“Labour Party has no intentions to overhaul our welfare system”

Ricardo Menéndez March is at 10 on the Green Party list for this election. On current polling he is unlikely to get into Parliament.

He has been active in social media promoting Greens versus the world.

No questions asked universal welfare is one of the things that got Greens into trouble last election, with Metiria Turei’s admission she had fiddled the welfare system when a beneficiary, which resulted in her exit from Parliament and Green support plummeting.

The Greens did succeed inn getting the Welfare Expert Advisory Group set up and do a report, but most of the 42 recommendations have been ignored by the Government.

Thomas Coughlan (Stuff December 2019): Where is the Government’s landmark welfare report?

The Government’s landmark report into fixing New Zealand’s welfare system reported back in February, with recommendations published in May. 

The Government accepted changes worth $285.8 million over four years, roughly 1 per cent of what the group recommended, which worked out to be $5.2 billion a year.

The report appears to have been quietly shown the door, with a long-awaited Cabinet paper from November promising some mid and long term goals, but no funding to plug gaps in the short-term, beyond the $285.8 million already pledged.

Dr. Susan St John described the paper as quietly interring the WEAG report, after months of Government prevarication.

Jacinda Ardern’s current popularity is not due to her Government’s failure to address welfare reform, nor for her Government’s failure to do much significant about one of Ardern’s supposed priorities, child poverty, which is inextricable linked with welfare.

Political divide on handling of Covid

A Massey University survey indicates that perception of how well Covid has been handled varies markedly depending on political party support.

Stuff: Survey shows powerful polarisation along party lines

Associate Professor Grant Duncan told Stuff’s election podcast, Tick.Tick, that party preference was influencing how people viewed things – even topics that are seemingly non-partisan.

Duncan and colleagues led the Stuff-Massey University survey of voter attitudes, which drew more than 70,000 responses.

Asked how good a job medical professions have done in controlling the spread of the disease:

  • Labour supporters 96%
  • National supporters 69%

Asked if the overall Government response was successful:

  • Labour supporters 98%
  • National supporters 40%

The other Government parties NZ First and Greens aren’t mentioned, but they have had little to do publicly with the Covid response. It has largely been the Ardern show, with of a couple of Labour ministers in supporting roles.

Curious that slightly more Labour supporters rated the Government ahead of medical professionals.

Public safety was another area where party affiliations seemed to be swaying opinion, even when people didn’t feel personally threatened.

ACT voters, for instance, while saying that they felt safe in their own neighbourhood, were more likely to say the police were not doing a good job at protecting communities.

“If you’re an ACT Party supporter, you’re very sort of sceptical about government generally and about the state generally. And so you’re more likely, I think, to give any agency of the state a negative rating.”

Duncan said coronavirus was already having a “profound” impact on the election.

“There’s no doubt that an unexpected event this year has had a huge effect on opinion polling, and that will no doubt also be manifested on September the 19th.

“What tends to happen in situations where people feel their security is directly under threat, it often endangers greater trust in the sitting Government.

Very high poll support of Labour suggests this is true.

But it is possibly significant that only the Labour Prime Minister and Labour Ministers have been getting a large amount of exposure in dealing with Covid.

Valid questions have been asked Labour using Covid media conferences as virtual campaigning opportunities. A lot of the information given to the public during the almost daily media events is quite mundane and of little interest to most people.

A lot of voters only have a very supereficial understanding of political issues.

The survey is a reader-initiated survey, as opposed to a poll, but Duncan said it was always interesting to see what issues were coming to the fore and what was influencing the way they would vote.

Sometimes people didn’t know what they were actually voting for.

“Some people see themselves as voting for a prime minister, which technically they’re not actually doing. We vote for our local candidate and for our preferred political party – the parties themselves choose who will lead them.”

But Jacinda Ardern is very adept at promoting herself while distancing herself from the less favourable government news and from the National Party disarray and self destruction. John Key also did this very successfully.

Media also put a lot of emphasis in personality politics, tending to pick and promote just a few politicians to give significant airtime to. But this probably feeds the general public appetite for personality over policy and competence..

