Sunday, February 20, 2005

Retribution I: Taito Phillip Field

In my post on strategic voting, I suggested that Labour voters "express our displeasure for errant Labour MPs... by voting for other candidates, assuming better alternatives can be found". I was not expecting to be making recommendations for a couple of months yet - not until I'd actually assessed whether there were any better alternatives. But there's one electorate competition so clear cut that I can make a recommendation now: Mangere.

Mangere's current representative is Taito Phillip Field, who holds the seat with a majority of 15,375 - the second-largest in the country. His recently-selected opponent is Clem Simich (currently MP for Tamaki). Field voted against the Civil Union Bill, against prostitution reform, and against lowering the drinking age. Simich voted "yes" to every one. This makes the choice of who to vote for a no-brainer IMHO. Sure, Simich is from National, but at least he's not a bigot (unlike Field and most other National MPs). And backing him with only the electorate vote will not affect the overall outcome one jot, because that is determined by the party vote.

Given the size of Field's majority, I don't realistically expect him to be de-elected. But it would be nice to see that majority shrink, and for the Labour party to get the message and select a better candidate next time.


Phillip Taito Field represents an electorate which is very conservative and has a lot of very religious pacific islanders in it...I don't agree with the way he's voted but should he be punished for representing the views of his electorate? Isn't that what democracies are all about?

Posted by Michael : 2/20/2005 05:17:00 PM

The best (and effectively onyl) way to get Clem back into Parliament is to give National the party vote :-)

Posted by David Farrar : 2/20/2005 08:58:00 PM

Mike: sure, but not everyone in his electorate falls into that demographic, and those that don't have no obligation at all to support a candidate who doesn't represent their interests.

DPF: a party vote for National is a party vote for Don Brash (whose performance over the CUB was, shall we say, less than impressive). No thanks.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/20/2005 10:22:00 PM

We don't want to get Clem back into Parliament, we just want to kick Phillip out, and a party vote for National will do nothing to help that.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 7/27/2005 12:22:00 PM

Michael wrote:
[S]hould he be punished for representing the views of his electorate? Isn't that what democracies are all about?

I reply:
Well, that's an argument that goes all the way back to Edmund Burke's famous 'Speech to the Electors of Bristol' in 1774 (extract at

Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

[...] To deliver an opinion, is the right of all men; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a representative ought always to rejoice to hear; and which he ought always most seriously to consider. But authoritative instructions; mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest conviction of his judgment and conscience,--these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenor of our constitution.

Sometimes an MP just has to dust off their spine and balls and stand up for something. Even if it pisses off their consistuents.

BTW, do you know what consultation Field did with his electorate on this shabby, despicable and utterly nonsensical bill? Or, prehaps, he wanted permission to support it because HE supported it?

I haven't always agreed with Clem on every subject, but I've found him a civil, thoughtful and deeply principled man. I know supporting the CUB was not the easiest choice - personally and politically - but he stood up and was counted. I respect that, even though his choice was not mine.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 7/27/2005 02:53:00 PM