Election choices narrowed, outcome wide open

It has been apparent for a while that election choices have narrowed for most people down to ‘reliable’ English National or ‘visionary’ Ardern/Labour.

The small parties are being virtually ignored, leaving the Maori Party, ACT and TOP scraping together a meagre amount of support.

Support for the Greens and NZ First has halved or more over the last month. The media barely gives the Greens any time now, and even Winston Peters is struggling to get any traction.

Jane Patterson at RNZ sums up:  Voters’ choice becoming clear as poll looms

As the campaign progresses, the differences between the two become ever more stark.

On policy they are divided on tax cuts, immigration, superannuation, abortion, capital gains tax and charter schools, but they do now agree on a target for reducing child poverty.

Style wise, Mr English is practical and pragmatic.

Ms Ardern talks a lot about values and vision.

There are growing signs that voters are considering change, but there is still uncertainty over what that change would be.

National’s pitch…

– a party that has the economy pumping along, especially when compared to economies around the world.

The weakness in that argument is not everyone is feeling the benefits, as evidenced by the focus on wage growth, poverty and inequality.

National is offering more of the same if that is what people want.

Labour is offering…

…vision and values, but the risk of that is leaving people feeling slightly vague about what that means.

But we are currently in an uncertain situation, so it’s difficult to predict which way swing voters will turn.

We know pretty much what we would get if National got back in with say ACT and the Maori Party making up the numbers.

We don’t know what we would get if National needs the support of Peters and NZ First. That depends on what is negotiated in a coalition agreement, and Peters continues to refuse to give any indications of even who he is likely to side with.

It also depends on whether a government with NZ First in it can survive a term intact. Peters has a history of turning coalitions to custard.

There is a lot more uncertainty with a Labour led government, beyond the vagueness of Ardern’s ‘vision’.

This isn’t as bad as it was a month ago when it looked like Greens or NZ First might have a big share of the vote and a big say. their sway has diminished significantly (but it may not stay this way).

Who knows what Labour-Green policy mix would be? Same for a Labour-NZ First mix.

And it gets more complicated if the Maori Party is needed with Labour+Greens, or if the only option is Labour+Greens+NZ First.

Ardern’s readiness for leading the country is also an issue. While many voters have shown an obvious interest in what Ardern has injected into the Labour campaign I think the swing jury is still out on whether she is ready to take over now, or needs a term at the top of Labour to prove herself.

There is also uncertainty over what other shock waves might hit the campaign.

Steven Joyce and National took a big risk attacking Labour over a so-called fiscal hole. It’ is too soon to know who is damaged the most by this.

It’s quite possible one big enough new issue could tip the voters one way or the other.

At the moment I think that uncertainty rules.

Many voters – polls show that quick and substantial shifts can happen – are watching, and waiting before they make up their minds. I think many are wondering whether there will be more big revelations or resignations or hit jobs.

This election has narrowed to being mainly a National versus Labour contest.

But the outcome remains wide open.

17 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  September 6, 2017

    what I don’t like about National is they are a reactive party.They also brought in 18 new taxes in this reign…so they are a taxing party.They are always interfering in the market with cosy deals and crony capitalism,the complete anti thesis of a free market, where competition thrives and lowers costs.I don’t like the way they favour foreign corporations over NZ business either.You would think Kiwi Bank,Kiwi saver and the Cullen Fund would be championed for retaining capital in NZ ,but they are sidelined
    in favour of increasing our biggest exports=profits.The policy of selling state assets to foreigners and promoting privatisation of areas like corrections are more reasons that National is on the wrong track.No productivity gains for nearly 5 years is another indictment on their poor economic management.NZ’s reputation internationally has also sufferred ,with the attempt to enrich a few ,making NZ a tax haven,and any independent foreign policy has become an illusion as National plays the U.S lapdog to the hilt.Of course their continual lying,obsfucation and exaggeration and a lack of front bench talent,does not endear them to the public either.I personally am leaning away from voting for them.

  2. Kabull

     /  September 6, 2017

    The great unknown, which has received almost no attention here or in the media, is Labour’s industrial relations intentions. If implemented, there will be a significant shift in the power of unions and the extent of government direction over employment and wage issues.
    I think this is a big difference between the Parties but it is just not being debated. Pity.

    • Blazer

       /  September 6, 2017

      if their intentions are unknown how can you ascertain future implications?

  3. NOEL

     /  September 6, 2017

    Tit for tat with Australia on education versus Australia is a Sovereign country which has been the National mantra for not intervening could be a vote puller.

    • David

       /  September 6, 2017

      I would have thought it would work the other way, if Labour have a poor relationship with australia there are plenty of other ways they could make life more difficult for kiwis. A tit for tat would not end well for expats.

      • Blazer

         /  September 6, 2017

        what evidence is there that Australia care less about NZ’s opinion.Turnbull said he admires Key,but their behaviour suggests no respect…at all.

      • NOEL

         /  September 6, 2017

        If your going to offer free in the first year why should they not put Aussies in the same category as all other immigrants as Australia has done.

  4. PDB

     /  September 6, 2017

    Within a few hours Ardern flip-flops on whether a land tax would affect the land the family home sits on – no doubt after the real Labour leader, Grant Robertson, gave her what the spin should be.

    Labour is a shambles on tax, making shit up as they go along & already deciding pre-election what recommendations the party would ignore from their own post-election ‘working group’ if they find themselves in govt.

    RNZ : “She (Ardern) was then asked if that assurance (no tax on the family home) only covered the building itself.

    “Yes, and that’s the complication of those various iterations, that’s why I’m saying to the tax working group ‘I want the family home to be off the table, please work through the options that remain available to address home ownership and to address affordability and to make sure our taxation system is fair’.”

    Ms Ardern was then asked if she was, therefore, not ruling out taxing the land on which the home sat.

    “I’m saying that I don’t want there to be taxation applying to a family home, the rest is for the working group to work through.”

    Ms Ardern has since told RNZ that while a tax working group could consider a land tax, the family home and the land it sits on would be exempt.

    She said even if the working group recommended a broad tax covering all land, that would not be taken up by a Labour government.”

    • Blazer

       /  September 6, 2017

      the most important revelation…the Minister of Finance is incompetent.He has no grasp of the portfolio ,makes outrageous statements proving it on a daily basis.We can not trust our future finances to this drop out.National introduced 18 new taxes in their terms.They are the tax and borrow party,with no vision and no excuses for 9 years of spin.

      • PDB

         /  September 6, 2017

        • Blazer

           /  September 6, 2017

          how old was he there…has hair.

          • PDB

             /  September 6, 2017

            That was you going for the big deflection and making yourself look silly in the process…..

            • Blazer

               /  September 6, 2017

              did you hear about Bills new bumper sticker…Gone Swimming…..in the Oreti!Bol.

            • PDB

               /  September 6, 2017

              Do keep up Blazer…..

              https://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/96519441/oreti-river-fit-for-a-prime-minister

              “Bill English says he would still swim in the Oreti River, and most of Dipton’s residents seem to be backing him. 

              “Every summer, we still get out there and go swimming; there’s nothing wrong it. “It’s still clean and clear, so I don’t know what everyone’s complaining about.”

            • robertguyton

               /  September 6, 2017

              Check out the Oreti downstream of Dipton, PDB – mmmmmmmmm… tasty!

            • PDB

               /  September 7, 2017

              Where did English say specifically he would swim in the Oreti downstream of Dipton? If he went for a swim don’t you think it would be at a place the rest of the locals go to swim?