Left has numbers among southern voters

Nurse aide Brooke Taylor, 19, is tossing up between Labour and the Greens for her party vote.

Nicholas Davidson is backing the Green Party and Baden Oxley says he will probably vote for the Mana Party.

The political left holds sway in the South Island, though many voters praise Prime Minister John Key for his handling of catastrophes.

The Herald's Mood of the Nation survey sought the views of 522 people throughout the country. They included 125 South Islanders.

In the south, the last year has been dominated by disaster - the Canterbury earthquakes that claimed 182 lives and the Pike River mine disaster on the West Coast that killed 29 workers.

Of the 93 South Islanders who named the party that would get their party vote, 35 per cent chose Labour and 18 per cent the Greens - giving the left 53 per cent.

National got 38 per cent of the votes but was virtually on its own; its coalition partner, the Maori Party, was backed by just 1 per cent.

In the North Island, National was in front with 44 per cent, while Labour and the Greens together mustered 42 per cent.

Christchurch caregiver Yvette Kinley, 57, said she would be voting Labour because "I think they are there for the people''.

"Though I quite like John Key. As far as leaders go, he would be better than Phil Goff.''

Labour voter Gabrielle Knox, 57, of Lawrence in Otago, said there was a lot happening under the National-led Government that she did not like.

"Hopefully with Labour there's more concern for people rather than just making profits and just people at the top end of the income scale,'' she said.

Christchurch pensioner Elizabeth Morgan, 69, is also voting Labour.

"There's so many people with problems. The economy. There's the quakes, of course. There doesn't seem to be much leadership.''

Dunedin cleaner Karen Butler, 49, will be voting for the Greens because she thinks families are struggling.

"It's so impossible to get a decent place [to live]. I just feel like people aren't really being looked after and wages aren't going up.''

Dunedin nightfill worker Nicholas Davidson, 25, is also backing the Greens.

"I would like someone to look after the environment. I'm with the whole Greenpeace thing as well.''

Dunedin nurse aide Brooke Taylor, 19, is still deciding whether to give her vote to Labour or the Greens: "I like Labour's ad campaign on the television and like some of the points the Green Party have''.

Waitati student Baden Oxley, 18, thinks he will vote for the Mana Party.

"All my mates were saying they are the way to go''.

Ashburton man Alvin Lawry, 27, won't be voting for religious reasons, but thinks John Key is doing well.

"He's had a fair bit to contend with with disasters and so on.''

Methven farmer Anna Johnson, 32, backs National and feels everybody is in a "fairly good mood'' since the Rugby World Cup.

"Summer is coming. We are probably coming through the worst of the disasters and everyone is starting to feel a bit positive.''

National voter Keith McGrouther, 65, of Dunedin, said: "We have had a whole lot of things that have happened, with so many catastrophes. But we seem to be weathering them and I think we'll come out of the tunnel.''

- Jarrod Booker, Simon Collins and Yvonne Tahana, New Zealand Herald


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