Peters scared of Craig

August 27, 2014

The Queenstown ASB debate between the finance spokespeople for five parties attracted a sell-out crowd last night.

debate

The photo shows, chair Duncan Garner, Finance Minister Bill English for National, Conservative leader Colin Craig, Labour’s David Parker, Act’s Jamie Whyte and Green Russel Norman.

Duncan Garner said that the Maori Party declined the invitation, Mana didn’t reply and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters refused to come if Craig was there.

The chair gave each speaker three minutes to give a pitch then gave them a few questions before taking questions from the floor.

Labour’s trying to campaign on being positive but its finance spokesman started by being negative about the economy and the outlook.

Jamie Whyte started by quoting Adam Smith:

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.

He also asked who’s going to make better decisions – someone putting their own money at risk in search of profit of someone using other people’s money in search of votes?

Duncan Garner asked him to name one Green policy he agreed with and he said he couldn’t think of one.

The question Duncan Garner put to Russel Norman at the end of his three minutes was whether he could say something good about the Finance Minister and he said he’d been very responsible.

Colin Craig rattled through his policy which includes tax cuts at the lower end.

The chair asked him to say whether he’d go with National or Labour if he had the choice after the election. He said National because the party would have the most votes.

Clutha Southland MP Bill English got the biggest welcome from his home crowd.

He started by giving people the credit for their resilience, responsible and work and how important that was because the economy doesn’t just exist in an office in Wellington, it’s what people do.

That, in partnership with National-led government’s careful management of public finances, had put New Zealand back on the right track.

He said we now have a platform built on our resilience the positive encouragement from government and the most positive Prime Minister New Zealand has had that will allow us to have sustainable growth.

“You have set that direction and we can keep it,” he said.

There’s a video of the debate here.


Maori Party list

August 26, 2014

 

The Maori Party has released its list for the 2014 election:
1. Te Ururoa Flavell (Waiariki)
2. Marama Fox (Ikaroa Rawhiti)
3. Chris McKenzie – Te Tai Hauauru
4. Te Hira Paenga (Te Tai Tokerau)
5. Ngaire Button (Te Tai Tonga)
6. Nancy Tuaine (Whanganui)
7. Tame Iti
8. Eraia Kiel
9. Anaru Kaipo (Whangarei)
10. Raewyn Bhana (Manurewa)
11. Rangimarie Naida Glavish
12. Aroha Reriti-Crofts (Waimakariri)
13. Hinurewa Te Hau (Upper Harbour)
14. Tom Phillips (Hunua)
15. Verna Ohia-Gate (Tauranga)
16. Ann Kendall (Papakura)
17. Hiria Pakinga (Coromandel)
18. Claire Winitana (Taupo)
19. Ra Smith (Wairarapa)
20. Lenis Davidson (Christchurch Central)
21. Tania Mataki (Christchurch East)
22. Sheryl Gardyne (Selwyn)
23. Te Whe Ariki Phillips (Wigram)
24. Benita Wakefield (Ilam)

Tama Iti is a long way from getting in on current polling but is a radical face for the party:

. . . Speaking in the home he built himself in Ruatoki, Iti said he had always supported the Maori Party and had decided to stand to boost the party’s support and because he endorsed the work it had done in government.

“Not very long ago I wouldn’t have thought about it but I see there’s more achievement…with National in terms of the treaty settlements so we have come a long way,” he said.

Having a Maori voice in power had led to gains in areas such as health and social services for Maori and it was important for Maori “to be sitting on the table rather than across the road throwing rocks at each other”. . .

Small parties generally get punished for supporting a government.

Their followers high, and unrealistic, expectations aren’t met. But Iti recognises that the party has made gains through its coalition agreement which would have been impossible in opposition.


A tale of three polls

August 18, 2014

Colin James’ poll of polls on Saturday:

A new Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll published on August 15 again had Labour at a basement rating – 22.5% – and National cruising at 55.1%. But the poll-of-polls scarcely budged because that poll replaced a July Fairfax poll with closely similar readings.

Still, Labour’s average, at 27.1%, while off its mid-July lows, remained dire, though the interviews for the poll straddled Labour’s campaign launch on August 10. Labour will worry whether other polls due in coming days replicate the Fairfax.

