Epsom electorate background

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).

Quest for Security has an excellent backgrounder on the history of the Epsom electorate and predicts Hide will win the seat by a landslide in 2008. Barring the unlikely scenario, such as Hide somehow blotting his copy-book in a big way with the “little old ladies” (Hide’s words, not mine) prior to the election, I agree 100% with this assessment. I think the voters of Epsom have got their money’s worth over the last couple of years, as far as Hide being a “good local MP” is concerned.

It’s interesting how individual electorates such as Epsom and Tauranga still fascinate the New Zealand public, despite the much greater significance of the party vote under MMP. Of course, this is because so many of the smaller parties have relied and do rely on winning an electorate seat to get their party into parliament. Interestingly, in Germany, on whose electoral system New Zealand’s MMP is based, a small party must win three electorates for the 5% party vote threshold to be waived. Even allowing for the much greater number of electorates in Germany, this has virtually never happened, as it is unlikely that a party will have three stellar candidates who can win an electorate on their own personalities. As a result, small parties there such as the FDP (Free Democrats), Greens and the Left Party (Die Linke) always focus on the party vote. That’s how it should be.

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4 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mate you are WAY behind.

    Worth has been confirmed as the National candidate for Epsom.

  2. Oops, thanks for that – I’ve corrected my post.

  3. Oliver Woods says:

    Cheers again for the link and comments!

    Regarding your comments about German politics, it is very interesting to see the recent results today from the Lower Saxony and Hessen state elections for the Die Linke. As someone who is an avowed supporter of them, and the creation of a similar political vehicle again in New Zealand of the same ilk as Die Linke and the Alliance during the 90s, it is very heartwarming to see their good results.

  4. Thanks Oliver – yes indeed I did see about the Hesse(n) and Lower Saxony elections. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Left Party (or Die Linke) gained 5% and 7% respectively in the two German states, the first time it has gained representation in major western states. Die Linke may be able to block coalitions in at least one of these, or force a grand coalition. See a report in English at http://tinyurl.com/2z65g4.

    It’s very interesting indeed, as I had thought the high water mark for Die Linke was the 2005 election, when unemployment was at its peak. Despite economic conditions improving, the left-wing party is doing better and better.

    There are some interesting parallels between the Alliance and Die Linke, as both broke off from the major left-wing party after dissatisfaction at major economic reform (in Germany, Gerhard Schroeder’s “Agenda 2010”; in NZ, Rogernomics). The “Jim Anderton” of Germany is Oskar Lafontaine, who quit as SPD party chairman in 1999 in a spat with Schroeder.

    One day someone should do a comparative study of Die Linke and the Alliance.

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