Election 2017: The biggest winners, the biggest losers

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

Steven Joyce working the phone last night (Hamish Coleman-Ross)

Should National circumvent Peters and do a deal with the Greens?

Yes
59%
No
41%
Total votes: 658

WINNER: National campaign manager Steven Joyce
The public always complains about negative campaigning but politicians do it because the public keeps buying it. While it won’t win any awards from economists, the tide turned for National when campaign manager Steven Joyce started pushing his $11.7 billion fiscal hole argument and unleashed its “Let’s tax this” clip. It wasn’t nice, and the details were what Mr Joyce might call “pretty truthful.” But it worked – helped by Labour, which played into his hands with its too-vague tax working group pitch. He was also successful with strategies to win back NZ First voters, already softened up by leaks about Winston Peters' superannuation overpayments.

WINNER: Bill English
In 2002, Bill English led National to the worst defeat in its history, securing just 21% of the vote (it’s such an unbelievably terrible effort that I always have to link to the result for younger readers to believe it).

Last night, he finally got redemption.

What’s changed? In truth, not much about English. Despite a few carefully-paced “relatable” moments on social media in 2017, and a slightly better haircut, Bill was Bill. But this time, he had nine years as finance minister behind him, and a John Key afterglow.

ABOVE: English's victory pose was more Homer Simpson than JFK, but sometimes relatability beats charisma (photo: Rob Hosking).

WINNER: The pollsters
Despite the final-week polls being so close to the result in 2014, many remained dubious about polls this time around in the wake of Trump's election, the Brexit shot, and the polling companies' enduring fondness for landlines. But in fact, Colmar-Brunton and Reid Research were almost bang-on (and should get even closer to the actual result on specials).

WINNER: Winston Peters
Our first MMP election, back in 1996, saw Winston Peters as kingmaker, negotiating the first of three coalition deals.

Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose.

WINNER: Jacinda Ardern
The Labour leader looked dark as the TV cameras filmed her climbing into a van to travel to her party’s election night gathering. But a good Jacinda mobbing as she entered the Aotea Centre lifted her spirits. As it should have. Climbing from 23% in the polls six weeks ago (and 27% of the vote in 2017) to 35.8% last night is no mean feat. And, although she was a bit wet behind the ears with policy and strategy, and at times nervous during the debates, Ardern was a fearsomely good speaker on the campaign trail. It’s easy to see her making a potent bid for prime minister in 2020.

Jacinda Ardern at Aotea Centre last night (photo: Hamish Coleman-Ross).

WINNER: James Shaw
By accident or design, the Greens and their solo leader followed advice in NBR almost to the letter, and came back from oblivion.

WINNER: #DogsAtPollingStations
With a ban on political stories, a certain Auckland journalist suspected it was a fertile opportunity to emulate the #DogsAtPollingStations trend from the recent UK election.

He borrowed his neighbour's dog, encouraged it to behave badly around a voting sign then alerted our state broadcaster and other media.

The rest was history.

LOSER: The rules around election day advertising and media
It was actually quite refreshing to have a politics-free day yesterday (at least until 7pm). But the ban on political advertising or news coverage was also wildly inconsistent.

More than 1.2 million people cast a ballot during the two weeks of early voting, with their minds polluted by billboards and Hooton op-eds.

By contrast, fewer than one million voted yesterday (2.17 million voted in total, according to the count so far; 384,000 specials are yet to be tallied).

Our advertising and editorial rules need to get out of the 1980s.

LOSER: ACT
Yet another election where ACT returns a single MP and almost zero success in nudging National from the centre, bar a handful of tiny charter schools. What is the point?

LOSER: The Maori Party
How many terms is too many to be in coalition with National? Turns out, three.

LOSER: Richard Prosser
Demoted to an unelectable position on NZ First's list for clearly stating a policy from his party's website (that it wants to buy back power companies). When you work for a leader who delights in talking in riddles and keeping the electorate guessing, that is plainly unacceptable. What the hell was he thinking?

LOSER: Northland
Imagine having Winston as your MP when he’s in such a juicy position to extract pork from the next government. Instead, the locals opted for National's candidate. (An interesting sub-plot will be whether Winston harbours any resentment against National for running such a hard campaign in Northland.)

With the Greens vote nearly halved over 2014, no one below seven on its list will make Parliament (though there is a rough chance of one more on specials).

LOSERS: Some of the Greens’ most effective MPs and promising newcomers
As it increasingly looked as though the power-jacket wearing Metiria Turei was fibbing – or at least avoiding questions – about the level of support she received from her well-to-do mother-in-law during her time of benefit fraud, the Greens tanked from 15% to below 5% in the polls. Despite James Shaw’s rescue effort, the party’s share of the vote still fell from 11% to 6%. That means Golriz Ghahraman, Mojo Mathers, Barry Coates, Jack McDonald, John Hart, Denise Roche and (cough) Hayley Holt won’t be part of the next Parliament.

