Evidence against TOP

The Opportunities Party have promoted their policies as evidence based. From About on their website: TOP takes a long term, evidence based view.

However now we are down to the business end of the campaign evidence seems to have flown out the TOP window.

A few days ago on Newshub: Gareth Morgan blames landlines for poor polling, claims he’ll win 5-10 percent

“When I ask the question in the town hall shows I do every night, ‘ Hands up those who’ve got a landline, it’s 10 or 15 percent,” the Opportunities Party (TOP) leader told The AM Show on Thursday.

“What’s wrong with these polling companies? I think we’ll be somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. I’ve said it from day one.”

Where’s the evidence? TOP has a big budget, if they wanted evidence they would have done their own polling. I think it’s quite likely they have done their own polling, if so it is not evidence they want publicised.

Cut Your Hair: The evidence says TOP have no hope

TOP pride themselves on being an evidence-based party. So it behooves us to examine the evidence behind Gareth Morgan’s suggestion that TOP have a real chance of winning representation in Saturday’s election.

Question: Has any party ever achieved what TOP is trying to achieve?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Only one party has ever won representation under MMP in New Zealand without a sitting electorate MP from a sitting party. That sole exception is ACT, who had several prominent former Labour and National cabinet ministers. That happened in the first MMP election, when everyone and their mum voted minor party.

Not many parties have won representation under MMP in New Zealand, whether through the 5% threshold or local seats. Only one MP has ever won representation for a party that didn’t have an MP elected in 1996 for one party or another: Hone Harawira, for Mana.

Most of the small parties that have won representation have done so via a local seat (Māori, Mana, Progressive, United, ACT, and NZ First have all coat-tailed in). Only 7 parties have ever reached 5%: National, Labour, the Greens, NZ First, ACT, the Alliance, and United Future. The last three have all failed more times than they’ve succeeded and have basically shriveled away to nothing (or, worse, to David Seymour). Scores of parties have failed to reach 5% OR a local seat: the Conservatives, Christian Heritage/Coalition, Legalise Cannabis, Destiny, Outdoor Recreation, Future, etc.

The latest public polls (that use a variety of polling methods):

  • Listener Bauer Media Insights 1-5 Sept: 2.2%
  • 1 News Colmar Brunton 2-6 Sept: 1.9%
  • Newsroom-SSI 4-6 Sept: 2%
  • Roy Morgan 28 Aug-10 Sept: 2%
  • Newshub Reid Research 6-11 Sept: 1.6%
  • 1 News Colmar Brunton 9-13 Sept: 1.6%
  • Horizon Research 9-14 Sept: 2.3%

Evidently TOP look like getting nowhere near the 5% threshold.

So they have done their own polling. It shows them very likely to come up short.

Morgan will know that if they don’t look like getting close to 5% many voters will prefer to vote elsewhere rather than risk ‘wasting their vote’.  Hence the bullshit about the polls being wrong.

Question: Might the polling be wrong?

Short answer: Anything is possible, but TOP reaching 5% would require polling error on an unprecedented scale.

Morgan and Sean Plunket ranting and abusing on Twitter won’t change things.

It’s not just history and the polls that are against TOP. Others have tried Donald Trump’s tactic of being bellicose and abusive and complaining about the polls – in particular Winston Peters, and NZ First has slumped over the last two months in the polls.

Question: Is this a good year for a minor party to achieve the never-before-achieved?

Short Answer: No—on current polling this will be the worst MMP election ever for minor parties.

It looks like it will take a major game changer for TOP to get close to or beat the threshold, and they are running out of time.

Question: Could TOP win a local seat?

Short answer: There is no evidence to suggest they will come close to winning any local seat. Morgan might have had a chance, but he isn’t standing in a local seat.

That Morgan is targeting the polls and the threshold (without any evidence) supports this. TOP dabbled with targeting the Ohariu electorate a couple of weeks ago but that effort seems to have fizzled.

In some ways TOP have been impressive. Their evidence based approach to developing solid policies has been very good. Morgan has impressed sizeable crowds at campaign meetings.

But TOP has been shut out of small party debates. And they have failed to attract enough positive media attention. Morgan and Plunket have also been too cranky on Twitter and possibly elsewhere in social media.

Yesterday Plunket tweeted a challenge:

A bizarre approach.

It must be frustrating to have put so much time and money into their campaign, but making up shit about polls looks desperate and not based on any evidence.

Moaning about polls is almost certainly not going to change the game and suddenly boost support for TOP. Morgan might be better trying a different last gasp approach.

It’s sad to see another new party beaten by the ridiculously high threshold. Parliament could benefit from a different approach and some fresh ideas and MPs. But facts are facts, and TOP look like failing.

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  1. David

     /  19th September 2017

    I caught 5 minutes of Morgan talking to school children on some TV1 show last night and I have decided to vote for him, I dont think I have cringed so much ever and think he would be great entertainment and I think we need a back up as Winnie rarely has the energy anymore, except after lunch.
    Morgan was pushing cannabis to the children as causing far less harm than booze, then he climbed into booze and promised to put the price up for RTDs because of the effect on young persons then said he was going to give everyone at 17 200 bucks a week. He explained how to make millions by buying cars with tow bars in the winter for 600 bucks and selling them in the summer for 1200 as people wanted to go caravanning. He then told the kids how deformed was with a cleft lip and hence the moustache and then finished off with a harrowing account of visiting a refugee camp that left the 10 year olds in tears.
    I almost hid behind the couch, imagine being a parent and your kid comes home traumatised by a weird old man and then telling you off for having a quiet beer instead of toking on a joint.

