Napier is definitely now Labour’s

Napier used to be a safe Labour seat, held by a Labour candidate from 1954. Then National’s Chris Tremain won it in 2005, with a 3,500 vote majority, rising to just over 9,000 three years later. Last election, rising star Stuart Nash slashed Tremain’s majority back down to 3,700. Of course, despite being number 27 on Labour’s list, Nash missed out on being returned on the list.

With Chris Tremain retiring, the scales had tipped back in Nash’s favour. Nash was selected as Labour’s candidate back in February, and he’s been campaigning hard ever since (not that he hadn’t already been assiduously keeping his profile high in the area during the preceding two years). National’s, Wayne Walford, although a solid candidate, hasn’t exactly been setting the campaign on fire.

And then there’s the amalgamation issue. National supports a local referendum on combining the Napier, Hastings, Wairoa, Central Hawke’s Bay and the regional council. Napier residents are dead against it by a large majority, as they don’t want to see their rates money going to prop up the satellite regions. The satellite regions seem to be dead against it as they don’t want to lose their autonomy and end up as a small, out-voted voice on a big council. Stuart Nash has been campaigning strongly against amalgamation – for months prior to the official election period he’s had billboards everywhere, associating his name with the campaign to say no to amalgamation.

Now comes the final nail in the National candidate’s coffin – Garth McVicar. He’s decided to stand in Napier for the Conservative Party. He doesn’t have a hope of winning it, but he’ll certainly take a chunk of the votes that might have gone to Wayne Walford. A few Nash votes might go McVicar’s way, but I wouldn’t expect it would be many.

The fact that Nash has also declined to go on the Labour list this election surely can’t hurt his prospects either. He’s banking everything on the support of the Napier electorate. I’d expect the electorate will deliver that support to him in spades. Certainly, the sheer number of Stuart Nash billboards throughout the electorate suggests a vibrant, well-supported campaign.

I’m picking Nash by 3,000 votes, almost reversing the current National Party majority.

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3 comments

  1. This is the third seat that the conservatives have decided to run in that could change the result to the detriment of National. They are running in Epsom, where they are just going to be a distraction. They are also running in Palmerston North, where National have their best chance in years to flip the seat, but the Conservatives are running there, which could take enough off the Nat candidate to change the result. They are doing all this while wanting to be given a deal in East Coast Bays? *insert tui ad*

    1. Yes, it’s definitely now going to take a miracle for John Key to change his mind on an East Coast Bays deal before 26 August! War is declared! Mind you, the Conservatives really have no choice but to campaign hard in every seat, to pick up every stray party vote they can. It’s 5% or nothing now…

      To be fair, Stuart Nash was likely to win Napier, regardless of whether McVicar ran there or not. However, McVicar’s candidacy has certainly cemented Nash’s place as the front-runner.

      Regarding Epsom, I stand by my view that Rankin won’t make any appreciable difference to the result. If ACT lose, it won’t be because of Rankin…

      Palmerston North though will be interesting. iPredict has had Jono Naylor and Iain Lees-Galloway on 50/50 odds for weeks now (+/- a few per cent on brief occasions). A few votes from the National candidate to the Conservative candidate could very well decide the outcome. It’ll be one to watch on the night!

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