Range of US polls

About the only certainty about US presidential polls is that it is futile reading much from single polls. There are a lot of polls, and the results are all over the place.

FiveThirtyEight still gives Hillary Clinton an 85% chance of winning. The RealClear Politics  rolling average has been fluctuating a little around the +6% level for Clinton (today it is back up slightly).

Recent polls show how variable they are:


Rasmussen and the tracking polls have tended to favour Trump in the past but more recently have been running close to even, while the ABC poll gives Clinton a huge lead.

Perhaps more pertinent  are the polls for Florida and North Caroline that Trump probably needs to win to get the key Electoral College numbers he needs.

Apart from the polls there are several things working against Trump:

  • Time – only two weeks to try and turn a bad run around
  • The Republican Party is split in it’s support of his campaign
  • The Democrats are said to have a much better ‘on the ground’ organisation
  • Early votes are reported to favour Clinton
  • Trump


Why Wikileaks v. Clinton fizzled

Bill Scher via RealClear Politics on Why the WikiLeaks Attack Fizzled

“Wednesday@HillaryClinton is done.  – #Wikileaks.”, tweeted Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump adviser and Republican operative, on Oct. 2. He was incorrect on two counts. The splashy release of Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s emails from WikiLeaks came on the following Friday. And Hillary Clinton is not done.

A little more than two weeks have passed since the stolen messages were turned into a searchable online database. Since then, Clinton’s lead in the RealClearPolitics poll average has widened slightly.

Why is that? The emails show the Clinton campaign team to be obsessively calculating political operatives. Some are privately rude to the populists on their left flank, whom they need on Election Day. The revealed transcripts of Clinton’s private speeches suggest she may hold some disingenuous positions in public.

In the alternative universe where Clinton runs against a generic Republican politician, the media might have turned the emails into a sensationalized feeding frenzy.

But we don’t live in the alternative universe. We live in the universe where WikiLeaks tried to take down a candidate with embarrassing private emails and failed.

Clinton didn’t suffer much from contextually challenged coverage like that in The Hill because Trump hogged most of the negative coverage for himself. A firm believer in the “no such thing as bad publicity” school, Trump chose to rail against those accusing him of sexual assault, thereby ensuring tons of stories about Trump.

So Clinton dodged a bullet.

In failing to turn unvarnished internal political machinations into a paralyzing scandal, WikiLeaks may have inadvertently raised the bar on what constitutes a successful act of political cyberwar. If all an email hack accomplishes is the temporary embarrassment of some political aides and supersized serving of gossip for Washington cocktail parties, then the hack is hardly potent ammo.

The truth is, if we saw the raw email from the Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or Bernie Sanders campaigns we would surely see similar political calculations over tricky issues, deliberations how to quash negative media narratives and intemperate comments made about adversaries or even allies.

Many journalists probably had a good idea how politics worked in private and most were not shocked by the emails. And I think most people were not interested in the emails or were bored by them.

Perhaps Wikileaks are saving the best (or worst) until last, but time is running out.

The Russian government, which American intelligence believes stole the emails and fed them to WikiLeaks, doesn’t necessarily expect to elect Trump, but wants to, as The Economist put it, “discredit and erode universal liberal values by nurturing the idea that the West is just as corrupt as Russia.”

But that is only true if Americans are gullible enough to be led down the path Russia want us to take. The blasé reaction from American voters to the contents of Podesta’s emails is a heartening sign that we will not.

There are some similarities to what happened in the New Zealand general election campaign, where both Nicky Hager through his book ‘Dirty Politics’ and Kim Dotcom sought to swing the election against John Key and National, and if anything it backfired and ensured the incumbent was returned for another term.

Perhaps voters end up working things out well for themselves, however the media covers abnormal activities, especially if some people try to disproportionally influence elections.


Dotcom planning for 2017 election

Kim Dotcom:

I’m getting ready for 2017 NZ election. This time I’ll spend far less, corrupt media won’t stop me, will change Govt with brilliant plan!


which should be NOT to get involved! Didn’t you learn that last time?

The beauty about my new plan is that media bias and character assassination won’t work. I figured out how to get the youth to vote in 2017

I’m extremely competitive. I hate losing. When I lose I don’t stop learning until I can win. I may lose a few times but in the end I’ll win.

I don’t know if that is serious or just stirring or posturing.

He might have trouble getting a party of any note together. The Auckland left seem to be trying their luck with Labour now.

