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Election Night 10.30PM: Jitters; young liberal voters; four races; new glbt MPs

Sat 17 Sep 2005 In: Features

Sat 7.01PM: Live comment: Roll of the dice By Craig Young If the centre-right wins tonight, what can we expect from an incoming Brash administration? Much depends on the composition of any such government, or indeed, whether one can be formed, or how long such a government would last, especially if it relied on New Zealand First as a coalition/confidence and supply partner. Given the bitterness of the Tauranga constituency campaign, National and New Zealand First may find it impossible to work together, or Winston may choose Labour to spite National in retaliation for the late nineties. Alternatively, Peter Dunne, if he survives the challenge by gay candidate Charles Chauvel in the Ohariu-Belmont electorate, may find New Zealand First too objectionable and irresponsible to work with, and grant the centre-left confidence and supply as the lesser of two evils. However, he might well be the only United Future MP returned, and may be unable to act as powerbroker. Don Brash has rejected the idea of a referendum on civil unions,but supports the idea of binding citizens referenda as a general premise. I suspect there might be a compromise solution, which might be legislation and a binding referendum on same-sex marriage. This would enable National to have its cake and eat it. It wouldn't antagonise liberal opinion through dispensing with civil unions and LGBT relationship equality, but it would meet the demands of the Christian Right for a same-sex marriage ban. In that event, there are several outcomes possible too. Opponents of same-sex marriage might find themselves unexpectedly on the back foot. If there isthe predicted economic downturn, a centre-right government slashes social service spending, and the Christian Right is too closely associated with the government, then any such referenda might fail to spark, or face a no vote. It may be that, as with referenda for 'shared parenting' and against prostitution law reform, they might fail to muster a qualifying threshold of voters. And would an unpopular centre-right government risk throwing money at its social conservative cronies if a powerful centre-left opposition benefits from relentless criticism of the pork-barrelling involved? Hopefully, the centre-left may be able to cobble together the numbers. If not, glbt people should strive to insure that any narrowly elected centre-right government lasts for as short a period as possible. 7.47PM: Wall takes it easy, hopes to increase Labour vote By reporters First-time glbt candidate Louisa Wall, a Labour candidate in a national stronghold has spent a relaxed day "getting some exercise in and casting my vote." Wall is unsure that she will be able to take a seat in parliament on the basis of tonight's votes in her Port Waikato electorate, “so I'm looking at increasing the party vote here, and hopefully that's going to be reflected in the national poll, a level of support that will ensure I'll get in on the list. I'm 46 on the list, so we're going to need about 43-44% of the party vote for me to get in. But I've really enjoyed it, it's been fun.” With 6% of votes in Labour is polling 48% to National's 57% Wall has started watching the election results from home but suspects she'll probably end up going to Auckland's Mt Albert War memorial Hall, the main Labour Party function venue, later in the night. 7.55PM: Highfield excited, feeling positive By reporters First-time lesbian Green candidate for Rongotai, and first-time voter, Luci Highfield is feeling positive about election results for the Greens tonight, hoping for a good result. "It's the first time I've been able to vote for myself in a general election. That was very exciting. I'm feeling really positive, we've obviously been out and about locally over the last few weeks, and certainly the response from people has been really pro-Green, so I'm hoping for a good result tonight," says Highfield. She is spending the evening with Green party volunteers, candidates, campaign managers, family and friends, "having a good party and celebrating the great job that everybody's done in terms of the 2005 election campaign." 8.10PM: Tizard confident of big glbt voter turnout By reporters Auckland Central Labour candidate Judith Tizard believes glbt people have turned out in force at polling booths today. Speaking to a reporter at her electorate function in Grafton, Tizard - who has had strong connections to the glbt community for decades and represents the gayest electorate in the country - says the feedback she has received from talking to glbt people in recent days is that they realise human rights and moral issues are at stake and will vote to protect community interests. About fifty people are currently gathered with Tizard, the mood is subdued despite confidence that Tizard will be voted back in with a healthy majority in this Labour stronghold. Tizard says she has been campaigning vigorously and has spent a lot of time with party leader Helen Clark, 300 volunteers, many of them quite young have been helping her work the electorate, 8.45PM: Chauvel hopes "racism, homophobia, greed" vote won't prevail By reporters Despite standing in the "mortgage belt" of Ohariu-Belmont in Wellington, gay Labour candidate Charles Chauvel hopes New Zealand voters have not voted for “racism, homophobia and greed,” and that labour will lead the next Government. Chauvel has taken on United Future leader Peter Dunne, the only elected MP for the frequently anti-gay United Future party which is dominated by right-wing Christian elements. Chauvel believes it is a lot to ask to have toppled Dunne but hopes for a reduced majority, “maybe a 20% dent.” Currently Chauvel is placed a close third behind the National candidate with Dunne well ahead. Fifty volunteers have ben helping Chauvel get voters to the polling places today and he says he is pleased to be able to relax a little this evening. Of labour's poor showing so far in very early returns - dominated by scattered low-population rural polling places - Chauvel says he believes it is too early to call the result but that Labour will be back on the government benches. With 24% of votes counted National looks like having 53 seats in the house, Labour 46, NZ First 7 and Greens 6. On those figures a Labour-Greens-Progressive coalition would fairly easily be trumped by a National coalition with right wing parties including NZ First. 