2020 winners losers feature

PoliticsOctober 19, 2020

Winners, losers, big losers, and gigantic losers from Election 2020

2020 winners losers feature

All around the country, New Zealanders are screaming: ‘Election 2020: Who are the winners, losers, big losers, and gigantic losers?’ Hayden Donnell is here to respond to their cries.

The election is over. We probably know the makeup of the next government. We know we won’t see a capital gains tax for the rest of our natural lives. But the most pressing question facing New Zealand is yet to be answered: who are the election’s winners, losers, big losers, and gigantic losers? Grab your political popcorn, straddle the bucking bronco of democracy, and get ready to have your brains splattered against the back of the garden shed by the promises and pitfalls of enfranchisement.



Labour won a huge number of votes, and if we’ve learned anything from its campaign, the whole point of politics is winning a huge number of votes.


Jessica Mutch McKay

1News’ political editor was the best debate moderator of the election. Her calm professionalism was a protective shield against the frightening, chaotic vortex of politics.

Tova O’Brien

Meanwhile, Newshub’s political editor spent Sunday morning harvesting Jami-Lee Ross’s political sweetmeats and hanging his democratic entrails around MediaWorks’ headquarters. Both these approaches have value.

Cheese rolls

A story in two tweets:

My career as a pundit

In August, I predicted:

  1. Chlöe Swarbrick would win Auckland Central.
  2. Matt King would win Northland.
  3. Labour would win 47.31% of the vote.
  4. National would win 25.13% of the vote.
  5. Everyone would have a nice time online.

All of those predictions were 100% correct (allowing for a standard margin of error on vote percentages). Despite that, both major TV networks failed to book me for their election night shows, opting instead to feature losers like New Zealand’s former attorney general and Simon Dallow.

At least one person noticed my eerily accurate predictions. I would encourage @cyclone_ws, and all other right-thinking New Zealanders, to keep researching.

The Māori Party

Not only did Rawiri Waititi win in Waiariki, he’s going to take over as Māori Party co-leader from John Tamihere. Now that’s double-duty.

Simon Bridges 

Before he was rolled as National Party leader, Simon Bridges was just another unpopular politician who voted against gay marriage and legal abortion.

Now he’s the carefree baby yak man. He hoons pints at the pub and expresses quiet satisfaction about the political deaths of his enemies. He tries to look very serious as he appraises the failures of his enemies during election night.

He insults Jason Walls on Twitter.

As is often the case with economic and social conservatives, Bridges’ popularity is highly correlated to his proximity to power. This election has pushed him a truly gargantuan distance from any real influence over the country. As a result, his favourability ratings are off the charts.


Billy Te Kahika Jr

Maybe Billy Te Kahika Jr was called a conspiracy theorist hundreds of times. Maybe his misconduct in multiple facets of life was exposed by Paula Penfold and the Stuff Circuit team. Maybe Advance NZ’s vote share was so small you would need an electron microscope to find it. Maybe he got beaten by the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party candidate in Te Tai Tokerau. But did you know who Billy Te Kahika Jr was before this election? Exactly. That kind of fame is hard to get when you’re a blues musician from New Zealand.

The Act Party

The Act Party won 8% of the vote. 

Matthew Hooton

Matthew Hooton spent two days telling the media why Todd Muller should be National’s new leader, while not disclosing that he had unofficially signed on to work for him. Despite that being unethical, Hooton got his column back at the NZ Herald almost immediately after steering Muller to the shortest National Party leadership stint in New Zealand history. A huge win for him.


The New Zealand Herald

Matthew Hooton spent two days telling the media why Todd Muller should be National’s new leader, while not disclosing that he had unofficially signed on to work for him. Despite that being unethical, Hooton got his column back at the NZ Herald almost immediately after steering Muller to the shortest National Party leadership stint in New Zealand history. A huge embarrassment for journalism.

Hamish Price

National operative Hamish Price was snapped pretending to be a normal member of the public during a Judith Collins meet-and-greet on Ponsonby Rd.


