Coalition possibilities many and varied

The polls show that the election is up for grabs with a number of coalition possibilities, depending on the final vote of course.

Tracey Watkins summarises the state of play at Stuff and details Possible coalition line-ups after election.

National’s options:

❏ National in coalition with NZ First.

Key’s preference would be to have Winston Peters on one side of him and allies including ACT, UnitedFuture and the Maori Party on the other to give himself options to move to either the Left or Right. But Peters is jealous of his rivals and might make it a condition that the others be kept out in the cold. Key has made it clear the deputy prime ministership would be on the table, but Peters’ previous record as foreign affairs minister would make that an obvious job. Senior Nats have also mused about the Speakership but Peters has so far rubbished that. National would have to make some concessions on foreign investment but could probably live with modest tinkering. Peters has also put tackling exports, immigration, poverty and unemployment on his shopping list. A key sticking point might be tax cuts – National has promised them in its third term, Peters say they are unaffordable.

❏ National in coalition with Colin Craig’s Conservatives.

National’s preference would be a deal in which the Conservatives offer confidence and supply but don’t receive any ministerial portfolios. Craig has previously suggested this would be his preference as well, but a rush of blood to the head once the corridors of power are opened to him could see the Conservative Party leader attempt to drive a harder bargain. If forced to rely on Craig Key’s preference would be to keep his distance – meaning he might try to strike a deal with Peters as well. Craig has made binding referendums a bottom line of his support but has left the door open for a way around that by allowing for a financial veto.

❏ National and the Greens.

The Greens and Key have all but ruled this out  – but after a mad election campaign anything is possible. If the Greens were able to wring significant concessions and pivotal portfolios out of National would they cross the line? Unlikely, maybe even impossible – but never say never.

In 2011 National got 47.31% of the vote and were able to make a majority with two seats from ACT and UnitedFuture. A repeat is a possibility  but it would be a little surprising if National equalled or surpassed their record high of last election.

Labour’s options.

❏ Labour and the Greens.

On current polling Labour is too weak to make this option viable. If it got across the line the Greens would want significant concessions and key portfolios including finance. Cunliffe has ruled that out but would have to concede economic development or similar. New Zealand might also see its first co-deputy prime ministership.

Labour and the Greens are promising sweeping reforms on everything from taxes, to the way the Reserve Bank operates, regulating the housing markets, a massive programme to build affordable houses and more interventionist policies to encourage the growth of a smart, green economy. A capital gains tax to rein in the housing market, raising the pension age and universal KiwiSaver all signal a big shift away from the status quo.

❏ Labour, the Greens and NZ First.

The last time Labour was in government with NZ First the Greens were locked out of any power sharing deal at Peters’ insistence. They are much too strong to allow that to happen this time round and Peters’ rhetoric around the Greens has mellowed in recent times in recognition of that reality. On policy, this grouping seems reasonably compatible – they are in sync on issues including foreign investment and monetary policy, but Peters would refuse to deal unless Labour scrapped its plan to raise the age of eligibility for superannuation.

❏ Labour, the Greens, NZ First and Internet-Mana.

If Hone Harawira holds his Te Tai Tokerau seat Labour may not have the numbers to govern without the Internet-Mana Party to get it over the line. Cunliffe has stressed that he has no intention of doing a coalition deal with IMP but is banking on having the minor party’s votes all the same. He is banking that it will have nowhere else to go since it is unlikely Harawira would ever back a National government.

Voter’s options: many and varied – if you haven’t voted you can help make something happen.

Final pre-election poll results

All five polls have been published in the final week of the election campaign.

Stuff/IPSOS
No polling period given, poll date 17 September

  • National 47.7% (-5.1)
  • Labour 26.1% (+3.7))
  • Greens 12.0% (-1.0)
  • New Zealand First 6.6% (+2.2)
  • Conservative Party 4.5% (+0.9)
  • Maori Party 1.0% (+0.7)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0.9% (-0.5)
  • Act NZ 0.3% (-0.4)
  • United Future 0 (no change)

Poll results and poll report: Tight race ahead for Key and Cunliffe

Our poll provides a maximum sampling error of +/-3.1%-point, at the 95% confidence level. This means we can be 95% confident that the survey results are within 3.1% of the result had we surveyed the entire population of the NZ population, when the analysis is based on all respondents surveyed.

