3 News poll – Paddy plays king-maker

Patrick Gower reported 3 News-Reid Research poll shows Peters as kingmaker  – he seems to have leapt over a number of lines between being a neutral reporter of facts and an open promoter of a selected politician with far less factual backing than he claims.

The first major poll of the election year can be summed up in one word – Winston.

NZ First couldn’t get a better promotion on that. Based on a poll taken in January with fortuitous timing for NZ First – the polling period began not long after John Key announced he would consider working with Winston Peters to form the next Government.

Even that was over-reported, Key made it clear other party options were preferred and doing something with Winston was “very unlikely”.

The 3 News-Reid Research poll has the New Zealand First leader in a familiar position as kingmaker.

Peters might struggle to remember when he was last a “kingmaker” – arguably that was in 2005 when Greens were squeezed out when Labour when with NZ First and United Future.

And Prime Minister John Key is in an unfamiliar and deeply uncomfortable position; National for the first time is in real danger of being thrown out of office.

Really Paddy? The 2011 election was very close – National ended up with a bare one vote that prevented them from being thrown out of office. Polls over the past two years have shown that the result of this year’s election is very hard to predict.

Governments are always in real danger of being thrown out of office. Labour and, ironically, Winston Peters have been doing whatever they can to have National thrown out of office right through this term.

  • Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little attacked Judith Collins.
  • Labour and Peters have piled on John Banks trying to force his resignation.
  • Labour and Peters have attacked Peter Dunne trying to force his resignation – Peters and Trevor Mallard tried again in Parliament last week making, again, accusations they have never supported with evidence.

I’m sure Key and National are very aware of how difficult it is to prevent being thrown out of office.

But Winston Peters is up and over the 5 percent mark. He gets into Parliament on that, and it simply changes everything.

He doesn’t get into Parliament on a single January poll result.

It changes nothing – it has widely been regarded as on the cards that NZ First will get back into Parliament, remember Paddy, they are there now.

As for the minor parties, Colin Craig’s Conservatives are on 2.1 percent.
Conservative 3 (predicted to win an electorate seat)

That’s simply a guess. Conservatives haven’t even announced where their money man Colin Craig might stand yet. It’s unknown whether National will assist a Conservative electorate win.

Ironically if National try and do an electorate deal with Craig one of the strongest campaigners against it will be Gower, he openly hates electorate deals and actively opposed them in Epsom in particular and also Ohariu last election.

But, and this is important, ACT Party is on zero, zilch – its lowest point. Peter Dunne is on zero too.

Of course zero is it’s lowest point. Both have both been on or close to zero in polls for yonks. Their party votes played little part in the last election result. It’s of interest but it’s not new.

“It’s going to be a very tight election,” says Mr Key.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge,” says Mr Cunliffe.

Just about everyone except Gower has been saying similar through this term. But a tight election in September and a lot of water under the bridge don’t make dramatic headlines in early February.

So some political journalists try to make a mountain headline out of a molehill poll.

But at the end of all that, it’s Mr Peters who will say yes or no.

Maybe, but there’s far more to it than that.

  • Voters have to say yes or no and NZ First has to make the 5% threshold in the election.
  • John Key has to say yes or no.
  • David Cunliffe has to say yes or no.
  • Winston Peters may then get an opportunity to say yes or no.
  • Other potential coalition partners may also get to say yes or no.

Despite that Gower is promoting Peters as a certain kingmaker.

It looks more like Gower is trying to make a king out of Peters. If he keeps promoting Peters like this then Gower make achieve his result – more kingmaker headlines after the election.

I have major concerns about how some political journalists make up news rather than report news.

The media is an essential component of our democratic system. The power of the media in politics has grown. Some journalists sometimes abuse that power – and they are not accountable to voters, only to their employers who are business owners with their own interests, not the fair running of an election.

Gower’s poll reporting has been highly questionable and has ignored many factors that may have contributed to this particular result, and he has instead chosen to play the kingmaker card.

This gives a perception that Paddy is playing kingmaker himself.  An ominous start to election year.

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5 Comments

  1. Peter Matthewson

     /  4th February 2014

    Thinking about our political parties, I thought I’d have a go at ranking them in order of my estimation of their integrity, this not necessarily correlating with whether I agree with their policies. So this is my order:
    – First equal: Maori Party, Greens, Mana, Conservatives (they may be wacky, but I have yet to see any sign that they are not honest)
    – 2nd: Labour
    – 3rd: United Future (on the assumption that Peter Dunne leaked the Kitteridge Report and has lied about it; leaking the report in itself could have been whistleblowing akin to Edward Snowden if John Key hadn’t been going to release it a couple of days later anyway)
    – 4th NZ First (it grieves me to place them this high however . . . )
    – 5th National (propelled to below NZ First by the sleazy Sky City pokies/convention centre deal)
    and at the bottom belong, drum roll . . .
    – 6th the Association of Consumers and Tax Evaders (leader facing charges for electoral fraud, previous law and order spokesperson convicted for identity theft and assault, former MP jailed for defrauding an educational foundation . . . . )
    Anyone else care to suggest an order??

    Reply
    • I’d question where you’ve put Labour. There internal integrity can be terrible, and Mallard in particular is highly questionable at times. He started the year making parliamentary protected accusations, another hit job attempt.

      Reply
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