Hooton leaves Leader of the Opposition office

Well known PR strategist/lobbyist and political commentator Matthew Hooton raised political eyebrows when he promoted Todd Muller’s bid for National leadership – he told RNZ “I gave him personal support as a friend” – and then took on a job in the office of the the Leader of the Opposition when Muller took over on 22 May.

He stayed on when Judith Collins took over from Muller on 14 July, but Hooton has now announced he is going “back to family and other interests in Auckland”

He made this statement on Facebook:

Well, I spent yesterday thinking about whether I could do another seven weeks commuting to Wellington, decided I didn’t want to, slept on it, and called Judith Collins this morning to say I wanted to finish in Wellington and get back to family and other interests in Auckland.

Judith was very gracious. (She’s as tough as I knew she was but I didn’t realise she is also kind and also very funny until she took over a couple of weeks ago.) I thanked her and Gerry Brownlee for the opportunity and support they had given me, especially after Todd Muller’s demise, and said I think they now have a terrific team who has a good chance of winning the election, or at least can ensure the National Party will remain a broad church after 19 September.

But I said it was time for me to move on now. I can’t justify the impact on my family and other personal and professional responsibilities for another seven weeks. Cathy Wood seems quite pleased!

I’m pleased to have contributed to getting some of National’s basic messaging done, including the standard stump speech, and also to have helped kickstart the A-to-Z policy process again. I still think the Te Puna speech I wrote for Todd was pretty good.

I will watch with great interest to see how it all unfolds over the next seven weeks. Ideally what would have been spent on my fees can now be redirected to the much more important cost centre of boosting Facebook posts!

So to all the team down in Wellington, all the very very best for the next seven weeks – and hopefully the next nine years.

And you may be hearing from me here and there sooner than you may think.It certainly has been another very interesting life experience, these last nine weeks.

And I will try to renew the resolution that I made when I got back from London last year never to visit Wellington again!

Response from Cathy Wood:

Thanks for listening to my pleas ❤️🙏🏼 Solo-mumming/full-time work was ok when you were doing philosophy in London but it’s not ok for Wellington politics!

Hooton:

 Probably should have listened nine weeks ago!

Judith Collins:

Matthew, Thank you very much for all your excellent work and sage advice. We are now in a great place. Judith

Hooton:

Thanks Judith. It has been a whole lot of fun in a very bizarre way!

Megan Campbell:

Enjoyed working with you, Matthew. Thanks for your advice, contribution and friendship.

Hooton:

Same Megan. But let’s not quite do this again! 😄

No doubt people of different political leanings will make of this whatever they like, but regardless, this moving on by Hooton is likely to make little difference to the election campaign.

Rogue polls versus statistics

It’s common for politicians to claim that unfavourable polls are inaccurate (and nearly as common for them to accept favourable polls as ok).

Gerry Brownlee went as far as claiming a Newshub/Reid Research poll published on Monday was ‘rogue’.

RNZ: Gerry Brownlee questions methodology used in latest Newshub Reid Research poll

The latest Newshub Reid Research poll, released last night, has put the Labour Party on 60.9 percent and National on 25.1 percent, as the election draws closer.

The National Party released a statement just one minute before the news of the poll, dismissing it as rogue.

“I don’t believe it at all, I think it’s entirely out of kilter, it’s absolutely opposite to what we’re hearing in the electorates. The poll itself doesn’t go anywhere near where our polling is, the polling itself is clearly wrong,” party leader Judith Collins said.

National’s election campaign chair and deputy leader Gerry Brownlee told Morning Report that he meant no disrespect to the people who participated or those at Reid Research, but questioned the methodology being used.

“[The methodology used] potentially could not be random. When they applied that methodology, you’re going through selecting people who meet certain criteria that you want to have inside your polls – age groups and diversity, but that doesn’t mean you are always getting a truly random sample of what people are thinking politically.”

