Saturday 14 October 2023

2023 Election live blog

Which I will attempt to update throughout the night, depending on my whims and whether the night seems worth talking about.

This election will be lubricated with Glenglassaugh Revival single Malt.  Never encountered it before and it seems to be a bit of a new thing, though with some sort of pedigree.  I imagine it will taste like whisky.

7.00 I am predicting / guessing the raw numbers will look like:

National   35%
Labour     32%
Greens     14%
ACT         9%
NZ First   6%
TPM         3%
Wasted     2%

Obviously I have National very low and the Greens very high.

That would represent a disaster for National as they have failed to see of a rudderless Labour Party without any vision and with a poor track record beyond their COVID response.  Luxon looked so awkward in the last leader's debate I suspect some will have had last minute qualms.  Would it mean a National government?  That would depend - agonisingly - on inscrutable factors.  Possibly, but hopefully not.  Because a rudderless Labour Party without any vision and with a poor track record will be better than Luxon style National seasoned with David Seymour.

There will be weeks of Winston seeing what he can milk out of the situation.  He wants those baubles, but he also wants to puncture David Seymour.  Keeping ACT sidelined - like he did with the Greens in 2017 - will be a goal.

7.05 Will our next PM be called Chris, Chris ... or Winston? 

7.06 Crikey.  Simon Bridges and Meteria Turei.  Why can't TVNZ get some better politicians to talk?

7.07 The Glenglassaugh is disappointing.  Prickly and astringent, something of nail polish remover in the nose and the mouth.

7.08 Turei describes the Greens as an old party.  Are they now part of the establishment?  Should we be looking for a replacement on the democratic left?

7.12 Shit balls those early votes.  BUT that will (probably) change.  Remember 2005  where National started well ahead and Labour clawed them back.

7.15 Is this Labour's 2001?

7.18 It would be hilarious if - after all his hard work and my earlier comments about him driving David Seymour into the wilderness - he ended up there himself, unneeded and uncalled for ...

7.35 14% in and not much change in the vote share.  NACT are hovering at 50%.  If they start to fall, even slightly, Winston emerges, like some dark monster from the primordial depths ...

7.38 Shane Jones might get back to parliament.  This is getting worse ...

7.40 Jessica Mutch McKay smile beatifically after realising Winston Peters "might not be needed" ... a lot of journalists might be cackling with glee at the thought of his frustration.

7.41 Almost 20% counted and no sense that the numbers are going to move much.  I suspect Labour will be lucky to scrape over 30%.

7.45 As it become more likely National and Act will be able to govern alone, I would like to announce I was right in my prediction - the polls were indeed wrong.  Just the opposite way to how I thought they would err.

8.00 Chris Luxon's kids are better at talking to the media than he is.  I want them to run the country, not him.

8.02 I would like to apologise to New Zealand for giving two ticks to Labour.  I should have remembered I never manage to vote for the winning party.  I note the Greens have done better than they have in the elections where I have voted for them.

8.06 This doesn't feel as gutting to me as the 2019 election in Britain did.  First, as a Scot, I have a visceral response to British politics  I just don't get for NZ politics.  Also, in 2019 I genuinely thought the polls were going to blunder again, in Labour's favour.  I had already accepted National would be the biggest party and the only question would be whether they would be able to govern with ACT or would be forced to negotiate with Winston Peters.  But it is still pretty grim ...

8.17 Will Labour actually get enough MPs to hold a leadership election?

8.23 It looks likely that TPM will win most / all of the Maori electorates and create an overhang in parliament.  This might have the curious effect of denying NACT an outright magority and force them into some sort of seedy arrangement with Winston ... Which would be fun to watch but would probably reinforce the right's desire to get rid of these electorates.

8.26 Searching for any silver linings at all on this grim night,  I was thinking that at least none of the bizarre fringe parties manage to get a toehold.  Then I remember Winston is back ...

8.34 Melissa Lee look likely to take Mount Albert for National.  Given it is Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern's former seat, does this make her the next leader of the Labour Party?

8.36 David Cunliffe suddenly appears on TVNZ, following Bridges and Turei.  Are they doing some sort of Pokemon style Gotta Get 'Em All with failed former leaders?

