"Oh Jesus. I've made so many promises"
Francisco Hernandez has been elected as OUSA President for 2013 after a hard-fought campaign.
Hernandez received 1163 of the 3620 votes cast, with his nearest rival Ryan Edgar receiving 965 votes, closely followed by Zac Gawn with 842 votes. The election results were announced on Thursday September 27.
Gawn will gain some consolation from being elected as Administrative Vice-President, triumphing over Mat Jordan with 1667 votes to Jordan’s 1529.
Several candidates won their elections unopposed: Lucy Gaudin for Finance and Services Officer, Pippa Benson for Colleges and Communications Officer, and Ruby Ann Sycamore-Smith for Campaigns Officer. Current exec member Blake Luff was elected unopposed for a second term as Recreation Officer.
Kamil Saifuddin was elected as International Students Officer with 93 votes, despite a decent showing from No Confidence, who gained 44 votes.
Education Officer was the tightest contest, with Jordan Taylor winning the position with 1159 votes, just 16 more than the unfortunate Mat Jordan. Dan Stride received 691 votes for the position.
As well as winning the Presidency, Francisco Hernandez was elected unopposed as Welfare Officer. As he cannot fulfil both positions, there will be a by-election for a new Welfare Officer in early 2013. Hernandez said: “Lisa Pohatu has promised me that she will run for the Welfare position in the event of a by-election, and I want her to commit herself to that.”
As no candidates stood for the position of Postgraduate Representative, a by-election for this position will also be held at that time.
Francisco Hernandez – El PresidenteSoon after he was announced as the next OUSA President, Hernandez described the feeling of victory as “unreal! It’s like you’re floating on a cloud, and it’s like cocaine!”
Meditating on why he won, Hernandez compared himself to past US President Richard Nixon: “He wasn’t particularly charismatic or well-liked, but he persisted with good policies, and he just kept trying. And the voters essentially respected that. I ran on my own merits as a candidate, and the $3 dinner was a big part of it.”
As laid out in the Presidential debate, the first thing Hernandez says he will do is “lock the incoming exec into a room with me, so I can set down a list of their promises on paper so we can get to work straight away in fulfilling and achieving them. That’s my key goal for this year. And then next year, I’m going to leave my banner up [above Union Lawn] so I can remember what my promises are, and I can get to work fulfilling them one by one.”
Hernandez admits he was concerned about competition from Presidential hopeful Ryan Edgar “because obviously he’s the charismatic and popular brother of a very charismatic and popular OUSA President.” But he believes that “Zac Gawn and Ryan split each other’s votes quite substantially.”
Although Hernandez thinks “it was a very civil and respectful campaign,” he didn’t “like the way that Caleb attacked me and Dan Stride in his campaign blurb. I think that was ill-done, especially because me and Dan have quite substantial records when we served as exec members. But obviously the voters rejected that negative style of campaigning.”
Responding to current OUSA President Logan Edgar’s offer to outfit Hernandez in a new Presidential suit “without all the cum-stains,” he says he will only take up the offer if Edgar carries through with another promise: “To find me some ‘presidential pussy’.”
In an interesting development, Critic Editor Joe Stockman later overheard Hernandez speaking on the phone about “the shackles coming off OUSA in confronting this National Government”.
Presidential Election Stats
17% of total eligbile voters (from 20792 OUSA Members)
The Defeated FiveRyan Edgar told Critic he was “disappointed” not to win the Presidency, “but life goes on”. He admitted that he may have left the launch of his campaign a bit late, which may have contributed to the defeat. Edgar was undecided as to whether he would stand in the Welfare Officer by-election next year: “Dunno if I’m a welfare man, but we’ll see.”
He planned to drown his sorrows with his supporters that night, “and then I’m going to treat myself to a ‘posh man’.” Critic recommends that confused readers search for the term on Urban Dictionary.
Zac Gawn seemed less disappointed with his unsuccessful bid for President: “I’m really happy. Fran and I make up the perfect face and brain combo.” Critic will leave readers to make up their minds on which is which.
