Sunday, April 27, 2008

RAM goes nationwide

Auckland's Residents Action Movement is going nationwide and is planning to contest the election later this year. According to a piece in Scoop, they've got their 500 financial members, and will soon be seeking registration. They've also applied for a broadcasting allocation. The aim is clearly to fill the political space left by the Alliance. The problem is that the Alliance may not realise they've left it yet. This isn't so much of an issue if the latter repeat their 2005 performance and gain only a few thousand votes - but it would be a tragedy for the left if one of these parties fell below the 5% threshold due to competition from the other (of course, this would not be an issue if we lowered the undemocratic threshold to ensure a truly level playing field)

And OTOH I'm not certain how much weight we can put on RAM's claims of electoral success. While they make a lot of noise about their 87,000 votes during the 2004 ARC elections, and the 104,000 they gained last year across Auckland, its important to remember that these superficially impressive tallies happened under the block vote, where voters were able to cast multiple votes for different candidates in the same ward. And OTTH, looking at the 2007 ARC election results, it is clear they have at least 30,000 people across Auckland willing to give them a vote in local body elections. If this translates into votes in national elections, then they would have a comparable level of support to ACT, from Auckland alone. That's not enough without an electorate (something RAM shows no sign of winning), but they might be able to pull it off if they run a good nationwide campaign. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...