One News/Colmar Brunton
13-17 September

  • National 45.1% (-1)
  • Labour 25.2% no change)
  • Greens 12.5% (-2)
  • New Zealand First 8.1% (+1)
  • Conservative Party 4.4% (+0.4)
  • Maori Party 1.6% (+0.8)
  • Internet-Mana Party 1.8% (+0.4)
  • Act NZ 0.6%
  • United Future 0

Summary and Detailed Report (PDF)

The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level. This is the sampling error for a result around 50%. Results higher and lower than 50% have a smaller sampling error. For example, results around 10% and 5% have sampling errors of approximately ±1.9% points and ±1.4% points respectively, at the 95% confidence level.

NZ Herald/Digipoll
11-17 September

  • National 48.2% (-0.4)
  • Labour 25.9% (+1.3)
  • Green 11.1% (-0.4)
  • NZ First 8.4% (+0.3)
  • Conservatives 3.3% (-0.5)
  • Internet-Mana 1.0% (-1.3)
  • Maori 1.1% (+0.4)
  • ACT 0.5% (+0.2)
  • UnitedFuture O.2% (+0.2)

Pre-poll report: DigiPoll: Conservatives fail to make 5 per cent threshold – again

Poll report: Moment of Truth gifts Team Key a late bounce in polls

The poll of 775 eligible voters was conducted between September 11 – 17 The Party Vote is of decided voters only. Undecided voters were 5.6 per cent. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

“The Moment of truth” split:

The Kim Dotcom-inspired event in Auckland’s Town Hall that was supposed to end John Key’s career gave the National Party an immediate bounce in support this week, according to polling for the last Herald DigiPoll survey.

With 60 per cent of the poll done by Monday night, when the event happened, National was polling at 47.8 per cent, down on last week, said DigiPoll general manager Nandan Modak. From Tuesday it jumped to 49.1 per cent.

3 News/Reid Research
September 9-15

  • National 44.5% (-2.2)
  • Labour 25.6% (-0.5)
  • Greens 14.4% (+1.4)
  • New Zealand First 7.1% (+1.2)
  • Conservative Party 4.9% (+0.2)
  • Maori Party 1.1% (-0.2)
  • Internet-Mana Party 2.0% (0.3)
  • Act NZ 0.1% (-0.2)
  • United Future 0.1%

Report: Poll: Winston holds balance of power
(it’s far to close to call specific outcomes with Conservatives on 4.9% which is teetering either way)

Poll of 1000 voters was taken between September 9 and 15 with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. 

Result table: http://www.reidresearch.co.nz/TV3+POLL+RESULTS.html

Roy Morgan:
September 1-14

  • National 46.5% (+1.5)
  • Labour 24.0% (-2.0)
  • Greens 13.5% (-2.5)
  • New Zealand First 8.0% (+2.0)
  • Conservative Party 3.5% (no change)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (+ 1.0)
  • Internet-Mana Party 1.0% (no change)
  • Act NZ 0.5% (-0.5)
  • United Future 0.5% (+0.5)
  • Independent/ Others 1.0% (no change)

Roy Morgan rounds to the nearest 0.5%

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 935 electors from September 1-14, 2014. Of all electors surveyed 5% (up 1.5%) didn’t name a party.

D-Day versus Key-Day

Tonight Kim Dotcom will have his big time in his own spotlight, an event he calls “The Moment of Truth”. He is trying to place himself on the same pedestal as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – they have one thing in common, they are all being sought by countries for extradition and prosecution, but beyond that Dotcom is an odd associate.

John Key has created a climate of doubt that it will be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so media will not just be broadcasting the supposed revelations unchallenged, they will be looking for Key’s response. That was a smart play by Key who has had months to prepare for this.