National’s average did not change from its 50.3% in last Saturday’s averages. . .

poll17.8

TV3’s poll had National down a wee bit and Labour up slightly:

Party vote:

National: 47.5 percent, down 1.9 percent
Labour: 29 percent, up 2.3 percent
Greens: 13 percent, up 0.6 percent
New Zealand First: 4.6 percent, up 0.3 percent
Conservatives: 2.5 percent, down 0.2 percent
Internet Mana: 2.0 percent, down 0.2 percent
Maori Party: 0.8 percent, down 0.3 percent
ACT: 0.3 percent, up 0.2 percent
United Future: 0.2 percent, no change

Seats in Parliament:

National: 61
ACT: 1
United Future: 1
Maori Party: 2
Right total: 65

Labour: 38
Green: 17
Mana: 3
Left total: 58

Preferred Prime Minister:

John Key: 44.1 percent, up 0.3 percent
David Cunliffe: 9.9 percent, up 0.4 percent
Winston Peters: 6.7 percent, up 1.4 percent

1000 people polled, margin of error 3.1 percent

The ONE News Colmar Brunton poll showed both National and Labour dropping a couple of points:

. . . It shows National still in the box seat, with 50%, but down 2 points. Labour is also down 2 points to 26%. The Greens have moved up 1% to 11%, while New Zealand First has moved up 1% to hit the magical 5% mark.

But the big mover is the Internet Mana party which has doubled in support to 4%. The Conservatives are steady on 2%, while the Maori Party, and Act remain on 1%.

At 4%, and assuming Hone Harawira hold his seat, Internet Mana could bring in five MPs, including John Minto and Annette Sykes. . .

These aren’t big changes for the major parties and IMP’s rise could help National by scaring those wavering in the centre its way.

However, the message in both these polls is that in spite of the continued popularity of National and its leader, Prime Minister John Key who has almost five times the support of Labour’s David Cunliffe, the election outcome is far from certain.

If there’s a silver lining to the sideshow of the last few days and a softening of support in the polls it is that it is helping National get its message home to supporters that there is no room for complacency.

People who want a National-led government and/or don’t want the alternative of a weak Labour Party propped up the the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana Party must vote and vote for National.


Older voters not buying Labour’s bribe

August 15, 2014

Labour support is at a new low:

The Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos Political Poll has National on 55.10 per cent, virtually unchanged from July, while Labour has sunk to 22.5, down 2.4 percentage points.

Click here to see full graphics

stuff8.14

The poll, of at least 1,000 New Zealand residents who are eligible to vote, is a kick in the guts to Labour, which has steadily bled support since this time last year.  On today’s numbers it would lose five MPs to just 29, putting even some senior front bench MPs at risk.  

National would comfortably govern alone with 72 seats. The Greens are on 11.3 per cent while Internet-Mana’s higher profile has lifted its support to 2.1 per cent. A surprise mover are the Conservatives, which have jumped to 3.4 per cent, level pegging with NZ First. . .

 

sffmnr8.14

The left block is down, even with Internet Mana. It is taking radical support from within the left and scaring more reasonable people away from it.

Kelvin Davis wouldn’t have a chance on the list at this low level of support for Labour which will intensify his efforts in Te Tai Tokerau.

Ironically it’s David Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing about working with Internet Mana which is damaging Labour. His failure to match his verbal support for Davis over Hone Harawira  is damaging not just the Labour candidate but the party.

The poll was taken from last Saturday until yesterday, so most people were contacted after Labour’s campaign launch and the announcement of free GP visits to people aged 65 and older.

Kiwiblog has the breakdown of respondents supporting Labour :

Labour’s support by demographic is:

  • Men 18%
  • Women 27%
  • Auckland 25%
  • Upper NI 16%
  • Wellington 23%
  • Lower NI 30%
  • Canterbury 14%
  • SI 27%
  • Under 30s 26%
  • 30 to 44 25%
  • 45 to 64 21%
  • 65+ 19%

It is reassuring to see that the older people that Labour is trying to woo have more sense than the party and aren’t buying its bribe.

P.S. I was phoned for the poll but they had already met their quote for my age and location.


Right not always popular

August 13, 2014

The Maori Party has the endorsement of New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan:

. . . O’Sullivan has thrown his celebrity behind the Maori Party saying he believed compromise was the best way to advance Maori interests, and the Maori Party was best placed to do that.

O’Sullivan’s face is plastered over party billboards across the country.

He said that despite warnings it was “reckless and risky” to publicly endorse a party he felt it was necessary.

“I hope that my small – and I do think it’s small – contribution to this campaign could help to bring a positive light to what the Maori Party has achieved and has the potential to achieve,” he said.

O’Sullivan, who also spoke at the party’s campaign launch, cited its willingness to straddle the political divide and its focus on issues such as rheumatic fever and healthy homes as being behind his decision.

“I don’t think a party that’s on the extreme edges one way or another is going to be beneficial for Maori,” he said.