A person with a big head, plus Gareth Morgan (photo: Chris Keall)

LOSER: Gareth Morgan
Some were open to Gareth Morgan’s policy-heavy, whiteboarding approach. Supporters as disparate as ACTophile Vincent Heeringa and greenie Lance Wiggs posted tweets late Friday indicating they were voting for TOP.  [UPDATE! In fact, Wiggs voted for National's Nikki Kaye for his electorate vote and the Greens for his list vote. Read his blue-green rationale here.]

But overall Mr Morgan proved to have a tin ear for politics. Egged on by his media adviser, Sean Plunket, he was often mired in petty, personality-driven disputes on social media. And, by the way Gareth, blaming the voters for being stupid is the first step to losing. Just ask Hillary "deplorables" Clinton.

LOSER: Peter Dunne
Steven Joyce said it would have been "operationally helpful" for the UnitedFuture leader to have announced his decision to throw in the towel earlier. That was being diplomatic.

LOSER: Public and media understanding of MMP
It's still not there. Last night, as in 2014, there continued to be lots of focus on National vs Labour fights in electorates like Christchurch Central and Auckland Central. With the primacy of the list vote, the result of an electorate vote does not matter a jot unless there's a third-party upset.

And many commentators still talked as if winning the largest share of the vote (short of a majority) inferred some sort of special negotiation rights on National. It just doesn't. It could well be Winstons Peters, with relatively few bottom lines, finds it easier to get into bed with National than Labour and the relatively spikey Greens. But that will be a personal and political decision. There is no rule or convention or law requiring him to talk to National first or give it any preference in any way for having the most votes.

Oh, and by the way: there's no time limit, either. Enjoy.


41 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


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41 Comments & Questions

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Mr Peters probably deserves a mention in the winners column too Chris?

And I do like the AFRs description of him as a 'pinstriped old smoothie'

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Refresh, brother.

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A bit premature to make these awards

Steven Joyce could end the biggest loser by his dirty tricks campaign with the Labour fiscal hole saga and also attacking the Northland electorate and Winston personally as the National campaign Manager.
If Winston goes with labour then Steven Joyce will be the villain and followed closely by good old Christian Bill English.

It's a bit early to be crowing about how great National is because they ain't across the line yet

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We don't know who the biggest loses are yet either?

They could extend to Steven Joyce, Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett or maybe James Shaw, Grant Robertson.

All we know is Nationals arrogance needs clipping, and Winston will do his best to deliver on this.

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So would that be the pot calling the kettle black?

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Good comments,good journalism!

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Assuming he goes with National, Winston would love to retire as Deputy PM. But that would leave NZ First too close to National. He's too lazy.and his quantitative competences - always weak - much too jaded with age to take on the Finance portfolio, so he'll probably opt for Foreign Affairs again. And negotiate to get one of his NZF colleagues into a decent Ministerial portfolio. The big question is, will he oppose tax cuts?

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He may not want the travel associated with Foreign Affairs. Also makes it hard to build a legacy if you are not in the country.

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Winston will have to go with National. If he went with Labour with a 1 seat majority then every one of his MPs would individually have the power to bring down the government. No way he trusts them that much.

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Yes, but if Winston doesn't agree with a National policy and some of his NZF colleagues do, what then?

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Same as last time.

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Two words: Remember 1998?

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So, once again all us Epsom voters get 2 for the price of one. Honestly, there's better bargains to be had at a Smith & Caughey sale.

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Bill English's "aftermath" in 2002, was Jenny Shipley, not Don Brash.

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Michelle Boag on TVNZ last night said how National governed with other parties all depended on what National wanted to accomplish in the next term. They couldn't reform the RMA because Peter Dunne wouldn't agree to it and so they couldn't tackle the housing crisis.
So a big question is will Winston agree to change the RMA.
Another one is Winston wants to build more infrastructure like now ports. The Chinese are practically begging countries to invite them to build infrastructure. It seems like a perfect match. Will National agree or will Gerry Brownlee and other geopolitical types try to slow it down or stop it?

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If he reneges on his old age pensioners tax cuts,which he voted for earlier this year. The only Party who voted againt the cuts were Labour.Would be interesting to find out ,just where his votes came from. Evidence points to Superannuands ,especially those on fixed incomes. just imagine if he went with Labour and shafted his supporters and making sure,no tax cuts for his believers.
Once saw a movie called" Let No Man Write My Epitaph". If he kneecapped his support base. His Legacy and his self serving act of betrayal,would probably emulate,the long since dead guy called "Judas". Hope it dosn't come to that .By October 12 2017,we will have the answer.

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National won Northland because there are now many more ex-Aucklanders, fact.

Time will tell whether they have any positive news for the region which alas we locals doubt but you never can tell.

He are a few pointers;

Improve the roads
Improve health
Improve education
Stop the export of swamp Kauri
Slow down the sale of land to overseas investors
More police

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And no new bridges when kids have only one pair of shoes to wear.

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You haven't figured out that better infrastructure means more and better jobs?

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The bridges are not needed they are only for visitors we are and have managed fine so waste of money.

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Correction - the bridges are needed for the tanker trucks when the oil pipeline gets broken next time.

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These bridges are way past Marsden.

