Core party support versus floating voters

That doesn’t mean they are guaranteed levels of vote the parties will get though. Indicating they are close to a single party doesn’t mean they will vote for them (tactical voting) or vote at all.

Greens dropped to 4.3% in a Colmar Brunton poll before the last election (12-16 August 2017), but that could be margin of error and/or disgruntled supporters and/or tactical voters the question asked is who would you vote for if an election was held today).

And of course this is historical data subject to margins of error. Support for parties will always ebb and flow.

One important number isn’t included – 43.5% did not rate themselves as close to a single party. That’s a big chunk of floating voters not committed to any one party. When you take into account tactical voting somewhere around half of voters may be up for grabs.

Greens versus NZ First and Labour conservatism

Does Labour use NZ First as an excuse to be conservative on economic and other policies to avoid being linked to Green radicalism? They do use the Budget Responsibility Rules to be conservative. They are an agreement with the Green Party to allay fears of a swing too far left in the last election campaign, but there is disagreement over having the Rules within the Green Party.

I have seen dismay expressed from the the left that the Government is nowwhere near progressive enough,.

Henry Cooke (Stuff):  The Greens are looking forward to 2020 already, and the possibility of a world without Winston

At their annual conference last year, a prominent Green Party member gave a speech which called for the party to tear up a central tenet of their partnership with Labour.

He received a standing ovation. Most of the Green MPs present, who had signed off the policy, were in the room. Several agreed with him.

The policy was the Budget Responsibility Rules a set of tight government spending guidelines Labour and the Greens agreed to ahead of the 2017 election. They have gone on to play a huge role in how the parties have governed.

The idea was to blunt the attacks from the right that a Labour-Green government would blow up the surplus and destroy the economy.

Ever since Green supporters and some MPs have been agitating for the party to get rid of the rules. In the last week this began. A “review” of those budgetary constraints has been launched, but this is just a procedural step on the way to either scrapping them or modifying them before the 2020 election.

There always seemed a likelihood that Labour and the Greens would need NZ First to give them any chance of getting into Government last election, and so it turned out.

It’s a long way from the election but there appears to be a greater chance that NZ First won’t make the threshold next year. This would give the Greens more influence over Labour, depending on how many seats they get. If Greens recovered back up to ten to fifteen seats, and were in Cabinet with Labour, they should get significantly more say and sway.

In the same week, co-leader James Shaw made the most forceful argument for a capital gains tax anyone has in years, saying the Government wouldn’t deserve to be re-elected if they didn’t implement one.

That was a big play from Shaw, mostly to his party wanting more reform from Government.

​The election is next year, and the Greens are getting ready by staking out positions on the left. At the same time, some in the party are daring to look forward to a world without Winston Peters.

Fixing this requires not just talking up wins in Government but very clearly pushing left on tax – an issue likely to dominate through this year and into the next thanks to the tax working group – as well as balancing the books. These might seem like small bore issues but they are very important to that core of committed supporters.

NZ First are likely to try to distance themselves from relying on Labour next year to try to fool voters and Labour negotiators into thinking they could go either way.

So Labour+Green will be an important consideration for voters.

Many Greens see Peters and NZ First as the reactionary laggard keeping this Government from truly transforming the country. But it has long been useful for centrist Labour MPs to blame NZ First for their own conservatism. Labour will be extremely conscious of how scared the wider public might feel about a radical Labour-Green government in 2020.

Keeping the budget deal in place might well be Ardern’s plan to placate those fears.

For Labour, yes. And possibly for Shaw. But what about green supporters disappointed with the lack of progress leftwards this term, and impatient for more radical reforms?

Possibly one of the most significant decisions for the next election will be what the Green party decides to do about the Rules, that some see as a brick wall in front of progress and real progressivism.

One thing that may make it easier for Greens pulling Labour left is the conservatism of Simon Bridges pulling National further right.

Unless the Sustainability Party gets some support in the centre.

Making mountains out of malehills over advert but little defence of KiwiBuild

National enraged a bunch of people who seem to be perpetually looking for things to get enraged about with an advertisement criticising KiwiBuild that has received a huge amount of promotion from media reporting the enragement.