While reluctant to comment specifically on the Internet Mana Party, he said he preferred a positive message over one focused on “pulling down the Government”.

He had been forced to make unpopular but necessary decisions in his own career and the Maori Party was willing to do the same, he said.

“I think we as Maori also need to realise that compromise is a part of political involvement in New Zealand politics,” he said.

“Like I say, sometimes the decisions are not popular . . . it’s hard to be popular and do the right thing at the same time.” . . .

No party can expect to get all the policies it wants enacted.

MMP is supposed to promote consensus but that is rarely possible without at least some compromise.

Small parties tend to get punished for their part in a coalition but the Maori Party has won more than it could have had it chosen to stay in opposition.

One of those gains was the continuation of the Maori seats which would almost certainly have gone had Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples not argued for them in their coalition deal.

Another was Whanau Ora which is making a positive difference to people’s lives.

But perhaps the most significant achievement was proving that the party could work with National and Maori had much to gain by it doing so.

Had it chosen to stay outside the coalition it would be marooned on the left of politics like the Green and Mana Parties.

It’s leaders realised the gains they could make by being in a National-led government, even though it meant accepting compromises.

In doing so they have made real gains.

Tai Tokerau Maori Party candidate Te Hira Paenga has made it clear at a political debate that its relationship with National is to ensure government policies will improve the lives of tangata whenua. . .

In the time allocated to Te Hira Paenga, he said the party made no apologies for striking a relationship with the Government.

He said more tangata whenua needed to work with government agencies in order to provide a better education system, real jobs and living wage.

Mr Paenga also made a subtle dig at his fellow candidates by saying it was time to get rid of the ‘old nets’ referring to the proverb – ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi.

That translates as: As a old net withers another is remade, meaning when an elder is no longer fit to lead, a healthier leader will stand in his place.

The Maori Party’s two older leaders are retiring.  Paenga’s speech shows he is willing to follow their example and accept that compromise is necessary in government.

So too is accepting that the right decisions won’t always be popular.

O’Sullivan understands that.

It is a message he and the party must get across to voters if it is to survive this election in a state to continue making a positive difference.

 

 


Gap just 4% in poll of polls

August 10, 2014

Colin James is doing a poll of the four most recent polls each week until the election.

The first one shows that the gap between a National-led government and a Labour-led one is just 4%:

National’s polling average may have peaked during July at 52.5% in the four polls up to mid-July. By end-July it was at 50.3%. That is still a very healthy figure under MMP but if National sheds only 4% by election day, it cannot count on a third term, even with help from ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.

At the comparable time before the last election National was averaging around 56%. It dropped 9 percentage points from there to 47.3% at the election.

(The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls, and will appear as a special series of election columns every Saturday on radionz.co.nz until after the election on September 20.)

james poll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t all bad news.

National’s continued high polling could have led to complacency from supporters who thought they didn’t need to vote or could afford to play with their party vote and from people who want National to win but not too well.

Another important election pointer also looks to have gone through a peak in July: Roy Morgan’s measure of whether people think the country is going in the right direction or the right direction. Those saying “right direction” were at 60% in late July, down from measures ranging from 63.5%-65.5% through the previous two months.

But that is still a very high reading. In a first-past-the-post election it would point to an easy re-election for an incumbent government. It is one reason why National continues to poll so highly.

 

This isn’t an FPP election and while the positive view of the direction the country is heading in is good for national it isn’t good enough for complacency.

The contrast between a stable government led by a strong National Party and an unstable government led by a weak Labour Party which gives lots of bargaining power to the ill-assorted parties they’d need to have on board is stark.

But there is still a lot of work to do to convince enough voters to do the right thing – in all senses of the word.

It might help if more people realise that David Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing over whether or not Internet Mana will be in a government he leads is just words which don’t speak nearly as loudly as the actions of his candidates:

 

mana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The marriage between Internet Mana and Labour which John Minto thinks is made in heaven  would be hell for New Zealand.


Not good enough

July 28, 2014

Last night’s  ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll  continued the trend of National doing much better than labour and its potential coalition partners:

Less than two months from polling day National has stretched its lead over the centre left parties of Labour and the Greens.

National has climbed to 52% in the latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll while Labour is down one point to 28%. . .

Labour on 28% is just above its 2011 election result and the Greens have also slipped, dropping two points to 10%.

New Zealand First is steady on 4% and Internet Mana is on 2% while the Conservatives are up one to 2%. Act stays on 1% and the Maori Party is down one to 1%.

