Polls and election prospects

A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.

National

National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.

They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.

National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.

They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.

That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.

Likely result range 45-50%.

Labour

The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.

David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.

Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.

Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.

Likely result range 20-29%.

Green Party

The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.

They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.

Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.

Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.

Likely result range 10-15%.

NZ First

NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.

Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.

Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.

One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention  and votes with the Conservative Party.

Likely result range 4-6%.

Maori Party

Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.

It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.

There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.

For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.

Likely result range 1-2%.

Conservative Party

Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.

Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.

Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.

UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.

Likely result range 2-3%.

ACT Party

Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.

Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.

Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.

Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.

Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.

Likely result range 1-3%.

United Future

UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.

More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.

Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:

  • National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
  • Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
  • Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.

Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.

Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.

They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.

Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.

Internet Mana Party

As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.

And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.

Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.

His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.

IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.

Likely result range 2-4%.

Summary

IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.

The Clayton’s photo…

…the photo Cosgrove uses when he doesn’t want to use a photo.

Yesterday a question came up on whether Clayton Cosgrove may have photoshopped himself a bit for his election hoarding.

Cosgrove hoarding

That’s not a very clear photo and it’s not clear when it was taken – at least one Labour is MP is known to be re-using their 2008 hoardings.

But it appears to be the same photo that Cosgrove is currrently using on his Facebook page:

Cosgrove FacebookIt is similar if not the same as on Labour’s campaign website:

Cosgrove campaign

Also on Facebook is a photo on a post that says …

“Today (Monday the 21st of July), I had my weekly radio slot with Chris Lynch on Newstalk ZB,

…with an accompanying photo:

Cosgrove radio

However that image is re-used as it also appears on his Timeline for his radio posts on June 30, 23, 16, May, April  etc.

Here is Cosgrove speaking in Parliament on Tuesday 22 July 2014.

Cosgrove Parliament 2014 July

Here’s something curious found on Google images.

Cosgrove van sign

That looks to be the same image as his current hoardings, Facebook profile and Labour campaign site.

Cosgrove is not MP for Waimakariri, he lost the  electorate in the 2011 election, but he is using the same image.

And if you look back at the first image he is implying he is still MP for Waimakiriri. Regardless of using old photos that’s misleading advertising.

Opinion leans to ‘fat tax’, Government opposed

A Herald-Digipoll shows that a small majority favour a tax on ‘unhealthy’ sugary foods and drinks.

Do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea to put an obesity tax on high-sugar foods such as soft drinks?

  • Good idea 53.9%
  • Bad idea 42.5%
  • Don’t know/refused 3.6%

They don’t seem to have asked “Do you want to pay more for your groceries?” which may have got a quite different response.

And it doesn’t seem to have swayed the current Government.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the poll result was “not surprising” considering the high profile the issue of obesity taxes has had in media coverage.

He reaffirmed the Government’s opposition to fat taxes or sugar taxes, saying they would raise the cost of a range of staple products such as jam.

“The Government’s preference is to provide information and support for individuals and families rather than nanny state regulation,” he said.

Mr Ryall said investment in healthy eating and exercise initiatives were a more evidence-based and sophisticated way of reducing obesity. A Healthy Star Rating system was supported by 82 per cent of people in the DigiPoll survey, though more than half of that group felt it should be made compulsory for manufacturers.

Ms Kaye said the Government had decided against making it mandatory because this would cause food prices to spike.

It’s been tried unsuccessfully in Denmark.

Denmark is the only country to experiment with a tax on foods which are high in saturated fats, but repealed the measure after a year because it inflated food prices and put jobs at risk.

It’s something that on the surface seems like a sensible healthy tax but when you take the icing off idea the public are less likely to like the taste.

Cunliffe’s conflicting claims about Queenstown meetings

David Cunliffe has given two conflicting explanations about what he knew before meeting a sex offender in Queenstown.

Audrey Young (NZ Herald on Monday):

… the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB on Tuesday):

Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

“There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

One of those versions at least cannot be accurate.

