Wednesday, 25 November 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Coromandel polling booths reflecting the mood pf the nation

Mercury Bay’s voters joined others across the Coromandel Electorate in playing their part in the mammoth surge to the left that delivered the Labour Party’s stunning election night victory.

Party vote figures from polling booths across the electorate reveal the scale of the mood change in communities that drove the Coromandel’s 32 percent swing from blue to red when compared to 2017. Even in those towns where the National Party managed to eek out a miniscule win, the result was damning, as evidenced in the farming stronghold of Ngatea where the party shed enough votes to reduce a 40 per cent winning margin three years ago to just 0.6 percent. While a symbolic victory is always celebrated, with no prizes for topping the party vote polls, it is all about the gains and the losses and here the tide was only rolling one way.

It’s a trend that was repeated everywhere - over on the Thames Coast, a massive 43 percent swing saw a 15 percent win for National in 2017 crumble into a 28-point loss this time round, with Labour taking 54 percent of the party vote.

In Whitianga it was more of the same, a 39 percent turnaround that saw a commanding 30 percent victory margin for National in 2017 disintegrate and leave Labour sitting ten points up. The northern Mercury Bay communities from Kuaotunu to Whangapoua, who favoured National by 29 percent at the previous election, delivered an eight percent win for Labour this time round. Mercury Bay South, however, retained a little more faith in National’s ability to turn things around, backing them by a five percent margin, still 20 percent less than the heights of 2017. Figures from polling day indicate the nod to the blue was helped largely by a stronger National Party vote in the farming communities of Coroglen and Whenuakite, while more ticks for red came out of the ballot boxes at Cooks Beach and Hahei.

The swing wasn’t quite as dramatic in Coromandel Town, where Labour was already traditionally stronger than other parts of the electorate. Nonetheless, voters delivered an emphatic result with just under half choosing to keep Jacinda Ardern as prime minister. Colville, generally a poor polling area for National, held strong, increasing the 21 percent margin for Labour in 2017 to 40 percent.

There were clear majorities for Labour in Thames Central (55 percent) and Thames South (53 percent), with only Thames North offering a semblance of resistance to the red tide, the swing from blue to red here a less punishing 11 percent, with 45 percent of electors voting Labour and 27 percent backing National Party leader, Judith Collins.

While the rise of Labour was unquestionable, when National goes searching for those thousands of lost votes, they will also need to look to the ACT Party whose share of ticks in the Coromandel Electorate rose from 0.04 percent in 2017, a mere 174 votes, to a 10 percent share this election. The Green Party whose share of the party vote was halved to just over five percent in 2017, couldn’t improve on that on this occasion leaving them with some work to do. And, despite outgoing deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, making two recent visits to the Coromandel Electorate for significant funding announcements, with just 3.5 percent support, it seems the Coromandel voters agreed with the rest of the country that time was finally up for New Zealand First.

Pictured: Mercury Bay voters overwhelmingly switched their party vote from National to Labour in this years general election.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.