Big election night win for Labour

Labour did 2-3% better than polls suggested and got 49.1% of the advance and election day votes, equating to 64 of 120 seats. Special votes are still to be counted but they shouldn’t change the overall result much, although it may alter total seats won slightly and may change one or two electorate results.

This is a very good result for Labour, the party’s best result since 1946, and is the first time one party has won a majority of seats under 24 years of MMP (while they got just under half the total votes about 8% of votes will not count for small parties who got under the 5% threshold). This unprecedented result is largely thanks to Jacinda Ardern’s popularity, her and the Government’s handling of Covid, and also Grant Robertsons management of the economy to date.

National did 2-5% worse than polls suggested and had a disastrous outcome, having 26.8% of the vote before official counting and specials. The also got hammered in electorates, losing 15 of them, including Gerry Brownlee, Nick Smith and Chris Bishop (they all get in via the list but Brownlee and Smith and a few others must be seriously considering their political futures).

The other parties got results similar to recent polls. One possible explanation for the shift from National to Labour is that a number of normally National supporters voted Labour to increase the chances of Labour getting a sole majority to significantly reduce the leverage of the Green Party.

Notable election night outcomes – Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has also defied polls and currently leads Labour’s Helen White in Auckland Central by 492 votes. If this result stands after the final count it is a major achievement for Swarbrick and the Greens.

And Māori Party candidate Rawiri Waititi is ahead by 415 votes in Waiariki. If this result survives the final count it gets the Māori Party back into Parliament. Tamati Coffey is the only Labour MP to lose his seat (in a Labour landslide) but will keep his job in Parliament via the list.

As expected David Seymour retained Epsom and ACT got 8% of the votes, which means Seymour will be joined by nine other ACT MPS. That’s a big turnaround of ACT fortunes, in part due to Seymour’s sterling efforts and in part due to National’s poor term and leadership turnover.

A few months ago the Green Party looked like they may struggle to make the threshold, but they fought strongly and came out of election night with 7.6% of the vote and 10 MPs, plus the bonus of their first electorate in fifteen years. They will be celebrating, but may also be disappointed that Labour won’t need them to form a government. They are likely to still be included in some form of governing arrangement but won’t anything like the policy leverage holding the balance of power would have given them.

So for now it looks like a five party Parliament.

The polls were right and Winston Peters was wrong. There was no late surge, and NZ First ended up on 2.7%, with Shane Jones a distant third in Northland. Peters looked and often sounded like a last century politician and was dogged by the SFO investigation of donations. Is this the end of Peters as a politician? Is it the end of NZ First? We will have to wait and see.

No small parties came anywhere near the threshold, with only the Maori Party succeeding by winning one electorate (probably) but will get no other MPs.

Full interim results here: 2020 General Election and Referendums – Preliminary Count

David Farrar has put together an interim list of MPs here: The provisional Parliament.

Also of interest from him:

Interesting to see the difference in support between advance and election day results. This makes the polls for Labour and National look even less accurate.


I’m quite happy with this result. Labour have underperformed on things like housing, poverty, social welfare and tax reform and climate change, but did very well dealing with crises, especially the Covid pandemic, and Grant Robertson has managed the economy reasonably well (the full impact of Covid is yet to be seen).

National had a poor term, a bad year dumping two leaders, and a terrible campaign. They were always going to struggle against Ardern but they made a mess of things regardless. They have a lot of soul searching and rebuilding to do over the next three years.

I’m happy to see ACT in as a party rather than a sole MP, and I’m happy to see Greens surviving and in the mix as well, but without too much influence.

I’m very happy to see Chloe Swarbrick and Rawiri Waititi hopefully win electorates. This is good for smaller parties generally, and should serve as a warning to Labour that they didn’t get everything their own way (they showed some arrogance in the Auckland Central campaign).

And I have no problem with Winston Peters and NZ First dropping out of Parliament. While he has done some good things I have never been a fan of Peters, I just don’t like how he does politics.


