Roy Morgan poll – National up

The second Roy Morgan poll since the election shows National recovering support and Labour languishing leaderless (Annette King is doing a reasonable job but just as deputy caretaker leader).

  • National 49.5% ( up 6% since early October)
  • Maori Party 1% (down 1%)
  • Act NZ 0.5% (unchanged)
  • United Future 0% (down 0.5%).
  • Labour Party 24% (up 1.5%)
  • Greens 14.5% (down 3%)
  • NZ First 6.5% (down 0.5%)

Parties outside Parliament:

  • Conservative Party 2% (down 3%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Independent/ Others 1.5% (up 1%)

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 866 electors from October 27 – November 9, 2014. Of all electors surveyed 2.5% (up 0.5%) didn’t name a party.

Does National have a mandate to sell state houses?

There is strong opposition to Nationals plans to sell some state houses into community ownership with a shift to more private social housing that would be subsidised by the Government.

In response to an interview with Paula Bennett on what the Government is looking at doing (details are currently vague) Labour’s Annette King said:

“Not once has the Government mentioned a partnership with local government in social housing as Labour had with Wellington City Council which saw hundreds of units refurbished.

“Nor has it said the money from selling these houses will be re-invested in the sector.

“People are living in cars and garages and in caravans in camping grounds. The Government doesn’t have a mandate for this asset sale.

And Green housing spokesperson Kevin Hague:

“This goes to show this is just about asset sales and not about improving the lives of the many New Zealanders who desperately need homes.

“John Key said he wouldn’t be selling our assets earlier this year but has been outed by his own Minister.

“You don’t just decide to sell a billion dollars worth of assets overnight, it’s implausible to think the Government didn’t have asset sales on their mind before the election.

“This is a typical example of an arrogant Government who think they can just slip an asset sale past the public without anyone noticing.

Is National being sneaky here? Do they have a mandate? This is there Policy 2014 – Social Housing:

National social housing 1

They claim to have passed legislation preparing the way for this.

National social housing 2While this doesn’t give specifics – Bennett says they are still working on detail – the general policy has been clearly signalled.

On Hager and “Dirty Politics and dirty politics

This follows the previous post On Slater and dirty politics and “Dirty Politics”

Was the hacking of Cameron Slater’s personal data a reactive attack on Slater by one individual that happened to uncover information that happened to make it’s way into Hager’s possession that was a useful coincidence as it supported an ongoing issue of interest to Hager?

Or was Hager a tool used by a black ops campaign by political operators to discredit Slater and bring down the Key Government?

How much was Nicky Hager a participant and how much was he a pawn?

It’s interesting to see a sequence of events as described by Hager in the preface to his book “Dirty Politics”.

  • Dirty Politics follows my earlier book, The Hollow Men, which told the story of the National Party from 2003 to 2006 under the former leader Don Brash. This sequel describes the years of John Key’s leadership between 2008 and 2014.

The Hollow Men doesn’t tell “the story of the National Party”, it tells a small part of the story based, coincidentally, on leaked or hacked information from Don Brash’s office. Dirty Politics does not describe “the years of John Key’s leadership”, it tries to make a story out of hacked personal communications of a small group of people.

The Hollow Men played a part in ending Don Brash’s leadership. Fran O’Sullivan wrote about the police investigation of the source data for the book.

It now seems abundantly clear Quinn’s pursuit of Hager’s sources was little more than a polite run around the traps. But the police had no qualms about obtaining a search warrant for the Herald on Sunday offices to try to get hold of a tape recording of the exclusive interview celebrity sports journalist Tony Veitch gave to its star columnist shortly after his bashing scandal became public.

Or about trying to force TV3 news host John Campbell into revealing the identity of the exclusive source on the theft of Victoria Cross medals from the army museum.

Harry Quinn resorted to neither measure. Bizarre really – police use the full extent of the law to retrieve information from professional journalists. But a political activist is a no-go zone.

This is frankly unacceptable in a democratic system where authorities like the police should be expected to get to the bottom of what was obviously a politically motivated burglary.

While the way the Brash data became available has not been proven it’s of note that some claims are that it was a politically motivated burglary.

Dirty Politics being a sequel suggests that it wasn’t a one off reporting of hacked data, it was a continuation of an ongoing anti-National campaign.

  • The origins of this book can be traced to a political event in October 2013, when extremely personal details of Auckland mayor Len Brown’s sexual affairs were published on the right wing blog site, Whale Oil.