Rodney Hide, who publicised the offending, said in in his column (Sunday 13 July):

I know something of this case. I certainly know the attacker. And I know some of our leading politicians know him and know, too, of his attitude and behaviour towards women. It was a topic of conversation when I was in Parliament.

He also said in his column on Sunday (20th):

After my column, various low-level political operatives asked me who it was. It was tittle-tattle for them, I thought, but then I realised they were checking whether the predator was on their team. They expressed no concern for the victim and no outrage.

And:

Through the week, our “prominent” New Zealander’s media mates rang journalists to minimise his offending. The spin was that the judge didn’t believe the woman and, sure, their mate had made a forceful pass, as he does, but not an assault. Yeah, right.

These are the enablers. They defend, minimise and excuse sex crimes.

And:

His victim is clear: “He is a dirty b****** and people should know … For me, it’s not over – I want his name out there.” And of him? “There is no remorse there; absolutely no remorse whatsoever.” Sound familiar?

From the stand up interview yesterday that Soper was reporting on:

Soper: Why did you meet in Queenstown with a prominent New Zealander who’s been up for sex chargers?

Cunliffe: Well I am subject to the same rules around name suppression that you are. There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

Soper asked more questions:

Soper: He’s well known though, I mean we, most of us know so why didn’t you know?

I’m sure that political journalists made a point of knowing.

Cunliffe: I should ask you Barry, shouldn’t I. I will next time.

Soper: No no no, it’s a fair point though that ah, many people…

Cunliffe: We asked around Barry and we had no indication of any risk of that nature.

Hide claims political operatives were asking about it. Soper claims “most of us know”.  Cunliffe and those advising him may have been some of the few who didn’t know – by why the heck didn’t they find out? Especially when “the possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man”.

It could be a lack of awareness or competence in Team Cunliffe but it’s difficult to understand how they didn’t know – and it’s difficult to understand why they didn’t make sure they knew.

And why has Cunliffe’s explanation changed between Sunday and Tuesday? Maybe he could have another go at clarifying what he meant.

There’s a tricky question to ask about Cunliffe’s Queenstown visit that must be looked at completely separate from the above.

Why did Cunliffe have a meeting with Labour Clutha-Southland candidate Liz Craig and an ex National MP?

Whale Oil hypocrisy on ‘free speech’

It’s very ironic that when I tried to comment on a Whale Oil post The left HATE free speech I got this message:

 

Whale Oil blocked

More than a bit ironic.

They took offence at what I’ve also posted here: Why there’s anger, Murray

When saw content decided you taken enough from us @Whaleoil

Not a free speech thing, but upholding standards

Ironic on the same day they posted Tania Billingsley and the Green and Rape Crisis fingerprints.

We speak uncomfortable truth…

…and reckless speculation, but seem to be uncomfortable with alternate ‘truth’.

 

 

Harawira apologises for “bugger all” comment

Hone Harawira has given a ‘sincere apology’ for a comment he made last week about the Malaysian diplomat case when he said “I think all of the media, their heads should roll for making a big fuss about bugger all.”

Stuff reports: Harawira U-turn in diplomat sex case

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has apologised for calling the row over a sexual assault charge against a diplomat “bugger all.”

The Te Tai Tokerau MP made the remarks on political panel show Backbenches last week.

Asked on the show about the political storm around alleged attacker Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, Harawira said: “I think all of the media, their heads should roll for making a big fuss about bugger all.”

The country was facing more pressing matters such as “kids starving”, he said.

Harawira added: “Let’s just keep it there, it’s allegedly, and so until such time that this sorts its self out, let’s get on with running the country in the best interests of all off the citizens.”

Now Harawira says he made a “big mistake” and praised Tania Billingsley, the 22-year-old victim of the alleged attack, for speaking out about mishandling of the case.

In a Facebook post this morning, Harawira said: “I want to sincerely apologise if my comments on Backbenches may seem to have minimised the gravity of the situation regarding the young woman who asked police to investigate the complaint of sexual assault against the Malaysian diplomat.

“I have reviewed the tape and I accept that my comments were not helpful at all.