Electoral Commission: 480,000 special votes to be counted (in 10 days’ time). Voter turnout est. to be 2.88m or 82.5% of those enrolled, cf 79.8% turnout in 2017.

Little change in latest 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll

The latest Colmar Brunton polling was done this week (10-14 October) and with regular recent polling gives us the best idea of support levels and trends, but one of the most notable aspects is there is little change from their last poll.

It clearly confirmed that National+ACT are a long way from challenging, with their combined total 39% – on last night’s debate Judith Collins looked worn out and her body language conceded a demoralising defeat, while Jacinda Ardern looked happy and positive (most of the time).

  • Labour Party: 46% (down 1%)
  • National Party: 31% (down 1%)
  • ACT: 8% (no change)
  • Green Party: 8% (up 2%)
  • New Zealand First: 3% (up 1%)
  • New Conservative: 2% (up 1%)
  • The Opportunities Party: 1% (down 1%)
  • Advance New Zealand: 1% (no change)
  • Māori Party: 1% (up 1%)
  • Don’t know: 7% (down 1%)
  • Refused: 8% (up 3%)

The movements are insignificant, apart perhaps from the Green rise.

Labour is borderline for being able to rule with a majority. It depends on how many small party wasted votes there are – on these numbers about 8% will fail to reach the threshold so 46% is about half of the votes that will count.

It’s really annoying that 1 News only publish results rounded to the nearest whole number (about two days after 1 News publish Colmar Brunton posts more accurate results). This can distort movements of the smaller parties in their news coverage.

NZ First up 1% may look promising for them, but they apparently rose from 2.4% to 2.7%, which statistically is an insignificant change.

It’s worth looking at the last four Colmar Brunton results for the main parties. They have polled weekly 17-21 September, 23-27 September, 3-7 October and 10-14 October.

  • Labour 48, 47, 47, 46
  • National 31, 33, 32, 31
  • ACT 7, 8, 8, 8
  • Greens 6, 7, 6, 8
  • NZ First 2.4, 1.4, 2.4, 2.7

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 55% (up 5%)
  • Judith Collins 20% (down 3%
  • David Seymour 3% (up 1%)
  • Winston Peters 1%

That suggests the Ardern versus Collins aspect of the campaign has worked better for Ardern.

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/1-news-colmar-brunton-poll-labour-maintains-strong-lead-over-national-greens-climb

About 1.7 million votes have already been cast, which is half the total enrolled of 3,436,178

https://elections.nz/stats-and-research/enrolment-statistics/enrolment-by-general-electorate?name=all

Roy Morgan September poll

For some reaason Roy Morgan have just released their poll done through September so in the context of an election campaign it is a bit out of date but may be of interest on the eve of election day (note that about 1.7 million people have already voted).

  • Labour 47.5% (August 48%)
  • National 28.5% (August 28.5%)
  • Greens 9.5% (August 11.5%)
  • ACT 7% (August 6%)
  • NZ First 2.5% (August 2.5%)
  • TOP 1.5% (August 1%)
  • Maori Party 0.5% (August 0.5%)
  • Other 3% (August 2%)

Those results aren’t a lot different to other recent polls, although they have National a bit lower and Greens a bit higher.

Trends seem quite steady (also like other polls):

Government confidence is also quite stable.

This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile – with a NZ-wide cross-section of 911 electors during September. Of all electors surveyed 6% (up 0.5%) didn’t name a party. Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/8543-nz-national-voting-intention-september-2020-202010142349

National, Greens may boost Labour vote

National continues to warn of the dangers of a Labour government pushed into implementing radical policies by the Greens, while the Greens keep saying they would push Labour into being ‘bolder’.

This may have the reverse effect to what both parties want – more people voting for Labour to reduce or eliminate Green influence. And going by recent polls there’s a real possibility Labour could get enough votes to either govern alone, or if they choose to govern with a majority but with a weakened Green Party in coalition.

Voting for National will probably do nothing but reduce their embarrassment a bit, they look a long way from challenging Labour even with ACT.