The timing of those revelations seem to have been to try and overturn the result of the mayoral election.

Ironically Hager wrote “it became clear the exposé had been arranged by his political enemies to try and push him out of office and replace him with their own mayoral candidate”. Hager timed his book this year to try to push John Key out of Government.

  • In January of the following year (2014) I travelled to Dunedin for a conference, where I met a series of people who raised their concern about Cameron Slater, the Whale Oil blogger and son of a former National party president.

Hager was a keynote speaker at Surveillance, Copyright, Privacy: The End of the Open Internet. Conference Jan 30 – Feb 1, 2014 at Otago University.

Across the Internet, immense changes are affecting ordinary users with urgent implications both worldwide and locally. New Zealand has been the test case for changing practices surrounding copyright, surveillance, sovereignty and privacy.

The conference is designed to create an engaged, cross-disciplinary and critical dialogue regarding the intensification of control and policing of internet usage, including both commercial activity and democratic participation in New Zealand.

Amongst other things it coincidentally looked at online privacy.

Another keynote speaker was Vikram Kumar, who had been CEO of Kim Dotcom’s Mega company but just prior to the conference became Chief Executive of Dotcom’s new Internet Party. Dotcom and Slater had had a long running feud.

  • The third experience that led me to investigate Whale Oil and the growth of attack politics was an account I heard at a meeting in a major news organisation. The point of the meeting had been to discuss Slater and whether news resources should be allocated to scrutinising his activities. According to one of the people present, however, senior staff began expressing their fears about attracting attacks from Slater on themselves and their organisation. By the end of the meeting they had decided to do nothing.

That a major news organisation would not investigate someone for a “fears about attracting attacks” seems bizarre, and if true it is somewhat eyebrow raising.

According the above conference bio of Hager is “a regular contributor to the New Zealand newspaper Sunday Star-Times”. Slater has had ongoing battles with media, especially with NZ Herald and senior journalist there David Fisher.

  • Finally, in this same period, Slater hit the news after making yet another personal attack. A young West Coast man named Judd Hall had died when the car in which he was a passenger crashed off the road. Slater copied a newspaper article on his blog and casually headed it with “Feral died in Greymouth, did the world a favour”.
    More than any single thing Slater had written, it provoked a furious public reaction.

The sequence in Hager’s preface implies this followed the latter two of the previous events. He doesn’t date his media meeting.

But Slater’s “feral” attack was on Saturday 25th January, the week before the Otago conference. Hager doesn’t say it but surely it was a part of his discussions there.

Hager then writes:

This time, apparently, as part of the angry backlash to his West Coast comments, hackers targeted him. A ‘denial of service’ attack was launched against his blog site, overloading his server and shutting down his website for three days. It appears that online hackers also gained access to his computer. Thus an insensitive comment about a car accident victim may have led to the long-held secrets being revealed about Slater and his political collaborators: right up to the level of senior government ministers.

It’s possible a nasty attack by Slater provoked a spontaneous denial of service attack to cover a hack of his data (apparently one commonly goes with the other). The attack began about two days after Slater initiated the outrage.

It seemed odd at the time that an obviously angry group of people on the West Coast would launch an unprecedented denial of service and hack attack on a blog site.

After getting Whale Oil back online on January 30 Slater wrote:

What was then unleashed was literally hundreds of death threats and a social media bullying campaign. Ironically their behaviour online proved conclusively that there is a serious problem on the West Coast with a feral underclass.

What I said may have been offensive, but that is not illegal. What is illegal is issuing death threats and threats to rape my daughter. Furthermore a DDoS attack was also set upon my site in an effort to silence me. Whether or not it was connected to feral outrage remains to be seen.

Yes, whether or not it was connected to the outrage remains to be seen.

It seems more credible to assume that it was a cover to launch a previously planned attack and hack by someone or some people.

  • Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. On the USB were thousands of documents that revealed different parts of the National Party attack politics, a subject that until then had largely been a matter of speculation and denial.
    This was very different from my usual sources – I have not used this type of source before – but I believe not a single major news organisation in the country would turn down such fascinating and important material. Supplemented by National Party sources, it has allowed stories to be told that the public has a right to know.
    I had no part in obtaining the material and cannot say anything else about it’s origin.

The hacker Rawshark chose to release more hacked information after the book release, first via Twitter (@Whaledump) and then via major news organisations, including the Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald.

I have no reason to doubt Hager’s claim he played no direct part in hacking the data.