He reiterated the same message he had from last night, that statistically one in 20 polls would be wrong and that this was that one.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, and was done between 16-24 July with 1000 people surveyed – the majority by phone and the remainder via an internet panel.

One of the problems with Brownlee’s claims is that while statistically a 1 in 20 poll may be outside the margin of error it is very likely to be 10% outside the margin of error. It would be much more likely to be just 0.1% outside the margin of error, or 1% outside.

According to statistical methods with the 95% confidence used is there is a 95% (19 in 20) the 25.1% result for National will be between 22.0% and 28.2%, and a 1 in 20 chance it will be outside this range. But the chances of it being 35% (or 15%) are very slim.

National leaked an internal poll result of 36% (but gave no details about polling period or sample size) – this means there is a 95% chance of it of actually being between 33% and 39%.

The 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll published on Thursday had a different polling period and a different result.

It was published as 32% with a margin of error of 3.1% (at 50%, it reduces the further you get from 50%). But that’s a rounded result, it could have been anywhere between 31.51% and 32.49%.

Accounting for the margin of error that’s a 95% confidence range somewhere between about 28.5% and 35.5%, with a 1 in 20 chance it is outside this.

Labour were published as 53%, but that’s a 95% confidence range somewhere between about 49.5% and 56.5%, still a big lead over National.

So any poll is quite approximate, despite how Newshub and 1 News try to portray their results.

Political news will affect who people think they may vote for. Sensationalised news of poll results is also likely to affect voter decisions.

And these poll results are already out of date. The Colmar Brunton poll published on Thursday:

  • Interviewing took place from Saturday 25 to Wednesday 29 July 2020.
  • Sunday (50% of sample size target was reached on this day).

So political news (including the Monday Reid Research poll) and social contact through the week would barely be reflected in the Colmar poll.

Brownlee making a fuss about a poor poll result drew more attention (some negative) to the result, but will probably only play a very small in the next poll.

Rogue MPs are a much bigger deal than rogue polls.

Polls are a useful but very approximate indicator of voter preferences in the past.

The fringe popularity of Bill Te Kahika

It seemed a bit odd that when Jami-Lee Ross joined his party with a virtually unknown fringe party and conceded leadership to a dude called Bill Te Kahika, but it turns out that Te Kahika is a lot more popular than Ross (this shouldn’t really be a surprise given the place Ross is in).

The allied parties aren’t likely to get close to the 5% threshold (the threshold imposed by large parties is one of MP’s biggest flaws), and there seems to be close to no chance of Ross retaining the Botany electorate, but could Te Kahika shake up the Te Tai Tokerau electorate?

If he and maybe one or two others made it into Parliament I don’t think there’s any chance either Labour or National would do any sort of governing deal with them (which would allow them to hold the balance of power), but they would be an interesting addition to the mix in Parliament.

Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): The conspiracists’ election: How the farthest fringes of politics are making a play for the centre

Billy Te Kahika is nearly 40 minutes into a two-hour monologue, delivered like a sermon and streamed live on his personal Facebook page.

It is May 17, shortly after New Zealand entered alert level two restrictions. Te Kahika, a 47-year-old businessman and musician, is sitting at a table at his home in Northland, with a pile of hand-written notes scattered in front of him.

Over the course of the video, Te Kahika lays out a theory. It interweaves the Hegelian dialectic, the origins of communism and fascism, satanism, geoengineering, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic into a sinister global plot to control the population.

To me some of their policies are crazy, but if they get enough votes they will have deserved representation.

Te Kahika is even-tempered and eloquent. He speaks calmly, sprinkling te reo into his speech. He often interrupts himself to say what he’s talking about is not a conspiracy, but a fact.

It came out of leftfield. Before the pandemic, Te Kahika’s Facebook page was free of politics. It primarily documented his career as a guitarist, following in the footsteps of his father, the pioneering musician Billy TK.

His posts started to become politically tinged in late March, in the early days of level four restrictions. Like everyone else, Te Kahika was in self-isolation with his family, which meant he had his days free to research issues online.

