With Mike Sabin’s precipitous resignation, a by-election is on the cards in Northland, and soon:
It’s exciting times for politics nerds like myself, but the fact is that Labour isn’t going to be taking Northland off National, no matter what comes out of the rumours swirling around Sabin. He was returned with a 9,300 majority and Labour got just 16% of the party vote there last year.
But this is still a great opportunity for the left. Andrew Little has made it very clear that his focus for the year ahead is jobs, jobs, jobs – and Northland is a region that’s been really hard hit by unemployment and the increasing gap between rich and poor.
With a team spearheaded (potentially) by the fantastic Willow Jean Prime, supported by local Māori MP Kelvin Davis, and a lot of lefties eager to move past the horrible 2014 result and capitalise on the Nats’ moment of weakness, this byelection is a platform we can use to put jobs, inequality and the National government’s total lack of serious action on the map.
Labour isn’t going to win this battle – but by fighting it well we start to turn the war around.