But some of Hager’s claims here are contradictory. In the preface ot his book he says “Some weeks later, out of the blue, I received a package: an 8 gigabyte USB digital storage device, the contents of which appeared to have originated from the attack on Slater’s website. “

But David Fisher at NZ Herald quoted Hager in August:

“I heard a rumour about someone who had some stuff,” says Hager, whose books on spies have generated contacts in IT circles. “He already had a plan in his mind to set up a Twitter account and splash it all out there.”

Hager says he spent weeks talking the person into letting him see the material and use it to build the narrative which became Dirty Politics. The hacker, says Hager, gave him everything. “I’ve seen everything. I’m 100 per cent sure.” The hacker then expressed a desire to keep back some material for himself. “We kind of negotiated how much,” he says. “I said ‘can I have all the political stuff’.” Hager got what he asked for and so, the book was written.

That doesn’t sound anything like “out of the blue”.

Hager wrote:

Thus the National Government had the political advantages both of the friendly face and the attack machine. Naturally this would not work if people could see both, so considerable effort went into hiding and denying these activities.

There seems to also be a lot of hiding and denying of things with Hager’s “Dirty Politics”.

But not everyone remains silent. Two days before the launch of Hager’s book left wing activist, blogger and big noter Martyn Bradbury posted:

Here are my 3 guesses on his book.

1 – Right wing spin doctors in Wellington will be crying harder than Matthew Hooton post the Hollow Men.
2 – We won’t hear from the Taxpayer Union for a while.
3 – This won’t be the only time Nicky makes an impact before the election.

When his “guesses” were queried he responded on Twitter:

pfft – Nicky contacted me months ago asking specific questions which helped my guesses – the lesson is read TDB

So Hager was researching amongst left wing activists, as Lyn Prentice has also admitted an involvement.

Perhaps if Hager had interviewed a few people, instead of just writing a book of one-sided allegations ABOUT them, based on STOLEN e mails, and published at a slightly less cynical time than a few weeks before the election, he might not be in this position today?

[lprent: Based on reading the blog posts of the various people that were referred to in the emails passed to him. You really can’t get much more independent that the actual actions of arseholes.

Plus doing a pretty widespread verification among many people who read those blogs and keep an eye on Slater, Odgen, Farrar, Ede, and others of that dirty brigade. Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.

Why would you ask Slater? He is currently saying that yes he made those statements in those emails, but that he was lying and bullshitting. What makes you think that he wouldn’t lie or bullshit to a journo or for that matter the police or a judge?]

“Like me and the score of people that I pointed to and introduced to Hagers people.”

Prentice has openly feuded with Slater. He is not an unbiased observer – in fact he seems to be claiming to be very involved in Hager’s book. Again here he admits being a party to the investigation:

There was extensive checking done before the publication of the book. I helped with putting people in contact with other people. We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof of how much of an arsehole that Cameron Slater and his friends were.

It just wasn’t done with the arsehole perpetrators. That was because they already had a port of redress if the material was wrong. The courts.

Is that what you are offended by. That the arseholes of the local blogs and their puppet masters in National and corporates weren’t warned?

Idiot. If Cameron Slater or Odger or Ede or anyone else wants to challenge the veracity of the emails and the conclusions of the book, then all they have to do is to use the courts. It is called a defamation suit.

You’d have to note that they don’t appear to be using it?

Of course they will then be up for cross examination and discovery motions. I can understand why that isn’t something that they want to face.

Obviously Hager wouldn’t work alone on this. He claims he discussed accessing the data for weeks with “the hacker”. Prentice claims to have played a significant part, along with others – “We’d long known what kinds of things were going on. We had just never had any proof .”

Who is “we”.

How much has Hager driven this? He has had an obvious interest in exposing National tactics for more than a decade.

Was the attack and hack a spontaneous reaction or a planned illegal action?

The identity of Rawshark is of obvious interest, but it’s reasonable to be suspicious of who else was involved.

Many people bore grudges against Slater – not surprising considering his mode of dirty politics – and there were obvious interests in defeating Key and National. There have been many comments online alluding to using any means that would be justified in achieving this.

Hager claimed that “a very high public interest” justified overriding “everyone has the right to keep their communications private”.

The election result suggests that Hager and others may have confused “very high left wing interest in defeating Key” with “very high public interest”.

Political activists often incorrectly presume their strong opinions and aims must be shared by most people so achieving those aims by any means is justified.

After the Left’s election disaster some activists bitterly criticised voters for getting things wrong and for being traitors.