Much of this research veered towards fringe ideas, circulated on Facebook and YouTube. His political posts became regular, and increasingly incorporated information from the emerging ecosystem of conspiracy theories related to the pandemic, typically centring on unsubstantiated or outright false claims.

It culminated in his live broadcast, which merged these ideas into a unified theory: That the pandemic had been planned, and the New Zealand Government was at the forefront of a global push to enslave the population.

The video was intended for his Facebook friends, but it spread much wider. Within a week, it had been seen nearly 30,000 times. In the days afterward, Te Kahika continued his live broadcasts, which drew thousands of views each.

In modern politics you have to be outlandish to get noticed. Attempts at starting up moderate modest parties get ignored.

Three weeks after his first video, Te Kahika launched the New Zealand Public Party (NZPP) at Auckland’s Akarana Yacht Club. From there, he took his theory on the road – At an event in Christchurch on July 11, a month to the day after he announced the party, Te Kahika drew a raucous crowd of 500 in Christchurch. A few days earlier, he had spoken to a similarly-sized crowd in Tauranga.

He leveraged his growing influence in conspiracy theory circles internationally, with a long-form interview with Pete Evans, the Australian chef and conspiracy theorist. Perhaps the world’s most notorious conspiracy theorist, David Icke, has shared Te Kahika’s content on social media.

Just seven weeks after it started, the party launched its campaign at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland. Thousands of people cheered for Billy Te Kahika, and the hope that he represented. By merging with Advance NZ, the political vehicle for Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, the NZPP could officially contest the upcoming election (the party had formed too late to officially register).

“The momentum that we’ve got now… New Zealand politics hasn’t seen anything like it, and that’s a fact,” Te Kahika told Stuff this week.

The party’s Facebook page, not yet two months old, already has 20,000 followers, more than the ACT party, which has been online for nine years. Content on the NZPP’s Facebook page is getting engagement levels similar to that of the National Party.

Like them or not they are likely to play a significant part in the election. At least they seem to have popular support that isn’t bought by big money backed parties such as the Colin Craig, Kim Dotcom and Gareth Morgan parties.

With the fading away of small parties in Parliament there was always going to be opportunities for someone with social media savvy to make a bit of a mark.

The stuff article has a detailed look at their policies and conspiracies and their chances.

Colmar Brunton poll – July 2020

The latest 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll:

  • Labour 53% (up 2)
  • National 32% (down 6)
  • Greens 5% (down 1)
  • ACT 4.8% (up 1.7)
  • NZ First 2 (up 0.2)
  • New Conservatives 1.2%
  • Maori Party 1%
  • Don’t know/refused 14%

Still obviously very good for Labour.

Bad for National but nowhere near as bad as the Reid Research poll (25%). They could improve more from there but look a long way off challenging Labour.

Probably at National’s expense ACT are in a very good place for them.

Greens are still hovering around the threshold which for them having no electorates is high risk.

Further evidence that voters are giving up on Winston Peters and his party.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 54% (no change)
  • Judith Collins 20% (up 18)
  • Winston Peters 1% (down 1)
  • David Seymour 1% (up 0.2)
  • Christopher Luxon 1%
  • Billy Te Kahika 1%

That’s a fairly good result for Collins considering how bad National has been over the last few weeks, and how uneven her performance has been.

On trust:

  • Jacinda Ardern: yes 82%, no 16% = +68
  • David Seymour: yes 48%, no 36% = +12%
  • Judith Collins: yes 47%, no 45% = +2
  • James Shaw: yes 47%, no 31% = +16
  • Marama Davidson: yes 44%, no 34% = +10
  • Winston Peters: yes 34%, no 59% = -25

Judith Collins: Approve 50%, Disapprove 23 = +27
– Todd Muller got +10 in June 2020, Simon bridges -40 in May 2020

Polling was done from Saturday 25th to Wednesday 29th July.

More details will come out in while.

Green flip-flop on waka jumping riles NZ First

There may be a bit of payback with the Green party support of a National MP bill repealing the waka jumping bill that they supported in 2018 due to ‘honouring the coalition agreement’.

