Labour can’t hide from poll reality

Rodney Hide adds another voice to those criticising Labour president Nigel Haworth for his claim that the polls tell Labour they are “on course to victory in 2017”.

Rodney Hide: Don’t mention the polls!

Spare a thought these summer holidays for Professor Nigel Haworth, President of the New Zealand Labour Party.

He has attempted to rally members and supporters with a missive declaring, “We’re finishing an excellent year in which the polls and popular feeling on the streets tells us that we are on course to victory in 2017”.

The polls a year on from their election defeat in 2011 had Labour and the Greens trailing National by 1 per cent. A year on from their 2014 defeat Labour and the Greens are trailing National 10 per cent.

The polls are worse for Labour than when David Shearer was leader.

We understand the need for positivity and talking the team up.

But positivity can’t be at the expense of reality. You can’t be 10 points down at half time and tell the team the scoreboard shows you winning. That’s delusional. That does nothing to rally the team.

How do the latest poll results compare to three years ago?

Last five poll results 2012:

  • National 45, 44, 47, 46.2, 45.5 – Average 45.54
  • Labour 31.5, 35, 34.6, 34.4, 33.5 – Average 33.8
  • Greens 13.5, 13, 12.9, 10.5, 11 – Average 12.18
  • NZ First 6.5, 3.6, 2, 3.8, 8 – Average 4.18

Last five poll results 2015:

  • National 47, 49, 46.7, 49, 51.3, 48.6 – Average 48.6
  • Labour 31, 29.5, 32.3, 28.5, 31.1 – Average 30.48
  • Greens 12, 12, 10.2, 13, 8.2 – Average 11.08
  • NZ First 9, 6, 7.5, 6, 5.7 – Average 6.84

National and NZ First are stronger now, Labour and Greens are weaker.

The only way Labour are guaranteed ‘victory’ in 2017 is in coalition with Greens. Which way NZ First would go will be unknown until after the election and it’s far from sure they would team up with Labour and Greens..

Consolidated averages end of 2012:

  • National 45.54
  • Labour+Greens 45.98
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First 50.16

Consolidated averages end of 2015:

  • National 48.6
  • Labour+Greens 41.56
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First 48.4

“We’re finishing an excellent year in which the polls and popular feeling on the streets tells us that we are on course to victory in 2017” sounds like ra-ra political bull.

It’s nearly two years until the next election and much could happen in that time. Hide points out that Labour could still succeed.

You can inspire the team telling them we can win, that we have done the hard yards and are well placed to win.

And in truth that’s Labour’s position. It can win the next election. It has done some hard yards and the team has settled down under Andrew Little’s leadership.

The polls this far out don’t matter much. They are certainly not a predictor of what will happen over the next two years.

But making claims that don’t stack up is not a good way of inspiring the team.

I fear that in slipping off the standards of academia Haworth has slipped a little too far. In discovering in politics no strict need for accuracy, he has thrown out facts and abandoned reality.

His failure to see where we are suggests he is unlikely to get us to where we would like to be. There’s a sense that Labour remains out of touch. Haworth’s rallying cry simply reinforces that view.

The perception they are out of touch is a significant issue for Labour.

Continuing to appear to be out of touch, like Haworth in party newsletters, tells us that Labour has to change fundamentally if they want to promote  their chances in 2017 and be believed.

Leave a comment


  1. kiwi guy

     /  3rd January 2016

    When the comrades this morning over at The Standard propaganda site describe their political opponents as a human virus, its pretty obvious nothing is going to change:

    “Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans…identifies a virulent strain of humans…”

    Typical of Marxist bigots, remember that Communist declared anyone who had unapproved political views was suffering from mental illness, and we all know what happened to them then…

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd January 2016

    A bunch of Lefty know-it-all know nothings have no business running a country.

  3. Timoti

     /  3rd January 2016

    Fun and games in leftie land.

    “Labour has to change fundamentally if they want to promote their chances in 2017 and be believed”.

    Quite true, except Little’s chances of changing fundamentals are slim. Too much progressive change will see him shoulder tapped by the unions and reminded of a few home truths. And then there’s that simmering hatred by Helen’s trolls who can’t stomach the uncouth blue collars who currently hold sway. They pray the earth will swallow Little, leaving Grant to assume his rightful place as leader of Rainbow Labour.

    I think its not so much Labour are ( appear) out of touch, more like National are implementing Labours game plan. That only leaves wriggle room for inanities like Nigel Haworth’s missive.

    Labours only chance? Pray for much ponytail pulling, rape jokes and radio station visits..
    But any political party relying on that to gain power, shouldn’t be in power.

  4. Little won’t be panicking yet. There’s lots of water to flow under the bridge. And if he can keep the internal squabbles under wraps, then its easy to see Labour polling at 35% which married to the Green’s 12% means game on.

    • There’s certainly no need to panic yet.