Dotcom may have sidelined himself by bringing Glenn Grenwald to New Zealand to headline his show with supposed revelations that our GCSB has been undertaking mass surveillance on us.

Greenwald is usually labeled a journalist – and his Pulitzer prize is often mentioned – but he is also a side taking political activist. In his own words in a recent interview for Metro:

I’ve been very clear that I’m not neutral on the question of mass surveillance. It’s dangerous and I oppose it. I’m supportive of political parties around the world that have made it an important part of their platform to work against it, whether it be the Green Party in Europe or the Green Party here, or the Internet Party, or the Techno Pirate party in Sweden.

He has deliberately chosen to reveal what he claims during our election for “maximum impact”.

I think it’s entirely legitimate for a journalist to think about how to maximise public awareness of the reporting that you’re doing. And I knew that by physically travelling here, at this time, when the citizenry is most engaged politically, that would present an excellent opportunity to bring as much attention as possible to these matters.

That sounds more like political activism, and interference in a country’s democratic process.

Key has upped the ante prior to the show, putting his political credibility and probably his political future on the line. Andrea Vance reports at Stuff:

Greenwald says the Government hasn’t been truthful about the GCSB legislation, which passed into law in August 2013.

Key insists Greenwald is “absolutely wrong”.

“He said the GCSB is undertaking mass surveillance against New Zealanders. They are not. There is no ambiguity, no middle ground. I’m right, he’s wrong.”

He says he has documents, including a Cabinet paper, to back his claims. But he won’t release them until Greenwald reveals what he has. And he accused the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist of playing politics, by staging a “sound and light show” with Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom, just days before the election.

Greenwald will join Dotcom at a “Moment of Truth” event tonight in Auckland, where he is set to detail his claims about the GCSB.

Key claims the Snowden documents tell only half the story – that Cabinet signed off proposals for the GCSB to investigate “widespread cyber protection” in early 2012 after two “significant” cyber attacks on Kiwi companies.

But he says that after a year he stopped the work as an internal review unearthed a raft of problems at the agency.

Despite Key’s counter attack Greenwald remains staunch that what he doesn’t know won’t affect the impact of his accusations. He is backing is part of ‘the truth’ being enough truth.

Despite no other world leaders disputing Greenwald’s previous disclosures about other countries in the Five Eyes alliance, Key said: “He’s absolutely wrong . . . he’s releasing hacked information which is presenting a picture which is completely incomplete . . . what I can say to New Zealanders is do not believe them.”

Key looks to be well prepared. It’s not known yet how well prepared Greenwald is to have his allegations strongly challenged. He may have come here thinking New Zealand would be an easy hit after his efforts with the USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

We will have to see what Greenwald produces tonight, and then what Key counters with. Waiting for Key’s response will diffuse the impact of the show tonight.

Dotcom is also going to try and prove Key wrong, but his cases have been overshadowed by his big-noting with international anti-surveillance activists. Whether Key knew Dotcom before he has claimed, just prior to the Dotcom raid, seems relatively trivial.

Dotcom also wants to prove he was granted residency in New Zealand to make it easier for the US to extradite him supposedly at the request of Hollywood.

John Armstrong says that Dotcom’s credibility is also on the line in Dotcom’s last chance to shine.

It is delivery time for Kim Dotcom. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. He must deliver the irrefutable evidence that he has repeatedly promised to show that the Prime Minister has not told the truth.

Dotcom’s “moment of truth” must be a moment of proof. He must prove that the Prime Minister has not been straight with the public, firstly regarding exactly when he became aware of the Megaupload mogul and, secondly, that the intelligence agencies for which John Key has ministerial responsibility have conducted mass surveillance.

There can be no room for doubt. There can be no reliance on the circumstantial. There can be no shifting of goalposts by saying the fuss is all really about New Zealand spying on other countries.

If tonight exposes Dotcom as nothing more than a big-noting charlatan who has attempted to hijack the electoral system, then the public backlash could be withering.

Dishing the dirt on Key in the last week of the campaign may have seemed a clever move when the idea was first mooted within internet-Mana. It may yet be the the final humiliation for the parties of the left in an election campaign that has been turning into a disaster for them.