Voting Green will increase the chances of them making the threshold, and if the manage that it will increase the chances of Labour requiring Green support and increase Green leverage in policy negotiations.

ODT: Labour ‘cannot govern alone’: Greens

The Greens are warning their supporters that Labour “cannot govern alone”, and their party is the only one bold enough to meet the challenges New Zealand faces.

And, despite repeated rebuffs by Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw say a wealth tax is still firmly on the table if Greens negotiate with Labour post-election.

“They can say what they need to in an [election] campaign,” Davidson said when asked about Ardern’s repeated flat-out rejection of the plan.

That keeps feeding National ammunition to attack Labour with, which Judith Collins has been doing.

Davidson said the fact that National has been hammering this policy so hard was a “sign of their desperation”.

“It has become alarmingly clear that the priority of National, and the other smaller parties, is not to keep us safe … but to divide us, and to make us scared, in the pursuit of power,” she said during her speech.

In his speech, Shaw made something of a call to action to his supporters.

“At this election, I can confidently say that the Green Party is the only party putting forward proposals that are actually bold enough to meet the scale of the challenges we face.”

And Davidson took it further: “Labour cannot govern alone.”

“Unchallenged decisions can mean bad decisions, and with the Greens at the decision-making table, we’ll make sure that we truly face the challenges we’ve been ignoring for too long.”

This is a contrast to last election when Greens went out of their way to play down concerns about what influence they might have on Labour in government.

Green survival depends on getting 5%, so they are having to compete with Labour for votes.

Collins has kept trying to hammer Labour, repeatedly insisting that the Green wealth tax would be a certainty. RNZ: Judith Collins says Greens ‘unemployable’ in latest wealth tax attack

Collins has spent much of her time in recent days warning voters about the Greens’ proposed wealth tax, arguing Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would break her promise not to introduce it.

Regardless of National’s position, Ardern says not is not the time for experimental taxes.

“One of the reasons we have ruled out the Green Party policy is because no other country has this form of taxation. Now is not the time to be experimenting with tax policy when we need to focus on our economic recovery.”

Collins would not budge, saying she believed her concerns were very real, and rejecting the claims of desperation.

“No, I think they’re very real … she shouldn’t go into name calling. “

She took her attacks on the Green Party further still, saying the Greens “didn’t really pay taxes before entering Parliament”.

“Well, most of them are unemployable I always thought. The whole lot of them. Don’t mean to be nasty but there we go, it’s the truth.”

She says having co-leader Marama Davidson as deputy prime minister “would be challenging for the country”.

The role of Deputy Prime Minister has no more power than any other Minister. All they have to do is occasionally fill in for the Prime Minister. Winston Peters did it this term and simply carried out a caretaker role. He had far more power in coalition negotiations.

I’m not a fan of Davidson at all, but I have no concerns with her becoming Deputy PM.

There is also one MP who is still supporting Collins:

But that’s false. Voting National instead of Labour would increase the chances of Greens having more influence. Voting Labour instead of National is the most effective way of reducing Green influence.

Advance NZ failing to advance

Advance NZ, the umbrella party set up by independent MP Jami-Lee Ross to try to benefit from social media popularity of Billy Te Kahika, looks like it has fizzled well short of the 5% threshold, and Te Kahika looks to be a long way from challenging in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

The party has only featured in three party poll results – 0.8, 0.6 and 1 (rounded). If they won an electorate at those levels they would get no more seats off the list, but there chances of winning an electorate look very slim.

Māori News: A third of the North undecided – Te Tai Tokerau poll results

Following the pattern of the other Māori electorate polls so far, the incumbent is leading as the preferred candidate for Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

Curia Market Research polled 500 people…

  • Kelvin Davis (Labour) 36%
  • Mariameno KapaKingi (Māori Party) 18%
  • Undecided 32%
  • Other 7%
  • Billy Te Kahika 1%

As is common Advance NZ are banking on all undecideds voting for them, but this rarely happens. The voter turnout in 2017 was 69.4%, so about 30% didn’t decide then.