There seems to be much more to this story than one civic minded journalist who chanced upon some evidence that happened to support a long running ant-National campaign.

It will be interesting to see what else is revealed over the next few months. Revelations are promised.

This leads into the next post, the third of three on this. Will “Dirty Politics be uncovered?

Key’s intention “in the interests of every New Zealanders”

An open letter from John Key outlines the Prime Minister’s aims and aspirations in his third term of Government:

Elections are a chance for people to assess what party has the best plan, policies and vision for the future. My assessment is that voters remain focused on the issues that matter to them and their families — the economy, law and order, health, education and the environment.

So although a lot of media attention can focus on peripheral issues, it takes a lot to distract voters from these core issues.

I am very grateful to the million plus voters who gave their party vote to National. Thank you for your support and encouragement — and the endorsement of the past six years.

An election is when people vote for a particular party; however the elected Government should work in the interests of every New Zealander and it is my intention to do so.

There will be times when people will disagree with decisions we make, but that is true of core supporters as well.

Over the past six years we have been transparent and straightforward about our decisions and the direction we have taken.

Although we are likely to have an outright majority in Parliament, that won’t change. We’ll continue to do what we said we would do, and will not embark on any agenda we have not campaigned on. We have been, and will remain, a centre-right Government.

Now we are reaching out to other political parties to form a bigger buffer than the one-seat majority from election night. This will give the Government depth and breadth.

Once we successfully negotiate the Confidence and Supply agreements, I will look at forming a new Cabinet. There are two vacant spots in the existing Cabinet, which gives us room to bring in new talent, and in some cases it makes sense to change portfolios around.

Although the core economic team of Bill English in Finance and Steven Joyce in Economic Development won’t change, there are options for Ministers looking for new challenges.

Once the Government is sworn in, we will be getting to work quickly on our priorities. These include implementing our education reforms to lift professional standards, and our housing programme, which will see young first-homebuyers build a deposit through KiwiSaver HomeStart.

We will also continue to fast track the release of land and building through special housing areas.

We will continue to diversify and build productivity in the economy. That’s about more training places and apprenticeships in high-skill areas.

We’d like to finalise our Free Trade Agreement with Korea and will work hard on an FTA with the United States and other partners who are looking to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The country’s infrastructure build will continue at a rapid rate, including the expansion of ultra-fast broadband and the rural broadband initiative. We will work tirelessly on Christchurch’s rebuild, finalise those unsettled Treaty of Waitangi claims, and I want to work on the referendum process for a potential change to the New Zealand flag.

Welfare reform will continue to be a priority, as will health. One of our first targets will be to see hospice funding increased to 70 per cent, and we will also speed up the cancer treatment process so 90 per cent of sufferers receive treatment within 62 days of their first referral.

One of the messages we picked up on the campaign trail was that New Zealanders want us to do more for the most vulnerable children in our society. We will continue to try to move people from welfare-based homes to work-based homes, however we acknowledge there is potentially more we can do and we will be looking at ways to do that.

There is enormous opportunity over the next three years to continue to develop the job market in New Zealand. Over the next two years we expect to see about 150,000 jobs created.

Over the next three years we expect the average wage to move from $55,000 to $62,000 and expect to lift the minimum wage every year we are in office. We want to finalise our tax-cut programme and implement modest cuts for low and middle income New Zealanders from 2017.

This is while we continue to build surpluses, pay off some nominal debt by 2017 and reduce ACC levies.

In the time I have been Prime Minister I have marvelled at the creativity, ingenuity and generosity of New Zealanders. This is a remarkable country and there are enormous opportunities for us all. I am optimistic and ambitious for this country — and you have every reason to be as well.

- Herald on Sunday

Predictable result

In the main the election result and sub-results were quite predictable.

Polls were a reasonable indicator but only look backwards so show trends that have happened. They can’t predict to late campaign shifts that are common.

This election was peculiar in that many decisions were put on hold until Kim Dotcom’s big reveal. When it came to nothing it strengthened resolve of swing voters to ensure National retained it’s hold on Government.

Labour dropping below poll results was not surprising. They were obviously not going to do well and non-committed voters either change their minds or simply don’t bother voting.

Claims like “but Cunliffe ran a good campaign” have been proven wrong. As David Shearer said, the end result was tragic for Labour. Cunliffe may have appeared to be campaigning strongly but he puts on a variety of acts. While they might be slick acts voters see through this lack of genuineness. Cunliffe also has a problem that is probably unresolvable – too many people simply don’t like his persona (or personas).

