Word of the day

November 28, 2011

Opsimath – one who begins or continues learning late in life.

Punters beat pollsters?

November 28, 2011

iPredict says its predictions market was a more accurate indication of election results than polls:

The Chief Executive of iPredict, Matt Burgess, has declared the performance of Victoria University’s online predictions market in forecasting the election result to have been “absolutely outstanding” and said refinements would be made to assure even greater accurate in 2014. Mr Burgess was commenting on iPredict’s initial post-election analysis which shows iPredict’s trading prices were closer to the final result than 41 of the 51 traditional opinion polls published in the eight months before election day.

The analysis also shows that, in the month before the election, iPredict forecast each of the National, Labour and Green party votes to within 1.5% of the final result.  During that time, the average iPredict forecast of National’s party vote was 47.10% (0.89% less than won by National on Saturday), Labour 28.60% (1.47% more than the actual result) and 11.1% for the Greens (just 0.48% more than its 10.62% result).

Even more significantly, over the three months before election day, iPredict forecast National’s party vote to within an amazing 0.01% of its actual result, while overestimating Labour’s vote by just 1.67% and underestimating the Greens by just 0.42%.

This is a lot more credible than Horizon which is trying to spin its way out of the huge gap between its polling and the election results.

The accuracy of polls is one question, whether they not only reflect what peole are doing but lead them to do it is another.

An Otago University study shows:

 . . . that people often take the ‘popular vote’ and go with the party that’s  already seen as a success.

Michelle Nicol carried out the research and says the ‘bandwagon effect’  would have had a negative impact on ACT.

Had polls led to more confidence that John Banks would win Epsom Act might have got mroe votes but when his success was in doubt people were concerned that their votes would be wasted on a party that was unlikely to get any seats.


Election editorials

November 28, 2011

The ODT – Three more years:

On any measure, the result of the 2011 general election is a resounding vote of confidence in the leadership and policies of John Key and the National Party. Not since the 1972 Labour victory of Norman Kirk has a single party reached such high levels of support, with National gaining 48% of the vote and 60 MPs in Parliament (pending the outcome of the special votes). The achievement is all the more remarkable given the challenges the country has faced during the past three years . . .

Timaru Herald – No real surpirses:

So now we know. The months of polling are over and we know for sure.

We don’t know everything, because special votes may slightly alter the picture, but we know John Key will be the one to form the Government that will take us through to 2014, when we’ll do it all again. It’s not a surprise, though some elements of the overall picture have been somewhat surprising, particularly the return of Winston Peters to Parliament on the bridge of the good ship NZ First, with a crew of seven supporting him.

For the great survivor of New Zealand politics, it’s a decidedly more comfortable ride than those of John Banks, Peter Dunne and Hone Harawira in their single kayaks. . .

The Press – A mother of a mandate:

As mandates go, they don’t get much bigger. How far will John Key push it?

In a hallmark of the Key style, he will take it as far as he thinks he can while carrying the public with him – but don’t take that as an indication he will go softly on asset sales.

Labour’s brave morning-after talk that it had won the argument on asset sales was nothing more than that – a chin-up exercise aimed squarely at the party faithful after an old-fashioned rout . . .

Dominion Post – Key has the right to sell family silver:

National has won the mandate it sought to pawn the family silver and reshape the welfare system. Prime Minister John Key would be wise to exercise it with discretion.

His party’s 48 per cent share of the vote in Saturday’s election is National’s best result since 1951. It is a personal triumph for the prime minister who has retained the confidence of the public despite having to make provision for the rebuilding of Christchurch in the midst of a global recession . . .

Manawatu Standard – City an atoll of red in an ocean of blue:

The blue tide on Saturday night came from all sides of the compass, but stopped just short of Palmerston North again.

Iain Lees-Galloway, the incumbent Labour member of parliament, somehow managed to not only stop the surge of National support over the country, he increased his majority from 1117 in 2008 to a provisional 3001, with special votes still to be counted.

National won the seat when it came to the party vote, which was probably the prime objective of candidate Leonie Hapeta, who at one stage looked like threatening to turn Palmerston North blue for the first time in decades . . .

Waikato Times – Challenge ahead for Nats:

 In many way it was the most predictable election result in years.