Yeah but you need to get them to vote *for you*

No. Youth votes for fairness. Their minds are not yet polluted with greed. They care about others & the planet. NZ Greens might get a boost.

Youth mostly don’t vote.

I’m not sure the Greens would be keen on getting some help from Dotcom.

why did you lose in 2014, do you think? Was it solely down to “corrupt media”?

Mostly media. John Key & National have the mainstream media under control. I underestimated that. This time the media spin won’t help them.

Thats the good thing about learning. You keep getting better. I was a political amateur. Now I understand their game & how to win. Watch me!

Sounds like he’s got a lot to learn yet.

Low turnouts and online voting

Local body election turnouts have been very low again, with most on the low forties – Auckland couldn’t even make 40%, in part probably due to the fact that Phil Goff was always anointed by media as a shoe in.

General election turnouts have been declining for some time as well.

In the modern world where communities and media are so fragmented is it possible to ever get any semblance of civic pride back? Most people simply don’t care about local body elections in particular.

Even those who do think they should vote struggle to front up – like me.

I filled in my voting papers with difficulty on Saturday morning and delivered them half an hour before closing (thanks DCC for having people with voting boxes picking up votes from cars in the Octagon).

A mixture of not knowing anything about most of the candidates and an awfully difficult and confusing system of voting makes procrastination easy. I seriously considered not bothering to vote.

I voted on four things.


Eleven candidates to choose from. The incumbent was very unlikely to lose, and there was a lack of strong alternatives. Under STV ranking them 1-11 was easy enough.


Forty three bloody candidates that require ranking. This is a major task to do anything other than randomly.

I started by numbering those I didn’t want elected from 43 up.

Then I numbered ones that I supported starting from 1 then working my way down.

Then I had about thirty in the middle to decide on. This became increasingly random as I worked my way up and down. Then the sequences didn’t meet in the middle, so i had miscounted somewhere.

And I didn’t care. I knew that would invalidate my vote from where I stuffed up and I didn’t care whether that was near the top or the bottom of the sequence. I just gave up.

Community Board

This was easier, with ‘only’ 12 to rank. I hardly knew anything about most of them but I looked at their pictures and read their blurb and took a stab.

Regional Council

I thought this was relatively easy, with only 10 candidates. I even knew one of them and knew of one or two others. So I ranked them. Then the fine print was pointed out to me – all the others were STV votes but the Regional Council isn’t, so I should have just ticked the six I wanted!

So I scribbled out my ranks and ticked beside them. I don’t care if that counted or not.

There must be a better way to vote.

Postal Voting

Postal voting was introduced to try and stem the decline in turnout, unsuccessfully.

There are significant flaws with postal voting.

It is common for people not to change their electoral roll addresses, especially in a university town like Dunedin. Many papers arrive at addresses where the voters don’t live any more. I received papers for someone who hasn’t lived here for several elections.

A stupid thing about enrolling is you are sent a letter by the Electoral Commission saying that if you don’t live there any more then let them know. I’m not sure how you are supposed to get this letter.

If there is no reply they assume you must still live there. This is nuts.

Postal voting is ideal for procrastinators – it’s very easy to put off voting until tomorrow. An and when it’s too late it doesn’t matter, you don’t know most of the people others voted in anyway.

Online Voting

There are strong supporters of line voting, and also strong opponents.

A trial of online voting was seriously considered by some cities and regions this election, but that fell through.

Lynn Prentice appears to not favour online voting: Online voting – the only choice for idiots

As a  computer programmer and someone who has been involved in politics for decades, I’m always amazed at idiots like Malcolm Alexander of the LGNZ talking about something that they clearly don’t understand the technicalities of. Online voting is way too fragile to roll out. And anyway young voters are still going to not have their voting details at hand.

In his language an idiot is someone he disagrees with, and I’m sure he’s called me an idiot more than once already.

I don’t think online voting could be much worse than postal voting, and you might get more people voting.

At the very least I think we should have online tools to help us vote, especially in the complex local body elections.

An app an a website that made it easy to rank (and show you where a tick was required) candidates would have made voting much easier for me, especially if it included candidate information along with links to their websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Then some real research would be possible.

You can’t just stick a pin in a smart phone.

Online could also randomise the candidates so the Andersons don’t get an unfair advantage over the Willamsons. The voting papers are randomised, but when the Candidate Information booklets are in alphabetic order this adds to the voting confusion.

If I could rank candidates online, then read the results and write them onto my voting papers I think I would put much more effort into voting.

As things are now Lotto is much easier to play than local body voting – and the chances of a good result are about the same.

