Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Christchurch Central Candidates

The candidates for Christchurch Central are:
Barnett, Tim (Labour)
Breach, Anita (Destiny)
Clark Byron, (Anti-Capitalist Alliance)
Culter-Welsh, Natalie (Green)
Gardener, Kevin (New Zealand First)
Gregory, Daryl (Māori)
Marshall, Shirley (ACT)
van Buren, John (United Future)
Vermunt, Annalucia (Communist League)
Wagner, Nicky (National Party)
Woods, Megan (Jim Anderton's Progressive)
Tim Barnett won the seat in 2002 with 17,190 votes while Labour only received 13,853 party votes so Tim is a very popular MP. Both sets of votes are little unchanged from 1999 so I don't expect much of a change given current polling results. The only mystery to me is why Tim isn't on the Labour list.

Anita Breach is standing for the Destiny NZ party, affiliated to Bishop Tamaki's Destiny Church. While her biography looks reasonable, the set of principles to belong to the party looks offputting. I expect her to pick up some of the Christian Heritage vote which numbered about 430 party votes at the last election.

Bryon Clark is another commie from the Anti-Capitalist Alliance. According to this article, he's a laid-off factory worker and an organizer of the Unite union. Unite is affiliated to the CTU but it doesn't have a website.

Natalie Culter-Welsh is a recent student. The Greens picked up 3,479 party votes in the last election but their candidate only gained 1,719 electorate votes. However in 1999, the Greens only had 2,421 party votes and 1,658 electorate votes. So it seems there is a hardcore of 1,700 Greenie voters in this electorate with up to another 1,800 being other voters who wanted a Green presence in Parliament.

Daryl Gregory is another obscure candidate. There's a picture of him on the Maori party website but little else. Googling further, he seems to be the manager of a Maori mental health trust. It's uncertain how many votes he will receive as the Mana Maori party only gained 10 votes in 2002. However that was before the Foreshore and Seabed row broke out and I expect the Maori party to do better.

Although Shirley Marshall is standing for ACT there's not even a photograph of her on their website. Searching further, I found this which doesn't indicate a strong candidate. ACT won 1,845 party votes and 762 electorate votes in 2002 which is somewhat in line with the 1999 results. Given the low polling of ACT this time around, I expect fewer votes to be cast for them.

John van Buren also doesn't have a photo but he does have a biography on his party's website. Which is somewhat surprising as he's the former owner of the Wheatsheaf tavern in Lyttelton Harbour (across Gebbie's Pass) who came to national attention for his defiance of the Smokefree Act. Given that United Future polled a respectable 2,118 party votes and 1,160 electorate votes in 2002, I'm puzzled as to why they didn't already have a candidate selected considering that John joined at a late date. I expect United Future's results in this election to return to its 1999 level, namely 154 party votes.

Annalucia Vermunt is the Communist League candidate having stood for the Communist league for a long time in council and parliamentary elections. If you want to know why she isn't standing under the Anti-Capitalist Alliance, my understanding is that the ACA are Trotskyites while the Communist League are Maoists. Maoists think Stalin is brill while the Trotskyites think him a terminal pain in the head; Maoists also think that communism can be built among the peasantry while the Trotskyites view this as heresy and so forth. The rest of humanity think they should get a life. The only biographical information that I can find out about the candidate is that she's a member of the Meat-workers union.

Nicky Wagner is prominent in Christchurch's political scene as a councillor for ECan. In the last election, she received 6,837 electorate votes while National received only 5,338 party votes. All that shows however is that National mucked up their electoral strategy by failing to drive home the importance of the party vote to their supporters. I expect both vote totals to improve significantly in the coming election but not enough to unseat Tim Barnett. Since Wagner is number 28 on the list, she is likely to be elected as a list candidate.

Megan Woods is standing for Jim Anderton's personality cult. She is fairly high up on the list, which only shows up the poverty of talent among Jim's chosen disciples given that ahead of her is Grant Gillon whose best-known contribution to parliament was to make a joke about sex with sheep. Jim's party received 930 party votes and 761 electorate votes in 1999. I expect the totals to decline further in the coming election.