Prospects of Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker retaining the job in the next local body elections soared in the wake of the Canterbury earthquake, online prediction market iPredict says.
The Victoria University research and trading outfit has for the past month or so had Mr Parker's chances of a win at between 8 per cent and 16 per cent, but that leaped to 40 per cent immediately after Saturday's quake and was today at 31 per cent.
Mr Parker's main challenger, Wigram MP Jim Anderton, last week made an unfortunately-timed comment about an "earthquake seismic shift" during a Canterbury TV interview about the mayoralty.
Mr Anderton was in fact referring to what it would have taken for him to abandon the Labour Party when he was a member, something he did in 1989 following frustration with the party's economic reforms under then finance minister Sir Roger Douglas.
A YouTube video since posted gave the false impression he was talking about what it would take for him to lose his big lead in the mayoralty polls. Immediately after he says "earthquake seismic shift" the clip cuts to news reports about the post-quake devastation.
Mr Anderton could not be contacted for comment this morning but iPredict suggested his stock took a marginal hit in the wake of the earthquake.
The website had him polling in the 80s leading up to the weekend, but there was a dip to the low 60s throughout Saturday, returning to 69 per cent late this morning.
Mr Parker has brushed off a comparison with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who widely was praised for his response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, saying it was his job to show leadership in times of crisis and any mayor would do the same.