Key will also be prepared for this.

In founding and financing a political party Dotcom has a stated aim of bringing down Key and the National Government. This already looks like having backfired, with National looking reasonably strong and the Internet-Mana Party failing to attract substantial support.

It’s possible Dotcom will land a big hit on Key tonight, but it could as easily benefit Key and National more than it hurts them, especially if Dotcom’s fireworks are a fizzer.

This campaign circus will make it very difficult for an already failing Labour and other parties to get any worthwhile attention in the final days leading up to the election.

Some on the left are hoping Dotcom will rescue a desperate situation for them. They are betting the election on Greenwald’s cards and have already shown they are prepared to take Glenn’s gospel as the whole truth and the only truth. They are already convinced Key is a liar so will disregard anything he says as usual.

The election that has been taken over by international political activists and a German trying desperately to stay in New Zealand to avoid prosecution in the US.

But voters across the spectrum get to make the final judgement on Saturday. The final polls over the next couple of days may be less able than usual to predict what might happen, they will not reflect what comes out of tonight’s “moment of truth” and the ensuing counter truths and arguments.

Dotcom’s big day has arrived. Key looks confident and well prepared.

We will never get the full truth from either side, but the country will judge Dotcom and Greenwald (most Kiwis won’t have heard of him) versus one of New Zealand’s most popular Prime Ministers ever.

Today is D-Day. Saturday is Key-Day, one way or another.

Two weeks – what can happen now?

A lot can happen in the last two weeks of a campaign, and this election has more drama than Shortland Street, absent the soap (things are still dirty).

It has been common in the past for significant moves to happen late. This campaign has been different with the early injection of the ‘Dirty Politics’ book and ensuing distraction. Political integrity is important but dropping a left handed grenade into a campaign has had unexpected results with an apparent firm up of support for National and Labour slipping.

Kim Dotcom is promising more drama in the final week (his town hall meeting is scheduled for Monday 15) but that may be too late and could as easily help National’s chances as score a hit. A fear of a government dictated to by Internet-Mana could be the Right’s best chance of retaining power.

National seem to have recovered from Dirty Politics (according to polls) but dropped back in the final run up to the last election. It’s expected they will struggle to match last elections record high of 47.31% and will almost certainly need some help from multiple parties to make it again. Polling about double Labour still puts National in the box seat.

Labour don’t appear to have been helped by Dirty Politics and are slipping in the polls. David Cunliffe seems to be failing to impress and was flailing over Labour’s Capital Gains Tax this week. Can Labour areest their decline or will their vote collapse as it did for National in 2002? Not a good position for them.

Greens have had occasional high (16%) and low (9%) poll results but seem to have firmed support around 12%. They will be mindful of their past drops from the polls to their election result but are likely to be excluded from any dramatics so just need to stick to their fundamentals (which they are good at doing) to do at least reasonably well.

Unlike the last two elections when the outcome for NZ First was in serious doubt it seems like they are pretty much assured of remaining in Parliament, although Winston Peters is in a battle with Colin Craig this time which complicates things. There’s a bigger question over whether Peters will be ‘kingmaker’ or will have to make do with sitting on the cross benches again.

Conservatives are very well funded by Colin Craig and are much better prepared than last election. They are improving in polls but the big unknown (until election night) is whether they will make the 5% threshold. It could be a close run result for them – and the outcome of this could make a big difference to coalition options available to National.

Internet-Mana are also very well funded and the initially made promising poll gains but seem to have hit a brick wall. Kim Dotcom looms large over the party and is both biggest benefactor and biggest liability. His final week splash may dent John Key’s chances but it could also see Internet-Mana flounder. They were always relying on Hone Harawira to succeed but also need a few percent to get more than Laila Harre into Parliament. Unless they have a fresh new trick they may be a bit of a fizzer.

