Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's Political Editor

Barry Soper: Greg O'Connor laughing all the way to ballot box

Ohariu MP Peter Dunne will be facing stiff opposition from Greg O'Connor in the upcoming election. Photo / Mark MItchell
Ohariu MP Peter Dunne will be facing stiff opposition from Greg O'Connor in the upcoming election. Photo / Mark MItchell

The loquacious, former defender of anything the cops ever got up to, Greg O'Connor, is laughing all the way to the ballot box.

He's put his hand up for Peter Dunne's winnable, and critical Wellington seat of Ohariu and the Greens have just made it that much easier by waving the white electorate flag and pulling out of the race.

Now to be a successful politician you have to have a thick skin, but when it comes to wheeling and dealing with electorate seats, they're all very sensitive. Andrew Little's lips tightened when it was suggested Labour and the Greens had done a deal, which of course they're perfectly entitled to under our MMP electoral system.

When the suggestion was made, Little said the Greens are standing in the upcoming by election in Mt Albert and invited the questioner to "go figure". Yeah well, it's not all that hard to figure that the Nats aren't fielding a candidate in the safe seat so Labour's pin-up girl Jacinda Ahern's home and hosed.

Little says with the Memorandum of Understanding with the Greens they can discuss accommodations in electorates but they've agreed to trust each other to make their own decisions to stand a candidate or not to help each other. He insists there wasn't a nod and a wink agreement on Ohariu, although there was certainly a nod in agreement after the Greens backed off.

And the Greens leader James Shaw was equally sensitive when it came to advising who his party's devotees should cast their electorate ballot for, repeatedly telling us the voters should decide but their priority is to change the Government. When it was put to him that a vote for O'Connor is the best strategy to change the Government, he told us if voters do want to change the Government they'll know what to do.

Talk about politician's weasel words but then the Dipton drawler Bill English wasn't much better. They've selected a sitting MP few have ever heard of - Brett Hudson - who stood there last time to do the same this year. English was asked whether the Nat electorate vote should go to Dunne, he said voters will think about that closer to the election but they want a big party vote.

Oh honestly, although there's not a lot of that, honesty when it comes to telling the voter what they really want.

But one thing's for sure, the road for man who's been ferried around in a ministerial limousine longer than anyone in Parliament may be coming to an end!

- Newstalk ZB

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