South Island being left behind

Published on Author Dan Moskovitz1 Comment

I recently received this comment:

Hi Dan,

You may correct me, but I understand the leaders and deputy leaders of National, Labour, the Greens, and NZ First, are all from the North Island, and predominantly from the upper North Island. What sort of message does this send to South Island people? And what sort of understanding of rural issues do you think the citified leaders of our parties really have?
regards,
Barrie Fowler.

For rural issues, I would say Bridges and National appear to have the trust of the rural electorates, given they once again dominated in those electorates last election.

However, Barrie’s point about how the South Island is being left behind was particularly interesting.

It got me thinking. All the leaders of the current parties (with the exception of James Shaw) are from Auckland, and all the deputies are also from the North Island, as Barrie said.

But this goes further than just a leader-deputy thing.

None of Labour’s top five (Ardern, Davis, Little, Robertson, and Twyford) are from the South Island.

For National, just one of their top five (Bridges, Bennet, Adams, Collins, McClay) is from the South Island – Amy Adams, finance spokesperson and MP for Selwyn.

So I think it’s a fair statement to stay that the South Island’s vote is being taken for granted.

And for the hopeful political parties trying to get into parliament come 2020, trying to tap into the South Island vote could be an incredibly smart move.

One response to South Island being left behind

  1. hi Dan,

    Thanks for your taking a serious look at my comment. I very much appreciate it.
    I understand that, constitutionally, the South Island will always have 16 general electorate seats, so growth in the number of electorate seats will always be in the North Island. Unless political parties deliberately choose South Islanders for high places on their party lists there will increasingly be a distortion in representation. Given the importance of the South Island to NZ’s economy, especially in terms of tourism, fishing, and agriculture, I wonder what the result of this imbalance will be. The North and South Islands are becoming very different in terms of ethnic make-up. This will increasingly have a negative impact too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a South Island political party formed one day.

    regards,
    Barrie Fowler.

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