Greens will be disappointed to have struggled to maintain their level of support while Labour were shedding votes. Greens weren’t able to pick them up. This suggests that 10-12% is the upper limit for them. This also shouldn’t be surprising outside the Green bubble. People like to have a party promoting environmental issues but most don’t like the extreme Green stances like no drilling, no fracking, no motorways.

And Greens misread public sentiment if they think that handing out more money to poor people with no responsibilities applied will be popular. Middle New Zealand see this as imposing costs and taxes on them. Socialism is fringe ideology these days.

Winston Peters is adept at picking up protest and shedded votes. NZ First gained vote, gained MPs but otherwise gained nothing. Most of the 91% who didn’t vote NZ First will be happy with this outcome.

The 5% threshold always looked a very high hurdle for Conservatives and so it proved. This was a failure of MMP. The threshold should be no higher than 3%. I don’t personally support the Conservatives but their missing out is a travesty of democracy.

Hone Harawira losing his electorate was a bit of a shock but not really surprising given the severely compromised position of Harawira and Mana hitching their ambitions to Kim Dotcom. Dotcom’s expensive disaster was Harawira’s failing.

Internet-Mana was always a high risk alliance. They might have succeeded as a combined party but Dotcom realised too late that his brand was toxic and he couldn’t resist being prominent. His final week failure to deliver on his promises to hit John Key compounded the problem.

Laila Harre severely compromised her credibility and was still blind to this yesterday, blaming everything but reality. Her political future is very limited.

The Maori Party lost two of their three electorates as widely predicted. For the first time they had sufficient party vote to pick up a list seat to go with Te Ururoa Flavell’s retained seat. Flavell was a minor star of the campaign but will have a difficult job keeping the Maori Party afloat.

David Seymour retained Epsom as expected but also as expected ACT failed as a party. Jamie Whyte failed to step up as leader in a challenging attempt to rebuild a battered brand.

Peter Dunne held is Ohariu seat. That didn’t seem to surprise anyone but unrealistic Labourites from the electorate. As a party United Future was nowhere to be seen, and accordingly votes were nowhere to be seen, dropping to a third of the low return they got in 2011.

Just two more seats for National but this strengthens them substantially, giving them a majority vote on their own as long as they don’t lose any seats this term. They also have ACT, Dunne and Maori Party support options on standby.

Just two less seats for Labour and this weakens them substantially. The result is tragic for them and the outlook is no better. They have done very little to move on the old guard and bring in new talent. They seem out of touch with their constituency of last century. They have yet another failed leader with no obvious replacement. This was also predictable.

Labour have failed for six years to rebuild from the Clark/Cullen era. Unless someone out of the ordinary steps up their future looks bleak.

National campaigned on ‘steady as she goes’ and the voters delivered the platform for National to be a little more politically steady than expected providing outstanding issues don’t impact too much.

Judith Collins has already been sidelined and is expendable should inquiries further damage her.

Now the election is over ‘dirty politics’ should be addressed by Key. And by Labour. And to a lesser extent by Greens. Peters won’t change from his habit of attack without evidence but he will be largely impotent unless the media keep pandering to his baseless allegations.

Some embarrassments may emerge for Key and National out of surveillance and GCSB issues but they look to have been overplayed, and most people accept the need for some surveillance protection.

The simple fact is that most people don’t feel threatened by surveillance and they are concerned about about terrorism.

And it’s ironic that the supposedly net-savvy who campaign strongly against surveillance must be aware that the Google and Twitter and Facebook social media tools they willingly use are tracking what they do far more than any government.

But we can predict they will continue to fight for a free internet that gives them far more public exposure than they ever had. They claim that privacy is paramount in a very public online world.

Otherwise we can predict have much the same Government as we’ve had over the past six years. Most people will be comfortable with that.

It’s harder to predict if Harawira will make a comeback or if Mana will survive their battering and their harsh reality check.

If Dotcom pulls the plug on Internet Party funding it’s demise can be predicted. If that happens it can also be predicted that Laila Harre will find it very difficult to find another party that would risk being tainted by her lack of loyalty and sense.

It is not hard to predict that Labour’s struggle to be relevant and their lack of connection to anyone but some special interest groups will continue.

John Key has shown he is aware of the dangers to National of complacency and arrogance – it can be predicted that some of his MPs will struggle to heed his warnings. But most likely things will continue much as they have.

Peters torpedos left wing options

Winston Peters appeared to promote a Labour+NZ First coalition option yesterday but it looks more like a torpedo to the left, especially aimed at the Greens, perhaps to try and pick up votes from the debris.