8.51 Worth noting that at this stage most of the votes being reported are still advance votes.  Any slight late rally by Labour won't be getting picked up yet.  I don't think it will make much of a difference, but this was always going to be an election decided at the margins.  As on-the-day votes start to get counted, we may still see some shift in the numbers, and that NACT majority start to look questionable.  Could Labour still recover to 30%?  Will NACT stumble?  Will Winston be thrown a lifeline?

9.03 Grant Robertson on TVNZ, looking very chipper, like he is anticipating a promotion.  Third time lucky, eh, Grant?  Based on the current prediction Labour will get 33 MPs, he only needs to persuade 16 of them to vote for him to make it happen.  He’s only 51 – which I no longer consider old – and has plenty of experience and energy. I suspect he’d get it simply because in the aftermath of this walloping no one who makes it back into parliament else will want the gig.

9.14 Labour SURGE to 25.75%!  

9.32 Another micro surge - Labour creep up to 26.03% in the advance votes, dragging the overall tally to 25.95% ... It is strange the advance vote is leading the on-the-day tally.  Did Labour manage to repel voters as the campaign wore on?

9.38 And again, advance votes SURGE to 26.12%; on-the-day creeps up to 25.96%!

9.43 I remember the 2002 election and how for a brief moment the pundits were talking about how National were poised to be the largest party and a 'Grand coalition of the right' might govern New Zealand.  Then it all collapsed to an appalling night for National.  Obviously that is not going to happen tonight but I am intrigued by how National are wavering on the edge of needing a three way coalition to govern, in spite of being up against a tired two term government that has nothing to offer but broken promises, failed pledges and the vague memory of how they maybe once saved the nation from the Covids.

9.55 NACT are only just over 50% now, and then there is the overhang to be negotiated.  I suspect they are going to wake up to a hangover tomorrow and the realisation they might have to give Winston that call.  And he will not be in a mood for compromise.

10.06 NACT dip under 50%.

David Seymour is speaking, trying to look pleased with the idea of watching Winston eating his lunch tomorrow, and every day for the next three years.

10.24 A curious moment of crossover is about to occur, as Labour's On The Day vote starts to lead the Advance vote.  So now we will see how much difference Angry Chris made.  Of course, we're talking dire numbers here - 26.26% ...

10.27 Jake Tame suddenly looking nervous as he realises everything he's said for the last three hours has been wrong.

10.38 Nat's under 40%.  Act on 9.19% and looking likely to fall off slightly.  In the immortal last words of infamous Scottish cannibal murderer Sawney Bean, "This isn't over!  It will never be over!"

11.05 The Labour SURGE is surging very slowly.  About 0.7% over two hours.  I am beginning to wonder if the South Auckland electorates are going to deliver the boost I anticipated ...

11.12 Still, there are some positives here.  ACT are stalled at 9%, for all David Seymour's antics.  This represents the apex of ACT's power.  They will be dangerous, because they will always be hovering about on the right, always threatening to put National into power.  But they are limited.  No matter how much they try to disguise their economic Darwinist delirium and category error individualism with gurning and twerking, they will never have the influence they seemed to threaten.  So the question is how can we push them into the dustbin of history and make them properly, finally irrelevant?

11.20 I must confess.  For three years (more or less) I have been saying that Christopher Luxon can not possibly be Prime Minister of New Zealand.  I based this on the fact he is bald and bald people are intrinsically off putting.  I speak here as a bald person so I am allowed.  I am willing to confess that - unless "a most amazing miracle" (Ibsen) occurs - I may have been wrong on this.  He seems to be talking about something on TV just now.

11.40 NACT trending towards 48%.  Special votes, overhangs and wasted votes will screw up all calculations for now.  I think National should have put in Labour in 2020 performance.  They fell slightly short, and may live to rue it.

11.41 Jessica Mutch-McKay on Winston Peters making pleasant overtures in his speech earlier in the evening: "In a tone I wasn't expecting from him" i.e. pleasant and conciliatory.  Don't worry, Jess.  Winston is acting nice until he know s what the situation is, then he will tear them to pieces.

12.23  I think I am still awake, though very, very far removed from sober.  TV1 has followed its election coverage with a mockumentary about the spread of Covid in Britain and the Johnson government's flailing incompetence.  Which suggests someone responsible for programing is very astute indeed.

1.08 I know all you lightweights are asleep but the Nats are on 39.99% and ACT might be about to drop below 9%. The NZ film Panthers is on TV1. Feels kinda subversive.

Something something something

 Apparently there is something happening somewhere, but we aren't allowed to discuss it for another hour.


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