“Sexual assault IS a big deal, and I applaud Tania Rose Billingsley for her brave and courageous appearance on television last night.”

It’s good of Harawira to acknowledge his mistake and apologise for it.

Warmest June On Record

June Climate Summary – Warmest June On Record
Wednesday, 2 July 2014, 4:56 pm
Press Release: NIWA

NIWA is today officially announcing that New Zealanders have just experienced the warmest June since records began in 1909.

The June Climate Summary…
Highlights include:
• An exceptionally warm start to winter
• Dozens of climate stations placed in the top four for warmest June ever recorded
• Nationwide average temperature in June 2014 was 10.3°C surpassing the previous record for warmest June in 2003.
• There have now been nine Junes since 1909 where the departure from average has been greater than 1.0°C.
• Of those 9 instances, 5 have occurred since the year 2000 and 8 since the year 1970.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1407/S00007/june-climate-summary-warmest-june-on-record.htm

Here in Dunedin temperatures have plummeted today but June had seemed abnormally mild. Daffodils coming up, fruit trees starting to blossom, unseasonal buds and flowers all over the place. They might get knocked back a bit now but if winter hasn’t hit properly until July it doesn’t feel like it will be a hard or a long one.

Brief Summary

Full summary: Climate_Summary_June_2014.docx

China’s huge building boom compared to USA

Huffington Post points out a how huge China’s building programme has been in Bill Gates Just Blew Our Minds In A Single Tweet.

@BillGates

The most staggering statistic in @VaclavSmil’s new book: http://b-gat.es/1oYsC7G 

This points to:

Huff Post also point out:

Between 1901 and 2000, the U.S. built an entire interstate highway system, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam and just about all of its skyscrapers — to name just a few concrete-intensive things. China did all that, and almost half again, in just three years.

That’s massive in comparison.

UPDATE: One of the costs.

Key on possible election alliances

John Key talked to Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith today about possible alliances with other parties.

Leighton Smith: The post election alliances, the parties you’re prepared to work with, when are you going to announce that and let’s do it now.

John Key: So what we did at the start of the year, which is probably more than anyone else has done, we sat  there and we said look, we’ve got some parties we can work with, we’ve worked well with United, Act and the Maori Party over the last six years and we’re happy to work with them again in the future.

We think we could work with the Conservatives if they make it, and we’d be prepared to have discussions with Winston Peters if he wanted to.

So that sort of gives people an indication of who we can and who we can’t work with.

You know what sort of accommodations we may or may not so, look we’ll make some decisions on that a bit nearer the time.

Obviously the particular issues are Epsom when it comes to Act, Ohariu when it comes to United, and whether we find some way of accommodation Colin Craig

Leighton Smith: It would appear as far as Colin Craig is concerned that you’ve run out of options…

John Key: Not necessarily…

Leighton Smith: …according to Mark Mitchell…

John Key: yeah, yeah well no I don’t think that’s right, in the end, National obviously believes that we’re the best party to be the governing party of this country, and MMP’s a system that causes, that forces you to find coalitions.

So you know in the end New Zealand’s got a chance to test that out in 2011. What they said overwhelmingly like it or not was that they wanted to keep that system and it’s a system that drives coalitions.

So what I’ve tried to do and am keen to do is treat the electorate with some maturity and respect and say look rather than play games here’s roughly the combinations and you guys decide.

Now when it comes to the Conservatives, they’re in a bit of a different position to United and Act. You’ve got to remember both of those parties won their seat in their own right at times where National pretty heavily contested those seats. That’s not the case with the Conservatives but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t find a way through but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that we would.

Leighton Smith: When you say they won their seats where National contested them fairly heavily, you’re talking about about the original time or…

John Key: Yep. yeah I mean I accept that in 2011 we gave a very strong signal in Epsom for people to give their electorate vote to John Banks and the act Party and their party vote to National. Similarly in Wellington and Ohariu the same thing with United a pretty clear sort of view.