NZ First aren’t happy, saying the Greens can’t be trusted, but there’s a large dollop of pot calling kettle black there.

NZ First and Labour made a commitment in their coalition agreement:

Introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

From the Labour-Green agreement:

Both parties to this agreement recognise that Labour will be working with other parties both in terms of coalitions and confidence and supply arrangements.

Labour agrees that it will not enter into any other relationship agreement which is inconsistent with this agreement and the Green Party and Labour agree that they will each act in good faith to allow all such agreements to be complied with.

Because of this Greens voted for the bill in 2018 despite opposing it. But they are now supporting a repeal of the members’ bill currently before Parliament – ELECTORAL (INTEGRITY REPEAL) AMENDMENT BILL

Rt Hon DAVID CARTER (National):

I haven’t canvassed other political parties, and I acknowledge that Labour advanced the legislation I’m attempting to repeal early in 2018, but I’m certainly hoping all members will give careful consideration to this bill, because this bill attempts to actually put integrity back into our electoral system. It’s about improving the integrity of our system.

To become a member of Parliament isn’t easy, and having got here, whether you come as an Independent—which is a very fraught way—or you come as a member of Parliament, you come with a conscience. You come with a responsibility to form an opinion on issues and to speak with your conscience, if you’re a list MP, or, if you’re an electorate MP, to speak with a conscience that represents the people that elected you to this House. Though this bill is about allowing MPs to exercise that conscience, it’s about not coming to this Parliament to simply be—as some members of Parliament have described in the past—cannon fodder, or a puppet to a political party.

Now, we all know the history of this legislation that I’m attempting to change today. It was the price of the current Government—the Labour – New Zealand First – Green Government—doing a deal with New Zealand First, and I know why he needs that sort of control. History tells us.

I want to just, in conclusion, in my last couple of minutes, note for the House the number of times dissension has actually been significant and relevant to the New Zealand parliamentary process. I can think myself, long before I was here, of Marilyn Waring, in 1984. She threatened to cross the floor, and caused the well-known snap election that caused the end of the Muldoon era. Jim Anderton, a loyal member of the Labour Party, until he argued that the Labour Party had left him and his principles, so he set up The Alliance party. Dame Tariana Turia, one of the most respected members of Parliament I’ve had the privilege of working with, didn’t agree with the Labour Party. She said so, walked out, and started her own party—the Māori Party—which made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s democracy.

And Mr Peters himself, a member of the National caucus, disagreed with National, walked out, formed his own party, and no one can argue that it hasn’t been a significant contributor to New Zealand politics over that time.

So there will be robust debate around this bill. I certainly hope the Green Party will be careful with its contribution and will deliberate carefully, because I note as I read their contributions last time that they were never comfortable with being forced into the position of supporting this legislation.

Greg O’Connor and Peeni Henare both spoke, saying the Labour would oppose the bill.

Then Tracey Martin from NZ First spoke:

Hon TRACEY MARTIN (NZ First): Kia ora, Madam Speaker. I rise on behalf of New Zealand First to oppose the bill. What we are seeing, and the New Zealand public needs to understand, is this is a personal vendetta by two members who feel that they have been personally slighted some 20-odd years ago. That is what this is about. And the member’s bill ballot has finally provided them with an opportunity to take a dig.

The New Zealand First Party does not believe that this is how this House should be used, for personal vendettas. The purpose of the original bill—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: And what you hear, ladies and gentlemen, is the sense of entitlement that wafts away from Mr Carter and Mr Smith. They believe that they are elected and once they are elected, even if they choose to deny the platform upon which they were elected, that you must suffer them.

And I say to the Green Party: there is a time and a place to stand up and keep one’s word. There is a time and a place to acknowledge commitments made and stick with them, and I’ll be interested to see later tonight whether the Green Party has the integrity to vote their word, as opposed to deciding in the final days of a Parliament that they don’t need a relationship any more, going forward, that they don’t need to keep an agreement or a word given, and we will see what the Green Party does with regard to their integrity. We do not support the bill.