Maori Party could be the quiet achiever of this election. They had been written off by some but look in a good position to retain a seat or two at least. It’s also possible they could get a list seat or two for the first time. New leader Te Ururoa Flavell has been a refreshingly candid and natural performer in minor party debates. They could benefit from voters disappointed with Mana’s links with Dotcom.

ACT look to be struggling outside of Epsom. Unless they find a new formula and attract party vote interest they look like they could end up in the unusual position of having a seat in parliament but their leader missing out. They might come up with something but there’s no sign of it yet.

UnitedFuture is more than ever relying on Peter Dunne retaining Ohariu, which looks likely. Otherwise the party is failing to rate. They keep targeting outdoors, hunting and fishing voters but that has been a very unreliable constituency for them.

The other parties are written off before they start by media so have a hopeless task other than to pick up a handful of loyal votes and perhaps some protest votes for parties like Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and The Citizen Party.

Incumbent parties have a significant advantage and that’s helped by media picking and rejecting losers and giving likely winners a big help.

The main factors in the last two weeks:

  • National securing it’s position as a reliable financial administrator and scaring voters off the alternative – balanced against whether a Key/Ede or Dotcom bombshell could be damaging.
  • Labour trying not to collapse (it’s hard to see them suddenly becoming popular)
  • Will Conservatives make the threshold (and to a lesser extent will NZ First survive thew threshold).

Greens are the least tainted and best organised party holding firm but look like being wholly dependent on other parties, and their biggest hope, Labour, may have already decided Green’s fate.

And possibly the biggest factor is which voters will turn out to vote and which ones will give up in disinterest or disgust.

Party opening addresses

ACT Party:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R071SJYRxiU

Internet-Mana Party

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OYTACE7X9KI

Green Party:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3Nqisrbw8IA

Labour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H0hmCt_OPrM

National Party

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=945177312164531

NZ Independent Coalition

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rySAF433HZQ

UnitedFuture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=M0uaEHuxOVQ

Democrats for Social Credit

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejXml70cVpE

Haven’t found yet:

Maori Party

NZ First

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.

Standard election authorisation notice

The Standard is trying to cover electoral advertising rules by having it’s own authorisation notice. This may not cover all authors and posts.

The Electoral Commission on the ‘regulated period’ for the upcoming election.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE REGULATED PERIOD

The regulated period for the 2014 General Election will start on 20 June 2014 and ends with the close of the day before election day (19 September 2014).

What is the significance of the regulated period? This can be a source of confusion. The answer is that it is significant for election expenses and Parliamentary Service funding.

In terms of election expenses the regulated period is the period during which the expenditure limits for parties and candidates operate. Currently these limits are: $25,700 for candidates and $1.091 million plus $25,700 per electorate contested for parties.

However, it is not the only time that the other rules regarding election advertising apply. The requirement for a promoter statement and the requirement for written authorisation to promote a party or candidate apply at all times.

A post in typical lprent fashion at The Standard:

Time to do the authorisation notice

This site frequently has opinions from authors and comments promoting promoting political positions and telling people who they should vote for or not vote for, and why.

Because of whining in previous election periods by some of the more obnoxious fools around the blogosphere, you’ll notice that we now have a notice at the bottom of the site.

Here’s an example of some whining by an obnoxious fool (love the irony) coming up to a previous election period, in July 2008 – Why is Labour so hypocritical on transparency?

Then in 2007  burst into life. They would have you believe it is a totally independent collection of activists who just happen to not like National. The reality is somewhat different.

The Standard says they are all independent bloggers. However the following e-mail has been forwarded onto me:

From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Date: 11 June 2008 12:24:42 PM
To: labourmembersofparliament@parliament.govt.nz
Cc: pm@ministers.govt.nz, mike.williams@labour.org.nz
Subject: The Standard Blog

Dear all

I have a serious issue to raise with you all. It has come to my attention that two Ministerial staffers – Chris Elder and Andrew Kirton, both political employees – are blogging anonymously at the Labour-hosted, anti-John Key blog the Standard, http://www.thestandard.org.nz.

Given that a large number of these posts (most notably those by Chris Elder or all_your_base, a communications staffer on the ninth floor) occur during office hours, do you all believe it is appropriate that political employees are spending their time blogging anonymously? Is this approved behaviour?