But I mean at the end of the day there’s nothing new about this, you hear David Cunliffe saying oh somehow there’s something odd about this. Well go back and trace  the history of it. Labour’s done the same thing with Alliance, they did the same thing with the Greens. there’s nothing new and in fact you’ve got you know Mana doing that with that Internet crowd at the moment.

Leighton Smith: So where would you think if there was a hole for Mr Craig, where would it most likely be?

John Key: Ah well I don’t honestly know because I haven’t really thought about it in great detail, but what I would say is look, in the end if we had to try and do some sort of deal, um then I’m sure we could find one, because in the end if, if, any member of our caucus will want the Government, National to be a part of the Government,  and in the end if that is what was required I’m sure they’d do it.

But I just wouldn’t jump to conclusions there because we’re a long way away from that position really with the Conservatives.

Leighton Smith: Right, but we’re not that far away, you are starting to run out of, well getting close to the wire…

John Key: Yeah we’re ninety nine days…

Leighton Smith: …it’s not that long, it’ll be gone in a flash.

John Key: Correct. But I mean don’t forget we’re in the position where we’re saying that. Labour on the other hand is saying well, you know, we’re going to work with Mana and Internet or whatever, um, Winston won’t tell you who he’ll work with and who he won’t, so  half the political parties are going to talk to you after the election, half of them will try and tell you one thing and do another, at least we’re going to be transparent.

So look, before the, well and truly before people are going to go to the polls they’ll have a sense of what we think makes sense.

Leighton Smith: Let me ask a question that’s been asked many times before and there’s a standard answer but, but, the possible combination of National and Labour. Is there any set of circumstances you could envisage where that could happen?

John Key: Well it’s happened in Germany, that’s ultimately…

Leighton Smith: I mean here though.

John Key: Yeah I know. Ah well I think no, um, but you look in a lot of ways, ah at times in the  history of the two parties they’ve been more similar, you know National’s been centre right and Labour’s been centre left.

This election is actually very unusual because you’ve got the Labour Party tracking a long way left and us staying very much in the centre, but I just don’t see that happening.

I think New Zealanders fundamentally want to have a choice, and I think they’d rather, they will probably, they’ve had a very canny way of making sure that there’ve been plenty of alternatives, or at least some alternatives to the um, ah, you know for the part that they’ve wanted to govern.

Leighton Smith: Just briefly cover this off for me. The election’s over. National is the biggest party with the most votes, marginally short of being able to pull together a coalition naturally, simply. We’re now into negotiations.

John Key: And that’s a very real possibility.

Leighton Smith: You’ve got, and you’ve got one or two parties that are sitting there, the mini parties that are sitting there hunting for the best deal that they get. Is it a case of government at any price? Or could you imagine a situation, literally imagine a situation where you would say no we’re not paying, we’re not going that far, we’re not paying that penalty. For instance let’s say that um Winston  wanted a Prime Ministerial sharing.

John Key: Ah yes, so there’d certainly be circumstances  where we’d just say no. And I think actually it’s be in the interests of the National Party to say no, because in reality if you did a deal that was so toxic that at the end of that three year period you unwound what I think has been the good work we’ve done in the last six years, ah then I think you’re failing the country and you’re failing your supporters.

For me it’s not Government at any price, um and I don’t think it’s practical to be starting to say well the Prime Ministership is something that we share around a bit like, you know, they player of the day.

Audio/video.

 

How Internet/Mana will appear on the ballot

Originally posted on Grumpollie:

I received this email from the very helpful folks at the Electoral Commission today:

It appears that the proposal is for Internet and Mana parties to retain their status as registered parties, but a new umbrella party will be formed called ‘Internet Mana’. The Mana and Internet parties will be component parties of Internet Mana.

The new umbrella party must apply to be registered and must include a declaration that it has component parties. The umbrella party, as part of its application, will need to meet the requirements for registration, including providing evidence that it has 500 current financial members. The new party may also register a new logo for the umbrella party. This would need to be completed before writ day for the election which is 20 August 2014.

The umbrella party will contest the party vote by submitting a Party List. The Party will need to file a…

View original 256 more words

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