This has gone down as “one of the greatest self-owns in history”. But when you think about it, in one fell swoop, Price caught the eye of more lefties than he does in a hundred tweets about the conversations he overhears in woke cafes. That’s got to be worth something.

Todd Muller

Few people have failed more ambitiously than Todd Muller. Though his 53-day stint as National leader produced one of the greatest pieces of television in New Zealand history, it was disastrous for the party’s electoral chances. Despite that, he’s back in parliament and currently on National’s front bench. It could be worse. He could be …

Big losers

All the people who supported Todd Muller

The liberal-leaning contingent of National MPs who backed Muller’s rise to the top aren’t doing as well as their former leader. Nikki Kaye has resigned from politics. Amy Adams has re-resigned. Nicola Willis has been saved thanks to her place on National’s list, but may have had some nervous moments. Meanwhile, Chris Bishop appeared to experience a vision of hell on live TV on Saturday night.

David Seymour’s liver



The hitherto unblemished record of Christianity was besmirched this election, with accusations that Judith Collins was exploiting her faith to claw back supporters from the New Conservatives.

Judith Collins prays at St Thomas Church in Tāmaki before casting her early vote for the election (Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher)

I think I speak for all New Zealanders when I say I pray that the reputation of Christianity is soon restored to perfect health.

The orange man 

I can’t believe I have to say this, but the orange man does not have genitals

He is not a murderer.

Some New Zealanders need to go home, put their pencils and their editing software away, and think about what they’ve done.

Gigantic Losers

Anyone who doesn’t have a house, and won’t inherit a house 

The only time Labour looked truly rattled this election was when the opposition suggested it might try to achieve something transformational. Jacinda Ardern was forced to repeatedly rule out a wealth tax, after National raised the spectre of it taking ambitious action to help people on low incomes during an increasingly cataclysmic housing crisis. Her stance fuelled the party to record levels of popularity, suggesting that New Zealanders’ desire for lower house prices might not translate into broad support for bold political action.

Labour sells its lack of ambition as an effort to make sure the changes it makes are lasting. In practice, that means its policies are inadequate for the huge post-Covid challenges facing anyone who doesn’t already own a house. Labour has saved its political capital. Younger and low-income people will pay the price.

Jami-Lee Ross

No list of gigantic losers is complete without Jami-Lee Ross.

The National Party

The National Party got 26.8% of the vote.

Hamish Price’s reputation as a fashion influencer

Though Hamish Price secured a lot of attention for his Ponsonby escapade, he was overshadowed by his improbable shoes.

One witness told The Spinoff the shoes “single-handedly destroyed my faith in a benevolent God”. Ruby general manager Emily Miller-Sharma was more kind, saying she takes a “you do you” approach to fashion. But even she questioned Price’s ability to “think strategically”. “Price intended to seem like just another person strolling along Ponsonby Road, however those shoes are so powerful that each of them are complete, sentient beings. So instead of being just one guy, he’s actually got the presence of three people,” she said.

Usually that would be the end of the list. But the 2020 election has offered up an unusual situation. Against my better judgement, I have been forced to introduce a new category…

Gigantic winners

Chlöe Swarbrick

Chlöe Swarbrick has spent her entire political career doing the most ambitious thing possible. Usually that’s meant achieving things that are both incredibly impressive and incredibly disappointing, like coming third in the 2016 Auckland mayoral race despite having a campaign fund of four cents, or winning 17% of the party vote in Maungakiekie.

Winning Auckland Central (special vote pending) is the most improbable victory she’s actually won, though it’s unlikely to be her last. It helped that Labour candidate Helen White’s campaign appeared to consist primarily of complaining that Swarbrick and the media were impudently refusing to hand over the seat that she deserved, and Jacinda Ardern had told her she could have. But the victory is mainly a credit to team Swarbrick’s unrelenting campaigning, which has given their candidate a surprise shot at becoming prime minister.

Good news, New Zealand: Election 2020 isn’t over yet.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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