Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Who to vote for in the PN by-election

Palmerston North is having a by-election next week, to fill the council seat left vacant by Tangi Utikere becoming an MP. The field this year is very different from previous years: it swings young, there's a refreshing lack of dead white males, no-one is openly a real-estate agent of property developer, everyone is talking about social housing and disability access and water quality and climate change, and literally no-one is promising to "keep rates low" (the closest anyone comes is Sarah Spillane talking about "fairness to ratepayers" around infrastructure costs and development contributions, but her interview suggests that's not about cuts (in fact she's very clear that services cost money and if we want them, we have to pay for them. Which has put her a few slots up my preference list).

(Also: Manawatu Access Radio has interviewed every candidate, which is good to see, and I found the interviews useful in ranking some of the candidates).

So who to vote for? Of the eleven candidates, two can be ruled out immediately: Ross Barber, who is a diagnosed delusional psychotic and convicted child-beater, and former NZ First MP (and now NZ First President and co-leader of the Sensible Sentencing Trust) Darroch Ball. We can also eliminate former National candidate William Wood for being a chickenshit on Māori wards: he opposed them at the 2020 election, and is now "firmly 'on the fence'" (so either too chickenshit to say he opposes them now, or too chickenshit to stand up to National Party HQ and say he supports them. Either way: chickenshit and a waste of space). We can also dump Nathan Wilson for being a climate change denier (he ran in 2019).

As for actual ranking, my usual algorithm is vote for the Green, rank women over men, and young people over older ones. Which means Vanessa Rozenberg gets ranked first, then former NZUSA president Nikita Skipper (she hates landlords, so she must be OK). After that I'm tossing up between Sarah Spillane and Orphee Mickalad: Mickalad ticks a lot of boxes (young, refugee, water, social housing), but he worked for Chester Borrows (who was pretty Not Evil for a Nat, but could be indicitive of general political alignment). As for Spillane, I was planning to rank her poorly because her pitch was so boring (and mentioned rates), but her interview is a lot better. After that there's three white dudes whose central pitch is basicly "governance and communications", two of whom say "I have four kids" like that's something to be proud of. If I had to rank them, I'd probably go for Stefan Speller just because he's younger, but honestly there's not a lot to choose between there (or if there is, they haven't told me).

Voting closes at noon on the 17th, and results will be announced on the 22nd.