Did Michael Woodhouse do a good job in Dunedin North?

Commenters have given me a hard time about my comment that Michael Woodhouse didn’t do a great job in Dunedin North in this three years as a scum List MP.

Everyone knew he was on a hiding to nothing in 2008, where he got 9972 votes, losing by 7155 to Pete Hodgson. This was out of 32781 total votes.

In 2011 his vote reduced to 9,487, in losing to Dave Clark by 3,489. This was not as bad as it seemed, because the total vote was down to 29,771.

He didn’t make much impact on the party vote, with 2008 National getting 9692, and 2011 getting 9707. In the context of a swing to National and three years in the electorate the results are not great, but Dunedin is very reGd.

Where he can be criticised is when he is compared to Jo Hayes from Wanganui who ran in Dunedin South. Jo took one for the team and managed to turn a loss on the party vote of approximately 4700 in 2008 to a win for National in 2011 by 1800 votes, embarrassing Clare Curran in the process.

This makes Michael’s performance questionable, because if a candidate with limited profile in a city, who was not a list MP so didn’t enjoy their advantages can do so well why couldn’t a List MP?


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  • Pete George

    Dunedin North is a very different electorate to Dunedin South. It contains the University and much of the associated housing, which is a reason for one of the worst turnout’s in the country (much worse than Dunedin South).

    And Dunedin North is also strong Green. Woodhouse was also standing against Green leader Metiria Turei making Dunedin North a much more competitive electorate.

    • Pete George

      And different situations. Curran in South is not the most popular of MPs and has been criticised for things like her involvement in school restructuring. Jo Hayes worked hard but had little chance of becoming an MP.

      Clark in North was an unknown quality so would have had few anti votes, while Woodhouse was guaranteed a seat regardless of the vote in the electorate.

      And much of the party campaigning in Dunedin covers both electorates, so Woodhouse would influenced the South vote as much as the North vote, same as Hayes.

    • Stuart4

      I completely agree. Dunedin North is completely different to Dunedin South. Generalising,  South D is where the town and most industry is. North D is where the students live.

    • Auto_immune

      If the Green party were to broaden their focus beyond the party vote, Turei could honestly win that seat.  In a way, it’s sad the Greens don’t try. 

      • Pete George

        I agree, I wish they at least had a crack at it to, they could have shaken up the election and got a bit of interest in it.

        Turei was away from the electorate campaigning around the country a lot of the time, but ironically that’s more likely to get ODT coverage than anything done in Dunedin.

  • Tas

    It is worth noting that overall national got about the same number of votes in 2008 and 2011. Turnout was lower so the same number of votes led to a higher percentage. So if woodhouse got the same number of votes that doesn’t necessarily mean he did a below-average job.

  • Pete George

    In 2014 I think Clark will be much more anxious than Woodhouse, he could lose the seat, especially if he continues party campaigning and forgets or ignores his electorate. He might have a list second chance if Labour don’t insult him again with such a low list placing.

    Woodhouse will have little to lose with a list place assured, and the possibility of seriously challenging the electorate.  And as a second term MP with greater responsibiities (possibly more to come) he will have a better profile.

    I thought Woodhouse managed fairly well on Backbenches last night between a Harawira and Goff barrage of bullshit.

  • Rob F

    I like Woodhouse and I agree with Pete George’s comments with respect to Dunedin North being unique with the student vote and Metiria doing much better in the 2011 election. However, Labour got spanked all over the country and this was an opportunity to make this a marginal seat and make a big push for 2014. With Woodhouse being whip he will have a higher public profile this term so hopefully he can still do it, but I think he will be disappointed to not have done better. 

    I think for anyone to one to be made a cabinet minister from the list it has to be in their specialist field (re Joyce, Grosser and Finlayson) or a great up and comer (re Parata), otherwise give it to an electorate MP who personally got voted in. I guess the question then is, is Woodhouse a great up and comer?

  • the thing with woodhouse is that he..like bennett with education for sole-parents…he is an apostate..

    ..i mean..he is wharfies’ son..f.f.s..!

    ..no wonder he has the look of one uncomfortable in his skin….

