Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Slow news day

It must be a slow news day - Stuff has even resorted to digging up the two week old news on the Alliance party list. But this does give me an opportunity to point at Joe Hendren's analysis of whether the Alliance will steal votes from the Greens. Drawing on the NZ Election Study's data on the 2002 general election, Joe points out that a hefty plurality of those who voted Alliance in 1999 went to Labour in 2002, while the Greens (who should have picked up a substantial portion) picked up only a small fraction. An Alliance return then depends not on cannibalising Green support, but on attracting their own supporters back from Labour (and if they managed to do that while holding on to their existing support-base, they'd be almost home). The problem is how exactly they're going to do that when they don't have the electorate candidates to give them visibility...

Joe also notes that a large percentage - almost 20% - of Labour's 1999 voters didn't vote in 2002. Doing the maths, this works out to over 7% of the total electorate - a substantial pool of soft support for left-wing parties to draw on. Again, if the Alliance can mobilise this part of the electorate, then they should have no problems. Unfortunately, I don't see anything of the sort happening in the polls.


what do you think could provide the Alliance with the leg up it needs then, but still maintain it's integrity? :-)

Posted by Span : 5/31/2005 02:45:00 PM

To be blunt, I think they're doomed. If they had an army of motivated volunteers, like the Maori Party, then they could do some serious GOTV. But failing that, they're stuck in a spiral of low poll ratings and poor media coverage.

I think the lack of electorate candidates is bad - they're running fewer than the McGillicuddies did! Without someone in each electorate with their face and the logo on a billboard, they just won't be able to get the visibility.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/31/2005 03:53:00 PM

The Alliance gave too much power, influence, limelight and control to Jim Anderton. When he left, the Alliance became but a shell, taking the cash, high profile talent, and the electors of Wigram with him. He used the Alliance as a foothold to get into cabinet, and disposed of it when his salary, portfolio and car was secure.

I remember seeing on TV the barnstorming speeches he would make, about how he was going to do this and do that, and help make NZ a better place.

Now I am wondering if he really belived in what he said, because he has changed so much. A few weeks ago, I saw footage of him being heckled by demonstrators in the 1980's , with one guy saying he "was a talker". Looks like he was proved right.

Ive lost a lot of respect and admiration for Anderton.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 04:28:00 PM

I think Labour's turnout this election is going to be embarrasingly small. They've burned off their party faithful by toadying to the rich. Labour's track record on human rights is simply disgraceful - the way they have treated the sick and disabled, in particular, renders them unfit for office. If we get the Nats, Labour MPs will be forced to stand with their constituents again fighting the system rather than selling out to it.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 05:24:00 PM

...only to sell them out again when they return to power.

The right can be rather nasty to Helen Clark, but if you really look at it, they have a point.

She is: dishonest, willing to go against her principles for power, she dosent tolerate dissent or opposing views, especially within her own caucus, she would publicly support/not support something and in private take the opposite line, she eschews consensus, she has no real backbone when it comes to standing up for the partys founding principles, and she doesnt inspire her party or the people.

Most of her cabinet are like that too.

Plus they are so obsessed with winning big business over and the 'center' vote, they are screwing things up.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 05:55:00 PM

Say what you like about Anderton, Kiwibank remains a credit to him - a direct, practical market intervention which has restrained the trading banks worst fee excesses.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 06:00:00 PM

Kiwibank is a credit to the Alliance, not to Anderton.

If the Alliance is doomed, what should the Left in NZ be doing to build a replacement?

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 5/31/2005 07:49:00 PM

I presume quite a few Alliance voters are like me and don't fancy all the hippy/new age bollocks you get with the Greens.

Joe Hendren seems to assume the Maori Party is of the Left - I think that's a big mistake.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/31/2005 09:32:00 PM

Anon: while I agree that Labour is losing touch with its constituency, I'd still rather have them than the Nats. We can't afford to let them back into office until they've finally figured out that outright neo-liberalism is not acceptable to the electorate.

CMT: While "building a new party" sounds good, I don't think its the right time - there's just not the anger out there to motivate people (again, look at the Maori Party for what anger can do - or the Alliance in 1993).

Psycho Milt: fair enough, I like the Greens, but they sometimes make me cringe, and I can understand why they're not everybody's cup of tea. But if you want to pull Labour in the right direction, and actually have an effect, then it seems that its either them or the Progressives. And if you hate Jim as well, then it may be an icky choice.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/31/2005 11:51:00 PM

so then if now is not the time to be building a new party then who are we supposed to vote for, if we write off the Alliance?

I don't think Joe H does think the Maori Party are left, certainly not when I've talked to him about it. I suspect he *hopes* they will be, but the evidence doesn't point towards that currently. But i probably shouldn't speak on Joe's behalf, I'm sure he'll be along at some point to put his own view :-)

Posted by Span : 6/01/2005 10:08:00 AM

As I've said again and again (and above, even), the Greens or the Progressives, presuming you can stomach them. Either will pull Labour to the left, though perhaps not as far or in quite the same direction as the Alliance would - but in this, I'd rather be effective than idealistic.

Of course, if the Alliance miraculously starts polling at 5%, or the election turns into a romp for a Labour/Green coalition, then by all means vote Alliance, because either your vote won't be wasted or it can afford to be wasted on telling them to stay in the game. But if things look tight, and the Alliance looks like it has no chance of making the threshhold, then I'd suggest holding your nose and voting for some sort of progress - and then continuing to strongly advocate for the Alliance's vision regardless. Using someone else as a tactical vehicle doesn't mean that you then have to stay silent.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/01/2005 10:58:00 AM

well said Span ;)

Yes, I *hope* the Maori party can be considered to be on the left of labour, but when Turia votes against the CUB and points to the advantage of working with National's free market approach, this hope is put in some doubt.

Psycho Milt - you appear to have missed an important word in my original post - the "(perhaps)" refered to not knowing whether the maori party could be considered left or not. Comment on the maori party was also in the context of an example of how to encourage Labour to do something about student debt - and on this issue the Maori party do seem to be on the left of Labour (this is not difficult). Unfortunately, despite being in existence for over a year, the Maori party have failed to present hardly any other policies, so its not surprising that many other lefties are starting to ask serious questions about where they stand and what their post election actions may be.

Posted by Joe Hendren : 6/01/2005 10:15:00 PM