The main question is whether Peters was trying to be noticed on a day that Kim Dotcom was sucking up most of the media attention, or if he was trying to slip a positioning statement in under cover of the big news of the day.

Peters put out a media release yesterday afternoon - Alternatives In Election 2014 which praised both Labour’s David Parker and National’s Bill English.

When David Parker was attacked by a former business partner, alleging a breach of the law by the Hon David Parker, I was the first MP to back David Parker because, over an extensive period of time, I believed that he was a man of honour and integrity.

Similarly, I have observed the Hon Bill English’s conduct regarding the allegations in “Dirty Politics” and his reserve in the defence of the Hon Judith Collins’s conduct.

In addition on the question of tax cuts by National, Mr English’s aversion to claiming that they were possible is further evidence for me, that like Mr Parker, he has a certain integrity and honour.

Consequently, I see both of them as capable of being Ministers of Finance.

By stating he would work with either Labour or National Peters appears to keep his coalition options open. But he also slams the Greens.

In this campaign the Green Party has twice, for reasons best known to them, in essence led an assault on the Labour Party.

“Of late the Greens have been talking about being co-deputy prime ministers and wanting the finance portfolio.

“Does that mean when the Prime Minister is abroad we are going to have two acting prime ministers instead.

“This situation would be farcical.

“If the Greens think they are going to take over the levers of economic management they are assuming other parties are not watching their record.

“This statement in no way challenges the Labour Party’s belief that in the right circumstances they could form an alternative government.

“Voters need to be disabused of the view promoted by the Greens that we in New Zealand First would stand by whilst they promote extremist policies in government.

“This is not indicating a choice but the media seem to have overlooked one option entirely, a Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply.

“This emerged in 2005, has precedent, and it was a stable, successful government that delivered the greatest surpluses in recent years.”

Things were considerably different in 2005 when Peters shut the Greens out of Government.

Labour got 41.1% (to National’s 39.1), NZ First got 5.72% and the Greens 5.3%. Labour and NZ First combined with United Future (2.67%) giving a total of 49.42%.

Current polling has Labour in the mid twenties and NZ First 4-8%. Even if a miracle happens and Labour recovered to 30%, and NZ First climbed to 10%, that gets only 40%, well short of a majority. Greens (polling 10-15%) would be essential to get over the line.

Labour+NZ First is likely to be closer to 35% and could go as low as 30%.

“A Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply” looks an unattainable option. Peters must know this.

If Peters rules out combining with the Greens as he appears to have done here then he has only two choices – a coalition with National (possibly alongside Conservatives if they make the threshold, giving National alternatives) or going on the cross benches.

Peters must see potential votes from Green bashing. He has u-turned on his word before but he has consistently avoided working in Government alongside the Greens.

This looks like a torpedo to the left, conceding a left wing coalition is extremely unlikely.

Three year campaign against the Government

We are nearing the end of what has been a near three year campaign against the Government – and remarkably despite all the attempts to disrupt and depose the polls indicate a probable return to a similar combination of parties in a National led government.

Dirty Politics has been just one of many attempts to shake National’s hold on power, with negative campaigning being prevalent.  Labour has tried an official Vote Positive campaign but proxies have continued the anti-Government action.

Anti-Government negative campaigning has included:

Anti-asset sales

Despite National’s ‘asset sales’ being only partial sales of three power companies and an increase in the number of private ownership in Air New Zealand – asset sale lite – there has been sustained campaigning against it through much of the term, including the hijacking of the Citizen Initiated Referendum process for political campaign purposes. National has managed to avoid this campaign continuing into this campaign proper.

John Banks

There has been a number of multi-party attempts to bring down John Banks to remove a pro-Government vote. This was eventually successful but too late to make much difference apart from forcing a renewal of ACT Party personnel. While the end result looks like being no immediate gain for ACT if David Seymour wins Epsom ACT may be in a better position than this term.

Peter Dunne

Although Peter Dunne’s temporary downfall was inflicted by a John key instigated leak inquiry there was a concerted attempt by Labour and particularly Winston Peters to convert this into an ousting of Dunne to again take an important mostly pro-Government vote out of the equation.

GCSB

Significant anti-GCSB campaigning was also anti-Government. This was mostly last year while the revised legislation passed through Parliament but there have been continued protests.

TPPA

Ongoing anti TPPA protests have also been anti-Government.

