• Hamilton West

    The Hamilton West by-election was a valuable pointer to the outcome of next year’s general election, according to the Herald (whose relentlessly biased and one-sided news selection, reporting and commentary on a daily basis continue to do us all a disservice and are a blight on our democracy).

    But one doesn’t have to be an expert to understand that a by-election is very rarely any such thing. First, the turn-out is usually much lower than in a general election – and that was certainly the case in Hamilton West. What that means is that we have no means of knowing how those who did not vote will vote in a general election.

    Secondly, by-elections are often dominated and decided by single issues. In Hamilton West, the by-election was made necessary by the self-centred behaviour of a defecting (former) Labour MP. It would be surprising if Gaurav Sharma’s decision to throw his toys out of the playpen had not had some impact on voter behaviour and intentions, in one direction or another.

    Thirdly, a by-election takes place in a vacuum of its own. The voters are asked to focus on local and current issues and candidates, without regard to wider issues. The only political party (as opposed to individuals) they can have in view is the current government.

    In a general election, however, they are asked to compare an actual government with a would-be government. The choice they have to make requires a quite different thought process. They are no longer making a judgment – favourable or otherwise – of a known quantity, but are assessing the comparative competence of a new pretender to office.

    Before we, (or the Herald), presume to count our chickens, let us wait for a general election campaign, in which voters across the country can make a judgment, not just of one political party but of several, including one led by a political novice whose lack of experience and capacity for misjudgment are becoming legendary.


  1. Jim Hubbard says: December 13, 2022 at 10:17 amReply

    Couldn’t agree more Bryan ,The NZ Herald is a bloody disgrace . They are nothing more ( with a couple of columnists excepted ) cheer leaders for The National Party . When I hear cries of ‘ left wing media ‘ I want to hold my head in my hands and scream !

    Jim Hubbard

  2. Alan Ivory says: December 13, 2022 at 11:25 amReply

    On the subject of media bias, Chris Trotter reminded us yesterday of the vile bias of the Dominion newspaper the day before the momentous 1938 election:-

    “ “Today you will exercise a free vote because you are under this established British form of government. If the socialist government is returned to power your vote today may be the last free individual vote you will ever be given the opportunity to exercise in New Zealand.”


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