Ross chose to not stand in Botany where he is the current MP (he was elected as a National candidate), so Te Tai Tokerau and the threshold are the only chances for Advance NZ, but they look a long way from either.

Te Kahika has excited a few thousand enthusiastic supporters but it takes at least 130,000 to make the 5% threshold and they look nowhere near that level of support.

1 News Colmar Brunton poll – little change

A 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll (with the previous two polls from 17-21 September and 23-27 September in brackets):

  • Labour 47% (48, 47)
  • National 32% (31, 33)
  • ACT 8% (7, 8)
  • Greens 6% (6, 7)
  • NZ First 2.4% (2.4, 1.4)
  • TOP 2% (1.1, 1.0)
  • New Conservatives 1% (1.6, 1.4)
  • Advance NZ 1% (0.8, 0.6)
  • Maori Party 0.2 (0.9, 0.8)

Polling period 3-7 October 2020.

Very little change there from two weeks ago. Party support seems to have set in with little moving it.

National+Act on 40% still well short of challenging Labour or Labour+Greens.

Greens look ok but will still be worried about the threshold, especially if they underperform polling as they have done in some elections. And Labour may stop them picking up as many overseas votes.

NZ First still look to have failed to fire this time. Today’s news of the NZ First foundation in court again won’t help.

New Conservatives claimed to be polling around 4 but no published poll comes anywhere near that.

Advance NZ aren’t \making much progress.

Don’t know or refused 13% (up 2) – but these tend to not change the numbers much.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 50% (54, 54)
  • Judith Collins 23% (20, 23)
  • David Seymour 2% (2, 2)
  • Winston Peters 1% (2, 1)

Don’t know or refused 17% (up 3).

Up to yesterday 478,860 people had already voted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2020_New_Zealand_general_election

There is a small party debate on TV1 tonight from 7-8pm, not sure why it is shorter than the two leader debates with more leaders participating.

Ardern versus Collins in online Stuff debate tonight

Another leaders debate to be live streamed at 7 pm tonight.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins go round three in The Press Leaders Debate tonight

Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins are in Christchurch tonight for the South Island’s only election debate, live on Stuff from 7pm.

It will be moderated on Tuesday evening by The Press editor Kamala Hayman and Stuff’s political editor Luke Malpass. The Press is part of the Stuff family of newspapers.

The Press Leaders Debate will be held with a lively sold-out audience of 750 at the James Hay Theatre.

The debate will be split in half with a 15-minute intermission, when Stuff’s head of video Carol Hirschfeld will discuss the debate with Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce CEO Leeann Watson and Canterbury University senior political lecturer Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tu MacDonald.

Henry Cooke will also live blog the debate here.


Casting the live stream worked for a short time but them went wonky so i mostly just listened to it streaming on my PC.

Ardern was generally very good. There was plenty of under-achievements she could have been challenged on but that wasn’t done very well.

This was Collins’ worst debate. She started too shouty, and then she seemed to fluctuate between loud and weak with a bit too much smarmy thrown in. Her repeated reference to her opponent as Miss Ardern sounds out of whack this century. Generally I think she didn’t come across very well for a lot of the debate.

Ardern attacked much less but when she did she made it count.

This won’t have anywhere near the audience as the televised debates, which is probably just as well for Collins and for National. Especially with their ongoing ructions in the party I don’t see how they can get close to Labour.

A web of connections between the ACT Party, Taxpayers’ Union and National Party

Ex ACT party researcher Grant McLachlan has posted what he knows about the ACT Party and it’s many political connections with people with National Party and also with the Taxpayers Union and other activist groups.

Astroturfs: Act Three of ‘Dirty Politics’

Artificial grassroots organisations – nicknamed ‘astroturfs’ – are designed to mask the sponsors of a message or organization so to give the impression that there is support from grassroots participants. Often, they help politicians to find and mobilize a sympathetic public and create the image of public consensus where there is none.