When converted into seats in Parliament, National would easily govern alone with 66 seats. Labour would have 36, with the Greens mustering 13 and the Maori Party three. Internet Mana would bring in three MP, while Act and United Future would have one apiece. . .

Both Labour and the Green party have lost support.

It’s possible that hard-line left voters have gone to Internet Mana and soft centre voters have been put-off by the thought of a Labour Green, New Zealand First, Internet Mana Party and have moved right.

This is good news for National and those who want the party to continue leading a government that is working well for New Zealand.

However, it’s not good enough.

The party was polling at similar levels before the last election and slipped.

One reason for that was low voter turn-out.

Labour thinks most of those who didn’t vote were their supporters but there was a disappointing number of National voters who didn’t vote for a variety of reasons, including thinking that the polls were so good they didn’t need to.

There is a danger that could happen again which is why all National candidates and their teams are working hard to maximise the party vote which is the one that counts for forming a government.


Paying price for prevarication

July 21, 2014

Last night’s 3 News-Reid Research poll gave Labour more bad news:

PARTY VOTE:

National: 49.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
Labour: 26.7 percent (down 0.6 percent)
Green: 12.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
NZ First: 4.3 percent  (up 0.7 percent)
Conservative: 2.7 percent (down 0.1 percent)
Internet Mana: 2.3 percent (up 0.5 percent)
Maori: 1.1 percent (down 0.4 percent)
United Future: 0.2 percent (up 0.2 percent)
ACT: 0.1 percent (down 0.3 percent)

The reason’s for Labour’s poor showing are many, but one of those is Cunliffe’s prevarication over whether or not he’d do a post-election deal with the Internet-mana Party:

SHOULD LABOUR WORK WITH INTERNET MANA IN FORMING A GOVERNMENT:

NO: 59 percent
YES: 29 percent
Don’t know: 12 percent

Labour voters:
NO: 47 percent
YES: 40 percent
Don’t know: 13 percent

Cunliffe’s following the Winston Peters’ line on this – he’ll play the cards the voters deal.

But by doing this both men are leaving voters without information they need to cast their votes with confidence.

John Key told everyone months ago which parties he would and would not work with.

People know  what they’d get if they give National their party votes.

In contrast, Cunliffe and Peters continue to prevaricate which leaves voters having to take a gamble.

If they give Labour their party votes they can’t be sure they wouldn’t be helping the Internet-Mana Party into government and if they vote for New Zealand First they have no idea if Peters would move right or left.

In spite of what he says about the possibility of staying on the cross-benches, the lure of some baubles would almost certainly persuade him to change his mind.

A vote for either Labour or New Zealand first is a vote for uncertainty and instability.


It’s only one poll

June 6, 2014

The latest Roy Morgan poll continues the positive trend for National:

. . . Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key. . .

But wait, there’s more good news:

The latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has also improved considerably – up 8.5pts to 140.5pts with 64.5% (up 4.5%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 24% (down 4%) that say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

Gary Morgan says:

“Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong positive response to the predicted Budget Surplus of $372 million handed down by Finance Minister Bill English with National surging to 52.5% (up 7%) – it’s highest since the last New Zealand Election. National has surged to a huge lead over a potential Labour/ Greens alliance (38%, down 6%).

“The closer the election, it appears the less support there is for the main opposition parties with support for Labour (29%, down 1.5%) now stuck below the level that prompted the resignation of previous leader David Shearer for most of 2014. The initial surge provided by David Cunliffe has well and truly worn off. In addition the Greens (9%, down 4.5%) have slumped to their lowest level of support since before the last New Zealand election after announcing last weekend a proposal to introduce a Carbon Tax in New Zealand in place of the current Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Last week’s merger announcement of the Internet Party (0.5%) and Mana Party (0.5%) to contest this year’s election offers both parties a better chance of attaining the 5% threshold required to elect a slate of Party List MPs. However, the combined support for the two parties has never exceeded 2%, and it would appear unlikely the merged party can bridge this gap in the next few months.” . . .

Polls can be too good, of course.

This level of support for National could make supporters complacent.

Some might think they can afford to vote for another party, others might not bother to vote at all.

However, while it continues the positive trend for National of other recent polls, it is only one poll and the one which is usually regarded as the least reliable.

But is it?

Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat, says it’s not:

. . . In fact, there’s not much difference between the major polling companies in the variability of their estimates. . .

There really is not much to see here. So why do people feel that Roy Morgan comes out with strange results more often? Probably because Roy Morgan comes out with results more often.