There must be a better way. I don’t think a properly designed online system would be any worse than what we currently have. Sure it could be abused, but so can postal voting, and I don’t think the proportions of vote cheating would be significant in most elections.

Trump, Republicans in trouble

The US presidential election is a bit like the current situation in Aleppo – an awful war of attrition.

Donald Trump’s campaign has hit severe road bumps with the furore over the ‘sex tapes’. Why now? There have been plenty of outlandish things to dump on Trump for, but the 2005 recording seems to have been a tipping point. Money buys, but sex sells.

Significantly this time Republican officials and elected representatives – especially those facing an election as well – have lined up to condemn Trump and withdraw their support. Trumps candidacy was always seen as high risk, but majorities in the Senate and in Congress are at stake, as well as state Governorships.

The Republican Party could be dragged down by Trump’s dirty language.

Trump is getting hammered, with claims that his campaign is in meltdown.

Charles Lipson at RealClear Politics: Why the Trump Sex Tapes Matter

The October Surprise really was a surprise. It was not the Russians dumping hacked documents (though they did that), it was Donald Trump talking openly–and disgustingly–about his anything-goes sex life as a billionaire TV star. Politically, this is a meteor strike big enough to kill off the dinosaurs. Yet a few contrarian commentators have been trying to downplay its significance. They make two very different points.

First, they say, the Trump tapes are not worse than the revelations in Hillary’s closed-door speeches to financial executives. Second, since there are so few undecided voters, they don’t think the tapes will affect the final totals.

They are wrong on both counts.

The Trump tapes are politically devastating–far more so than Hillary’s newly released speeches

The reasons are straightforward. Talking about sex is a lot more interesting than talking about Dodd-Frank banking regulations. If that is not true for you, see your doctor immediately.

Second, audio and video are a lot more compelling than transcripts of speeches, and audio of the candidate’s own words is most compelling of all.

Substantively, the revelations about Trump and Clinton don’t change existing (negative) perceptions. They reinforce them. He’s a sleazy, swaggering showman who treats women as sex objects. She’s a double-dealer who presents one face to the public and another behind closed doors with donors, and uses her political position to make money for herself and her foundation. Nothing new on either candidate.

But the media and public are far more interested in hearing Trump talk about sex on secret recordings than reading Hillary talk about helping her friends on Wall Street.

He concludes:

The bottom line: Even though the sex-talk tapes don’t reveal anything truly new about Trump, they put his defects up in bright, Las Vegas lights—and in his own words. Even if there are few undecided voters, the tapes will affect weakly committed voters. They make it easier for Hillary to win and significantly increase the Democrats’ chances on Capitol Hill.

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight: The Bottom Could Fall Out For Trump

Let’s not naively insist on taking a wait-and-see approach regarding the events of the past 24 hours. The revelation of a tape from 2005 in which Donald Trump was caught making a number of lewd comments about women, and seemed to condone unwanted sexual contact toward women, is bad news for Trump. (#Analysis.) It’s not going to help Trump to become president in a country in which 53 percent of voters are women.

The story has broken through the news cycle in a big way. Since Friday afternoon, Google searches for Trump are somewhere around four times as high as their already-insanely-high levels — in line with the sort of spike that usually occurs around a debate.

But if we knew on Friday night that this would be a big story, it’s become an even bigger story throughout the day today (Saturday) as dozens of GOP elected officials have either repudiated Trump, or unendorsed him, or called for him to resign his position at the top of the ticket.

Trump had unusually low levels of support from these “party elites” to begin with, but we’d usually seen only a few prominent Republicans repudiate him at a time afterpast controversies. Now, the floodgates have opened, and the whole party is fleeing him. We’ve never seen anything like this in a modern American election campaign.

My view of this general election — both how the FiveThirtyEight forecast models see the race and how I see it personally — is that it’s characterized by high volatility and high uncertainty. Those two things go together, although they’re not quite the same.

So, to a first approximation, we’d expect the Trump tape to hurt him in the polls, particularly in light of the many GOP officials abandoning him.

Many of those Republican defections are strategic rather than sincere, of course. If the news had broken when Trump was 5 or 6 percentage points ahead of Clinton instead of 5 or 6 points behind her, we probably wouldn’t see quite so coordinated and forceful a reaction. But the timing of this is just about as bad as possible for Trump. Even before the “hot mic” tape, there were reports that GOP elected officials might abandon Trump if he had a poor second debate. That makes sense, given that the Senate is still close to a toss-up and hasn’t made a definitive break in either direction. With one month left until the election, there’s perhaps just enough time for vulnerable Republican candidates to convince themselves that they’re better off abandoning Trump than sticking by him.

