because I hung up immediately following her voice telling me not to.

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Agreed. No calls from National but an annoyingly large amount from Labour, including, as you say, back to back calls.

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Once more the Labour Sycophants are out to lunch. Wonder what part of 51% do they not understand. Especially the clown known as the "SCRIBE". Edited

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Labours Political softness and WINZ aspirations and entitlement for our children are dangerous and pathetic.

Labour expects a 20 yo to be able to afford a house in the same area or city where 40 yo to 50 Yo live regardless of 30 years more of hard work blood sweat and tears ??? Wrong Labour absolutely Wrong !

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The COL is on the rocks. After today's humiliating back down by Andrew Little on the Three Strikes Law, simmering resentment and mistrust are only going to continue to build between the Labour, NZF and the Greens.

Why was Little hung out to dry like this by both Winston Peters and Ardern? He's been arrogant and dictatorially running his mouth on this issue for months as though he had some God-given right to change the law. And now he has been made to look like an utter fool, with no apparent credibility, authority or influence within the government.

Why did Peters wait to now to pull the rug from under his feet? He could have told Little months ago that he didn't support a change to the law saving Little from making such a big pudding of himself on the nation's grand stage. But Peters chose not to. There's some utu going on here and the cracks are starting to come to the surface.

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The obvious point here - which I would have thought someone of Brent Edwards' credibility and experience would have realised - is that you can't compare a by-election margin with a general election margin. Given by-elections on average attract half the turnout of a general election, it's almost impossible for any party to increase or even maintain its margin. It's axiomatic that National's margin was reduced - fewer than half of registered voters bothered to turn out. When you look at the PERCENTAGE of the vote, National held an almost identical number to election day. The fact the margin was cut is irrelevant given that fewer people voted. Bleedingly obvious, as Helen Clark liked to say.

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Winston will recuse himself and announce a smacking referendum in the same speech. Jacinda will follow this up with comments releasing thecoalition agreement.

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