For example, the proportion of poll-to-poll changes over 3 percentage points is 0.22 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 0.18 for Roy Morgan, and 0.23 for 3 News/Reid Research, all about the same, but the number of changes over 3 percentage points in this time frame is 5 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 14 for Roy Morgan, and 5 for 3 News/Reid Research. . .

What that shows is voter preference is volatile and that more frequent polls reflect that volatility.

That’s why it doesn’t pay to get too excited about a single poll, or even several with the same trend.

The volatility of support merely reinforces the oft repeated phrase, there’s only one poll that counts.

 

 


Internet Mana merger negates need for Maori seats

May 28, 2014

The Maori party says the Internet Mana Party merger threatens Maori seats:

The Maori Party believes the Mana Party has “sold out” and its merger with the Internet Party puts all Maori electorate seats at risk. . .

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the merger undermines the need and purpose of the seven Maori seats in Parliament.

“The seats were hard fought for and to allow a Maori candidate to stand to drag in someone else from another party who is not Maori and may not have any dreams and aspirations for Maori people in this land or the people of Te Tai Tokerau who believed in that candidate is seriously wrong,” he says.

“There have been attempts in the past for some parties to suggest the time for Maori seats is over and this doesn’t help in any shape or form.”

MP Pita Sharples also questioned the merger and thinks Mr Harawira’s party has sold out on Maori issues.

“It’s supposed to stand for things Maori and what’s Dotcom bringing to Maori?”

The answer to that question is trouble.

The Mana Party will get money from the deal.

That might help a very few of its members but it won’t help Maori.

I don’t think we need Maori seats and both Flavell  and Sharples are right that this deal could be used to argue that.


Can the polls be too good?

May 26, 2014

Three polls in a week have shown an encouraging level of support for National.

First was Roy Morgan:

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a gain in support for National (45.5%, up 3%) now back ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (44%, down 1.5%).

Support for Key’s Coalition partners is little changed with the Maori Party 1% (unchanged), ACT NZ (0.5%, unchanged) and United Future 0% (down 0.5%).

Support has fallen for the Opposition with the Labour Party down 0.5% to 30.5%, the Greens down 1% to 13.5%, New Zealand First 6% (unchanged), Mana Party 1% (unchanged). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (up 0.5%) and the Internet Party is now at 0.5% (down 1%). . . .

Last night another two polls confirmed the trend:

ONE News/Colmar Brunton:

 The latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll has National 10 points clear of the Labour and Greens block with less than four months to go to the election. . . .

ONE News political editor Corin Dann says Bill English’s sixth Budget has been well received and the poll shows National in a strong position, up four points to 51% while Labour has slipped one point to 30%, with the Greens steady on 11%.

New Zealand First is down two to 4.8% and the Conservatives are down one to 1%. But making its first appearance in the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll is Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party which debuts at 1% alongside the Maori Party and Act.

When it comes to seats in Parliament, National could govern alone with 65 seats while Labour and the Greens could muster just 52. The Maori Party would have three and Act, Mana and United Future one each.

However if NZ First makes the 5% threshold then National with 62 seats would need Act’s help to form a government.

Labour and the Greens would have 50 seats combined, but even with NZ First’s six MPs, the Maori Party’s three and Mana’s one, they would still fall short of the 63 seats needed for a majority. . .

3 News-Reid Research:

The Prime Minister and National are riding high on the post-Budget poll bump at 50.3 percent, up 4.4 percent from the last poll – a result Mr Key called “pleasing”.

It’s not so pleasing for Labour though, which dropped below the 30 percent mark, with 29.5 percent – a psychological blow for the party. . . .

Nearly three-quarters of voters – 73.2 percent – say they agree with National’s family package policy and most Labour voters – 67.3 percent – say they like it too. . .

Meanwhile, the Greens have dropped 1 percent to 10.2 percent and support for New Zealand First has grown by 0.7 percent to 5.6 percent. . .

Translating the poll results into seats in the House, National would get 61 – almost enough to govern alone, but with seven seats between its partners the Conservative Party, Maori Party, ACT and United Future it would give the right 68 seats.

Labour and the Greens would get 35 and 12 seats respectively, with Mana holding one seat and New Zealand First, seven.

But the poll results show the Labour-Green left-bloc is now on the back foot. . .

Other poll results:

  • Conservatives 2.3 percent, up 0.4 percent
  • Maori Party: 0.6 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • Internet Party: 0.6 percent, up 0.2 percent
  • ACT: 0.5 percent, down 0.6 percent
  • Mana 0.2 percent, down 0.9 percent
  • United Future: 0 percent, down 0.1 percent

These results are good, but there is a danger they are too good when there’s a tight and tough election ahead:

Prime Minister John Key is predicting a “tight and tough” election with the Government up against a “left wing block” of parties.

