Ohariu – why Peter Dunne will increase his majorityI have consistently said since I have moved into the Ohariu electorate that Peter Dunne will retain his seat at elections. I'm not about to change now, in fact I think he'll increase his majority in 2011.
National, as it did in 2008, will be telling its voters in Ohariu to vote for Peter Dunne instead of Katrina Shanks for the candidate vote in this year’s election. For the second time, Shanks will be concentrating on the party vote with a half-hearted attempt at campaigning for the electorate vote. Some National supporters will vote for Dunne, others won’t, but Dunne will win Ohariu in 2011 and the National vote won’t split between Dunne and Shanks in the way some are predicting.
As David Farrar says , if the National vote splits between Dunne and Shanks, Chauvel may come through the middle. Dunne voters may vote Shanks, or Shanks voters vote Dunne for the same reasons – to keep Chauvel out. What Chauvel will want is for Shanks and Dunne to almost tie, and he comes through the middle.
It won’t happen.
Many are comparing this battle to Epsom, where, John Key is happy or National voters to vote Hide to keep Act in Parliament. However the Ohariu electorate is different as Dunne is an effective constituent MP. Even some who party vote Green in Ohariu vote Dunne and may do so again in 2011 in increasing numbers. In 2008 Dunne’s vote dropped as many former Dunne voters voted for Shanks and Chauvel. Some voted Shanks because of Dunne’s support for the anti-smacking legislation, and also because they didn’t like Dunne being part of a Labour Government. Some did not like his position on the Electoral Finance Act, supporting it right up to the final vote, when he then abruptly switched sides. Those who voted Chauvel did so because of his increasingly senior role in Labour, because they got sick of Dunne,and they thought Shanks wasn't worth voting for.
This year, Dunne hasn't given Ohariu voters too much reason to be sick of him, and Shanks hasn't given voters too much reason to vote for her. Chauvel has done neither as he is too busy criticising Dunne and Shanks instead of working in the electorate and promoting Labour's plan for economic recovery.
I’m predicting that Dunne’s majority of 1200 will increase in 2011. Many of those who voted for Shanks in 2008 due to Dunne’s role in the Labour Government will return to Dunne, whereas not so many Dunne voters will vote for Shanks because she hasn’t given then much reason to – and she is now less likely to be a Dunne protest vote.
That’s why more 2008 Shanks voters will vote Dunne in 2011 compared with Dunne voters who will now vote for Shanks. The focus will not only be keeping Chauvel out; the only way to keep Chauvel out will be to retain Dunne so that Chauvel does not come up through the middle due to a split Dunne/Shanks vote.