Chloe Swarbrick spoke for the Greens:

Everybody has stood up tonight and given pretty high and mighty speeches. There’s been a lot of talk about principle, but the fact of the matter is, is not all too many people have actually acknowledged the machinations behind the scenes here tonight, and that is politics. The Parliament of Aotearoa New Zealand is, as I think most in this House would be aware, one of the most whipped in the world. What that means is that even though we have heard some speeches from members of the Opposition about the importance of things like freedom of speech, you’ve still had a speech from one of your departing members today who spoke to the fact that they had to vote against what they felt was their conscience in coming forward with a caucus position.

There’s also the case, as was noted by members on this side of the House, the fact of the matter that we have a very tribalist system. I think all of us have seen just how ugly that can get. That adversarial system has produced some of the worst behaviour in this place. But on top of that it has resulted in some very archaic first past the post thinking, particularly in what the major parties see and characterise as safe seats. I think that’s a great example, actually, of the flaws of our present adversarial system.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Greens from speeches of both the Opposition and governing parties tonight. I think that it’s really important that we are deeply clear…

And that the Opposition doesn’t heckle me right now, because the Greens will honour our 20 year position on voting on this legislation tonight in much the same way that we honoured the coalition agreements and voting for the legislation that originally put it into place…

So, maybe politics would be a whole lot better if politicians stop talking about themselves as we are tonight. If politicians want a code of conduct, as we’re talking about, and how we treat each other, particularly within our parties, then perhaps we could best start by all signing up to the recommendations of the Francis review. The Greens commend this bill to the House.

A party vote was called for on the question,That the Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill be read a first time.

Ayes 64

New Zealand National 54; Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 8; ACT New Zealand 1; Ross.

Noes 55

New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9.

Bill read a first time.

Outside of Parliament it was leaders James Shaw and Winston Peters clashing.

Just over two years ago Parliament passed the controversial waka-jumping legislation after the Green Party voted in favour of something they’d spent decades opposing.

RNZ: James Shaw and Winston Peters go head to head over waka-jumping

The Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill was born out of the Labour-New Zealand First coalition deal.

It requires MPs who quit, or are expelled from a political party, to leave Parliament then and there.

The Greens hate the bill and think it is anti-democratic and draconian but co-leader James Shaw begrudgingly gave his party’s support to it in 2018.

In a complete reversal, the Greens last night threw their support behind a bill to repeal it, enraging New Zealand First.

There may be some utu in this as well as the greens going back to their principles – NZ First have not honoured their coalition agreement in opposing Green policies.

New Zealand First has a track record of pulling support for Labour-Green policies at the eleventh hour.

There’s been the capital gains tax, cameras on fishing boats, and more recently light rail from Auckland city to the airport.

Peters said comparisons can’t be drawn between light rail and waka-jumping.

“We did the work on light rail, the costings and the analysis did not back it up.”

He said the Greens’ were breaking their end of the deal.

“They’re signed up to the coalition agreement on this matter for three years and that term does not end until the 19th of September.”

Peters said the Greens can’t be trusted and voters should remember that on election day.

Polls suggest voters trust NZ First (and Peters in particular) less than the Greens.

Shaw rejected that criticism.

“I think it’s a bit rich for Winston to suggest that we’re not trustworthy when in fact they’re the ones who have been entirely slippery with the interpretation of our confidence and supply agreement.”

Shaw said his party is fed up with New Zealand First not sticking to the spirit of an agreement.

“I would say that in recent times we have learned that it’s the letter of the agreement, rather than the spirit of the agreement, that’s what counts when it comes to New Zealand First.

“So when it comes to the repeal of the party-hopping bill I would say that we have observed exactly the letter of our agreement.”

So is he just playing the same political games as Peters?

“Well I learn from the master,” Shaw fired back.

Both parties are fighting for their political lives. Greens are polling just over the threshold, NZ First well under. Having spats like this may raise their profiles but it probably won’t raise their chances of surviving the election.

