Thursday, June 4, 2009

2009 Mount Albert By-election

Former prime minister Helen Clark resigned her seat in parliament to take a top job with the United Nations forcing a by-election in the Mount Albert electorate. The election is scheduled for June 13th.

Labour initially considered themselves the front runner to win and selected someone who isn't already in parliament while the other parliamentary parties with list MPs have selected an existing list MP.

Realistically the contest is between Labour and National's Melissa Lee. Melissa is well known as a previous presenter on TV One's Saturday morning show Asia Down Under and then the government announced that a motorway would be built through the electorate and Melissa opened her mouth with a silly comment about criminals from South Auckland. Now things are looking grim for her.

The more important minor parties except New Zealand First and The Maori Party are represented, but on current polling it would take a miracle for any of them to take the seat.

Other than bragging rights the election will have little real effect. The National led coalition government will still have the numbers to form a government and win or lose Labour will still have enough members to form a realistic opposition party. If a miracle did happen and United Future's Judy Turner won, they could still hold their caucus meetings in a phone box.

I suspect that even bragging rights are going to be minimal. If Labour's majority is reduced, they'll just claim it's the loss of Clark's personal support, and if National's support is reduced they'll say it was because of the unfortunate timing of the motorway announcement and the super city proposal. Without the list vote, the minor parties are irrelevant and it's to be expected that their support will collapse towards the end.

We can expect ongoing talk on the news channels about it whenever there is a slow news day, but even a keen follower of politics like myself finds it difficult to get enthusiastic about this election.

Originally published on Qondio


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