Kim, :( You cost us votes in the end, mate. There's still love and respect but love and respect with disappointment. Sometimes love and respect is stronger after enduring such a battle, I hope it is with Kim. He has about four million reasons to be upset at the result, but the Mana Movement has only 739 - which are undergoing a recount at the moment. I did keep saying that the party party be cray cray, but could not envisage such a catastrophic result.
I've been in apoplectic shock since election night and trying to forget a nightmare that unfolded whereby Hone lost Te Tai Tokerau in a gang-bang by the leaders of all the other parties to back Kelvin Davis, and Annette Sykes couldn't take Waiariki because some bellowing loud-mouth standing for Labour decided to split the vote against Te Ururoa making that impossible to win, meaning the whole crew on the Internet Mana list (which would have got 2 MPs) is out of the next parliament. FFS.
Measured against expectations this was a total epic fail, even if some advances were evident. If Hone couldn't hold his seat - or Annette cause an upset in Waiariki - Mana was out. A worse case scenario for Mana and a best case scenario for National. A total epic nightmare that will last three fucking years.
All the Dirty Politics revelations and Tory corruption couldn't beat Tory scare-mongering and an incoherent and compromised Labour-led alternative. Most people were prepared to accept National's creepy right wing nutty stuff (where Hager's exposé was relegated) because of the certainty and stability of the soporiphic John Key. Bill English has borrowed over $50b to keep things on the unsustainable plateau, using mass immigration to prop up the pyramid as they do to get over each slump, so the middle classes have been insulated. Key came to the centre and won it there. And this was despite the defections caused initially by Dirty Politics that saw some National voters go Conservative and NZ First and not come back. It was Labour voters who put National back in - there's no getting around that.
Status quo prevails. Is it any wonder that the party promising the most change and the most to the left - Internet Mana - couldn't break 2%, yet the Conservatives touched 4% and Winston Peters had his best result in years getting 11 MPs. Votes for the right - Nat/Act/UF/Con are a majority with 51.92% without adding NZF on 8.66% taking the Centre-Right to over 60%. The left are a clear minority at this point. Not helping over time is the growing proportion of elderly in the population which will continue a trend to swing elections to the right. The higher turnouts in the future may be more to do with these demographic changes than engaged youth.
Mana got 24k votes last time, and got 34k this time - so an improvement. More party votes this time than the Maori Party - a watershed moment lost in all the chronic post-election grieving. There were mistakes on the campaign - as there will be - but a major one was the ballot sheet itself. I still can't understand how the Internet MANA list was not put next to the candidate. What is the legality of having a candidate on a list standing as a candidate in the electorate and not being together? If they come off that list they must be put together like the other parties, surely? I mean, why would Internet and Mana stand candidates in anything other than the three target Maori electorates and Key's Hellensville electorate if the candidate and party were separated? The whole reason behind running a candidate in an electorate is to drag the party up the column... and seeing how that was not how the ballots were printed, and you had to look down amongst the silly bugger parties to find it despite having a candidate standing then what the fuck was the point of that exercise? If it is acknowledged that running electorate candidates gains party votes then it must be concluded that having mis-aligned party/candidate names has cost the party votes.
The 29k disallowed votes on the basis they were not already enrolled on the day are fundamentally undemocratic - engineered not for any reason of validity or integrity or ID purpose, but to prevent the votes of mostly left supporters being counted. It is painful to watch a person go through the special vote process when you know their vote will be discounted based on such a technicality. It is wrong and it is not fair. I have sat as a scrutineer and seen the special votes and as the results always show they are definitely not National or right voters, they are the marginalised and working class voters. The middle class people with their mortgages and their late model cars and their golf club membership and their insurance policies etc. are not the sort of people turning up in their work gears on Saturday afternoon explaining how they moved flats and they did a special vote last time so it must be OK. These diligent and otherwise eligible electors are being disenfranchised. This may add another seat to the left/off the right if Election Day enrolments were allowed, so don't expect National to ever champion that.