Mr Key told more than 250 party faithful at a conference in Hamilton today National could not be lulled into a false sense of security by high polling numbers ahead of the September 20 general election.

He said National was not just up against the lower polling Labour but its left counterparts including the Greens, New Zealand First, and Mana.

“The real risk for us is to underestimate just how close this election will be.

“None of us should be deluded into believing that a big poll lead by National against Labour means we have election 2014 in the bag.” . . .

 If this was a First Past the Post election National could be more confident.

But under MMP it’s not good enough for a party to have more support than its  biggest rival, it’s got to be able to muster at least 51% support in parliament.

And while National is tantalisingly close to that in polls, it is very unlikely to get that level of support at the election.

The danger is that some National supporters might see the polls, be complacent and think the party will get there without their votes.

Labour keeps saying the large number of people who didn’t vote last time were there supporters. Some might have been but some were supporters of National and its potential coalition partners.

Those supporters who don’t vote won’t just be not helping National.

They could be allowing a Labour/Green/NZ First/Mana and whichever other party they need to form a coalition to win.


Sabotaging own candidates

May 24, 2014

There’s something amiss with Labour’s selection process.

Nominations for the Rangitata seat were opened, closed without anyone applying and re-opened.

Nominations for Invercargill were opened, closed with the previous candidate, and former MP, Lesley Soper applying but reopened when the news the electorate MP, National’s Eric Roy, was retiring. Someone else applied but Soper was selected anyway.

Nominations for Tamaki Makaurau opened some time ago, were held open pending the outcome of TVNZ’s inquiry into Shane Taurima’s use of his work place and resources for political purposes.

Since then the party declined to give Taurima the waiver he needed to get the nomination and now the party is seeking further nominations:

The NZ Council of the Labour Party has resolved to invite further nominations for the Labour candidature in the Tamaki Makaurau seat, with the support of the Tamaki Makaurau Labour Electorate Committee. . .

Further nominations suggests they have already got at least one but, as in Invercargill, aren’t widely enthusiastic about whoever it is.

The seat is held by Pita Sharples who isn’t standing again which, means Labour would have had a better chance of winning it.

However, the Maori Party has already selected its candidate, Rangi McLean, who will have had the best part of a month campaigning before Labour’s candidate is selected.

Once more Labour is giving every appearance of sabotaging its candidate by its inept handling of its selection process.

 


Growing for good

May 5, 2014

The message from the opposition’s policies and their attacks on the government is that at best economic growth isn’t important and at worst there’s something wrong with it.

New Zealand National Party's photo.

They don’t seem to be able to join the dots between economic growth and the provision of services which depend on it.

Economic growth is growing for good health like this, for example:

The Government has today announced free drop-in sore-throat clinics will be expanded to target a further 90,000 children and young people who are at risk of getting rheumatic fever.

“Budget 2014 will invest an extra $20 million over the next four years to combat New Zealand’s high rate of rheumatic fever – bringing the Government’s total investment to more than $65.3 million over six years,” Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

“Excellent work is already going on across the country. Expanding a number of these initiatives will help reach more families whose children are at risk of developing this serious illness.

“The free drop-in sore-throat clinics will be rolled out in the Northland, Waikato, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay and Hutt Valley District Health Boards (DHBs).

“When the free clinics open later this year, over 200,000 children and young people in high-risk areas will have access to prompt care and treatment for sore throats.”

Mrs Turia says the Government will also expand healthy homes initiatives in the Northland, Waikato, Lakes, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs. 

“These initiatives help families to address housing conditions, particularly for those families living in crowded homes, a contributing factor for rheumatic fever,” she says.

“And an extra $5 million is being invested to raise awareness of the disease, including TV and radio campaigns and information resources. The increasing profile of rheumatic fever is raising awareness with families and health professionals, and as a result more cases of rheumatic fever are being identified and treated.

“As part of the Better Public Services focus, the Government has a target to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by June 2017. This additional funding will help us achieve this goal,” Mrs Turia says.

Addressing rheumatic fever is a recommendation from the Ministerial Committee on Poverty which was negotiated in the relationship accord between the Maori Party and the Government.

Budget 2014: National's commitment to combating rheumatic fever will give another 90,000 kids access to free sore-throat clinics - http://bit.ly/1rI1oCt


Labour doesn’t deserve Maori vote

April 21, 2014

Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that Labour doesn’t deserve the Maori vote.

