Northland: Desperation is a stinky cologne

This is what scrabbling for survival looks like. It’s a lazy Sunday in Mangawhai and there are few locals about. There are, however, a lot of National Party people about.

They have been at the market, grabbed lunch and hit the shops.

They are here for their candidate Mark Osborne, who is missing his daughter’s 10th birthday party further up north so he can shake hands in Mangawhai.

There is National Party president Peter Goodfellow, another couple of board members, and the minister for the day, Amy Adams. MPs Scott Simpson, David Bennett and Jian Yang also pop in. Neighbouring Rodney MP Mark Mitchell is a constant presence. Adams observes they are wearing matching outfits: “The two Marks are starting to couples-dress. You must be spending too much time together.”

When they hit the shops there are more blue shirts than voters. An elderly couple is watching and Scott Dalziel tells Osborne “My gosh you must be worried.

Look at them all.”

Osborne recites his line about being a team, and the man replies, “A team? You’re a bloody army”.

By the time you don’t bother turning up for your own daughter’s birthday, and by the time your National colleagues don’t tell you “don’t be an idiot, take a day off, we got this”, you just know they are in a mindset where ‘ever vote counts’.

National lost this by-election years ago by taking its support for granted and not rewarding the electorate for it.

To think they can turn that around in a couple of weeks is just delusional.

Osborne denied his decision to do the debate from Mangawhai rather than travel to Auckland was because he was too scared to confront Peters face to face
“Let me assure you, I’m not chicken of Winston. He’s not about Northland. He’s disappeared for, what, 40 years? What’s he done for Northland? Absolutely nothing.”

Northland knows that. ?And Winston does too. ?He never set out to become their long-term constituent MP. ?All he is dangling is the carrot to “Send ?them a message”.

It’s being received loud and clear.

But does anyone actually know what to do?


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald