Know when to go

November 10, 2008

You’ve got to know when to hold up, know when to fold up, know when to walk away . . . “

The Gambler  was right as are Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

By announcing they are standing down from the leadership they’ve circumvented the rumours, the inevitable questions from the media and the just as inevitable plotting from the Labour caucus.

Cullen is a list MP so he could walk away from parliament altogether at any time with minimal disruption. Clark, as an electorate MP, has a duty to her constituents and the expense of a by-election to consider before she resigns but I wouldn’t expect her to complete the full term.

Two of her soon to be former minsiters should follow her example.

Jim Anderton has had more than his day.

His majority  is a still respectable 4,566 and he got 14,174 votes. But Marc Alexander, the National candidate got 9608 electorate votes and 11954 party votes.

The Labour candidate Erin Ebborn-Gillespie won only 4,581 electorate votes but Labour recevied 12,583 party votes. While Progressive, the vanity vehicle Anderton calls a party, got only 1,878 votes.

He should make this his last term.

Peter Dunne should also take a hard look at the numbers in Ohariu.

He received 11,250 electorate votes, the Labour candidate Charles Chauvel was 1170 behind on 10, 080.

National’s Katrina Shanks was 3rd with 8,822 electorate votes but National won the party vote with 15,750. Labour received 11,182 votes and United Future just 787. This suggests that had Dunne not announced he would go with National which prompted a nod and a wink from John Key for a party-vote campaign in the electorate, then Shanks may have won the seat.

Something else to consider – the Green candidate, Gareth Huges got 2,229 votes – so if those people had voted tactictly for Chauvel,  Dunne would have lost the seat to Labour.

United Future is now Ununited Past and Dunne should step down at the end of the term.

Some National MPs need to consider this and also remember that one of the reasons Labour lost was that the electorate thought the caucus was getting a bit stale.

I’m not going to name names, suffice it to say there are some MPs who should accept that in the best interests of the party they should make this their last term and step down with their dignity intact or become victims of another dead-wood purge.

Third poll favours blue

November 7, 2008

The Herald DigiPoll confirms the trend of the two television polls last night – if support translates into real votes tomorrow the blue block would win because National would be able to govern with Act and United Future.

Photo / Herald graphic

This assumes the Maori Party would win 5 seats and we’d have a 123 seat parliament.  National would have 61 seats, Act 2 and United Future 1. 

Three out of three polls is encouraging but its the fourth poll, and only real one, tomorrow which matters and there are still too many ifs and maybes to be sure about that.

The poll of polls, a rolling average of the last four surveys, also shows the blue block slightly ahead of the red one:

Photo / Herald graphic

TV3 poll better for blue

November 6, 2008

The TV3 poll is slightly better for the blue block than the TV1 (two posts back).

National is up almost one percent to 46.

Labour’s vote collapses to just over 33. It is being punished for president Mike Williams’ failed trip to Melbourne to dig up dirt on John Key.

The Greens are coasting at 9 percent – the highest ever result in a 3 News poll.

New Zealand First is on 3.4 percent – and facing oblivion on Saturday.

ACT has received a last minute boost – 2.8 – that would see Roger Douglas in parliament.

The Maori Party is on 2.7 – and is expected to win at least four seats – most likely five.

That would give National 59 seats, Act 4 plus 1 seat for United Future –  a total of 64 in a 122 seat parliament.

Labour would be down to 42 seats, the Greens 12, Progressive 1. Even if you add the Maroir Party’s 4 or 5 they’ll only get to 59 or 60.

If NZ First does get 5% it would disadvantage National and help Labour.

John Key leads the preferred Prime Minister rankings, up 2.8 to 36.4 and Helen Clark is up slightly to 34.2.

The trend is going the right – in whatever sense you care to choose – way. But it is only a poll so while it’s encouraging it’s still too close for complacency.

Update: Curiablog has the average of polls:

Blue block just – TV1 poll

November 6, 2008

TV1’s final pre-election poll puts National at 47% support and Labour at 35%.

The Green Party has 9%, Act 2.5, New Zealand First 2.4% and Maori Party 1.3%.