  2. sorethumb

     /  19th September 2017

    I have voted for him. The thing is that this country will never get anywhere if it ducks and dives over things like “tax the family home”. Such taxes only work when trusts etc can’t get around things. Morgan is focusing on wealth from unearned capital gains and what comes around goes around.
    As we heard yesterday the typical national voter is saying “hardworking me will pay too much tax” (= hands off my unearned monopolistic capital gains).

    • sorethumb

       /  19th September 2017

      Having said that I don’t agree with his denigration of NZ First members or his stance on Maori issues. He is buying the idea that if you appease Maori they will love you for it.

      • pickled possum

         /  19th September 2017

        ‘ He is buying the idea that if you appease Maori they will love you for it.’

        You mean just like Labour and National.
        Most Maori I know are voting …….

        • sorethumb

           /  19th September 2017

          I’m saying you can only appease good will.

          • sorethumb

             /  19th September 2017

            Are the Campbells still mad at the McDonalds? Do loose affiliates of Scots suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (due to the clearances)? I’m not even sure Jewish descendants claim post traumatic stress disorder?
            Of course most humans have gone from hunter gather to industrial societies based on a division of labour. That’s the price of large populations.

  3. sorethumb

     /  19th September 2017

    Gareth Morgan on Winston Peters
    Immigration Debate – Still In the Gutter
    migration – 13 June 1996
    “There are few property-owning democracies which have rejected immigration as a necessary adjunct to economic development. The associated rise in house values normally sufficient to overcome even the most fervent feelings of xenophobia which residents might harbour. How would Auckland residents feel if the termination of immigration resulted in a substantial fall in the values of their houses ? Winston lovers need to think a little deeper than the reactionary mob emotions his rhetoric stirs in them. There’s no economic self interest served by keeping population levels below those required to maintain the economy at a level that our borrowing used to, which leaves only prejudice as the rationale for nationalist extremism.”
    More Vision Required
    migration – 17 July 1996 –
    Our Tasman neighbours are more cultivated in this area of debate, realising that as fertility drops below the replacement level, the key source of population growth will be migration. They are also cognisant that migration reduces the median age of the population, thereby arresting the fiscal burden of dwindling mortality. Given this, the immigration debate is often fiercely discharged. When the Howard government decided to cut the numbers of migrants under the non-business category a tumultuous protest erupted. Conversely, business groups applauded the government’s decision to increase the skilled migrant intake. Over here, the government’s decision to cut the gross migration target by a staggering 35 % was barely mentioned.”
    [Wrong – UN Report; Australian Productivity Commision; Natalie Jackson]

     Immigration Policy: Reactionary, Low-Brow
    migration – 31 March 1998
    “In the early 1990’s the government got to grips with the importance of immigration as a weapon to lift per capita incomes. There were problems in getting the optimal mix of immigrants but as a result first of the Peters’ xenophobia and more lately Immigration Minister Bradford’s impotence, we have swung to a far more damaging extreme.”
    [No longer seen to work- See Treasury paper 14-10]

    Peters voters may “yearn for a cloistered, inhibited, white (with a bit of brown at the edges) dominated utopia fondly envisaged by racists and xenophobes everywhere”* but people come with a software platform built in based on past survival mechanisms. What’s more as Jordan Peterson points out, while people may not understand economic theory, they detect patterns in things. The xenophobes who wondered what all those people will do in our agricultural distant country (formally Godzone weren’t exactly wrong?)

    *Opposition to Immigration: Why Let the Arguments Get in the Way?
    migration – 2 April 1996

  4. Blazer

     /  19th September 2017

    a song for…Gareth…

  5. “Anything is possible, but TOP reaching 5% would require polling error on an unprecedented scale” – seems fair, but the only things affecting my usually confident opinion is Trump and Brexit.

  6. The ridiculously high threshold is yet another symptom of our two party government gaming the system in their own interest against the will of the People who wanted better representation.

    • sorethumb

       /  19th September 2017

      Their should be a way to give someone like Gareth a leg up in terms of publicity.

  7. duperez

     /  19th September 2017

    “Making up shit about polls” might be desperate but it’s election time and making up shit is common. (Murray McCully doesn’t even need election time.)

    For all the weird and wonderful things about Gareth Morgan, he has put his money where his mouth is. Having done that, how does TOP rate compared with Act in the polls? The vagaries of the system will see Act in yet TOP could have many more votes.

    Another new party beaten by the ridiculously high threshold? The report, Electoral Commission Review of the MMP Voting System, suggested the threshold drop to 4%.
    Gareth Morgan doesn’t owe Judith Collins any favours.

    • I would happily see a lower threshold. Why not 2%. Even if “nutters” did get into parliament, the “tail wagging the dog” argument is overstated. And really, could they be much worse than some of the list MP’s we’ve already had to suffer?

  8. Zedd

     /  19th September 2017

    TOP, Cons, Internet/mana & even ALCP just show the greatest flaw in this version of MMP; 5% thresh-hold is way too high. It should be 1%, else potentially 1000s of votes are disallowed (getting no seats) & yet the coat-tailing rule, get extra MPs if a party wins a seat & gets >1% PV.. ‘double standard’ that has kept this Govt. in power; ACT, U’F & maori parties holding the ‘balance of power’ with a hand full of seats, often called ‘tail wagging the dog’ but not removed.

    under MMP the idea is to get a broad range of parties to represent, the broad views of the society.. the 5% is really just a huge barrier to stop this happening ! (IMHO) 😦

  9. Kitty Catkin

     /  19th September 2017

    10-15% with landlines is nonsense. It’s 80% in NZ.

    People who only have cellphones must think that it’s worth paying for the privilege of speaking to. them It’s really annoying to ring one and pay to get voicemail when one could ring them on a landline and get it for nothing.


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