By Stephen Franks*
The NBR report of bad polling for John Banks could not be more blunt.
"Political commentator Matthew Hooton said that if Epsom voters didn’t vote for Mr Banks, Mr Goff would be able to set up a government with his Green, NZ First and Mana counterparts"
"A top National source said: “We’re not stupid. We know that if people won’t vote for Mr Banks and instead vote for our guy [Paul Goldsmith], then John [Key] will be looking for a new job.”
How could a National preferring voter who knows he will get the promising Paul Goldsmith anyway, from the list, turn down the chance to have another National-supporting MP (capable and tough John Banks) to help avert a Labour coalition driven to governing in corrupt reliance on Winston Peters?
I've always been at a loss to understand Auckland voters. Their local government history suggests that collective hopeful stupidity prevails more often than pragmatic judgment.
A judge once told me, seriously, that we would eventually have to abandon the jury system because Auckland juries were coming to have too many members culturally incapable of finding guilt or innocence independently and objectively. They came from cultures with two extremes of attitude - either they automatically opposed authority, or they were anxious to do only what they thought authority wanted.
If even Epsom voters cannot work out the compromises needed to secure the kind of government they want, their democracy is fragile indeed.
I'm an optimist, so I'll vote with faith that Epsom voters will not waste their electorate votes. Please do not make that hopeful stupidity.
* Stephen Franks is a commercial and public lawyer who represented the ACT Party in Parliament from 1999 to 2005 as its justice and commerce spokesman. He also stood for the National Party in the 2008 election as its Wellington Central candidate.
He writes his own blog at stephenfranks.co.nz.