James Heath won a close but decisive victory in the race for 2019 OUSA President over friend and rival Laura Cairns, picking up 59% of the votes cast.
It’s the next step for an extremely experienced candidate, who has already put in two years on the exec as Education Officer and Colleges Officer. He’s looking to go head-to-head with the Uni over cuts to Art History, and says his top priority is ensuring students have a major impact during the DCC elections next year.
“There were so many things going through my mind,” he said of the moment he found out he’d won, “it was excitement, anticipation, and I know it sounds corny, but a lot of love and respect for Laura as well”.
He admitted being “fucking nervous” about his chances, but ran an intensive campaign, dropping flyers and introducing himself to pretty much everyone that stepped foot inside the Link. In a very serious boi move, James even appointed a campaign manager, close friend Laura Anderson.
“[Anderson] was just a friend who was there to look after me, everyone running for OUSA is aware that having someone be there for you and support you is so important. I owe a lot to her and love her so much.”
Turnout this year was almost exactly the same as last year, with 4410 people turning out to vote, roughly 23% of students, which isn’t that bad considering OUSA elections are stupid.
Opponent Laura Cairns earned herself an admirable 41% of the vote, no mean feat considering her lack of previous exec experience, which undoubtedly hurt her with voters. This was actually the second time the two had gone head-to-head in an election – James pipped Laura 38-35% in last year’s race for Education Officer.
Laura said she was “seriously stoked” for James, and admitted that at the end of the day, “possibly he just wanted it more”.
“He’s been planning this for a very long time, so I do think it’s fair that he won. I hope that he continues on the path that he started this year of genuinely standing up to the University and taking more of an activist stance. He will, he’s got some really strong voices on that exec so he’ll be pushed into that.”
When asked what she planned to do next, Laura said “someone in Wellington please hire me. No seriously, I need a job”.
Outgoing president Caitlin Barlow-Groome has high hopes for James, particularly for his campaign promise to make OUSA highly political and impactful during the DCC election. “We did see that as a problem this year,” she said, “we need a lot more of a push. Students need to be involved.”
When asked what James will need to learn and work on to succeed in the role, she said decisiveness was key. “You have to take everyone’s opinions in, but you need to be able to make informed decisions when they need to be made.”
James said his immediate plans were to “probably take the night off to take a drink. Drink. Drink a few to be honest”. Critic asked if he was going to be on the bubbly. James replied, “Yup, I’ve got some Cody’s”. Critic informed him that doesn’t count.
Winner: Porourangi Templeton-Reedy
Pou snaked a narrow victory, with just 50.31% of the vote after the second round. He held a 76 vote lead over Roger Yan among first-choice voters, but after third place Matthew Schep was eliminated and his votes were reapportioned due to the new Alternative Vote system, his lead was narrowed to just 25 votes.
He said before the announcement that “my guts were dropping. I was shitting myself. But when he called that 51%, that was so close. When he said my name all my friends around me were like ‘aaaah!’ But I was like ‘hold up, hold up, what did he say? I couldn’t quite hear.’ But when he said it again I was like ‘Yasss, I fucking won.’”
“Beforehand I was not feeling confident at all, I was going up against two other good candidates.” But, he thinks visiting first years in halls was a good move. “They don’t normally vote, so that’s where our votes are… It’s been a long week, thank God it’s over and it’s all paid off.”
“I wish Roger and Matt all the best with their future endeavours. They did bring a good game, but I brought it harder.”
Matt said it was “gutting to lose my third election because I feel I’ve got skills to offer, but I don’t want to take away from someone else’s win that they’ve worked hard towards and deserved. As for me, it’s back to my thesis.”
Roger left as soon as the result came out and we decided to leave him be because he was sad.
Winner: Bonnie Harrison
Bonnie took the role with 66.39%, the largest portion of the vote in any portfolio. Her opponent Norhan was pretty chirpy considering, probably because she didn’t campaign and missed her forum to finish her family file. She said Bonnie is “a great candidate, she deserved to win and I’m really happy for her. The Exec is passing into good hands and I’m so happy for James”. She then left to go hug James. Bye.
Bonnie said, “I feel energised, galvanised, motorised and environmentally friendly”. So, we think she was feeling good. Unless she’d recently been coated with a protective layer of zinc (lol)? “In terms of the team there were some surprises, some were pleasant surprises. Come on and slam and welcome to the jam.” Critic loves her already.
Winner: William Dreyer
Will won a big victory, with 62.95% of the vote in the final round. He said he was “really stoked. We can make some actual real fucking change and we’re gonna smash it next year”. He then proceeded to buy some Scrumpy and Speight’s and have a boys night out with James.
Raf was nowhere to be seen, but Andre only had good things to say about Will. He said Will was “friendly,” “lovely,” and they had “good chats on the campaign”. Why is everyone so nice? Andre also said he’s going to carry on pushing to introduce conjoint degrees, as he’s already on a working group for that. He then left to study for a maths test. Here’s an equation for you Andre, from all of us at Critic:
9x - 7i > 3(3x - 7u) -7i > 9x - 21u - 9x -7i > -21u i < 21/7u i <3u
Winner: Kerrin Robertson-Scanlon
Kerrin narrowly took out the Welfare Officer race with a margin of 14 votes. Ooosh. Andrew’s share of 49.82% of the vote was the best result from a mature student in a long time.