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Kids have no shoes to wear, but their parents can still afford the smokes and the booze. Hey Rangi maybe the parents need to change their priorities. Don't you tell it's not so. I live in a so called lower economic area, and see it all the time. There's genuine one's I'll grant you. But there's plenty of piss takers as well.

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Tarring all with the same brush shame on you.

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To make real progress the Greens need to cut the umbilical cord with Labour and stand on their own two feet. Their values are indistinguishable unless they are prepared to work with National. They need the belief that their values are strong enough to work with either party.

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What happens when he wins all his bottom lines with National? Does he then side with Labour and the greens in 18 months and get the rest?
What stops him from changing sides before the next election?

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Back to the nation. New election. That type of gazzumping would be punished severely by NZs voters.Not a good idea,or smart politics.

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The Taxpayer is missing!? Can you confirm if the greens co leader ever paid back the money to the govt...? Be great to know.

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What did I say a month ago?

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Makes more sense for Winston to go with Labour and the Greens; he'll have more heft with them, than he ever would with National.

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Winston's raison d'être for staying in politics is revenge on National.

He won't be able to squeeze their pips if he consigns them to opposition. He'll go with National.

Which is why National may find there are no less dead rats to swallow in looking at the Greens. Just different kinds of rats

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There doesn't need to be any change to the election advertising rules. Local body elections have the same rules (voting open whilst advertising ongoing) and you don't see anybody complaining about votes being influenced there.

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Nats and Greens coalition. Inside everyone is a little Green conscience. Nats keep the economy steaming ahead which provides the funding for sorting environmental issues. There are a number of commonalities, and compromise should not be hard. No more Winston holding the country to ransom. Win win.
Under Lab with Winston, Greens wont get a look in, and will get tarred with the brush of poorly thought out Lab policy and lolly scramble bribes.

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Nice article. The remark about NZ understanding MMP is oh so true. I hard one commentator say something about one of Labours biggest challenges was that its supporters do not understand MMP. Ouch.

And on that subject I had an MMP 'what if' debate on Sunday morning that perhaps someone can answer.

Question - if Labour won all the electoral seats but National won 100% of the party vote what would the resulting parliament look like?

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Not sure how you pulled that finding out of my tweets Chris. It is incorrect - a vote for TOP wasn't going to move the needle for this election as they were too far from 5%.

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I don't think Buffalo Bill should be chalking this one up as a win just yet. Personally, or otherwise. All he has managed to do is convince three quarters of home owners to vote to protect their paper wealth. The rest of New Zealand voted for the egalitarianism we once cherished in this country.

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You're putting the blame in the wrong place.

This cherished egalitarianism has been contorted out of all recognition by Auckland local government politicians and their central planning style planners using the RMA to lock up the land supply.

There have been coherent warnings about this outcome for over 15 years but forcing the city to densify so public transport could be made to work has been, and still is, a grotesque social engineering exercise in elitist planners think, with appalling social and economic consequences for generations to come.

They're spending billions of tax and rate payers money in pursuit of their desires for a more Euro style city as opposed to the post-WW2 American style suburbanization of cities we have enjoyed to date to raise families in and to enjoy one's own patch of ground.

And ending up very quickly with Euro style stratification of society into a landed class (complete with wealth to pass on to succeeding generations) and a renter class (with no wealth to pass on). Just wait for the screams for an inheritance tax to reach a cresendo a few decades down the track - from the same types - to reduce such shocking unfairness.

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Regardless, only one party has sat idly by for the past 9 years refusing to acknowledge an issue. And why would they? Their MPs and support base have stood to gain the most.

For what it's worth, if house prices, availability and foreign ownership are left unchecked, I don't think we'll be waiting decades to hear the calls for an inheritance tax.

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Thinking of the so called" Green Party",and the comments of their Leader James Shaw.States no way a deal with National would be common sense and a good idea. Even though a chance to make the Greens a Legitimate Eco Party and justify under MMP that is why the Green party owes their existence to being in Parliament.Shaw declined and whimped away quoting it was not a good idea. So like the demise of the Maori Party getting demised,and be absorbed into the so called mother ship of Labour
Greens could do the same.They do nothing other than suck off the NZ Taxpayer sitting in opposition creaming the perks trough,at a costs of many ,many millions of Taxpayers dollars. The only difference between ms Turei having admitting to taking money off the taxpayer by fraudlent means. The difference, James Shaw and his cabal have yet to admit it.

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Noticed Willie Jackson from waka jumping fame from Maori Party,was seen skulking with the guy called Winston Peters last Friday evening. Sounds like his trade union puppet master ,Angry Andy Little ,who got him to waka jump,has been pulling the strings of Jackson .Jackson and Peters go back a long way. Like the time Jackson was with the now defunct Alliance Party in Parliament. First time MMP reared its evil head,in 1996.

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Surely the biggest loser is democracy itself. When a party with 7% of the vote, and no stated alliance to any other party, can sit in the middle and choose between the most popular party, and the rest who can't even total the high polling Nationals, there is a fault in the system that makes me think that this style of MMP is possibly less representative than FPP. NZF at 7% can screw the best deal out of whoever they go with, but if it's the side with the fewest seats, that is simply a travesty.

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