Kind regards

xxxxxxx xxxxxx

After I was forwarded a copy of the e-mail by a parliamentary staffer, I asked the e-mailer the basis of the information, the e-mailer replied “A young Labour person I know who is also a blogger”

It has in fact long been speculated that Elder blogged as All-your-base as this was allegedly a favourite saying of his (referring to the tag line of a famous hacking group). He has denied being involved with The Standard, and it is of course impossible to prove or disprove without computer logs.

But it is likely that two of the bloggers are Beehive communications employees, and a third is the Labour Party Head Office Communications Manager. A fourth and maybe a fifth are employed by the EPMU – Labour’s largest affiliated union.

The Standard still promotes itself as a collective of independent activists, although admitted at one stage

We set The Standard up as an independent left-wing blog in August last year. As you probably remember by about November our traffic had got so large our server was crashing every day, sometimes for hours at a time. We put out a call and at the end of last year someone from Labour emailed us and offered us some temporary server space until we worked something out.

They have worked that out long ago and have also worked out a number of operation matters. Pseudonymous authors have come and gone. Like ‘Zetetic’, who coincidentally posted not long after lprent.

John Key on Iraq in the Herald today:

We are not a country out there looking for a fight.

John Key on Iraq 2003:

That links to a video on Youtube that was first uploaded leading into the 2008 election by ‘greenwoman’, who loaded seven videos around that time all critical of John Key. Zetetic must have a good memory.

Back to the lprent post that warns of the consequences of “comments left on our site”:

Thereafter I will consider that that comments left on our site about our conformance to the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 about any content on site will in themselves constitute unwanted advertisements on our site, and I will take the appropriate action. This is logical extension of our existing policy about handling people who try to tell us how to run our site.

Perpetrators will have their comments deleted and will be banned until after the election.

It’s interesting doing a search at The Standard on ‘banned until after the election’. The most serious offences tend to be challenging what authors post, speculating on the identity of authors and (allegedly) diverting from the message that authors want to promote.

From The Standard ‘About':

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

That links to:

The authors write for themselves with the following exceptions.

  1. If we are putting up material from a guest poster, then it will go up under “Guest Post” and may or may not have a name or pseudonym attached.
  2. If the site is reposting material from another site with no opinion or minimal opinion from an author, then it will go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features).
  3. There are some routine posts like the daily OpenMike that will also go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features) because they also offer no opinion.

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar.

One could imagine their barn door:

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar on debate we don’t like.

There’s been a number of other coincidental posts from the independent authors recently. Try this search:

http://thestandard.org.nz/?s=david+farrar&isopen=block&search_posts=true&search_sortby=date

lprent has frequently been accusing David Farrar of being a paid operative of the 9th floor of the Beehive.

It’s interesting that lprent has decided to put a blanket ‘authorisation notice’ on The Standard. But that’s under his own name.

The key messages are:

  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that election advertisements or election-related advertisements published at any time, in any medium, contain a promoter statement.
  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that any election advertisement that promotes any candidate and/or party has  been authorised in writing by the candidate and/or party secretary(s) before it is published/broadcast.

(Part 1 Election Advertising)

But lprent is registering as a ‘3rd party promoter':

1.3         Registered promoters

Any individual or group who is a third party promoter who spends, or intends to spend, over $12,300 (including GST) on election advertising during the regulated period (20 June to 19 September 2014) must register with the Electoral Commission. 

The following cannot be a registered promoter:

  • a constituency candidate,
  • a list candidate,
  • a  party,an overseas person,
  • a person involved in the administration of:

                – the affairs of a candidate in relation to the candidate’s election campaign, or

                – the affairs of the party.

http://www.elections.org.nz/third-party-handbook/part-1-third-party-promoters-and-parliamentary-elections

So he must not be involved in the affairs of any candidate or party (he has previously been involved with Labour and with Helen Clark).

