Northland by-election

A by-election was held in Northland on Saturday because the Member of Parliament (MP) resigned. This has been a National electorate for at least 40 years but on Saturday, Winston Peters, the leader of New Zealand First Party, won the seat. He won by 4000 votes.

Mr Peters won because he is well-known whereas Mr Osborne of the National Party was unknown to most people. Mr Peters also won because he told the voters that the government had not been interested in Northland in the past. They had dusty, unsealed roads and one-way bridges. Then the government promised 10 new bridges to replace the one-way bridges. Mr Peters said this was a bribe to encourage people to vote for the National Party.

In a by-election, voters often do not vote for the government. They want to show the government that they are not happy, especially in smaller regions. People in these areas look at government spending on the cities, especially Auckland and Christchurch, and they feel neglected. This was another reason that people voted for Mr Peters. He has a holiday house in Northland and he grew up in the region so he is familiar with the problems in that area.

Mr Peters was a List MP. Now that he has won an electorate, New Zealand First will have another List MP to replace him.

The government now has only 59 MPs. There are 121 MPs in Parliament so the government does not have a majority. It needs the support of ACT or the Maori Party or the United Future Party.

Listen to September 21st 2014 and October 4th 2014 to hear more about MPs in Parliament.

Vocabulary

• by-election – if an MP resigns or dies before the next election, a by-election is held.
• electorate – an area which has one MP
• unsealed roads – gravel roads
• neglected (adj) – not cared for
• List MP – Listen to November 24th 2011 to hear more about List MPs.
• majority – more than half






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