Patrick Gower tries click bait to seek relevance


Patrick Gower is trying a bit of click bait in trying to seek some relevance.

His latest headline is “12 reasons why Shane Jones can win Whangarei“…which shows how out of ideas and how shallow his repeating is.

The Jones effect

Shane Jones is bombastic, high-profile, experienced and exciting. The ‘Jones Boy’ has everything to fight for, including his personal destiny. However, he is also incredibly lazy. He has never ever won anything in politics. This one is on him. He could easily bomb and blow the whole thing. The only thing that is certain is it won’t be boring.

The Winston effect

Winston Peters wants this to happen. That’s half the battle right there. It is a bit like Game of Thrones: “If Winston wants a second King of the North, there shall be a second King of the North.”

There is no Jones effect. He’s lost in three electorates and last time around went list only. Winston does have an effect, but it won’t help Jonesy win Whangarei.


Winston Peters set up an electorate office in Whangarei soon after he got back into Parliament in 2011. New Zealand First has been on the ground for nearly six years. His place at Whananaki is just 40 minutes away, Peters has been working the place hard, the base is there for Jones to exploit. Jones lives up in Kerikeri but has been in-and-out of Whangarei and used to have an office there when he was with Labour.

And? Again that is meaningless.

The maverick effect

Voters up north love a maverick. Always have, always will. John Banks was MP for Whangarei in his heyday. Northland has had John Carter and Winston Peters. Te Tai Tokerau has had Dover Samuels and Hone Harawira. Jones will fit on this list nicely.

If he gets off his expanding arse and actually does some work, which given his form is unlikely.

The Northland effect

Northland and Whangarei overlap. So do all the issues. Peters and Jones know what makes these voters tick. Northlanders feel left behind. They want a voice. They gave Peters the tick for that reason, now Jones is asking voters to do a ‘Northland II’.

Uhmmm…that was a by-election, it is irrelevant to a general election.

Tactical voting

Because of MMP, Whangarei voters can still go for National or Labour with their party vote. They can vote for a National Government – and get Jones as an add-on. Or a Labour-led Government – and get Jones as an add-on. He will likely be in Government with whichever side wins, a powerful message for voters.

Possible, but unlikely.


New Zealand First has a strong history in Whangarei. Back in 1996, Brian Donnelly nearly beat National’s John Banks – losing by just 313 votes. New Zealand First’s party vote in Whangarei has been quietly building over the last three elections: 6.2 percent in 2008, 9.7 percent in 2011, and 13.5 percent in 2014. That’s a good base for a challenge.

Old, real old history. it is possible, but it is hard to knock of someone who was a likeable GP.


Shane Jones can get the moolah for a good campaign. He has plenty of rich mates who will put up the dosh for every pamphlet and sign he needs.

Shhh…don’t mention the Chinese.

The Shane Reti effect

National MP Shane Reti is in trouble in the ‘Shane Wars’. Nice guy, but not a man of the people. One of National’s most senior MPs has even told me he thought Jones would win and Reti would lose.

Not sure there is such a thing.

National don’t care if Jones wins

National don’t really care if Jones wins. Losing Whangarei won’t lose it the election. He is probably the only person in New Zealand First they want to work with. I don’t think the National chiefs will try very hard to save the seat if Jones gets a head of steam up.

Oh National cares a lot. Bill English is telling his back bench that the last thing they should consider is going with NZ First because Winston’s mob will take their ministerial positions. Of course what Bill English doesn’t tell the lobby fodder is that his mates get jobs first, even if they are shit.

Like it or not though, Shane Jones will be back in parliament and will likely be in a coalition with National. That should send shivers down Labour MPs’ spines…if they’ve got them.