Jami-Lee Ross – valedictory interview

Jami-Lee Ross gave what may have been effectively a valedictory interview with RNZ yesterday. He has effectively conceded his proposed Advance NZ party is struggling by joining with a conspiracy based party .

He very slim chances of being re-elected must now be even more unlikely.

Ross was selected as a candidate for the safe National electorate of Botany in 2011 and gradually rose through the ranks the become senior Whip in 2017, and was re-elected then with a majority of 12,839 votes.

But a year later, in October 2018 his political career crashed and burned. Ross turned on National and became an independent MP. Allegations were made by MP Sarah Dowie and by electorate staff that Ross had bullied them.

Last year the serious Fraud office announced that Ross was one of four people being investigated for donation fraud, and he was charged in January this year (the trial won’t be until next year).

There’s a summary here.

His problems have continued as an independent MP.

February 2020 (Newsroom): New allegations surround MP Jami-Lee Ross and Ross’ ‘toxic’ office problems raised in June

21 July 2020: ‘Go back into a room with a predator? No thank you’

Despite this Ross has been working towards trying to get re-elected – May 2020 (1 News): Jami-Lee Ross announces own political party for 2020 election

Mr Ross announced Advance NZ in a Facebook post last night, saying it’ll focus on the freedom and sovereignty of New Zealanders and creating a new economic plan to get Kiwis through a post Covid-19 world.

Advance NZ wants to see a democratic country that has brave voices in the middle that speak truth to power. People that stand up for freedom, sovereignty and independence.”

26 July (The Spinoff): Jami-Lee Ross, Billy Te Kahika and the rebel alliance of Election 2020

Can the conspiracy theories of social media be coalesced into a party that makes parliament under MMP?

It hardly needs saying that the views of Te Kahika – and evidently shared by the crowd – go against official scientific advice. In fact, it might even be fair to say that they don’t believe official scientific advice precisely because of who the messengers are. They have no trust in the government, international institutions like the World Health Organisation or the United Nations, or billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates.

There were attacks on Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who had spent time at the WHO. “Anyone who does any length of time at an organisation like that is going to be fully indoctrinated.” There were enthusiastic boos for the “fully groomed globalist” Jacinda Ardern. “Her story speaks like the perfect history of a prime minister who will betray our people.”

It was Agenda 21. It was anti-vaxxing. It was 5G. It was people being forced out of the provinces to live in “technocratic high-rise cities”. It was all on the way, said Te Kahika, and he was the only one who could

…But for the people who turned out, it had been a thrilling day, and they left upbeat. They had come from all parts of the North Island. And over the next weeks, they’ll take that message out far and wide, and in the process probably reach people totally unreachable by other forms of politics and messaging. The results of that could be unlike anything New Zealand has ever seen before.

RNZ: Jami-Lee Ross launches Advance New Zealand party

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross has merged his Advance New Zealand party with the Public Party, in the hope its leader will win the seat of Te Tai Tokerau.

That looks like Ross is conceding he has no hope of retaining his Botany seat, and probably also indicates he has been unable to get the 500 members required to register a party.

The Botany MP will co-lead the new party with Billy Te Kahika, who will stand in Te Tai Tokerau.

But there must be close to no chance of Te Kahika winning Te Tai Tokerau.

If he wins it, Ross would make it back into Parliament as a list MP under the coat-tail rule, even if he lost Botany.

Ross said Advance New Zealand would suspend the free trade agreement between New Zealand and China within its first three months and would support Hong Kong and Taiwan in seeking independence.

So a politically toxic MP facing SFO charges who has failed to get a credible party going has joined with a party with even less credibility, best known for it’s support of conspiracy theories, including that Covid-19 is a world order plot.

In what may be virtually a farewell interview yesterday Ross kept refusing to distance himself from the Covid conspiracy.

Ross: “I think there are New Zealanders out there who feel we have lost a lot of rights and freedoms to this Covid-19 issue and there’s questions that are being asked.”

Dann: “But do you believe that it is a bioweapon, man-made, being used against people?”