What I don’t know is how lprent’s site authorisation statement affects anything that could potentially be posted or commented at The Standard by candidates, parties or persons involved in the administration of candidate or party election campaigns.

But it seems logical to me that parties, candidates and any person involved in the administration of campaigns would still need their own authorisation statements.

If they were being honest and transparent. lprent concludes his post:

In my opinion this policy should neatly eliminate some of the nuisances that we have had in previous elections.

It would be a nuisance if an author or commenter who disguises their connections and their intent by using a pseudonym would have to use an authorisation statement.

The use of pseudonyms at The Standard is strongly defended. It is explained that it doesn’t mean they are anonymous, the identities are known to the blog administrator.

So lprent should know which authors and posts may not be covered by his own authorisation statement, if any. He said:

So if you think that there are issues to do with how we have done this, you now have between now and prior to the start of 20th of June 2014 to comment in this post and only this post.

I can’t comment on his post, I’m currently banned from commenting at The Standard, but lprent will see this post. He could clarify by stating that any post at The Standard by anyone or on behalf of anyone associated with a candidate or party campaign will have it’s own authorisation notice.

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.

 

Poll volatility

The latest Roy Morgan poll continues a ‘trend’ of volatility for National and Greens this year and a lack of progress for Labour.

Roy Morgan polls so far this year:

National 43.5 47.0 48.0 48.5 45.5 43.0 48.5 42.5
Labour 33.5 33.0 30.0 30.5 31.5 32.0 28.5 31.0
Greens 12.5 11.0 12.0 10.5 14.0 13.0 11.5 14.5
NZ First 4.0 4.5 5.5 4.5 3.5 5.5 5.5 6.0
Conservative 2.5 1.5 1.0 2.5 1.5 2.5 2.0 0.5
Internet Party 0.5 1.0 1.5
Maori Party 2.0 1.5 0.5 1.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 1.0
Mana Party ^ 1.0 1.0 0.5 ^ 0.5 1.0 1.0
ACT ^ ^ 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
United Future 0.5 ^ 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.5

Rounded to 0.5
^ is less than 0.5

Party summaries with predicted election support range based on current performance:

National

This is the lowest they have been this year but dropped below this six times last year, with a lowest of 40.5 (April) and a peak of 51 (July).

This volatility suggests a significant number of voters are soft supporters of National, sometimes. National have benefited from a variable and often disappointing performance by Labour but their fold on power looks precarious.

Predicted election range 40-50

Labour

Labour have bounced back from a worrying 28.5 in the last poll but at 31 are still failing to impress. Last year’s low was 29 (July) and they peaked at 37 for two consecutive polls in September when Cunliffe took over leadership. Since then they have dropped to mostly low thirties.

While National (and Greens) fluctuate Labour have been more consistent but this is not where they want to be in the polls, totally reliant on Greens,  probably also reliant on NZ First and possibly also needing any mix of of Mana, Internet Party and Maori party.

Predicted election range 25-35

Greens

Greens are back to their peak, last reached in November last year but they got to 14 in March. They should be happy with this and look well prepared for the election. Their low last year was 10 in July.

They are benefiting in polls from Labour’s weaknesses but they are relying on Labour to do well enough to give them their first shot at being in Government.

Predicted election range 10-15

NZ First

NZ First are looking good for making the threshold this election. Last year they ranged from 3 (several times) to 6.5 (August) but in the past have done better in elections than polls. They are benefiting from Labour’s weaknesses and National’s missteps.

Predicted election range 5-10

Internet Party

The Internet Party keep nudging up in the third poll and will be satisfied with this progress. The big questions are how much they will climb to and what effect any arrangement with Mana may have. It’s difficult to predict how much big money and a big presence of someone who can’t stand for election will end up impacting.

Predicted election range 0-5

Maori Party

Last year’s range was 0.5 (January) to 2.5 (February and March), this year they have been 0.5 to 2.

The Maori Party has never needed to worry about party vote in the past, they have always got more seats than their proportional allocation by winning electorates. This will be much harder for them this year with some predicting difficulty winning any of them. At least one electorate looks likely but this may bring their party vote into play for the first time. Will they seek party votes?

