Guest Post – Dunne 101 – How to get re-elected by courting voting blocks

Ashley C. is one of our writers for the new hunting and fishing site Simon Lusk and I are setting up called The Wild.

He has submitted this guest post about Peter Dunne and his shameless attempts to seek niche votes to remain an MP.


Conservation minister Dunne opened the Deerstalkers national conference last week courting firearms owners.

Why is Dunne doing this?

Because, in an electoral sense, he is in a precarious place. In Ohariu he is up against National list MP Brett Hudson and a well known newbie Greg O’Connor (ex Police Union President).

Dunne is in a fight for his political life.  Judging by the overwhelming party vote for National in Ohariu Dunne only gets elected at the pleasure of National voters.

Who is Dunne’s competition this election?

Nationals Brett Hudson is running again and this list MP appears vanilla and will support National policy on firearms. There is no New Zealand First candidate as yet in Ohariu.

Labour’s Greg O’Connor, on the other hand, is no friend of firearms owners.  O’Connor wanted firearms law ”reviewed”. This is doublespeak for made tougher. He pushed the emotive button in the media with exaggerated revelations of how standard firearms could be turned into semi-automatics. His statements were compounded by his claim illegal pistols were rife in NZ!  Not only that, O’Connor supported Heather du Plessis-Allan who broke the law by obtaining a rifle online – he inferred this was common but was unable to name a single case where this online “loophole” for unlicensed persons to buy firearms had been used.  In a nutshell O’Connor “made an enemy out of 250,000 fit and proper Firearms License holders” (Firearms Owners FB page).

Some History. Dunne merged in 2004 with the Outdoor Recreation Party. One would assume Dunne would advocate for firearms owners. His performance in this respect has been all blow wave and no trouser. Yes, he established the “Big Game Council”, whoopee! Lacklustre performance at best so far. Dunne also caused a stir in the media in 2015 by advocating for a firearms safety review to include “unsafe and illegal gun use”. Arguably his noise was the starting point that resulted in the select committee enquiry into illegal firearms which slammed legal owners.

Dunne’s electoral numbers are not flash – in 2014 against a less well known Labour candidate he had a majority of 710, aided by strategic National voter support.

Firearms owners can block vote. There are 240,000 owners in NZ and they are about 8% of voters on the General Roll. In Ohariu that translates to approx. 3,600 owners with a vote. If Ohariu party support is similar to the 2014 party vote 50% of the voters were National equalling approx. 1,800 owners. If Dunne can get these owners plus Labour’s owners to vote for him, he is a step closer to winning in 2017.

At the Deerstalkers conference Dunne is actively re-positioning himself for these firearms owners votes as he knows Labour firearms owner won’t like Labour’s  O’Connor!  Dunne as Associate Conservation Minister has had power to improve opportunities for hunters. His performance is poor in this respect. Dunne’s Big Game Council, again lacklustre performance.

Is Dunne really an advocate for firearms owners? His history doesn’t support it.

Do you know any firearms owners and advocates who wear bow-ties? I don’t, and he is hardly credible talking about guns wearing bow-ties.

Now it is up to the National voters and the firearms owners of Ohariu to decide Dunne’s fate. Will they support all that blow wave and no trouser?

As Ohariu voters are aware and strategic, will that be Dunne dusted?

 

-Ashley C.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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