Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ilam candidates

I finally had a look at the list of candidates for the Ilam electorate:
Alexander, Marc (United Future New Zealand)
Anderson, Blair John
Blanchard, Julian (Labour Party)
Brownlee, Gerry (National Party)
Findlay, Quentin (Alliance)
Giles, Jo (ACT New Zealand)
Griffiths, Lois (Green Party)
Zhang, Zemin (Jim Anderton's Progressive)
The first thing that I notice is the complete absence of any candidate from NZ First. Looking further I note that NZ First did not field a candidate in the 2002 election (despite gaining 2,400 party votes) while in the 1999 election, the NZ First candidate, Andrew Gin, gained 1443 electorate votes and the party gained 810 party votes. So in not fielding a candidate, NZ First gets more votes? However 1999 was the year that NZ First was almost throttled in the polls by antagonizing three blocs of voters: the voters that wanted them to form a government with Labour back in 1996, the voters that wanted them to remain in government with Nation in 1998 and the voters that were profoundly disgusted by their list shennigans in 1999. The 2002 result is also anomalous in that 30% of the people that voted for National in 1999 had voted for other parties.

Marc Alexander is a United Future list MP. He did not run in 1999 as the United party organization had ceased to exist in 1996 after the defeat of the sitting MP, Margaret Austin (whose conversion from Labour destroyed the Labour party organization there as well which is one of the reasons why Brownlee has been so secure). He gained 1760 electorate votes in 2002 compared with 2842 party votes for United Future. Marc is highly unlikely to do as well because in 2002, United Future gained the undeserved reputation as a party of common sense which boosted the number of votes it received. Having received no such boost this time around, United Future is likely to be returned with at the most two MPs (Peter Dunne and Judy Turner) leaving Marc at a number 4 placing out in the cold.

Blair Anderson has no party affiliation listed but he ran in the 2003 council elections has a legalize dope candidate under the banner of Mild Greens. He didn't impress me then on the basis of his incoherent candidate blurb. The Aoteroa Legalize Cannabis Party only gained 125 votes at the last election so he is likely to lose his deposit and go without dope for the next three months.

Julian Blanchard is the Labour Party candidate. I've blogged about him before and didn't have much to say then. Given the revival in National's fortunes in this election, Julian is highly unlikely to oust Gerry. Oddly Julian is not on the Party List, which means that he has no safety cushion. I'm not totally conversant with the ins-and-outs of Labour Party List dynamics - I know why people like George Hawkins or Clayton Cosgrove are not on the list but I don't know why the same is true for Tim Barnett - so I'll avoid speculation at this point.

Gerry Brownlee is the sitting National MP for Ilam and most likely to be returned. I originally have a low opinion of him based on my brothers' experiences with him at St Bede's but that has mellowed with time. To give an example of what he was like then - in 1990 Jim Bolger and Mike Moore were holding a leadership debate at St Bede's as this was Mike's homebase (another debate was held on Jim's home ground and a third in neutral territory). Consequently the audience was largely labour faithful except for two people: Gerry Brownlee and Mark Kunnen. Because Gerry had such a deep, booming, VOICE, his heckling of Mike Moore was so strong that during an ad break, Jim Bolger turned to him and told him to be quiet.

Quentin Findlay, the Alliance candidate, is so little known that even the Alliance website doesn't may much about him other than he's no. 13 on their list. He seems to be the education coordinator of the Lincoln University Students Association and I find the acronym of the last organization to be quite apt.

Jo Giles is the ACT party candidate. ACT received 2482 party votes and 1327 electorate votes in the last election while in 1999, the respective votes cast for it were 3385 party and 1166 electorate. Given that the 2002 election was were ACT received party votes at the expense of National, it seems to me that ACT will get even fewer party votes this time around. I haven't heard much about Jo but looking at her profile, she's active in the radio (which I don't listen to) and in Halswell (which is some distance from Ilam and in the Banks Pennisula electorate). Hence I imagine she's standing in Ilam to rally the more numerous troops there than where she lives.

Lois Griffiths, the Green Party candidate, I know chiefly from her letters to the editor in the Press. Her profile does not inspire confidence. She says she would be a "good ally" for Keith Locke and complains about the destruction and occupation of Afghanistan. There's also her support for Keith Locke's goal of independance for West Papua - the only reason they are choosing West Papua is that the accursed Howard freed East Timor while the aims of Aceh have been resolved. Other potential conflicts like Tonga, the Solomons and Fiji are shunned because their ignorance and naivety would then be revealed.

Zemin Zhang, the Progressive Candidate, is a bit unusual in that he actually has some sort of a business background. Why he felt the Progressive is the party for him is unknown as I've not yet been able to find any speeches from him.

Finally I could have sworn I read in the Press several weeks ago that Robert Consedine was standing for the Maori party in Ilam but searching the net only turns up the story that he's only on the list.