The story of astroturfs is a hot mess of money, cliques of right-wing schemers, and dog whistle politics.

Astroturf origins

The history of astroturfs in New Zealand is closely associated to the history of the Act Party.

The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers was formed in 1993 by former Labour minister Roger Douglas and former National minister Derek Quigley. It started as an astroturf but, in the new MMP environment, decided to form a political party called Act.

McLachlan then goes through history of the Act Party.

Fast forward to 2011 when ACT had five MPs, Rodney Hide resigned and Don Brash took over.

Despite many in Act knowing about David Garrett’s convictions for assault and using the identity of a dead child to obtain a false passport, when it surfaced in the media David Garrett resigned. Don Brash then challenged for the leadership and Garrett’s replacement, Hillary Calvert, gave Brash a narrow victory.

Brash claimed his motivation for the coup was Act and National’s lack of fiscal prudence. Soon after becoming leader, however, Brash and Ansell ran an advert criticising the ‘Maorification of Everything.’

Assisting Brash was former Act MP Stephen Franks and a junior solicitor in his firm, Jordan Williams. It was during the 2011 election that Jordan Williams fronted the ‘Vote For Change’ campaign to get rid of MMP. Jordan’s strategy revolved around uniting supporters of the main parties by stigmatising Winston Peters as the bogeyman of MMP.

The 2011 election was a disaster for Act. Don Brash was a list-only candidate, their support dropped to 1 percent, and John Banks won Epsom to become Act’s only MP. The party touting itself as ‘The Liberal Party’ was now led by one of National’s most conservative former ministers.

It was during this period that Nicky Hager received material which would become the basis for Dirty Politics. Practitioners included Jordan Williams and National Party pollster, David Farrar. In February 2013, they incorporated the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

Farrar has well known connections to the National Party – see disclosure statement.

The Taxpayers’ Union promotes itself as a spending watchdog – WE CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY FROM GOVERNMENT SPENDING – but they have always looked like a political activist group to me.

They have just had a lame complaint to Broadcasting Standards Authority ‘not upheld’ which targeted Labour Party advertising – NEW ZEALAND TAXPAYERS’ UNION INC AND MEDIAWORKS TV LTD – 2020-116 (22 SEPTEMBER 2020).

Jordan Williams was involved in a political hit job on Colin Craig and the Conservative party, along with Cameron Slater, that has resulted inn expensive defamation proceedings.

The idea of a taxpayer union wasn’t original. Canada had a Canadian Taxpayers Federation since 1990. Act politicos Peter McCaffrey and David Seymour spent years in Canada at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy analysing local and central government accountability.

Dirty Politics was published in August 2014. In September 2014, the founding chairman of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, John Bishop, posted an article titled ‘Taxpayers’ Union has attacked National more often than any other party.’ Since then, the organisation has attacked politicians from every political party except one: Act.

Bishop, a former TVNZ political editor, was the Act Party ‘Constituency Services Manager’, working in Parliament during Richard Prebble’s leadership. His job was to co-ordinate campaigns and tours from within Parliament. At the time, I was a researcher and ‘electorate agent.’

Bishop’s son, Chris Bishop, is currently National MP for Hutt South.

During Bishop’s tenure at Act, Prebble used Parliamentary Service funding to employ a disproportionate number of staff in its leader’s office, using the ‘out of Parliament’ budget meant for electorate agents to instead work in Parliament. A bogus electorate office was set up at Prebble’s private residence on Little Pipitea Street. Despite none of the staff ever working there, we were instructed to say that we did.

I was employed as a researcher in Parliament for 8 hours a week and 32 hours as an ‘out-of-Parliament’ electorate agent.

During the almost three years I worked for Act, I only worked three weeks out of Parliament, which was spent in Newmarket at the party’s head office shortly after that meeting at the bogus office. Following my return from Auckland, I resigned.

Other staff embroiled in this scam included Peter McCardle (who was also juggling elected roles on the District Health Board and Upper Hutt City Council) and Roger Styles (who was also elected to the Hutt City Council and became deputy mayor). Press secretaries included journalists David Young, David Hargreaves, and public relations commentator Trish Sherson.