    ..he is lost/in denial…

    [email protected]

    • What a quaint idea, that someone must believe what their parents believe…people are allowed to have their own thoughts Phil

      • yeah…but going from wharfies’ son to part of a union-smashing rightwing govt. (and trying to get elected in a working class seat..(!).)…is quite the leap/disconnect…

        ..hard to think of a longer leap really….

        ..(except of course the whole labour party going from the workers party..

        ..to neo-lib/fuck-the-poor…

        ..which was another groin-stretching exercise…)

        ..it’d be kinda like roger douglas’ offspring become head of the unite union…

        ..it could make for awkward family gatherings…

        [email protected]

      •  I thought young people rebelled against their parents – then sorted themselves out – did you do that WO?

      •  I doubt that Phil’s son is allowed to have his own thoughts Cam. I’m sure that he is exposed to Phil’s distorted world-view hour after hour after hour, poor kid.

    • johnbronkhorst

      Typical Phil…You make the mistake, or are just in denial yourself. That of the 1 million people who vote national…none of them were workers and none were members of the union. If as Labour would paint we are all (to use a Cullenism)…”Rich Pricks”…then the National govt. has done a great job of balancing the difference between the wealthy and not so wealthy!  So they should ALL vote national!!

      •  “..then the National govt. has done a great job of balancing the difference between the wealthy and not so wealthy! ..”

        right..so that would explain why those (silly/annoying) things..facts/stats…tell us just the opposite story..eh..?

        ..that inequalities in new zealand..under nact are rising in leaps and bounds..eh..?

        ..a meteroric rise since the start of the neo-lib revolution..a levelling off under clark…

        ..and now heading for the sky once again..

        ..just who is mistaken/’in denial’..?

        ..have you been drinking that nac kool-aid again..?

        ..i warned you..!

        ..didn’t i..?

        [email protected]

      • johnbronkhorst

        Too easy phil…you bite like a hungry shark. and typically miss the point and focus on the bait rather than the substance….Let me help you…..The point was a rebutal of your assumption, that all Labour voters are workers and union members, and all National voters are Rich, Bosses, Business owners etc…National would not have got over 1 million votes in the general election (2 elections running and a record in NZ history) if this were true. As for “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer” CRAP and whats more demonstable CRAP!

      • phronesis

        It’s not the students of North Dunedin that vote red (they don’t vote at all) it’s the thousands of University employees and their families that nearly all live in Nth Dunedin. It certainly isn’t working class, it is middle class lefty  academic wankers. 

  • Pete George

    Dunedin’s a difficult place to campaign in. National media ignore it – one journo told me unless it’s a Benson-Pope type story Auckland aren’t interested.

    The community newspapers and Channel 9 give the elections good coverage but the main media here – notably the ODT and also radio – virtually ignore it.

    • Auto_immune

      Critic did (and presumably does) a good job.  IIRC during the 2008 coverage, Woodhouse made a sexist comment about students which did ‘bubble up’ to other outlets.

  • James Meager

    Bearing in mind that Michael covered both Dunedin North and Dunedin South as a List MP for 2 and a half years prior to the election, some of the increase in Dunedin South’s Party Vote can be attributed to him.

  • Pingback: Whale on Michael Woodhouse | Your Dunedin()

  • davewin

    Dunedin – For Christ’s Sake! The dump is an elephant’s graveyard. The Last National member of Parliament was i believe Sir James Barnes who served one term as a favourite son, and went on to become mayor for a number of terms. As the saying was re National in the old Wallace Electorate – stand a pig in red in Dunedin and it will get elected. Dunedin gets what it deserves if people there and my rellies among them used their swedes and converted it to a marginal, some good may come to them. But they are too white, fat, dumb and buried in the University to see the wood for the trees. The only good thing coming out of Dunedin is the Main North Road.

    Last one out, turn off the lights!

    • Catwoman

       Get your facts right!  The last National Mp who won a Dunedin electorate was the late Richard Walls.  Labour has stood a pig in Dunedin – her name is Clare Curran.  Get your head out of your arse davewin – National won the party vote in Dunedin South in 2011.

      • davewin

         Heavens! An error by a commenter on a blog site!  mercy me!

        And the Party Vote proves just what?