The RDU Election Broadcast – Christchurch East
Written by Admin on 14 September 2017
Held by Poto Williams (Labour)
National: Jo Hayes
Greens: Cathy Sweet
Christchurch East is getting ready for its 3rd election in 4 years. In 2013, Poto Williams was elected as the MP for the area, after a by-election triggered when Lianne Dalziel stepped down to run for mayor. Williams was elected again in 2014, and will be returned for a third time in 2017 as well. The bigger question is not whether she can win, but whether she can turn out more voters and boost the party vote from the seat.
Driving out to New Brighton, it is remarkable – and remarkably sad – how little has changed out east. The roads are a bit smoother, but it still feels like the recovery really hasn’t touched this part of town – and maybe it never will. Heading past Nga Hau E Wha on Pages Road, there is a broad selection of electoral hoardings from most of the major parties. The Marae might be non-partisan, but that doesn’t mean the taggers have to be; the Bill English hoarding has been enhanced with the word “RICH” and a cock and balls pointing in a suggestive direction.
For all the talk of a New Brighton revitalisation, that’s pretty much all it has been – talk. The central mall still has as many empty shops as tenants, and on a windy spring day, it doesn’t hold much appeal, with an easterly blowing straight off the sea. Heading north along towards Parklands, there are a few more blue signs – and they’re treated with more respect. The demolition crews are in full effect on the old QEII site, but the rebuilt facility will no longer be in the east, with the Metro Sports Facility laid out next to Hagley Park. There is a sense from people in the east that they’ve been forgotten, and you can understand why.
Remarkably, Christchurch East was the only electorate in Christchurch where the combined Labour and Green party vote was over 50% at the last election. The real test for the left isn’t whether they win the seat, but whether they can mobilise an understandably skeptical electorate on September 23.
Prediction: Comfortable win for Poto Williams, Jo Hayes to scrape back into parliament with her placing at 36 on the list.