Trish Sherson is sometimes used as aa political commentator by media – she was a Newshub post-debate panelist on Tuesday night.

Styles and McCardle used Parliamentary resources to research demographic trends of their constituencies. Discovering the ‘gentrification’ of the Hutt South electorate, Styles had ambitions of winning the electorate for National off Trevor Mallard.

John Bishop’s son, Chris, would eventually gain the candidacy in 2014 and win the seat in 2017. Chris’ work colleague at Phillip Morris Tobacco, Todd Barclay, entered Parliament at the same time.

So the claim here is that Act Party research led to National winning Hutt South.

Despite John Bishop’s track record with Act, Bishop went on to campaign for the Taxpayers’ Union, ridiculing politicians for double-dipping and misusing taxpayer and ratepayer money.

John Banks became swamped by scandal as Kim Dotcom testified that Banks didn’t declare a donation to his 2010 mayoralty campaign. When convicted, Banks resigned and Act found a new leader, Jamie Whyte. David Seymour ran for Epsom. Whyte argued that incest between consenting adults shouldn’t be illegal and later back-tracked. While Seymour won Epsom, Act support dropped to 0.69 percent.

Seymour initially failed to gain traction and Act floundered around 1 percent in support. National introduced young liberal candidates, including Rodney Hide’s former staffer, Andrew Falloon, and Hamish Walker replaced Todd Barclay.

After being disgraced in 2017 Barclay didn’t stand for re-election. Walker and Falloon were both exposed for poor behaviour this year and neither will stand again in their electorates.

Houlbrooke. You might remember that surname when a Louis Houlbrooke fronted a ‘lobby group’ called ‘Take Back the Clocks’ in 2019 to abolish daylight savings. Or during the 2017 election campaign when Act’s Deputy Leader Beth Houlbrooke said, “The fact is, parents who cannot afford to have children should not be having them.”

Beth is Louis’ mother. She rose from Act candidate in 2014, to vice president and party manager in the same year, to deputy leader for the 2017 election.

Louis got his start as Act’s social media co-ordinator and media liaison for the 2014 election, whilst president of Act’s youth wing. Following the election, he was David Seymour’s press secretary for the term.

Following the 2017 election, Beth remained Deputy Leader while Louis transferred to the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union and rose quickly to become their campaign manager.

Louis Holbrooke is still TU Campaign Mananger.

The Taxpayers’ Union strategy changed overnight. Their coffers swelled to an annual budget of $831,848.22 by the end of 2019 and nine paid staff.

Their ‘Our Team’ includes 15 people with various roles.

The Union was on a roll. They renamed their annual awards for the biggest wasters of public money after Shane Jones.

That looks clearly like political activist targeting.

The more that the Taxpayers’ Union attacked New Zealand First, the better David Seymour looked.

Targeting NZ First’s core voters, Act then surprised many members by giving gun lobbyists high list rankings.

Louis helped Beth and Phelan set up Facebook ‘community pages.’ While Act ran a ‘Freedom to Speak’ campaign against Jacinda Ardern’s proposals to censor hate speech, Beth and Phelan censored and blocked criticism and debate. When brought to the attention of Act, Seymour claimed the community pages were ‘private property.’

As president of Act’s youth wing, Louis campaigned against compulsory membership of student unions. Beth and Phelan, however, have both pushed for ‘Business Improvement Districts’ throughout Rodney…

…But none of these examples got a mention at the annual ‘Jonesie Awards’, held in Parliament’s Legislative Chamber. Instead, awards were given to Wellington Mayor Andy Foster for wasting $30,000 on a leadership course, Racing Minister Winston Peters for providing funding for two upgraded training facilities, and a lifetime achievement award to Transport and former Housing Minister Phil Twyford.

(For an event to be held in Parliament, it has to be sponsored by a Parliamentarian. Every ‘Jonesie Awards’ event has been sponsored by National MP Chris Penk, whose electorate includes the Rodney Ward.)

