An Outside View of Our Campaign
Alex Fensome, political journalist for the Southland Times provides this interesting overview of the local election campaign.
The contrast between the parties could barely have been more defined.
The Nats were sitting around an open fire in the venerable Invercargill Club, surrounded by black-and-white photographs and plush carpet.
Labour met in the dingy confines of the Jed St Trades Hall with cask wine and savories on hand, clustered around a projector as the results came in.
The Greens had themselves a barbecue at Dave Kennedy's leafy Gladstone home, chatting away like it was a housewarming.
It was they who had the most to celebrate. Both Kennedy and his Clutha-Southland colleague Rachael Goldsmith rode the Green wave to the party's best-ever southern results.
The pair ran good campaigns, focused on the party vote but not forgetting to go to candidate's meetings, where, barring the odd misstep over wages and tax, they impressed.
That Goldsmith polled more candidate and party votes than Act's Don Nicolson in her electorate was a brilliant result for her.
For Roy, it was a coronation. His campaign manager rather unwisely said Labour's Lesley Soper was the best thing that happened to National's campaign, but she always faced an uphill task to fight Big Eric.
His own campaign was competent. He didn't need to do much and he did nearly fall off the wagon with some ill-advised, overly aggressive responses at candidate's meetings. But to hold the city for the third time was a good effort. Whether Invercargill remains a swing seat will be seen when Labour revive.
There is no doubting Soper's committment and passion for the job, but there was little she could do. Without wanting to be overly critical, she can come across as emotionless and robotic when campaigning. But Labour's situation did not help her cause.
Everyone was surprised about NZ First. I guess that charisma I wrote about previously served him well once again. And frankly, Key deserves Peters back in Parliament because of National's abysmal handling of the Teapot Tapes. If they had just released it, you wouldn't have seen hide or hair of Winston.
I especially like the fact that he recognized Rachael Goldsmith's achievement in outshining Don Nicolson, the third ranked Act candidate and ex president of Federated Farmers, on his own turf. For a not yet 30 year old young mother and social activist to do so well in her first election was truly remarkable and firmly put yet another nail into the Act coffin.