I do think there are a number of people active in social media who seem intent on making mountains out of malehills.

What is glaringly absent in this is a lack of defence of KiwiBuild. It is all ‘attack the messenger’ diversion.

Outrage over men holding a beer talking to women, blonds and the use of sausage quips in political clips seems like over the top attempts to sanitise everything.

Perhaps it has driven some people to tears – but how do you say anything publicly without risking annoying, enraging or devastating someone?

I’m betting tired of those arguments and attempts to PC everything – and using outrage as a way of trying to attack and discredit and divert in politics.

But there are some interesting associated issues. Did National deliberately provoke ‘progressives’ to get a sort of Streisand effect?

And, this has been all attack of National and no defence of KiwiBuild.

Danyl Mclachlan (The Spinoff):  Notes towards a grand unified theory of the terrible National Party sausage ad

Here’s my grand conspiracy theory. Progressives are actually the primary target for this ad and it is designed to offend them. Offense and controversy makes things newsworthy and earns you coverage in the mainstream media, thus potentially reaching a far greater number of viewers than National would get through making a non-controversial, non-mansplaining ad.

The way you communicate the KiwiBuild critique to the wider public – who are never going to watch a political ad in their feed, even if you boost it – is by breaching progressive rules of etiquette and provoking a controversy.

Presumably there will be more: maybe the next shocking thing will be the next National Party ad, giving online progressives the chance to spend the whole year furiously amplifying National’s talking points.

Whether National inadvertently bumbled or deliberately provoked, they got far more attention than they would have for most attempted political hits.

While are ‘progressives’ so easily riled? Concern about a fairly impotent Opposition party? Or despair that the Government has made a mess of KiwiBuild with no solution in sight?

Bradbury has a good point. On eof those claiming sexism rather than defending KiwiBuild was Phil Twyford.

Newshub: No one entered KiwiBuild ballot for Waikato development

Newshub can reveal how unpopular KiwiBuild has become: absolutely no one entered the ballot to buy any of the homes in one of the developments.

The Government’s flagship housing scheme is now at the stage where developers are offering up bribes to get people interested.

But KiwiBuild isn’t just backfiring for the Government – it’s backfiring for National too.

The party’s latest taxpayer-funded attack ad has drawn widespread criticism for showing a man explaining KiwiBuild to a woman.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said it was “clearly sexist”.

“I would think a lot of people find it offensive.”

I would think a lot more people would find Twyford’s failure with KiwiBuild of rather more concern.

There was one person reported as defending KiwiBuild:

“We as a Government are building more houses than any Government has built since the 1970s, which I have to say feels roughly about the era of that ad,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Don’t dare suggest that is sizzle without, ah, substance.

 

James Shaw slams tax timidity, calls on Labour, NZ First to be bold with CGT

In his opening speech for the year in parliament yesterday Green co-leader James Shaw slammed timid tinkering with tax, and, confronting pontification about whether the current Government can “politically afford to do what no other Government before it has done” and introduce a Capital Gains Tax asks “Can we afford not to?”

That must be aimed at Labour and NZ First, who have to agree with Greens on any tax changes following the Tax Working Group process.

First Shaw illustrated the tax disparity issue wit no tax on the capital gains of property.

Karen is a renter. She’s got a career, and she earns roughly the median wage. Over the last 10 years, she’s earned about $450,000 and she’s paid, roughly, $70,000 in tax. She budgets well, she can manage the rent, and she can manage the other expenses, but she can’t quite have enough left over to save.

And then there’s Paul. Paul also earns the median wage. He’s a bit older than Karen, and Paul got lucky and managed to buy some rental property before house prices really started rocketing—about the time that Karen came into the workforce, about the time that John Key became Prime Minister. On the day that Paul sells that rental property, he makes as much as Karen has in the last 10 years, and he pays zero tax on that income

Now, what does Paul do? He uses that as a deposit to buy two more houses. That is the rational thing to do. And what does Karen do? Well, Karen keeps renting because there is no way on God’s green earth that she’s going to be able to scrape together a deposit on $45,000 a year.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we have a large and growing wealth gap in this country, and it is undermining our ability to pay for the public services that we all rely on, including Karen—including Paul.