‘I don’t believe they deserve our vote any more. I don’t believe they deserve our vote, I don’t believe they deserve the vote of the Pasifika people, because if there’s one thing I’ve noticed since coming through and being a Minister this time, is the very very poor resourcing of all Pasifika health, social services, you name it.’

When asked whether she is worried that the Labour party might take a large portion of the Maori Party vote , she said, ‘I think that our people have to ask themselves that for all the years that Labour were in government, the nine years of plenty, what is it that changed in their lives? What is it that Labour did that made them feel that things had changed for them, and have made a difference?’ . . .

The answer to that question is not much.

The Maori seat enabled Labour to take Maori for granted.

It was National which started the Treaty settlement process and it’s National which has settled most claims.

The progress report at the end of 2012 showed:

treatyprogress

There have been several more settlements since then, including settlement of the last of the historic South Island claims.

But it’s not just Treaty settlements which make Maori better off with a National-led government than a Labour-led one.

Labour sees electoral gain from keeping people dependent.

National knows it’s better to help people become independent and move from grievance to growth, not just in economic measures but in social ones too.


Partners by choice better than necessity

January 22, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has made his preferences for coalition partners clear.

He also stresses the importance of the party vote:

. . . “First and foremost, National will be campaigning hard for every party vote it can win, because that puts us in the best position to continue the positive policy direction New Zealand is on.

“Put simply, the higher National’s party vote, the more options we have. . .

National didn’t need to invite the Maori Party into coalition in 2008, it chose to do so.

A higher party vote gives more options for a major party because it would be able to approach potential coalition parties by choice rather than through necessity.

It was difficult to win an outright majority under first past the post, no party has managed it under MMP.

The PM’s first preference for coalition partners is those he has worked with successfully already – Act, the Maori Party and United Future.

“I know that post the 2014 election, National will almost certainly need to work constructively with other political parties to form a stable Government.

“Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.

“Looking ahead, it is most likely that the nature of these working relationships will be via Confidence and Supply Agreements, as these have worked well in the past two Parliamentary terms.

“In the end it is the public who largely determine the make-up of the Government by voting in parties to Parliament,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future. . .

By making this clear voters have a better idea of what they might be getting.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

Voters also know what they won’t be getting if National is able to form a government:

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

Labour is a bit confused about how left it is, not helped by a leader who sways further left with some audiences than with others.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

This has excited the media but it is clear New Zealand First would be a last resort.

Whether or not National is in a position to form a government and which parties it will need, or be able to choose, to invite into coalition is up to voters who now know which parties are preferred, which could be considered and which would be ruled out.

The more votes National has, the more options it has and the the more stable the government will be.

On current polling it would certainly be a lot more stable than a Labour/Green government with other parties in tow through necessity and therefore able to exert a much stronger influence than if they were in government by the bigger party’s choice.


National will consider working with . . .

January 21, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced which parties  National will consider working with following this year’s General Election.

His preferences are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future and is not discounting the Conservative Party.

He’s also left the door slightly ajar for New Zealand First.

 “MMP makes it likely that every election will be a tight contest,” Mr Key says.

“That means it’s also likely that following the election we will need to work collaboratively with other parties to form a stable Government.

“First and foremost, National will be campaigning hard for every party vote it can win, because that puts us in the best position to continue the positive policy direction New Zealand is on.

“Put simply, the higher National’s party vote, the more options we have.

“I know that post the 2014 election, National will almost certainly need to work constructively with other political parties to form a stable Government.

“Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.

“Looking ahead, it is most likely that the nature of these working relationships will be via Confidence and Supply Agreements, as these have worked well in the past two Parliamentary terms.

“In the end it is the public who largely determine the make-up of the Government by voting in parties to Parliament,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

 I sincerely hope that New Zealand’s First’s support won’t be needed, although David Farrar posts on the possibility of asking for it to support a minority government.

It’s more of a vanity vehicle than a party and its leader has shown he’s unreliable.

He’s also not prepared to show his hand before the election:

. . .  Winston Peters says the party is making its position clear from the outset that it will not be part of any pre-election discussions or arrangements aimed at subverting the democratic process.

“We thought MMP would stop the gerrymandering and ‘old boys’ arrangements of the past but some political parties keep manipulating the political process for their own ends instead of trusting the voters.”

Mr Peters says the time for talking about forming governments should be immediately after the election and not before. . .

What he means is he’s not prepared to put commit himself one way or the other for fear of losing votes.

Instead he’ll keep everyone in the dark until he can make a deal which best advantages him.


iPredict – narrow Nat win

January 15, 2014

iPredict’s first update for the year is predicting a very narrow win for the incumbent government.