Gawn is supportive of Hernandez: “I enjoy his passion.” He will consider running for President again next year: “I’ll see how my studies go.”
Sam Sinclair, who came 4th with 201 votes, did not show up to the announcement of the results.
Caleb Wicks, who received 194 votes, said he was not disappointed by the result: “I decided about halfway through the week that I wasn’t the best man for the job. I haven’t had as much exec experience as Fran or Ryan.” He will consider standing in the Welfare Officer by-election next year.
Dan Stride, who received 119 votes, said he was not expecting to win the Presidency, but was disappointed not to win the Education Officer position. “I ran for President to gain a higher profile and get a bit of exposure for the Education race.”
Stride’s campaign was damaged by a series of negative posters and chalk messages containing statements of a personal nature about Stride, which were put up all across campus by an unknown detractor during the election period. “Clearing up those chalkings was more distressing than the election result, it took me two hours to clean them up. I was in tears.”
Stride has lodged a complaint with the OUSA Returning Officer, who has jurisdiction over election candidates and can deduct votes or disqualify candidates if he deems that a rule has been breached. Stride has also complained to the Proctor, compiling photographic evidence of the posters and chalk messages. The Proctor has the authority to deal with conduct by general students that breaches University rules.
The OUSA Returning Officer confirmed to Critic that five complaints had been laid in total; Stride said he submitted two of these complaints. Details of all the complaints are not yet available to media, as the appeal window is still open.
Aside from the “smear campaign”, Stride conceded that other factors were at play in his failed run for Education Officer: “I may have outlived my voter base; the people who remember what I did on OUSA have graduated.” He says, “Fran will make a fine President.”
Stride does not intend to run for Welfare Officer next year, but may apply to be Returning Officer for the next OUSA elections.
The election also included nine referendum questions, all of which were successfully passed with “Yes” votes. See the full results in our epic infographic, it’s spectacular.
Executive Election Statistics
International OfficerKamil Saifuddin - 67.4% (93/138)
Welfare OfficerFrancisco Hernandez - 86.0 (3057/3582)
Finance & Services OfficerLucy Gaudin - 84.8% (3036/3554)
Campaigns OfficerRuby Ann Sycamore-Smith - 84.9% (3013/3550)
Recreation OfficerBlake Luff - 81.6% (2889/3542)
Colleges OfficerPippa Benson - 86.8% (3059/3526)
Education OfficerJordan Taylor - 33% (1159/3560)
Mat Jordan - 33% (1143/3560)
Dan Stride - 19% (691/3560)
Administrative Vice PresidentZac Gawn - 46% (1167/3593)
Mat Jordan - 43% (1529/3593)
Referendum Stats(percentages = voters answering yes)
- Should the proposed OUSA budget for 2013 be accepted in its entirety? - 83%
- Should the amendments to the OUSA Budget for 2012 that were made after signing the Service Level Agreement with the University of Otago be approved? - 83%
- Should OUSA support the Marriage Equality Bill
currently before Parliament? - 84%
- Should OUSA Support the move towards a smoke-free Campus? - 78%
- Should OUSA actively support student representation on the governing councils of tertiary institutions? - 96%
- Should OUSA actively support Post-Graduate students receiving a Student allowance? - 83%
- Should section 19.10 of the OUSA Constitution be amended to read: “Any referendum at which fewer than five (5) percent of the total number of members cast their vote will be indicative only, except where the issue is about any or all matters listed in sections 19.11 or 19.12, where the threshold shall be one (1) percent of the total members, a figure the Secretary will ascertain at the commencement of each semester and report to the Executive and the Student Media.” - 81%
- Should the OUSA constitution be amended to
rescind sections 19.3, 19.13 and 20.2(d)(ii) and insert a new section 19.3 that reads: “Any Referendum involving finance or administration matters other than any or all matters listed in sections 19.11 or 19.12, shall be indicative only and not binding on the Association.” - 75%
- Should OUSA oppose the privatisation of state-owned electricity companies? - 63%