Most left-wing people I’ve spoken to in Wellington Central are voting for Grant Robertson and the Greens. Some are voting two ticks Green, some two ticks Labour, but generally it’s taken as gospel that voting for Grant is the strategic thing to do. However, I have a different take on the scenario. Here are the facts:
- Grant is number 3 on the Labour Party list. He is almost certainly getting into parliament, regardless of whether or not he wins his seat. Essentially, a vote for him is wasted.
- Green candidate James Shaw is number twelve on his party’s list. He might get in, he might not. The Greens tend to get less on election day than polls indicate. Essentially, it isn’t certain that James would get in.
- Maximising the number of left-wing representatives for Wellington Central is a good thing. We can act strategically to do this.
It logically follows that lefties in Wellington Central should give their electorate vote to James Shaw to maximise left-wing representation. If we all voted for James, we’d get Grant AND James.
I know what you’re thinking: voting for James might cause a spoiler affect and give the seat to National candidate Paul Foster-Bell. But is that really the case? Let’s look at the numbers from 2011.
If half of Grant’s votes (many of which were from Green supporters) had gone to James he would have had 14,673 votes and won the seat.
Of course, people probably won’t listen to me and vote for James. But here are a few other reasons to vote for him over Grant.
- Grant is almost certainly going to win this seat. So if you’re Green, you can safely votes James.
- Better electorate vote counts for Green candidates build the party’s long term strength. New Zealand needs a stronger Left.
- After the election Grant will be very busy either running for Leader, or working as a Minister in a Labour-led government. James will be a more accessible electorate MP.
- Grant is hardly a perfect candidate. He supports the use of filibustering in New Zealand politics. Filibustering is throwing a wrench into our democratic system.
- The worst case scenario is that Paul Foster-Bell wins. Wellington could do a lot worse. Paul is actually a nice guy. And if he wins, it won’t mean an additional MP for National, it will mean one less National list MP
So go ahead, my fellow lefties! Vote for James Shaw.