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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 12. 5 August 1970

Executive Election: Victory to the Right wing

Executive Election: Victory to the Right wing

There were few surprises in the results of the Executive elections held last week.

In the Presidential election, law student Graeme Collins, Publications Officer this year, decisively defeated his chief rival, 'Rat' (Radical Activists' Ticket) candidate Bill Logan, by 1127 votes to 632. The other candidates polled from 43 to 206 votes, making this particular election a fairly clear-cut contest between Messrs Logan and Collins.

Peter Cullen's victory in the election for Man Vice-President and that of Lesley Jacobs in the election for Woman Vice-President did not come as surprises. The high poll for Man Vice-President candidate Chris Moisa and Lesley Jacobs' close victory over Drusilla Megget by 906 votes to 823 were a little unexpected, however.

What some students have regarded as the upset of the election was the quite convincing victory of law student Richard Moore over 'Rat' candidate Therese O'Connell in the election for Executive Secretary. Miss O'Connell's association with the 'Rat' ticket may, it has been suggested, have led to her defeat in the reaction against 'Rat' which was dearly discernible in the results.

The new position of NZUSA Liaison Officer was comfortably won by Tim Sheppard. Equally clear-cut was the victory of David Smith as Publications Officer. The heavy defeat of 'Rat' candidate Tony Larsen by Andrew Wright in the contest for the position of Sports Officer also reflected rejection of the Radical Activists' Ticket.

The 'Rat' candidates had conducted a vigorous campaign, promising to "fight for: revision of secondary education to remove cultural bias against the working class, women and Polynesians; an end to the Indo-China War; the abolition of the Security Service; an end to New Zealand's sporting, cultural and trading links with South Africa; special state grants for Maori and Polynesian studies and languages up to Ph.D. level; the legalisation of marijuana; an end to the discrimination against women; the rights of high school students (the right to free assembly, free speech etc.); and the abolition of the ballot and Compulsory Military Training."

'Soap' (Surrealistic Operations Action Party) candidates Roy Middleton (President), John Woods (Man Vice-President) and Janet Oakley (Publications Officer) came fifth, eighth and third in their respective elections. The 'Soap' ticket was therefore even more emphatically rejected than the 'Rat' ticket.

One feature of the Presidential campaign was the result of opinion polls held on campus on the Thursday and Monday prior to the election. In the case of the first poll, with a sample of 650 students, the results were as follows:
  • Aitken - 9 - 1.4%
  • Bennett - 7 - 1.1%
  • Collins - 43 - 6.6%
  • Easton - 29 - 4.5%
  • Gollan - 9 - 1.4%
  • Logan -113 - 17.4%
  • Middleton 23 - 3.5%
  • Van Der Schaaf 33 - 5.1%
  • Undecided 384 - 59.5%
Photo of vote counting

Scrutineers counting some of the 2574 votes cast m the election.

Photo of voting

In the second poll, conducted the day before the election, a sample of 720 students was obtained. Some significant changes in the expressed preferences were detectable in this poll, the most important being the jump from 6.6% to 25.7% for Graeme Collins. The exact figures were as follows:
  • Aitken - 18-2.5%
  • Bennett- 11 - 1.5%
  • Collins - 185 - 25.7%
  • Easton - 47 - 6.6%
  • Gollan - 5 - 0.7%
  • Logan -110 -15.3%
  • Middleton 17 - 2.4%
  • Van Der Schaaf 36 - 5.0%
  • Undecided 297 -41.3%

The dramatic change in electorate preference does not appear to have been due to any activity on Mr Collins' part. It seems more likely that the circulation of the results of Thursday's poll may have stimulated a general reaction to the candidacy of Bill Logan.

Mr Logan, and 'Rat' candidates generally, may have also suffered as a result of negative student reaction to the presence on Tuesday morning of slogans such as "Logan for King Rat" on two campus buildings. The whitewashed slogans appeared on the Rankine Brown and Hunter Buildings and were subsequently removed by a team of students led by Association President Margaret Bryson. Mr Logan denied all responsibility for the slogans.

A feature of the election overall was the high poll compared with recent years. The 2574 votes cast this [unclear: year] contrasts with the 1601 votes [unclear: cast in] 1969. The number of votes [unclear: cast] represents 48% of the [unclear: membership] the Association. In 1969, [unclear: 31.8% of] students cast a vote and 40% cast vote in 1968. Reasons given for the higher poll in 1968 over 1969 by the then Returning Officer Denis [unclear: Phel] were that "Gerard Curry [unclear: attracte] many votes from those who don normally vote", that there were [unclear: mot] candidates in the previous year, an that Salient in 1968 published [unclear: mo] about student politics.

Giles Brooker, Returning Officer [unclear: ft] the current election, felt that [unclear: th] existence of the 'tickets' of [unclear: candidate] would probably have been the source of much of the unusual student interest in the elections. [unclear: Man] students, said Mr Brooker, appeared [unclear: t] be frightened of the possibility [unclear: of] 'radical' takeover of the Executive.

The number of informal votes in [unclear: th] case of some of the portfolios [unclear: appeal] to indicate that many electors [unclear: wer] dissatisfied with all of the candidate While only 55 informal votes [unclear: wer] recorded in the case of the [unclear: President] election, 283 informal votes-[unclear: mor] than 10% of the total cast-[unclear: wer] recorded in the case of the election [unclear: fc] Woman Vice-President. Informal [unclear: vote] cast in the case of other [unclear: portfolit] were: Sports Officer - 257; [unclear: NZUS] Liaison Officer - 218; Secretary - [unclear: 18] Publications Officer - 157; and Ma Vice-President - 115.

Informal votes are those where a candidates' names are struck out an such votes are distinguished [unclear: fror] invalid votes. Only four invalid [unclear: vot] were recorded.