There is something missing from this illustration.The implication here is that ‘Paul’ paid no tax, but ‘Paul’ must be earning something to live on for the ten years before scoring a capital gain, and after reinvesting capital gains on more property, so could have been paying some tax.

Now, the Green Party has long been calling for that fundamental imbalance to be addressed, and every single expert working group in living memory has agreed with us, but no Government—no Government—has been bold enough to actually do it. But if we are to be the Government of change that New Zealanders wanted and elected, we must be bold.

The crises that we face on multiple fronts—the wealth gap, climate change, the housing crisis—we cannot solve without fundamental reform. These crises have been allowed to metastasise because generations of politicians have timidly tinkered rather than actually cut to the core of the problem.

And the consequences of that timidity—the consequences of that timidity—are being felt by Karen and by hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders just like her, trapped in “Generation Rent”. So when the commentators pontificate about whether this Government can politically afford to do what no other Government before it has done, I ask “Can we afford not to?”

Can we afford not to?

We were elected on the promise of change. If we want to reduce the wealth gap, if we want to fix the housing crisis and to build a productive high-wage economy, we need to tax income from capital the same way that we tax income from work.

The very last question that we should be asking ourselves is: can we be re-elected if we do this? The only question we really ought to be asking ourselves is: do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t?

Shaw is effectively throwing down the tax gauntlet to Labour and NZ First, suggesting they don’t deserve to be re-elected unless they introduce a CGT.

I have to say, boldness is needed everywhere, everywhere.

That is a challenge to the other parties in Government with the Greens. The re-election comment is particularly pertinent for NZ First, who were well under the threshold in the latest poll.

National should be bold with a new leader

The latest poll by Newshub/Reid Research has confirmed that party support has been volatile, with National getting a similar result in the first poll of this year to the first poll of last year, and not far away from a poll in October.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_New_Zealand_general_election

National are doing fairly well for a party in opposition after nine years in Government.

But the poll confirmed again that Simon Bridges is not doing well as leader.  Why?

Kate Hawkesby: Exactly what is it about Simon Bridges that voters don’t like?

Another poll, another bad day at the office for Simon Bridges.

So what is it voters don’t like about Simon Bridges? Is it the voice? Is it his perceived weakness? Is it his inability to bat away Jami-Lee Ross?

Is it just bad luck being the guy who had to follow John Key? Is it that people still don’t know him?

Probably all of those things – and more. You can add to that a lurch right on issues like cannabis law reform, euthanasia, abortion, and a conservative Bridges looks out of touch with modern New Zealand.

Or is it just that National’s base likes strong sassy and old-school – in the form of a Judith Collins?

Some like Collins, but I’m far from convinced she is a good choice to take over. While there is some strong support for Collins in National circles, there also seems to be strong opposition. Twice she has put herself forward for the leadership and she hasn’t come close.

I see another problem with switching from Bridges to Collins. They are both from National’s last Government. The country has moved on from that.

After Helen Cl;ark was defeated in 2008 and stepped down Labour went through a few years of giving MPs a go who had been there for yonks waiting for a go (Goff, Cunliffe), and trying newer MPs who didn’t look new (Shearer, Little). They all failed.

National should face the reality that it will be difficult for them to get back into power next year. By 2023 Bridges or Collins will be even more old school and potentially stale and out of touch.

If National really wants to look ahead I think they need to seriously look at choosing a leader for the future, and accept that next years election is likely to be a learning exercise.

I have no idea who would be suitable. I just think it is likely to be someone not on the leadership radar at the moment.

National may simply be too conservative to make a bold move, but they have done it before, backing the inexperienced John Key, and that proved successful.

Choosing a relatively inexperienced MP now who has obvious leadership potential, targeting 2023, seems like a pragmatic approach. And if Labour fail to deliver and crash next year, there is enough experience in national’s ranks to help a new Prime Minister – they should be in a better position to do this than Labour were with Ardern.

We need strong leadership of at least the major parties. Bridges doesn’t cut it.