It would be a 122 seat party so National, (58 seats) Act (3) and United (1) would just get a majority with 62 seats.

Labour, (43 seats), Greens (12 seats) and Progressive (1)  would get 56 seats.

The Maori Party would have 4 seats so even if they went with Labour the left block would be two seats short of a majority.

New Zealand First wouldn’t be in parliament.

However, a change within the margin of error could make a difference to any of those conclusions.

Pretty but unscientific

November 5, 2008

Jimungo has been running an weekly pulse of the nation poll.

Absolutely nothing can be read into the results which aren’t scientific:

 Visit Pulse of the Nation

Here we have it: the final Virtual Election of the Pulse of the Nation weekly series. This is the last Virtual Election before the real New Zealand General Election happens this Saturday 8 November.

The only election that counts is the one this Saturday at polling places across the country. The mood of the country between 9am when polls open and 7pm when they close will determine the make-up of our next parliament.

Here at Jimungo, here’s how we saw the mood swinging over the last week:




UP 0.7




UP 1.1




DOWN 1.4




UP 0.8




UP 0.2


NZ First


DOWN 1.5




UP 0.3


United Future


UP 0.4




UP 0.2

400 people 6 politicians

October 29, 2008

I started my journalism career in an election year – 1981 when politicians still faced the public at meetings and the public still turned up in good numbers – several hundred people – to hear them.

After attending two meet the candidates forums in the past fortnight with fewer than 25 people in each audience I’d begun to wonder if this form of democratic interaction was dying.

However, a report on a meeting  in Queenstown gives me hope.

The ODT reports that 400 people turned out to hear six politicians: National deputy leader Bill English, his Labour counterpart Michael Cullen, Progressive MP Jim Anderton, Act candidate Roger Douglas, Greens co-leader Russel Norman and NZ First leader Winston Peters.

All parliamentary parties had been invited to send a representative and while I understand that wee parties’ MPs can’t be everywhere, it’s a poor reflection on both United Future and the Maori Party that they couldn’t find a candidate to represent them at the forum.

The ODt says that Queenstown Lakes Mayor Clive Geddis received sustained applause from the audience when he told the politicians:

“. . . if you can run the economy of New Zealand for the next decade as these people out here have run the economy of the Lakes District for the past decade, the GDP will be 30% greater . . . than it is today.

“Close to 400 people here this evening have paid to come and hear politicians. It’s a sobering thought and what is behind that is a genuine interest.”

Mr Geddes said those who had turned out felt they had ownership of their community, had a say in the way it was managed and felt they were in charge of their own economy.

“People who are prepared to front on a cold, rainy night, pay 30 bucks to hear you . . . but more importantly that you take away from them the message that this town has got something you can learn from them.”

The paper also noted the best one-liners:

Bill English on the anti-smacking legislation: It’s going to be the nanny state on P.

Russel Norman reacting after being criticised for being an Australian representing a New Zealand party in an election: Hey, I’m a citizen, mate. There are a lot of migrants in this country. Get used to it.

Michael Cullen after being asked about the proposed location of the new Frankton school: I don’t have a briefing on that, I assume they’re planning for future growth.

MC Jim Hopkins reacting to Dr Cullen’s comment: Hold the press . . . a politician has just admitted he doesn’t know something.

Winston Peters after being asked to confirm a rumour a deal had been done between New Zealand First and Labour that if NZ First did not get in, Mr Peters would be appointed Right Honourable Consul of Monaco: You came all the way tonight and that’s your best shot? Sit down and be a good lad.

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but if that’s the best Peters can do the standard of his repartee is down with his standard of accountability.

Seven headed monster = headless chook

October 25, 2008

Gary left a comment on an earlier post pointing out that a Labour, Greens, Maori Party, NZ First, Progressive government wouldn’t be a five headed monstor, it would be seven headed because two of the parties have two heads each.

As he said, that would mean that more than 10% of the government would be leaders.

What we get is the-is update image of a hydra shown on Cactus Kate:
//” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

A government headed by that many heads would be headed for trouble and achieve about as much as a headless chook.

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