It looks like a web of interconnections between ACT, National and the Taxpayers Union.

With Act, nothing is as it seems. The protests by gun owners in the South Island were ‘attended’ by ‘Firearms Safety Specialist’ and third-ranked Act list candidate, Nicole McKee. The ‘grassroots’ protest, organized by local pistol and deerstalking clubs, was repeated elsewhere.

What is certain is that Act is about money. Several of Act’s major donors live in the Rodney Ward near the controversial Auckland Shooting Club at Makarau. There are strong Act links to that club. Maybe the media should be asking one member why Beth Houlbrooke was demoted? What was Beth’s position on the controversial club?

Act’s backers have mutated Astroturfs from a pressure group, to an attack weapon, to directly protecting the politicians they were indirectly meant to support, to having an unhealthy influence over a minor party. While they evolve, they still operate as dirty politics in plain sight.

This may be a distinction between ‘dirty politics’ and ‘Dirty Politics’, but there are a number of connections between ACT’s operations, the Taxpayers’ Union operations and National party interests.

McLachlan has followed up with another post.

Why we should have zero tolerance for Act

Sex, drugs, fraud and bullying. What the Act Party doesn’t want you to know this election.

He goes over a number of claims related to sexual harassment and drug abuse associated with the Act Party. Then:

Act now wants David Seymour to be perceived as a ‘fresh face’ and a clean slate. No he isn’t. He’s been around Act since I can remember.

I remember him as being good mates with disgraced former National MP Andrew Falloon when Falloon was Rodney Hide’s creepy staffer.

Seymour was then John Banks’ Ministerial Advisor while John Banks was being prosecuted.

Many who condoned the serious misconduct I’ve described are still active in the organisation. Seymour’s distancing from sexual harassment problems within Act’s youth wing is symptomatic of a party which places more importance on public perception rather than addressing the reality of its toxic culture.

But Act expects voters to have short memories. Seymour talks tough on ‘gangs’ when he and his party acted like one throughout its history. There are no signs that he will be any different as he tries to lure a new generation of voters.

Quite successfully it seems. Act are currently polling at 6-8%. National are still polling poorly so are unlikely to get to form a Government with Act, but if a sizeable ACT caucus gets established and doesn’t fly to bits they may be in a strong position to pull National and the country rightwards from 2023.

Looking grim for Peters and NZ First

Both poor poll results and also a lack of traction in media are pointing increasingly towards NZ First being dumped from Parliament this year, and with the lack of energy and lack of success for Peters this campaign that would likely mean the end of his long political career.

Peters first stood (unsuccessfully) for Parliament in 1975, and became a National MP in 1978 after winning a High Court electoral petition that overturned the election night result.

He left National in 1993 and retained his Tauranga seat as an Independent MP in a by-election, after which he established the NZ First Party.

Peters and NZ First unexpectedly enabled the National Bolger government in 1996, but he broke off the coalition, and NZ First were punished in the 1999 election, failing to make the threshold (they got 4.4%). The party survived through Peters retaining his electorate.

NZ First formed another coalition in 2005, this time with Helen Clark’s Labour government.

In 2008, NZ First was again punished by voters, coming short of the threshold with 4.07% of the votes. Poll results were relatively flat:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2008_New_Zealand_general_election

Peters also lost his Tauranga electorate (to Simon Bridges) so NZ First failed to make it back into Parliament.

NZ First made it back into Parliament in 2011 after a late surge in support, after Peters, aided by the media, made the most of the ‘tea pot tapes’ controversy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2011_New_Zealand_general_election

In the 2014 NZ First increased their vote to 8.66% with support increasing during the campaign.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2014_New_Zealand_general_election

In the three months up to the election NZ First poll results ranged from 3.4 to 8.4% with most being over the threshold.

