What makes a good local MP?

Even in the MMP environment a good local MP makes a difference. Electorate MPs have twice the budget of list MPs working the same area, and list MPs have way less credibility than electorate MPs. It seems reasonable to assume that a good local MP and a good local campaign increase the all-important party vote – especially since a high-ranking National party person told me, many years ago, this was what the evidence showed.

There are three really good local MPs worth considering: Stu Nash in Napier, Nick Smith in Nelson and Ruth Dyson in Port Hills.  

Port Hills

Port Hills Majority  Premium Over PV  Own PV less Opp PV  
Dyson         22,603  7,916   5,778  (556)
Korako         14,687
Labour         16,825
National         17,381


Nelson Majority  Premium Over PV  Own PV less Opp PV  
Smith         16,735   4,283  361   (937)
Boyack         12,452
Lawrey (Green)           9,746
Labour         17,311
National         16,374
Green           9,746


Napier  Majority  Premium Over PV  Own PV less Opp PV  
Nash         20,677   5,220   5,996 (3,248)
Elliot         15,457
Labour         14,681
National         17,929

These are the raw numbers. They show Nash, Smith and Dyson winning when they probably should not win, demonstrating they are really good local MPs.

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Simon has had an interest in campaigning since the 1980 Presidential Campaign, and has followed campaigns closely since then. His first campaign was getting a 4th former successfully elected to a school Board of Trustees. He was harassed by people who thought it should have been a 7th former and learned that campaigners need thick skins.


In 2000 & 2001 Simon completed a Master of Arts in Politics through Otago University, with Prof Bob Catley, a former ALP Member of Parliament, as his supervisor. Bob’s direct approach to campaigns taught Simon a huge amount about professionalism, staying focused and winning.

Simon has been involved in a large number of campaigns for selection, general elections, local body elections, ending monopolies and opposing public projects. He does not comment on specific campaigns other than to use anecdotes to illustrate points.

Simon works with a small number of campaign professionals and outsources work where others have a superior skill set in specific areas.

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