I would like National to be bold and look to the future, but they don’;t seem to be ready for this yet. They may need another election loss to hammer home the need for real revitalisation and modernisation.

Newshub/Reid Research poll – February 2019

It’s a long time since there has been a Newshub/Reid Research poll, and the only other poll so far this year (1 News/Colmar Brunton) was taken before politics cranked up for the year, so this latest poll needs to be treated with more caution than usual.

  • Labour 47.5% (up 4.9%)
  • National 41.6% (down 3.5%)
  • Greens 5.1% (down 0.5%)
  • NZ First 2.9% (up 0.5%)

Asked “Performing well?”:

  • Jacinda Ardern yes 68.3%, no 16.8%
  • Simon Bridges yes 21.9%, no 50.8%

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 41.6%
  • Judith Collins 6.2%
  • Simon Bridges 5.0%
  • Winston Peters

As usual Newshub are overegging this poll result:

It was taken before Parliament sits this week, and after a PR friendly trip to the UK and Europe, and Waitangi Day events – but it’s a very good result for Ardern and Labour and ok for the Greens, who together wouldn’t require NZ First if they fail to get back up to beat the threshold.

But there is no question that this poll is bad for Bridges – and to make matters worse he sounded like a wet blanket trying to talk his way through it.

It’s hard to see National persevering with him for many more months.

Poll results since the election: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_New_Zealand_general_election

UPDATE: Newshub report: National plunges to worst result in over a decade

This poll was taken from January 24 to February 2, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

So they delayed releasing the results for a week. That seems unusual. It was taken while and just after Ardern was getting glowing reports from her European trip, and before Waitangi week.

Sustainable New Zealand Party seeks registrations of interest

A website seeking registrations of interest for the Sustainable New Zealand Party is online. Vernon Tava is promoting it.

“We want to create a new political party based upon the principles of sustainability – one prepared to deal with either the National Party or the Labour Party in coalition negotiations – to leverage policies that will underpin a more Sustainable New Zealand.

“New Zealand deserves a political party that will work together with the innovators in business and science who will lead the way through the complex and interconnected sustainability challenges of the coming century.”


Sustainable New Zealand Party

Our environment needs your support

Become part of the movement for a Sustainable New Zealand by registering your interest

Who Are We?

We all know that New Zealand is blessed with one of the world’s most beautiful natural environments. But we also know that this paradise is slipping away from us. Government after government has ignored some of our most pressing environmental concerns. We believe it is time for a new political party that champions a politics of sustainability.

Sustainability is based on the principle that everything we need for our survival and well-being depends on our natural environment. It means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Our focus on sustainability means that we would be able to work with political parties on the left or right of politics to ensure that the environment is always a top political priority regardless of who makes up the government.

Our primary focus is on environmental matters such as clean water, sustainable oceans, protection of our native species, dealing with climate change; and these all have economic, social and cultural dimensions. A society with dramatic inequality is not sustainable. We need to move our economy away from polluting and environmentally destructive ways of doing things; by embracing technological and scientific innovation we can become wealthier, creating higher paying jobs for New Zealanders, all while treading more lightly on the earth.

What Outcomes Does MMP Deliver?

The Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) system means that minor parties can have a major influence on a government as part of a coalition. The coalition arrangements of the current government allocated billions of dollars to political trophies and slush funds – the price of NZ First support for a Labour-led Government. We have also seen the scrapping of important environmental initiatives like the mandatory installation of cameras on fishing boats because the fishing industry are key NZ First donors and supporters. MMP should deliver better outcomes than this.

We believe that the MMP system should be a vehicle to place sustainability at the centre of every government. The coalition negotiations after each election are the best possible opportunity to ensure the sustainability of our environment and the sustainable development of a modern economy.

These changes will only be made with the emergence of a new political force that will use the levers of the MMP system to much better ends.

But What About the Greens?

The Green Party has made a deliberate decision not to use the leverage that comes with the number of MPs they have in Parliament. Instead of negotiating with both major parties, they have made a decision to always support the formation of a Labour Government meaning that Labour can take them for granted. This is no way to get the best deal for the environment.