Trump already had historically poor favourability ratings, so it’s hard to know how much lower that could go.

On the one hand, the fact that Trump’s support was so low to begin with could presumably mitigate the damage to him. If you’re only getting 40 percent of the vote, the voters you do have are probably pretty committed to you — and Trump has some passionate supporters.

On the other hand, the fact that Trump has only 40 percent of the vote means that the downside for him is awfully far down.

But it’s far from over, and there are likely to be more ‘October surprises’ that could damage both Clinton and Trump.

The US presidential election is a bit like the current situation in Aleppo – an awful war of attrition.

Even before the “hot mic” tape, our model gave Clinton a 5 to 6 percentage point lead, and the error in the forecast is roughly symmetric. The polls could move by 5 or 6 points toward Trump, giving him a narrow win, or — equally likely, per our model — they could move by 5 or 6 points toward Clinton, giving her a double-digit margin. To put it another way, a Clinton landslide is no more far-fetched than a Trump victory — and given the events of the past 24 hours, probably less so.

It’s hard to know who will emerge from the rubble as America’s new president.


State of US politics

One thing is pretty much guaranteed – rebuilding US democratic credibility could be as challenging as rebuilding Aleppo.

Gary Johnson for US president?

With a media obsession with Clinton versus Trump it’s easy to forget that there are two other candidates standing for US president – Libertarian leader Gary Johnson and Green leader Jill Stein.

With a virtual mainstream media blackout Johnson is polling at around 7-8% (Stein barely rates).

What the distorted media coverage keeps highlighting is the degree of dismay over Hillary Clinton and the degree of dread of having a President Trump.

This is in part reflected in ‘Direction of Country’ polls, which have been showing that about two thirds of voters think the US is on the wrong track. Recent polls from Real Clear Politics:


It doesn’t show much confidence in the prospects of either a Clinton or a Trump presidency.

Shouldn’t the media, and US voters, give a bit more attention to a real alternative, especially Johnson? He offers a real alternative to the Clinton/establishment ticket, and surely he is a safer bet then Trump.

Johnson was the governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, and is the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

New York Times gives him a shot at selling himself:

Gary Johnson: Take a Deep Breath, Voters. There Is a Third Way.

The America I know wasn’t on the television screen on Monday night. My America is about the freedom to make choices, pursue your dreams and use your skills as entrepreneurs. It is about having more choices than just red versus blue.

Americans want to be able to choose a president who is capable of reason, of learning from failures, and of telling them the truth, even when it hurts. Most of all, they want to choose a president who will adhere to the Constitution and will make government live within its means.

I’m offering that choice. I wasn’t part of the presidential debate on Monday, but as Americans listened in dismay to the so-called major parties’ candidates, Google searches for “Gary Johnson” skyrocketed.

I’m the third candidate — the leader of the Libertarian Party. My name will be on every ballot alongside that of my running mate, Bill Weld, who like me was a twice-elected Republican governor of a strongly Democratic state.

Our kids are better educated than ever before. Our technology enables entrepreneurship and transparency. Our military is second to none, as it should be.

But our two-party political system is an entirely different story. Hyper-partisanship may be entertaining, but it’s a terrible way to try to run a country.

The US political system – along with the media that feeds it – does look terrible.

We’re the alternative — and we’re the only ticket that offers Americans a chance to find common ground.

Johnson outlines his and his party’s policies and a positive approach.

Less than six weeks before Election Day, independents and, particularly, young voters are increasingly turning to Bill Weld and me as reasonable, rational and experienced candidates. We are the party that can break the partisan gridlock which for too long has kept real solutions out of reach.

The Democrats and the Republicans are symbols of a broken political system. Clinton is a part of a stale establishment, Trump represents a crazy high risk alternative.

If I was a US voter I’d be seriously looking at an alternative, and I think that the Gary Johnson option deserves serious consideration.

Dirty local body politics?

A story of ‘political skulduggery’ in Marlborough from Stuff: Marlborough councillors brand Whale Oil leak ‘despicable’

Political skulduggery has again rocked the council chamber in Marlborough as lawyers are called in to investigate a secret recording of a committee meeting leaked to a right-wing blog. 

The leak to Whale Oil could see heads roll at the council, as councillors who attended the meeting are made to front up on Monday.

