A capacity for good political analysis seems to be lacking within the Mana Party.
The buggers are arguing the toss today about whether the election result was good or bad for them, after leader Hone Harawira reclaimed his Te Tai Tokerau seat, but the party failed to capture enough of the party vote to bring a second MP into Parliament.
Co-president Annette Sykes was in the latter group, saying she was “far from disappointed”.
Given that the party was formed only seven months before the election, 20,000 votes was a huge achievement.
Mana had battled against a lack of resources, but still received the same amount of coverage other minor parties had and got its messages out, she said.
“Perhaps some were disappointed because there was a hope we could get 2 or 3 per cent, but I think we can be proud.”
Let’s point out to Ms Sykes that the Conservative Party was established less than four months ago and got 55,070 votes – Alf was alerted to its formation by a post at Kiwiblog.
No, the Conservatives did not win any seats.
But they did not have the huge advantage afforded by being a Maori party pitching for Maori support in Maori electorates.
So who in the Mana Party is not so happy?
Oh, yes. One of the bloody honkies.
Less positive about the party’s performance was its No 3, John Minto, who said he was disappointed but not surprised.
Mr Minto, who placed fourth in the Manukau East electorate race with 402 votes, said the party had been chasing the party vote hard, but the message had not got across.
Maybe that’s because Mana supporters listened to Hone Harawira and thought they had three or four parliamentary seats in the bag.
Therefore they went fishing – or something – instead of voting.
Remember how Hone responded to the hint of Mana having four MPs?
“Game on,” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on being told that iPredict, one of the country’s most accurate forecaster of election results, predictied that MANA would have three new MPs after the election.
That would see Hone Harawira, Annette Sykes, John Minto and Sue Bradford all become parliamentarians next week
That struck Alf as a grim prospect at the time.
He is delighted that, as things turned out, iPredict isn’t infallible.
Harawira had taken heart that this had been the second positive result from iPredict, and followed a NZ Herald street survey that made the same prediction a few days earlier.
Those portents of four Mana seats poll sparked a great burst of rhetoric.
“The poor need a voice. The poor need a team who will fight for them” said Harawira “and if you were poor which team would you want – Goff, Beaumont, Burns and Huo – or Harawira, Sykes, Minto and Bradford?”
Harawira said Labour was not doing the job and people were asking themselves who they could count on to stop National selling the country’s assets, reducing workers to slaves and blaming solo mums and teenagers for the financial problems of the government.
“Labour doesn’t have firepower or the credibility or the guts for this fight” said Harawira. “MANA does, on all counts, and the polls are showing that people want to vote for people they can trust to handle the tough battle ahead”
Yep. And they gave almost 50 per cent of their total votes to we Nats.
They also gave a remarkably high number of votes to Winston Peters and his NZ First Party.
So what else did Hone say?
Harawira said the trend of MANA rising going into the polls as the election draws nearer was a positive sign.
“Poor people don’t normally vote, but they can see what’s coming and they want a team they can trust. That’s MANA, so we need to work harder to get them out to vote.”
Alf can’t fault him on that final point.
No doubt they did try harder.
But not hard enough.
Or maybe it wouldn’t matter how hard they tried …