Having given away their negotiating advantage, they are in a weak position to demand funding for cleaner beaches and rivers, for modern sewage infrastructure in major cities, for sustainable management of our fisheries, a major upgrade in predator control, nor for the significant increases in science and research funding that will underwrite a modern, sustainable economy.

The Greens have a historic tendency to be suspicious of scientific innovation – particularly in biotechnology – and hostile to business. New Zealand deserves a political party that will work together with the innovators in business and science who will lead the way through the complex and interconnected sustainability challenges of the coming century.

So What Are We Doing?

We want to create a new political party based upon the principles of sustainability – one prepared to deal with either the National Party or the Labour Party in coalition negotiations – to leverage policies that will underpin a more Sustainable New Zealand. We are inviting you to be part of this.

What Do We Want From You?

Join us: we only need 500 financial members to register the party. You could also volunteer, donate, work on policy, be a candidate; just let us know. To win seats in the next election we need to achieve 5% of the votes cast – that’s likely to be around 165,000 votes.

If you want to see a party in Parliament that puts the environment first – that is prepared to deal with either National or Labour – and puts clean water, sustainable fisheries, protection of our native species, climate change and a sustainable economy and society at the top of the political agenda, please register your details below.

https://mailchi.mp/0315a3855897/sustainablenewzealandparty

Bridges trying to look like “Prime Minister in waiting”

Henry Cook (Stuff):  Simon Bridges doesn’t look like a Prime Minister in waiting yet, but he’s trying

It’s hard to describe, but there is an energy that surrounds prime ministers, and people on their way to becoming prime ministers. Even as you shake their hand and have a chat, you can feel the weight and power of something much larger than their physical form surrounding them.

John Key had it. Bill English learnt it in a hurry. And Jacinda Ardern seemed to command it the moment she took on the leadership, even when it seemed likely she would have to bide her time in Opposition for another three years.

Bridges’ problems:

Last year was a credibility problem. And…

…there remains a tendency to chase every passing car, possibly because there are so many National MPs without power.

National MP Barbara Kuriger put out a ridiculous press release attacking a “red-meat tax” last month, something the Government had very clearly not proposed.

And late last year National engaged in a bad-faith populist campaign against a United Nations migration pact it would have happily signed up to in Government.

Bridges has put Paula Bennett into the drug reform role ahead of the cannabis referendum, replacing the extremely reasonable and knowledgeable Shane Reti with someone much more likely to stoke simplistic scaremongering.

These are things thirsty opposition parties do, not ones ready for Government.

He put Bennett in charge of stoking simplistic scaremongering on drug reform just last month.

If Bridges wants to continue his transformation and start looking like a Prime Minister for everyone, not just the National Party base, these swings to the hard right should be put behind him. Just like his annus horribilis.

Feedback from the Kuriger and Bennett misfires may have contributed to a change in approach.

There is a palpable sense that National is attempting to move on from rowdy opposition to Government-in-waiting.

The most obvious example of this is National’s plans to release eight big policy documents over this year, with the line being that they “don’t want to wait for the Government”. The first of these on  tax thresholds will contrast nicely with whatever the Government’s Tax Working Group suggest. Indeed, National would be pleased if it could just talk about tax all year.

Bridges himself is attempting to shift his image from blustery former crown prosecutor to Prime-Minister-in-waiting.

Bridges and National have quite a bit to do yet to look like PM and Government in waiting. They have plenty of time – eighteen months – but do they have the people who can achieve it?

 

“Jacinda Ardern should have been able to recite the Treaty”

I thought this media nonsense over Jacinda Ardern not jumping to a journalist demand about literal knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi was over, but Heather du Plessis-Allan continues it with: Jacinda Ardern should have been able to recite the Treaty

That was embarrassing.

You’d be made of ice not to feel sorry for Jacinda Ardern. Put on the spot like that, asked to recite the articles of the Treaty.

Article One, what does it say? came the question.

“Oh. Article One? On the spot?”

You feel sorry for the PM because you know she’s not that unusual. How many of us can recite the three articles of the Treaty?

I’d guess that most journalists couldn’t recite the Treaty unprepared.