A recording of a tense behind closed doors discussion about the cash-strapped ASB Theatre was published on the blog site on Friday.

Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign. 

The committee meeting took place in April. 

Councillor Peter Jerram said the leak was “absolutely orchestrated” and smacked of “dirty politics” emerging in Marlborough. 

“Party politics are definitely involved. But worse than that, it’s gutter politics.” 

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the post was a clear attack on mayoral frontrunner Leggett, after a “very successful” attack on Sowman himself. 

Whale Oil involved in local body politics in Marlborough might seem a bit odd, they don’t usually do much about the provinces and most will have no idea who the current mayor of Marlborough is and who the candidates are.

But Whale Oil has had a number of posts on Marlborough local body politics over the last few months. Why? The Stuff article has a hint.

Political strategist Simon Lusk, who has links to Whale Oil, spoke at a local government seminar in Marlborough earlier this year attended by several council candidates. 

Lusk said at the time fighting for transparency was meaningless unless candidates opposed bad news being hidden in publicly excluded council meetings.

Lusk did not confirm or deny whether he was involved when contacted on Saturday. 

He was told information had come through on the blog’s tip line, he said. 

Why Lusk or Whale Oil might have such an interest in Marlborough local body politics is anyone’s guess.

There’s an unusual number of posts on Marlborough issues at Whale Oil going back to about June. No other regions have had this much attention so they stood out.

I never took much notice of the Marlborough posts apart from noticing they were there, they seemed local and not very interesting.

But what we have now is a story of wider interest:

  • a secret recording of a closed Marlborough District Council meeting in April
  • details of the recording published on Whale Oil in September, on the day that local body election voting papers are sent out
  • council chief executive Mark Wheeler said if a councillor had leaked the public-excluded discussion he or she could be asked to resign

Being asked to resign three weeks before the election closes might be horse bolted timing.

What if the leaker is a candidate for the election? Their name is already printed on the ballot and posted to voters, but it could affect votes.

The Marlborough Express (Stuff) has followed up with Marlborough council announces investigation into Whale Oil leak ahead of final meeting

A secret recording of a private council meeting has triggered an investigation into all councillors and staff who were at the meeting. 

The investigation will require everyone at the behind closed doors discussion in Marlborough to sign a statutory declaration saying they were not behind the recording or it being leaked to a right-wing blog. 

It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false declaration.

They are taking it very seriously.

Meanwhile Whale Oil had a string of posts on it yesterday too.

As predicted yesterday the Marlborough Express has written an attack piece on me. They didn’t even call for comment.

After we busted John Leggett and the Marlborough Express tried to ignore the story there still remain a number of unanswered questions that I am sure the ratepayers of Marlborough wants answers to.

The Marlbourgh Express doesn’t seem to know the first rule of politics. Explaining is losing.

That’s funny considering the number of posts explaining everything.

Locals don’t dare speak out because their lives will be made hell.  Local news doesn’t dare speak up because their commercial viability is under threat if they speak up against their biggest advertisers.

More explaining. They could be important issues for people in Marlborough, but that’s local stuff that most people are unlikely to be interested in.

So they act like they are violated, scream “Whaleoil” and hope that voters will forget what it is really all about.

What an utter waste of rate payers’ money to try and figure out who helped the truth get to the public.

Stop screaming my name, and start taking responsibility for your own words and actions.

That’s more interesting, to me anyway.

A secret recording was taken of a closed door council meeting and supplied to a media outlet and published during an election campaign.

The recording is a serious matter. If it was a councillor they could be asked to resign. If it was a staff member  I expect it would potentially be a sackable offence.

But Cameron Slater and Whale Oil don’t think that how the information was obtained matters, or is excusable as the story they want to tell is what is important.

Nicky Hager thought something similar when he published Dirty Politics.

Another thing that puzzles me about this – how much influence would Whale Oil have on the Marlborough election?

Most people are barely or not interested in local body elections. Most Marlborough voters are unlikely to read Whale Oil.

I’m baffled as to why Whale Oil is giving so much coverage over several months for a relatively low interest issue that can hardly be attracting many clicks or much advertising to the blog.

It will be interesting to see whether Whale Oil sees their whistle blowing coverage of sufficient importance and interest to continue their coverage after the election.

Local body election – voting papers

My voting papers arrived for the local body elections today. I suppose I had better spend some time shifting through eleven mayoral candidates and over forty council candidates.

The standout for me is the lack of strong choices who stand a chance, especially for mayor. I think the encumbent is likely to win by default but I expect with less votes than last time.