Education

Ongoing protests against Government education initiatives have continued through the term into the election campaign. This has included campaigning against National Standards, Charter Schools, Christchurch school restructuring and Expert Teacher implementations and proposals. Teacher organisations, especially Primary, are traditionally anti-National and have been running protests during the campaign targeting National.

Get Out The Vote campaigns

Too significant campaigns to get more people out to vote have significant left leanings, one organised by unions and the other by left leaning organisations. These have involved people with strong anti-National rhetoric.

Anti-Poverty

A number of organisations have run anti-poverty campaigns and continue to do this into the election campaign. These have been effectively anti-National.

John Key

Labour and left wing activists have tried to discredit John Key since he rose to take over leadership of National and this continued through the term and into this campaign. Despite Nicky Hager has claimed his Dirty Politics book was not politically motivated nor meddling in the election campaign his primary focus was dirty tricks from the top, implying John Key was directly and heavily involved. Insufficient evidence was produced and while rumours remain that a Jason Ede-Key smoking gun is going to be unleashed it hasn’t happened yet and Hager insists he had access to all the political material.

Judith Collins

Collins has been a target through the term, the email forcing her resignation as a minister only being an unexpected trigger. There were major attempts to discredit her over Oravida earlier this year with reported trips to China by Phil Goff and Winston Peters looking for dirt. In 2012 accusations from Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little resulted in defamation proceedings that were eventually settled out of court.

Kim Dotcom

Dotcom has been called a political wrecking ball. The raid on his residence and subsequent legal action has been linked to both Banks’ and Dunne’s problems, and he has had ongoing confrontations with John Key. This led to him piling millions of dollars into a political party aimed at defeating Key and National in this election. It seems to be more counter-productive with voters seemingly concerned about the very left leaning policies of Internet-Mana being a part of Government.

End Result

We won’t know the end result of all of this until the end of next week, or perhaps a week or two later if coalition negotiations take a while to determine the final makeup of the next Government.

But on current polls National’s steady-as-we-go minimal new policy approach looks to be more popular than the alternative.

The multi-faceted and sustained negative campaigning has so far failed.

Bad poll for National, Labour

The latest Roy Morgan poll has both National and Labour down into worrying territory with Greens and Conservatives being upwards movers:

  • National 45% (down 3%)
  • Greens 16% (up 4.5%)
  • Labour 26% (down 1.5%)
  • Maori Party 0.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Act NZ (1%, up 0.5%)
  • United Future 0% (down 0.5%)
  • NZ First 6% (down 0.5%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 1% (down 1.5%)
  • Conservative Party of NZ 3.5% (up 2.5%)
  • Independent/ Others is 1% (unchanged)

3% isn’t a huge move but 45% is into real worry territory for National, especially if it’s part of a downwards trend.

Labour appear to be either also tainted by Dirty Politics or just seen as crap. Greens are finally benefiting with their best result ever.

Internet-Mana seem to have lost traction while Conservatives are on the rise.

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 762 electors from August 18-31, 2014. Of all electors surveyed 3.5% (down 3%) didn’t name a party.

Results: http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/5767-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-september-3-2014-201409030312

PDF including table of results

Slater’s long game as good as pig shit

Cameron Slater has often claimed to be playing a ‘long game’, as he stated in a recent blog post: “You people know I play a long game.”

His ball is now seen as toxic and many people will have been rapidly re-assessing their willingness to play with him in the future.

His short game is in tatters with his friend Judith Collins’ career teetering on the edge of a cliff largely of Slater’s making. And National’s election chances have been severely dented, as noted by ‘Mark’ on Kiwiblog:

Key and the National leadership have very little time to try to get the election agenda back onto policy issues. The concept of a Labour/Greens coalition ruining the country is an awful prospect but thanks to Collins apparent indiscretions what looked highly unlikely is now becoming a very real threat

Despite Labour’s awful second term and Cunliffe’s inherent lack of popularity Collins and Slater may have achieved a defeat for National.

Also thanks to Slater Collins’ long game appears to be in tatters. She may be able to recover to Minister level but I doubt Key would giver her that back if National cling on. But Collins must have slipped down the National pecking order significantly, and any leadership ambitions must be burnt toast.

And Slater is toxic damaged goods. His revenue options must have been severely affected. And who in politics with serious ambitions would want to be seen to be associated with him. Apart from Collins the other MPs assisted by Slater and Lusk are remaining very quiet on any links. If they have any ambition or sense they will have cut their mentors off altogether.