How can you deliver on the promise of the Treaty if you don’t know the promise of the Treaty?

Not being able to recite it has nothing to do with delivering on the Treaty.

David Farrar covered this well last Tuesday: PM fell for the quiz trick

The story here isn’t that the PM didn’t know what Article One says, and needed Willie to help her out.

The story is the media doing a “gotcha” story where they treat politics as a quiz night. You ask an MP a question with the hope they can’t answer it on the spot, and then have a story about how ignorant or out of touch they are.

The classic is how much is a loaf of bread. Others are what is the current inflation rate. Who is the best selling NZ musician etc etc.

MPs should refuse to play these games. If a journalist asks a question along these lines, the best responses are:

  • I’m a Member of Parliament, not a quiz show participant.
  • If you don’t know the answer, go Google it
  • This is silly gotcha politics and I’m not playing along

I think it is petty and irrelevant to what is important.

I wonder how many journalists can recite Article 1 of the  Press Council Principles:

1. Accuracy, Fairness and Balance

Publications should be bound at all times by accuracy, fairness and balance, and should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers by commission or omission. In articles of controversy or disagreement, a fair voice must be given to the opposition view. Exceptions may apply for long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion and in reportage of proceedings where balance is to be judged on a number of stories, rather than a single report.

Is it fair to demand precise answers to questions that are designed to try to catch politicians out?

I don’t think so. These are cheap shots by journalists, trying to create a story out of nothing of importance. And Allen is still milking it, five days after the non-story ‘broke’.

 

Political compass – policies versus practice

Here is a Political Compass done for parties competing in the 2017 New Zealand election.

New Zealand Political Parties 2017 including ACT, National, United Future, Labour, Māori, Mana, New Zealand First, The Opoortunities Party and GreenThere is some political commentary plus this explainer:

If significant policy shifts occur during the campaign, some chart positions, based on speeches, parliamentary voting records and manifestos, may alter accordingly.

So it is based on pre-election policies. This doesn’t not necessarily match with what parties do after the election, especially once they are in power. All three parties in Government, Labour, NZ First and Greens, have had to compromise on their policies.

Note that Political Compass is an international test of political positions, so doesn’t fit entirely with New Zealand politics.

This compass has been posted at Reddit: Political compass of NZ parties according to politicalcompass.org

sliightly_right:

Lol if this is correct then the American political parties must be piled on top of each other in the top right corner.

fernta:

I honestly hate these graphs. PoliticalCompass is definitely the most overrated and overused. Questions that can be interpretted in different ways, or questions that you agree with but the “HOWEVER” is left out of the question. Creates a really 1D portrait of political ideologies and the landscape, however.

SmallRoundAndHairy:

Lol at ACT being New Zealands most authoritarian party, when they are the closest we have to loopy libertarians.

Whoever dreamed this up is an idiot with no understanding of New Zealand politics.

newkiwiguy:

This is really inaccurate. ACT supported same-sex marriage, a referendum to legalise marijuana and voluntary euthanasia. They’re clearly a socially libertarian party. TOP called for a universal income for young people. They took most of their votes off the Greens. That isn’t economically right wing at all. And they were the only party campaigning to raise the drinking age. Hardly libertarian leaning.

This may in part be a problem with party policies versus how David Seymour promotes himself and ACT.

PosedByModels:

Half of those parties have gone.

Act are more libertarian than National on drugs, euthanasia, and most social issues.

Poorly calibrated axis too, when our two main centrist parties aren’t centred on the graph.

jayz0ned:

The point of the political compass is to compare between countries. Centering them all on each countries middle would make that impossible.

But compared to other countries, positioning New Zealand’s two major parties well to the right seems odd. They are widely considered here to be largely fighting over the centre here, and that would be considered a fairly moderate and left leaning centre by international standards.

I think Greens would be much further left in their social policies, and much less libertarian given how much they seem to want to impose controls on things.

The Political Compass raises more questions than providing answers.

I did the test in 2014 and this is my result:

That puts me close to the Maori, Mana and Green parties and a long way left of Labour and especially National. Thay’s very funny – and flawed.

How do the parties measure up now, nearly half way through the term?