But while his party might have walked off with some 48 per cent of the vote, Prime Minister John Key might well be ruing his actions in the closing weeks, particularly around the now infamous “teapot tapes”. . .

Hawke’s Bay Today – Labour did Nash no favours:

The election delivered just one seismic jolt in Hawke’s Bay but it was one that many had predicted and the casualty, as was the case around New Zealand, was Labour. Actually there were two other casualties in the bailing out of parliament of Labour list MP Stuart Nash and they were the city of Napier and Mr Nash himself . . .  

Gisborne Herlad: Voter’s deliver big tick for John Key’s National Party:

The New Zealand public has given John Key’s National Party a big tick of approval, though not so resounding as to allow it to govern alone — unpopular asset-sale plans made that unlikely.
Mr Key has his mandate for partial privatisation of the state’s power companies and Solid Energy, though, along with radical reform of the welfare system. . .

NZ Herald – Demanding times ahead for National:

So the electorate did not want the National Party to govern alone. Other than that, which signifies its deep resistance to unbridled power, it has handed Prime Minister John Key most of what he wanted – and his opponents on the left nothing much at all.

The election result was encouraging for a party seeking a second term leading the Government. By increasing its share of the vote, and saving enough of Act and United Future to get it over the line, National has its majority. With the Maori Party’s three votes as ballast, it appears more than secure, unless special votes alter the seat allocation to National’s detriment. . .






Grass roots supports counts

November 28, 2011

The Timaru Herald reports on election night in Oamaru:

The atmosphere was festive at the Oamaru Opera House on Saturday night as Mrs Dean and supporters watched the results flow in.

At the nearby Blind Hall, about 10 Labour Party supporters gathered to watch televised election coverage. Cups of tea and finger food were laid out, but most of the supporters seemed preoccupied with developments.

As the results rolled in, the atmosphere at the Opera House became more celebratory. With the final result, party poppers exploded, covering Mrs Dean with streamers. She told The Timaru Herald she was thrilled with the result and the faith voters had shown in returning her to Parliament. She vowed to continue as a strong advocate for the Waitaki in Parliament.

I started election night in Dunedin where the North and South electorates had combined their function. More than 100 people were crammed into the Kensington Tavern and others were arriving as I left.

It was around 10:45 by the time I got to Oamaru and there were still about 40 people helping Jacqui celebrate her win. The official count of supporters (from Opera House staff) was about 150, around 15 times more than at the Labour Party party.

Those numbers tell an important story – grass roots support still counts. A popular MP and a party which still has and values a broad membership base have a racing start against candidates and parties  which have lost their members and their way.

It’s brighter already

November 28, 2011

National campaigned to give us a brighter future and we’re getting it already.

Today the sun is shining, the temperature is above 20 degrees for the first time in weeks and it finally feels like we might get a summer.


Stating the obvious

November 28, 2011

Former New Zealand First MP Rana Waitai says the party’s leader, Winston Peters, will bring a counterproductive element to Parliament, with neither the Green nor the Labour parties wanting to work with him.

We can be thankful for small mercies.

John Key ruled him out of government months ago so this time he won’t be in a position to buy votes from deliver expensive policy to his supporters.


Chalice still poisoned?

November 28, 2011

Phil Goff who has shown far more loyalty to the Labour Party than many of his caucus have been to him has indicated that he will resign at a caucus meeting on Tuesday.

Already some of the people who didn’t have the self-belief or courage to challenge him in the last three years for fear the leadership was a poisoned chalice are lining up to take over.

But is the chalice still poisoned?

Goff has been blamed for the lack of support his party got in the past three years and has taken responsibility for its loss on Saturday.

But it wasn’t all his fault and a change of leadership by itself won’t cleanse the chalice of poison.

Other factors in the loss of support included the hangover from mistakes made in government from 199 to 2008and a failure to act like a viable opposition let alone a government in waiting. This was compounded by disunity, distractions and too much dead wood in caucus.

Some of the dead wood kept seats on the list at the expense of fresher faces who lost theirs.

The new leader has a big challenge to prune some of the dead wood, unify caucus and ensure it looks like a credible opposition. He (there doesn’t appear to be a likely she) won’t be helped in that by the leader of New Zealand First who will be as determined to attack other opposition parties as the government.

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