When you keep abusing and kicking the referee, all the players of the other team and many players of your own team once the ball has burst as it has done future game prospects must be severely limited.

In a recent blog post Key’s not my guy either Slater wrote:

As Key knows, he’s not my guy either.

He also repeated something he often says:

You wrestle with pigs, two things are certain. You get dirty, and the pig likes it.

But sooner or later the number of people willing to go near or be associated with the sty will dry up.

On Q & A two weeks ago Slater seemed to suggest he was bigger than the current Prime Minister.

Susan Wood: You must realise now that from the Prime Minister’s perspective you’d be pretty toxic. He’ll be wanting to keep away from you to distance himself. Surely he will be doing that won’t he, and you’ll find yourself out in the cold?

Cameron Slater: It’s of no concern to me. Prime Ministers come, Prime Ministers go. You know in my lifetime I’ve met and dealt with almost every Prime Minister from Robert Muldoon till the present day. Long after John Key has disappeared from the political scene I’ll still be involved.

(Video)

What future Prime Minister or prospective party leader or Prime Minister would want to be associated with the dirty politics of Slater?

Slater has always been and remains unrepentant about his methods, but they must surely be consigned to a less than savoury part of our political history.

He may well be still involved in the political scene after Key has departed but his ambitions of being a major player must be as diminished as his credibility.

Bloggers come, bloggers go.

And hopefully the Slater style of dirty politics is as good as gone. It’s not the long game most people want in a decent modern democracy.

Slater may see his future as wrestling in mud but his long game is as good as pig shit.

The best election outcome

The best election outcome for the country is unlikely to happen, but it should be more carefully considered.

Labour don’t yet deserve to lead a Government. They have performed poorly through two terms in opposition. They are yet to clear out dead would and look like seriously rebuilding. They need more time to wake up and shape up.

National have done a reasonable job seeing the country through very difficult economic times. David Cunliffe conceded that in the leader’s debate.They have mostly competent ministers and a moderate approach and being far ahead of Labour in support (up to double) they are the logical option to lead Government again despite being under pressure from some quarters at the moment.

Winston Peters has proven yet again that he’s prepared to smear and make unsubstantiated accusations to hurt parties and ruin careers. He is throwing his dirt now and has done it through his return term. This approach doesn’t deserve political reward.

Conservatives, Internet-Mana and Act are all new and if they get into Parliament they need time to establish themselves and learn the ropes. They need time to earn a place in positions of ministerial responsibility Government.

The other significantly sized party is Greens. They are overdue for playing an active role in Government. They are very well organised and as prepared as any party could be to step up.

While many people like some Green input, especially on environmental and social issues, there’s a resistance to them having to much economic input. They haven’t been helped by Labour’s weakness – this has exaggerated the perception of how influential they would be. Hence they have struggled to raise their support since the last election.

I think a National-Green combination would be well balanced. Greens have all but ruled out considering this but if they did it would be their best chance of increasing support.

If Greens got 15% to Nationals 40-45% we would have a stable coalition. Most Green ministerial positions would be at associate level to let them gain experience at this level.

National’s prudent economic management could continue, with the added benefit of a sizable and vigorous voice for environmental and social considerations.

Greens more reasonable and principled approach would also help moderate the dirtier side of politics.

National would probably include UnitedFuture, ACT and Maori Party as bit players if they survive the election.

If this worked well and I see no reason why it wouldn’t this would benefit Greens in the longer term, to the extent that it could enable them to establish themselves as a political force alongside rather than subservient to Labour.

When National are inevitably voted out (although a successful Green+National arrangement could extend their reign) the Greens would have the experience to transition to a new coalition in a very strong position.

Greens have virtually ruled out working like this with National, but they made that stand months ago. Since then National have shown they need more holding to account for mistakes and dirty politics, Labour have slipped rather than recovered, Internet-Mana has injected a left wing component that is off putting to many, and Winston and his NZ First have proven less deserving of serious consideration than ever.

Greens and National would both benefit if they reconsidered their non-association stances.

And the resulting Government would be the best way for the country to benefit. What’s best for the country should be the primary consideration of the parties and the voters.

I think this would be a very popular (with voters) way out of the current mess.

If Greens reconsidered their current stance they could make a compelling case to go with National. Some of their activists may  spit tacks but they should consider the Maori Party ethos of it being better to be influential at the table than perpetually frustrated out in the cold.

If Tame Iti can learn and change and see the sense in this approach then surely the Greens could.

This is by far the best election outcome I can think of.

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