Predicted election range 1-3

Mana Party

Mana have mostly been 0.5 or 1 this year and last but got to 1.5 in July and dipped below 0.25 this March.

Hone Harawira may or may not be challenged strongly by Kelvin Davis in Te Tai Tokerau. If he retains his electorate they are in.  otherwise everything is up in the air depending on what arrangement they may come to with the Internet Party.

Predicted election range – depends on any arrangement they may make with the Internet Party.

ACT

ACT are virtually a new party this year. They have struggled between 0 and 1 last year and so far this year. They have intellectual rather than charismatic leadership so may have to rely on retaining Epsom with a new and relatively unknown candidate. They will have to find something different to impress beyond that.

Predicted election range 0.5-1

UnitedFuture

United Future have polled 0 to 0.5 last year and so far this year apart from one blip to 1 in March last year. Most of their election efforts will go in to retaining Ohariu which Peter Dunne might manage to pull off but he has had a difficult term. Party support doesn’t look like changing unless they can change dramatically and look like something other than Dunne.

Predicted election range 0.5-1

Conservative Party

Conservatives should be worried about the last poll dropping to 0.5 although they have been there before, in January and September last year. They have reached 2.5 several times including two polls ago.

Colin Craig’s dithering over what electorate to contest, his apparent concession that they need to get 5% and the lack of any connection with National makes their election looking likely to be another expensive folly. Money may pull something out of the hat but there’s no sign of magic yet.

Predicted election range 0.5-3

Source (PDF)

Can the economy be fixed?

Josie Pagani asks Has National fixed the economy yet? and links to a website so she has gone to a bit of cost and effort to make a point:

http://www.hasnationalfixedtheeconomyyet.com/

Not surprisingly the answer is

NO.

The economy will never be fixed, especially using Josie’s parameters.

“Catching up to Australia” is unlikely to happen (as unlikely as Dunedin catching up on Auckland) unless Australia has a major crash that we avoid, and that’s also unlikely because our trade and our economy are very reliant on theirs.

However there are many indicators suggesting National has the economy on track to improvement.

South Island leads national recovery

A swell of optimism from the South Island is expected to drive record business activity throughout New Zealand this year, the ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms says.

Editorial: Economy focus for election year

All indicators and experts are pointing to a boomer year for the New Zealand economy in 2014 which, after about five years of gloom, cannot come a moment too soon.

Yesterday, HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the bank was predicting New Zealand would be the “rock star” economy this year, with growth outstripping most developed countries around the world.

While the upturn is being driven largely by the Christchurch reconstruction boom and high dairy prices, as opposed to widespread growth across a range of sectors, economic growth will shape the political conversation this election year.

The timing could not be any better for the National-led Government. Prime Minister John Key will play on his party’s credentials as a sound financial manager, pointing to the flourishing economy as the fruit of its firm hand, clear eyes and sensible policy. National will tell voters that a Labour/Greens Government would put all that at risk. It’s a compelling argument for middle New Zealand voters concerned primarily about pocket book issues.

The big question this election year is what impact a Labour-Green-Mana government would have on the economy compared to how it’s likely to go if National remain in charge. It’s a given that Labour-Green-Mana would increase government spending more, possibly substantially. It’s also likely they would increase taxes more.

Despite Josie’s effort to prove her leftish credentials she is fighting an uphill battle taking National on with the economy.

Likewise Labour, who have to somehow convince voters they can manage the economy better than National despite having high spending coalition partners Greens and Mana.

National may have some problems if they get too close to kooky Colin Craig but the Conservatives don’t appear to be a threat to the economy.

Which the voters prefer between National (and maybe Act, United Future and Conservatives) or Labour and Greens (plus maybe Mana) is this year’s election’s big question. If NZ First make the threshold they could go either way – but while Winston Peters may be a threat to coalition stability he is not seen as much as an economic threat.

Is the economy fixed yet? Is the weather fixed yet?

It looks like the sun is starting to shine on our economy. Talking up a storm on that will be difficult for Labour.

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