Kerrin wasn’t at the results announcement as she was picking up her son, but Andrew was feeling pretty stoked for her. He said “quite frankly, an awesome person won”. He said he will fully support her in her term as Welfare Office and used the word amazing three times in a sentence. Andrew seemed moved by the campaign. He said “I thought I was a strong person but after speaking to some of the students here on campus I realised maybe I’m not. Regardless of the result of this election, I will still be working for the welfare of these students at Otago”. He said “we both knew that the Welfare Officer position is a bit of a poisoned chalice, so sorry Kerrin. But I’ve got her back. It will be good for her to have extra support”. Overall, very wholesome.
Winner: Georgia Mischefski-Gray
The campaign for Campaigns Officer (ha!) was the most spicy example of Alternative Vote this year. Round One was incredibly close with Sam Purchas ahead on 1096 votes, Adam on 1089 and Georgia on 1065. Henri was eliminated and Georgia pulled ahead. Then, Adam was eliminated and Georgia won with 52.24% of the vote.
Joel was supposed to interview the Campaigns candidates but forgot because he’s the EDITOR and APPARENTLY has BETTER things to do. So, we lost Georgia in the crowd and she doesn’t seem to have a Facebook we could creepily message request. We caught Adam who said he was feeling good and that Georgia will be “awesome”. His tone of voice perhaps betrayed otherwise, but he said he will definitely collaborate with Georgia next year and stay involved with campaigns around Dunedin.
When asked how he felt about getting the most first-choice votes but not getting the role, Sam Purchas said “‘it'll give me a faint glimmer of joy to hold onto as I cry myself to sleep at night’, or ‘it's masturbatory material sorted for the next two weeks’. Just choose whichever's funnier”. In the interest of balance, we leave it to you to decide whether crying or masturbation has more comedic resonance.
Gracious in defeat, Henri said “I think the end result is a very well rounded exec. If they have a spearhead they can get behind I think they can do well”.
If you’ve seen Henri’s posters (I took one home for personal research), you’ll know that he’s jacked af. It’s obvious that he even lifts, bro. But when approached for comment, Henri said his personal best for bench was 100kg, 180kg for squat, and 200kg for deadlift. How did he think he could list OUSA if he couldn’t even crack 110 on the bench?
Also, try saying Georgia The Mischievous Skiing Chef a bunch of times.
Winner: Jack Manning
Collage is a seminal form of modern art, so Collages Officer is an important role (a wee joke for you art history freaks; RIP). Anyway, big props to Jack Manning, who won this thang without even being in the country (reportedly fleeing overseas because he’s terrified, justly, of Findlay Campbell’s moustache). Jack snuck in with 51.07% of the vote in the final round, and said “Victory is sweet. Tonight I will drink the tears of my vanquished opponents and revel in their lamentations.” Or maybe it was, “I plan to keep very busy in 2019, increasing support for mental and sexual health inside our colleges, ensuring RAs are properly trained and compensated, and getting OUSA way more involved in colleges”.
Post Graduate Officer
Winner: Dermot Frengley
This was by far the closest race. There were only six votes separating Dermot from Sinead Gill. Considering that there was also a bunch of drama about postgrads not being able to vote, this race could have easily gone either way.
Dermot was clearly a bit confused as to how he won. “It’s a bit bemusing ... it’s nice, obviously, but the thing is Sinead is a lovely person, incredibly intelligent, incredibly hardworking, and she is going to be a key part of us getting postgrads together and strengthening the community in general.”
Sinead said, “I think Dermot’s gonna be perfect. Obviously I came in here wanting to get it because I have experience, but it’s the kind of experience that he’ll pick up in a couple of weeks; he’s got this”.
Dermot said, “I don’t imagine any other way that I could go about things without her and I hope that she wants to work with me”.
Sinead said, “Fuck yeah, I’ll be there on his toes. If he doesn’t get me on his Postgrad committee, I’ll be a bit cut but he’s got this in the bag”.
Because the 2017 Postgrad Officer recently resigned Dermot also won the by-election for the remainder of the year, meaning that he’ll be presenting alongside current Education Officer James Heath at the upcoming University Senate hearing on the future of the Art History Programme. “It’s going to be straight to battlestations from right now,” said Dermot, “it’s quite intimidating but it’s also quite exciting”.
Winner: Josh Smythe
Josh comfortably re-gained his position with 58% of the vote. “I’m re-al stoked. I’ve had the opportunity to re-ally understand the limitations and the benefits of the role, and next year I’m going to use that re-ally intently.”
Josh predictably said that next year he’s “going to be talking a lot about drug law re-form; there’s just so many issues that are causing harm that we could really easily deal with and I think they’re bigger issues than most people think because no one talks about it because it’s stigmatised. I want to re-move the stigma, start gathering data, and start implementing measures to re-duce harm on campus.”
Thank God there’ll be someone on the exec next year brave enough to run “grassroots student cultural events on the heritage streets”. The breathas can sleep soundly at night.
Winner: Sabrina Alhady
The Returning Officer awkwardly forgot to announce the winner of International Officer. But it was fine because neither of the candidates showed up to the announcement ceremony.
Not one to be put off by setbacks, Critic chased the story to the bitter end and Facebook messaged Sabrina. She said she was “truly honoured to have been elected,” and was “excited to contribute to and make a change in the international student community”.
Winner: Charlene Chainz
In the most anticipated and hotly-fought contest of the entire election, MC Charlene “Power to the Clock Tower” Chainz came out on top. Chainz was approached for comment after the ceremony, but said her “mole,” who she says is “‘high’ [Chainz paused, and winked] up” in the University hierarchy, had procured her a couple of “meanage” bongs from somewhere, and she had to go “rip a fat cone / take the OUSA throne / it’s ya girl C-Chain / remember the name”.
And the real winner: Alternative Vote for being spicy as well as democratically representative.