9.11PM: Carter confident, jitters over Labour showing By reporters At Rangeview Intermediate in the Auckland electorate of Te Atatu sitting gay MP Chris Carter, showing a healthy majority of 2000 votes - well ahead of closest rival Tau Henare (Nat) on 1000 - is surrounded by around 60 supporters nibbling on sausage rolls and ham washed down with the odd glass of Lindauer. Our reporter at the gathering, which Carter signaled last week he is unlikely to leave to join the main Labour gathering in Mt Albert, says early returns showing strong country-wide support for National, with Labour trailing by 4% of the vote, are creating a jittery atmosphere despite Carter's good personal showing. Carter is working the room of mostly working-class supporters plus a smattering of gays, chatting and shaking hands, with everyone casting more than a wary eye on the big screen TV flashing progress results. 9.25PM: Milne believes young voters will swing result to Labour By reporters The current extremely close results between gay-friendly Labour and the National Party are not causing undue worry for the gay candidate in rural Rakaia, Tony Milne. Milne was hoping to dislodge sitting National Candidate Brian Connell but currently has just over 9,000 votes against Connell's near 19,000. On current results with 57 of votes counted Labour is trailing at 47 seats in the house behind National's 51. “But the big urban polling places are yet to come in, says Milne, “and there are lots of young voters in those electorates who are more liberal in their views, especially on moral issues such as same sex unions” which have been used to score points by conservative politicians and parties. Milne believes issues such as no nukes, lack of involvement in the Iraq war, student loans initiatives and support for the arts have drawn out young voters to support Labour. Milne has spent the early part of the evening with Labour Party supporters in Darfield but is due to soon arrive at a Labour party multi-electorate function in central Christchurch 9.55PM: Barnett: four races will determine character of new government By reporters As the early lead of National over Labour diminishes to a neck and neck race, sitting gay Labour MP Tim Barnett says he personally is watching four tight races between left and right-leaning parties which will dictate who comprises the next government. Barnett feels the result in his Christchurch Central electorate “looks reasonably comfortable... he has close to 14,500 votes, ahead of the National candidate on around 8.500. And with the national gap narrowing between Labour (with 75% of the vote counted, on 39.7%) and National (on 40.7%) people are getting more excited.” He says there's a more relaxed atmosphere than when he arrived at a Labour party function in central Christchurch an hour ago, “though there's obviously a long way to go yet.” Barnett believes there are currently four races occurring as results come in. He says he is observing a race between National and Labour, another between NZ First and the Greens, a third between Maori and United Future, “and then the fourth race is between ACT and the progressives. In all those four races there's not much gap between the two sides. So the winners of those will determine the shape of the government.” Summing up the parties, Barnett says the Greens are pro-gay and parts of the Maori Party are pro-human rights, “although their record's not great.” He says the Progressives, led by Jim Anderton, “are fine on our issues... so you have left-right parties in all the battles. Barnett says he is “fairly excited following his electorate campaign. “We had a good, powerful campaign, a really integrated campaign, with a lot of queer activists involved, together with refugee communities, and mainstream old Labour people too. We've had a few homophobic leaflets pushed through doors, a fair amount of dirt has been thrown, but nothing we're not used to now. As for the parties which have campaigned against him on the basis of his homosexuality and pro-gay rights stances in the house, Barnett says fundamentalist church-based Destiny NZ “knocked on heaps of doors in the electorate, but it hasn't got out any votes for them.” 10.15 PM: Barnett secure, Dunne, Brownlee and Smith back By reporters Sitting MP Tim Barnett is secure for another term in Christchurch Central. The final results for the electorate are Barnett 15,430; Wagner (Nat) 8736, Cutler-Welsh (Greens) 1,860. Anita Breach, the fundamentalist Destiny NZ party candidate, received a mere 292 votes. The Christian-based United Future party looks set for another term with leader Peter Dunne polling twice as many votes as the next highest polling candidate, Labour's openly gay Charles Chauvel. National's anti-civil unions MP Nick Smith is confirmed as the returning Nelson MP, as is brusquely anti-gay Gerry Brownlee, National MP for Ilam in Christchurch. reporters and commentators - 17th September 2005    

Credit: reporters and commentators

First published: Saturday, 17th September 2005 - 12:00pm

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