In 2017, up to when Andrew Little handed over the Labour leadership to Jacinda Ardern, NZ First were often polling over 10% and up to 13%, but they dropped off a bit ending up with 7.2%.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2017_New_Zealand_general_election

This time Peters keeps rubbishing the polls, but it’s unlikely they are all wrong. His big play last week, playing a well worn race card, failed to make much impression. That may have been his last chance to play a get into Parliament free card.

The poll trend looks bad for NZ FirstL

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2020_New_Zealand_general_election

Splashing money around the provinces via the Provincial Growth Fund doesn’t seem to have helped. Money doesn’t seem to buy elections in New Zealand.

Shane Jones seems to have given up in the Northland electorate where a poll showed him trailing in third place. He has a reputation for not being a diligent campaigner anyway,.

So the campaign has been left to Peters. He has been busy touring the country but has just failed to fire.

Even Grey Power seem to have tired of Peters.

Stuff: Collins goes on the offensive at public meeting in Nelson

National Party leader Judith Collins went on the offensive at a packed public meeting in Nelson, taking aim at the Government’s “tremendously stupid” decision-making.

The event was organised by Grey Power, with most of those in attendance belonging to the older demographic.

Since getting 3% in a Roy Morgan poll in March NZ First has been under that, and got only 1% in the latest Colmar Brunton poll, down from 2.4% last week. In between those polls they were 1.9% in a Reid Research poll.

It’s possible a miracle may happen but time is running out for Peters to find something to grab the limelight. And history is against NZ First, as they have done poorly after being in Government twice in the past.

Peters will have to try something a lot more positive than ‘we’ll stop Labour doing stuff’, but it looks like he simply can’t compete with Ardern’s popularity that he has in part enabled.

Newshub/Reid research poll – similar results

The latest Newshub/Reid Research political poll is quite similar to the recent 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll, suggesting they are not far off the mark, for now at least.

  • Labour 50.1% (down 10.8) – CB 48%
  • National 29.6% (up 4.5) – CB 31%
  • Greens 6.5% (up 0.8) – CB 6%
  • ACT 6.3% (up 3) – CB 7%
  • New Conservatives 2.1% (up 1.2) – CB 1.6%
  • NZ First 1.9% (down 0.1) – CB 2.4%
  • Maori Party 1.5% (up 1.1) – CB 0.9%
  • TOP 0.9% (up 0.5) – 1.1%

Reid Research – interviewing between 16-23 September 2020, and 1000 people were surveyed – 700 by telephone and 300 by internet panel. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Colmar Brunton – interviewing from Thursday 17 to Monday 22 September 2020. Sample size 1008, sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.

On the ‘margin of error’ (CB): This is the sampling error for a result around 50%. Results higher and lower than 50% have a smaller sampling error. For example, results around 10% and 5% have sampling errors of approximately ±1.9%-points and ±1.4%-points, respectively, at the 95% confidence level.

Labour – on current polls they could govern alone, but their support is slipping. They haven’t indicated that if they have a sole majority whether they would include the Greens in Government or not.

National are failing to get traction after a slump during Covid and two leadership changes. There’s no sign of things changing significantly for them. They are copping ongoing damaging flak for errors in their economic plan.

ACT continue to do very well, partly presumably at National’s expense, but also due to a successful term and a strong campaign from David Seymour. They’re looking likely to having several MPs again.

Greens have recovered from sub-threshold results and are looking more likely to survive in Parliament, probably as support for Labour slips, but the amount of leverage they get will depend on whether Labour needs them to form a government or not.

NZ First continue to fail to attract anywhere enough support. Winston Peters seems to have lost his midas touch and mojo. In contrast to Jacinda Ardern he looks last century.

Maori Party will have to rely on a surprise electorate victory to get back into Parliament.

NZ Conservatives have picked up support but probably nowhere near enough to make the threshold.

TOP is at the bottom.

Advance NZ don’t appear in the Reid Research poll.

Voting starts this coming Saturday (3 October) through to election day two weeks later on 17 October.

With early voting becoming more popular and also encouraged due to Covid time is running out for any parties to substantially change their support.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2020_New_Zealand_general_election