The Auckland and Wellington mayoralties are the only ones getting much media attention nationally, and Auckland seems pretty much a done deal for Phil Goff anyway, with no challengers looking like getting close. That’s a shame but if you don’t have stand out candidates to vote for then the only well known name is likely to win.

Christchurch must be a done deal for Leanne Dalziel because that is getting no attention.

Wellington looks to be a real contest though, especially between Coughlan, Lester and Leggett. Unfortunately party politics has become a major factor there, but i don’t care who wins.

I’ll do my best to make an informed choice in the Dunedin election but enthusiasm (mine) is as lacking as the quality of choices.

It’s sort of weird. I was right in the middle of the campaign last time and now struggle to give a stuff.

But hey – we should all do our bit for democracy and vote.

No early election – but what about two?

Very unsurprisingly John Key has said he has no intention of precipitating an early election. There is currently no good reason for one, and the Government would be nuts go there.

Newstalk ZB: Key shoots down prospect of early election

Prime Minister John Key has shot down Winston Peters’ prediction that there will be an early election next year.

The NZ First leader said on Monday the government wouldn’t last a full term and would have to call an early election because it was having a bad run and had made too many mistakes.

Mr Key doesn’t think so.

“There’s nothing I can see that would indicate an early election, and on the basis of that it will be in the back half of next year.”

Mr Key says he’s likely to announce the date early next year.

That’s standard practice for Key, as it should be, with plenty of prior notice of the next election expected.

There’s been speculation and posturing about the possibility of an early election, but I think two elections are more likely, one near or at the end of the term as it should be, and another soon after if Peters holds the balance of power and proves too difficult to deal with (and Greens unwilling to support a national government).

If negotiations after next year’s election reach a stalemate due to National and Labour+Greens refusing to accept Winston’s terms for a governing arrangement then we may have to go to the polls again.

That could backfire on NZ First if they are seen as the cause of inflicting another election campaign on the public so soon after an extended barrage of bull.

It would also be very difficult for Labour in particular to finance another campaign.

I hope we don’t get a double barrelled barrage through two elections, but I think there’s more chance of that than an early election.

Voters (enough to make a difference) may choose to avert this, as they have done for the last few elections.

‘Reduce rates’ promises

Political promises are Clayton’s promises – they are promises that are not really promises. They are statements of ‘I’d like you to think I would do this if elected but it depends…’

In local body election campaigns ever escalating rates inevitably attract promises but the promises never seem to be delivered.

NZ Herald: Auckland’s would-be mayors offering same old hoary chestnuts

The triennial “silly season” is upon us. Most of the mayoral candidates and many of the council aspirants are trotting out the hoary old chestnuts, reduction of rates, for example, or capping rates. Remember those promises any other times? Remember any rates reductions, or “caps” staying in place?

Does anyone remember anyone actually drinking Claytons, ‘the drink you have when you’re not having a drink’?

…please look at the website showing press statements of Phil Goff…

From Goff’s policies:

  • Rate rises will be kept low and affordable at an average of 2.5 percent per annum or less, if current Council fiscal projections are correct and the CPI stays low.

Rates are high now so can’t be ‘kept low’ by allowing them to continue to rise faster than inflation. And Goff has two out clauses so this is not a promise, it is political snake oil.

Vic Crone delivers fairly similar, glib statements, including “keeping residential rates low”. She will also “cap rates”.

So Aucklanders can expect that their rates will remain high and will be capped at whatever the mayor and councillors think they can get away with without being run out of office.

Crone, like Goff, also proposes to make savings (“at least $500million”) and increase efficiency by reducing “back office waste” and by “efficient procurement”.

Meaningless mumbo jumbo.

Mark Thomas…

…has a more varied menu of options, such as: “freezing rates for a year with targeted options” or, “two further options of targeted growth involving an average rates increase of ‘around’ 2-4 per cent including a version of targeted rates”.

No sign of anything different there.

John Palino proposes to…

“…reduce rates by 10 per cent across the first term” by reducing spending on “non-core” and “wasteful spending”, “discretionary activities”, “payroll costs”, bringing these down “to a more normal level”.

At least Palino doesn’t pretend that rates are currently low, but I don’t know how anyone can believe he can get the support of councillors to reduce rates by 10%.

Penny Bright still doesn’t pay her own rates.

Voters are likely to remember things like this: Len Brown breaks election rates promise

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

Nearly one in four households face rates increases of more than 10 per cent, largely due to big rises in property valuations.