Key Points:

•       Election expected in Q4 2014, most probably in November
•       Growing economy expected, but with rising interest rates
•       Only National, Labour and Greens to reach 5% threshold
•       Maori, Conservative, Mana and UnitedFuture parties to win electorate seats but Act to miss out
•       Very slight advantage to John Key as head of a National/Conservative/UnitedFuture government

Commentary:

This is the first iPredict Update for the 2014 New Zealand General Election with forecasts based on trading by the more than 7000 registered iPredict traders.  As in 2011, the newsletter will be based on a market snapshot taken at a random time, initially weekly and then daily during the election campaign.

The first snapshot, which was taken at 9.32 am today, suggests a very slight advantage to incumbent prime minister John Key, most probably leading a National/Conservative/UnitedFuture government, with or without the Maori Party. . .

Of the major parties, National is expected to win 43.0% of the party vote, the Labour Party 34.5% and the Green Party 9.5%.  

No other parties are expected to reach the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system.  The Conservative and NZ First parties are both expected to win 4.6% of the party vote, the Maori Party 1.5%, Act 1.3%, Mana 0.7%, UnitedFuture 0.6% and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 0.3%.  

Stocks for the proposed Civilian and Kim Dotcom parties will be launched in the near future.

Based on the party vote forecasts and the electorate results above, Parliament would be as follows: National 54 MPs, Labour 44 MPs, Greens 12 MPs, the Conservative Party 6 MPs, the Maori Party 2 MPs, UnitedFuture 1 MPs and Mana 1 MP, for a total of 120 MPs.  A government would be required to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply.

Under this scenario, National, the Conservative Party and UnitedFuture could form a government with 61 MPs.  Were the Maori Party involved, such a government would be supported by 63 MPs.

Were the Conservative Party not to win an electorate seat, a Labour/Green/Maori Party/Mana government could be formed with 62 MPs.

Overall, the market indicates a very narrow advantage to National, with a 53.3% probability of a National prime minister after the next election and a 45.1% probability of a Labour prime minister. . .

I’d call that too close to call which is what most polls have been saying.

 


McKenzie to succeed Turia

December 8, 2013

Chris McKenzie has been selected to succeed Tariana Turia as the Maori party candidate for Te Tai Hauauru.

His work history includes being the lead Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiator for Ngati Raukawa, a self-employed consultant, education manager at Raukawa Trust Board and teacher at Tokoroa High School.

He is a member of the Te Ohu Kaimoana electoral college and was the previous chair of the Raukawa Settlement Trust. . .

Turia formed the Maori Party when she left Labour over the Seabed and foreshore debacle.

His challenges is to transfer personal support from her to votes for him and the party.


Will it be UFM?

November 10, 2013

Maori co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell was guest speaker at the United Future conference.

United Future has had several manifestations and names since it was first formed to fight the first MMP election in 1996.

In its many changes it’s absorbed several other parties.

Does Flavell’s guest spot at the conference mean it’s looking to take on/over another?

UFM is an abbreviation of unique manuka factor, could it also soon stand for United Future Maori?

#gigatownoamaru is united in the quest to be the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.


Who do you trust?

November 8, 2013

Duncan Garner critique’s Prime Minister John Key of the fifth anniversary of his government.

He gives him 7.5/10 and concludes:

Your choice is between John Key and Bill English with a few rag-tag minor right wing parties – or David Cunliffe and Russel Norman – with perhaps Winston Peters in tow.

Who do you trust?

To which a commenter answers:

Let’s not forget his development into a well respected leader in the region as the last APEC conference in Bali showed. And he’s the only Commonwealth leader to ever have been invited to Balmoral – surely that’s worth an extra point 🙂

Given all the challenges that have been thrown at Key over the past 5 years, easily a 9.5 out of 10. The answer to your last question is a no-brainer, Cunliffe and Norman in charge is a very scary prospect and when voters enter the booth in November 2014 I think in their hearts they’ll know Key and English are the people to trust. Key to win by a nose next year.

The outcome of next year’s election is very finely balanced.

Labour has more potential coalition partners but it’s still not very strong itself and the prospective of  its possible partners in government may well put off more voters who might be considering voting for Labour.

National has fewer potential partners but is stronger itself.

A still weakened Labour with a strong (for a wee party) Green Party plus  any or all of New Zealand First, Mana, the Maori Party and possibly Peter Dunne is a much more radical and less stable option than a strong National Party with two or three partners.

#gigatownoamaru is backing itself but welcomes support from anywhere to become the Southern Hemisphere’s first gigatown.


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