Ross: “Covid-19 is a real virus and it is impacting people around the world. We have in the situation in New Zealand that we no longer have that virus.”

Dann: “Is it a man-made virus that is being used as a bioweapon to undermine our democracy? I just want an answer on that question.”

Ross: “Covid-19 is a virus that has been in New Zealand and we have lost a lot of rights.”

Dann: “Sure, but why would you align your party with someone who believes in, frankly, ridiculous conspiracy theories which are an insult to those who are working on the front lines dealing with Covid-19, to the families who have people dying – why would you align yourself with that?”

Ross: “I think its insulting to say that New Zealanders who care about rights and freedoms shouldn’t be listened to or be taken seriously at all. There are people out there who believe that we have lost a lot of rights and freedoms, who believe that our sovereignty over many many years has been eroded.”

Dann: “You’re happy to lend your name – as someone who was the chief whip of National Party – to the Public Party and its policies, be it their scepticism around 5G, 1080, fluoridation, anti-vaxxers – you’re happy to lend your name to that?”

Ross: “When you have been involved in one of those big political parties you see how much of a cult they are and you see how much of a big problem just blindly following what the big political parties are. There’s an opportunity for small parties unite together and challenge the status quo. That’s what this alliance is about… I think there’s going to be some real momentum here.”

Full transcript and audio: Jami-Lee Ross faces Covid-19, China questions after new Advance NZ party alliance

But the chances of joining forces with other small parties doesn’t look great.

From The Spinoff Bulletin:

A quick point about the ‘alliance’ nature of the Advance NZ/NZ Public Party merger: On stage yesterday, Ross reeled off a long string of parties outside parliament, saying they’d still be welcome to join up.

Since then, people in the leadership teams of the Opportunities Party, Outdoors Party, New Conservative and Social Credit (the largest four parties listed by Ross) have all confirmed to me that they’ll be doing nothing of the sort.

Ross and his new party alliance may get a few supporters online but they are likely to need a lot more than that to come anywhere near close to getting into Parliament.

Newshub/Reid Research poll July 2020

The latest Newshub/Reid Research poll is great for Labour and terrible for National. which isn’t a surprise after what has happened over the last two weeks.

Greens are just hanging on ov er the threshold, NZ First is still well down in danger territory and ACT will be happy but are not picking up all the support National is shedding.

  • Labour 60.9% (up 4.4)
  • National 25.1% (down 5.5)
  • Greens 5.7% (up 0.2)
  • ACT Party 3.3% (up 1.5)
  • NZ First 2.0% (down 0.7)
  • New Conservatives 0.9% (down 0.1)
  • Maori Party 0.4% (down 0.5)
  • TOP 0.4% (up 0.3)

Newshub: The destruction of National under Judith Collins as party sinks to 25 percent

That’s a stupid but typical headline.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 62% (up 2.5)
  • Judith Collins 14.6% (up 11.5)
  • Simon Bridges 5.5%

Collins is higher than Bridges ever got but still nowhere near challenging Ardern, who looks untouchable at the moment.

Jacinda Ardern still soaring as preferred Prime Minister – but Judith Collins is convinced she’ll win

The latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll was conducted between 16-24 July 2020. One thousand people were surveyed, 700 by telephone including both landlines and mobiles and 300 by internet panel. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Jacinda Ardern:

  • Performing well 85.3%
  • Performing poorly 8.2%

It would take a miracle to stop Ardern (aka Labour) from romping in this election. The only query seems to be at this stage whether they will be able to form a government on their own or not.

Judith Collins:

  • Performing well 39.5%
  • Performing poorly 30.8%

Last poll Bridges 21.6% thought bridges was performing well and 59.5% thought he was performing poorly. Collins is doing much better than thatt but National MPs have let the party down badly.

This is grim for Collins but National has had a series of crises that can’t be blamed on her. Bridges was doing badly, Todd Muller made things worse.

Green Party – ‘Think ahead’

The Green leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson have been given a chance to promote their campaign in The Nation this morning.