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Saturday, April 02, 2005

On the election of Hubbard and Action Hobson

GoNZo Freakpower links to a Chris Trotter column on why Banks is bad for Act. Trotter bases his thesis on the 2004 Auckland City Council mayoralty election.

Trotter thinks Banks loss in that election was caused by Bill Birch's so-called 'rogernomics' review of Auckland City Council services and properties. That view is incorrect, and a very 1990's socialist interpretation of history. Many NZers thought the 80's reforms were necessary, which is why Labour was re-elected twice after the reforms began and why National was relected twice after the Richardson budget cuts. The Birch review was not an issue of significance during the election campaign.

Instead Banks was voted out because the proposed Eastern Motorway scared enough 'right' voters in the eastern suburbs to vote for Hubbard and Action Hobson, an anti-motorway party, and because the NZ Herald ran atrociously biased coverage of the election issues. There were other issues, of course, such as the V8 race and moral values, particularly on the gay community.

The NZ Herald and columnist Brian Rudman turned the V8 race into a big issue for the election. Edition after edition of the Herald would have some new story on the V8 race, and Rudman would regularly attack it in his columns. I'm not sure what effect the proposed race had on actual voters, as few people live around the proposed route. The neighbouring suburb of Ponsonby was hardly a firm Banks electorate anyway. But the issue contributed to an overall Banks loss.

The final big issue was the moral values battle between Banks and Hubbard. As it turned out, all media aside from the NBR chose to ignore substantial evidence for Hubbard being quite the moral conservative. When an activist for Banks tried to spread the NBR's negative coverage of Hubbard into voters mailboxes, he was attacked by Hubbard and the Herald, and accused (incorrectly) of breaking the law. The NZ Herald effectively refused to report on Hubbard's moral viewpoints, even though it did not hesitate to over-report any issue going against Banks. Hubbard was given a free-ride by various other Auckland media institutions, simply because he was the first serious left mayoral candidate in years.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 4/02/2005 03:08:00 PM

2 Comments:

Blogger Zippy Gonzales said...

I disagree that Trotter's argument is based on Banks' local body defeat. It is but one example of many, including Banks' talkback-land groupies, expected vote-splitting in Tamaki and socially conservative views.

The big worry is that if Banks gets in on the Act ticket, he will make a post-election leadership bid. If he wins, whatever liberal credibility Act had would be dead.

If he fails, he would most likely court the Nats or NZ First after the party-hopping legislation lapsed.

Banks is a lose/lose option for Act. If Act want to increase their party vote, they should be getting new blood representative of the middle NZ vote they so dearly cherish. Hypocrisy is passe. Ask Graham Capill.

4/02/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I will add my reply when I get a chance.

When does the party-hopping legislation lapse?

I agree Banks is a losing prop for Act, mainly because hes poked the leadership and members in the eye with his publicity shenanigans. Hes better off waiting for the mayoralty to come around again.

4/03/2005 04:05:00 AM  

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