      But a problem for Labour is that when their poll results go up Greens often goes down.

      • spanish_tudor

         /  3rd January 2016

        Agreed PG, Labour really need to be polling at least 40% to have a realistic chance of forming a government. And those extra percentage points need to come straight from National, not from parties at the margins.

      • That’s very evident from the polls. The Nats are worryingly static as far as any major party switch is concerned. It needs to be remembered for a lot of the Nat’s tenure Labour has had seriously unstable leadership and stood all over the place for nothing in particular. Going on to be decimated in the last election, seen to be veering widely left and only able to form a govt with the likes of the despised Herr Dotcom.

        When will Laboir get they need the middle to move?

        Mythical missing million, bring on NZ’s brand of Corbynism, Key Derangement Syndrome are not Labour’s friends. What happened to Statesman? Why not try on board with flag change, steady hands on the tiller, considerably less cynicism, more pride for the national spirit and revelling in the secular respecting, rich and cultural diverse society we are. Personally, I could never vote for the Party that condemned our wider Chinese community by denouncing those with a Chinese surname as being a foreign despotic landowning predator. How they manage to bring those back on board who they alienated is a challenge. Stealing Peter’s voters is not a winner either.

        • Goldie

           /  3rd January 2016

          Well said Traveller.

          Twyford’s attempt to steal Winston Peters votes with his “Chinese are stealing our houses!” gambit was despicable. As a “game changer” is failed dismally. And Labour can kiss any future support from the Asian community goodbye. Bonus points for Labour ruining its previous proud reputation for being against any racism. I just shake my head at the sheer incompetence of this.

          What I find interesting about that that is that such a gambit must have been presented to Little and McCarten (and whoever else makes up Labour’s strategy team) by its two architects, Twyford and Salmond. It was obviously a very high risk gambit, so surely Little and McCarten would have questioned it carefully and asked about the research. And as soon as Rob Salmond said “I got a list and worked out names I thought sounded Chinese” Little and McCarten should have rolled around the floor laughing.

          And this is perhaps the biggest issue for me on the Chinese names issue. It is that such an obviously badly researched and ill conceived strategy was not only cooked up by Salmond and Twyford but it got the green light by Little and McCarten. If these complete fucking amateurs can devise and approve such an idiotic racist gambit, then I do not want them anywhere near the wheel of government. If Little, McCarten, Twyford and Salmond are capable of such bad research and poor decision-making now, then does anyone seriously want those same people making decisions as the Government?

          • At some stage it’s bound to happen I guess. It’s just so hard to see anyone even vaguely politically substantial among them. There’s an entire opposition dedicating themselves to slogans delivered with petulance. There’s nothing about them that conveys positivity for the future or reflects the needs or aspirations of the majority of Kiwis. It’s all factions and identity politics.

    • Timoti

       /  3rd January 2016

      I think Bills budget before the election will put payed to any ” Game On”.

    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  3rd January 2016

      Little is a train-smash ready to happen – totally unlikeable and unelectable (just look at his terrible election results in the New Plymouth ward, supposedly his home town…..). If Key goes for a fourth term against Little then watch Labours support slide during the election campaign trail as the spotlight shows up their leader.

      • Blazer

         /  3rd January 2016

        Key has been lucky so far..Clark -worn as..Cunliffe…blew it 1 on 1 ,still cant believe he fucked up so badly.Little is playing it too cautious..needs boldness..Key is a rehearsed and wave…K.I.SS ..and its working.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  3rd January 2016

          Underestimating your opponent is always unwise and you are doing just that.

          • Blazer

             /  3rd January 2016

            yes the Central bankers/Zionists are formidable…everyday around the world we see this.

  5. Aside from Blazer’s Rothschild-Zionist-Illuminati theory, which must surely involve the Papacy as well – as believable as any other explanation for history’s machinations – it does appear that while John Key occasionally shoots himself in the foot, Labour persist in repeatedly shooting themselves in the head.

    This may mean that Labour, accidently or by design, are resigning themselves to the political scrap heap, but since evolution is a recycling process this is as good as if they rejuvenate instead. The veges you don’t eat become compost for new veges.

    Any political party represents an agglomeration of human energy, psycho-emotional and physical, hopefully as free as possible from the herd instinct.
    If it doesn’t express itself as “Labour” it will do so by some other name.

    When such human energy reaches a tipping point, or perhaps “democratic majority”, things will change. This could take a while yet, because the “me” indoctrination, with its associated “us and them” mentality, is so firmly entrenched now.

    In my opinion Labour, or any other party with a “social responsibility” as well as “free enterprise” agenda, simply needs to appeal to the “we” in us.

    If by some miracle Labour, the Greens and NZ First could get together – get it together – and do this, we’d have a powerful opposition.

    Gosh the scoring is funny on here for an ostensibly centre-right blog!


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