RDU Election Broadcast: Wigram
Written by Admin on 29 August 2017
In the lead up to the election James Dann talks us through each electorate in Christchurch and gives us his perspective and predictions for each one. This week:
Held by: Megan Woods (Labour)
National: David Hiatt
Greens: Richard Wesley
The Wigram electorate used to be called Sydenham, and was held by Jim Anderton. A series of boundary changes, most recently in 2014, have seen it get pushed further and further west. It’s now held by Megan Woods, who has been the MP since 2011, when Anderton stepped down. All the electorates in Christchurch have been through rapid change, but Wigram is the area where that change has been more good than bad. Immediately after the quakes, the previously shabby strip of Lincoln Rd became a go-to site for new office blocks. Blenheim Rd, Middleton and Sockburn hummed along as tradies and services involved in the rebuild put everything back together. Further down the road in Hornby, the mall has expanded and big-box retail has popped up along the Main South Road to cope with increasing traffic, both from new subdivisions within the electorate, and the thousands of people now living just out of the city in Templeton and Rolleston.
This will be Megan Woods’ third election, and will most likely be her third win. Her main opponent is National’s David Hiatt, who seems like a perfectly competent yet ultimately forgettable white guy in a suit. He lives in one of Christchurch’s wealthiest suburbs, Fendalton, which is in the Ilam electorate – and he was Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee’s campaign manager at the last election. Maybe when he was selected last year, when John Key was still Prime Minister and Labour were languishing in the polls, he could have entertained the possibility of winning the seat. Certainly with his list placing of 52, and National polling at almost that level, he could have been looking at accomodation in Wellington. However with Labour’s resurgence under Jacinda Ardern, he’ll probably be back at work come Monday the 25th of September.
Woods has been one of the few successes for Labour this term, taking control of the Canterbury Earthquake portfolio, as well as climate change, energy, research and development and a bunch of other boring ones. She’s currently the ranked 6th on the Labour list, and her prominence will likely be boosted further by her ties to ascendent leader Ardern. Aside from her increasing profile at the national level, Woods has been a hard-working local MP, doing the rounds of schools, church fairs, kindergartens and the like. Her strongholds are the H’s – Hoon Hay, Hillmorton, Hornby and Hei Hei – but the question will be not just how many people she can turn out to vote for her, but how many she can turn out for the party vote too.
Prediction: Megan Woods to win electorate vote, growing her majority. The combined Labour / Green party vote will overtake National. David Hiatt will continue to find wonder behind roller doors.