Jami-Lee wins Botany (as expected) but it’s a pity he isn’t called Keith, John or Bill

Alf looks forward to Jami-Lee Ross joining him on the back benches in the House after he won the Botany byelection for National (an outcome never in doubt) yesterday.

The Herald on Sunday tells us Ross polled 8150 votes or 56.7 per cent of the turnout.

But the turnout was a disappointingly low 36.5 per cent. Alf imagines that’s a consequence of Botany being an Auckland seat, because Aucklanders are apt to be somewhat wanting when it comes to things like civic duty and getting off their arses to uphold a strong democracy.

Have the buggers marched in the streets to protest against the outrage of Maori being given special constitutional treatment in their city? Nah, they have not.

Some Maori do things the democratic way and the proper way, and campaigned for their election to the Auckland Council where they have won a fair share of seats.

But that happens to be the hard way.

Others have been given legislative blessing to short-circuit the system. They are appointed to a Maori advisory committee and – would you believe it? – apparently are entitled to vote on council committees along with elected councillors.

Gerry-mandering is bad enough.

Iwi-mandering is downright outlandish.

Next thing we know, the new advisory outfit inevitably needed some public money to fund its operations, notwithstanding the fact the council already has a Maori staff.

When they didn’t get what they wanted, they opted to spend more public money by whistling in the lawyers to challenge the legality of the council’s decision on their budget, which means the council must burn up even more public money to defend its position.

But have Aucklanders marched in the street to protest against this squandering of of their rates money?

Nah, again.

It’s fair to say you could never organise the Kiwi equivalent of a Boston Tea Party in our City of Sales (and of sell-outs).

But Alf digresses.

Let’s get back to Botany, where Labour Party candidate Michael Wood was runner-up with 4154 votes (27.9 per cent) and Paul Young of the New Citizens Party was third with 1572 (10.5 per cent).

The HoS is disappointingly short on analysis.

Alf had to turn to David Farrar at Kiwiblog to be reminded that Pansy Wong got 56% of the vote in 2008, and so Jami-Lee’s 55% is much the same.

Michael Wood got 28% of the vote, which is up from the invisible Koro Tawa. Of course there was no Green candidate this time as they didn’t nominate in time.

In a subsequent post Farrar observes –

* Total votes dropped from 30,919 in 2008 to 14,888 (+ specials) in 2011.

* National/Ross won 17 of the 20 polling places

* His best place was Howick, where Ross got over 68%

* The worst place was Clover Park where Ross got 4.7% only, and Wood got 90.4%

* Ross got over 60% in 10 of the 20 places, and over 50% in 15 of the 20 places

* In Meadowlands, Paul Young of New Citizen got his best result with 16.7% – pipping Michael Wood on 15.8% to third place

Oh, and Farrar points out this was the first by-election in at least 30 years where the seat was held by the Government, with no significant decline in the share of the vote.

The last by-election for a Government-held seat which saw the vote share not change much was probably Pahiatua in 1977.

Yep. Pahiatua is just up the track from Alf’s electorate of North Eketahuna.

The great Sir Keith Holyoake was unexpectedly appointed Governor-General in 1977 on the advice of the then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

Sir Keith happened to be a cabinet minister at the time, giving rise to the shabby claim that this was a political appointment (and giving Alf cause to hope that maybe he will be our next GG).

Sir Keith resigned from Parliament, leading to the Pahiatua by-election of 1977. He was succeeded in his seat by John Falloon.

The HoS reminds us that the Botany byelection was occasioned by the need to find a replacement for National MP Pansy Wong, who resigned after criticism of her use of the international travel subsidy.

Ross, 25, becomes the youngest current MP. He was voted into the Auckland Council last year but left to campaign for the Botany seat.

First elected to the Manukau City Council in 2004, Mr Ross was returned in 2007.

Ross said he wanted to bring “young blood” and “a strong voice for Botany” to Parliament, with a focus on law and order and the economy.

Dunno about the young blood thing – Alf discourages talk of that sort and emphasises the importance of maturity and experience.

But he approves of this young buck having a focus on law and order and the economy.

And he looks forward to introducing him in Bellamys to the glories of a good single malt.

His only disquiet is the bugger’s name.

Jami-Lee doesn’t have the same gravitas as Keith or John or Bill or Gerry. Or Alf.

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