J effects mean a likely change of government

It is looking likely we will have a change of government this year, due to several ‘J effects’.

The ‘Jacinda effect’ has been talked about a lot. Jacinda Ardern has certainly turned around Labour’s chances a lot.

At the end of July Labour were diving in the polls and looked likely to drop below 20%. Andrew Little stepped down, Jacinda Ardern stepped up and did very well, aided by a helpful and excited and media.

The Jacinda Effect has kept working since then, but there have been two other J effects that have helped.

The Jaded Effect is something every third term government needs to try to overcome and National arn’t managing that. Bill English has campaigned and debated fairly well but Ardern is now hammering him over things National hasn’t ‘fixed’ over the last 9 years, particularly housing and ‘poverty’. It’s difficult to combat that.

The Joyce Effect is also proving to be a major problem for National. Steven Joyce is National’s campaign manager, and National’s campaign has been poor.

On top of that, this week Joyce launched an attack on a claimed $11b fiscal hole in Labour’s economic policy, and this has been a disaster for Joyce, and has made things very awkward for English.

As a result Labour is doing far better than expected, and National is struggling.

It isn’t all over yet, with two weeks of campaign to go, but advance voting begins next week.

Labour have been ahead in the last two Colmar Brunton polls, 43-41 last week and 43-39 this week. That’s an ominous warning sign for National.

It’s not all that bad – last week’s Reid Research poll had National still slightly ahead, and reports both last week and this week say that internal polling has National slightly ahead as well.

It’s not all over yet for National, but it looks difficult for them from here. Not only are they falling in the polls, they are risk at not even making the coalition negotiations with NZ First support, if Winston Peters decides to talk to them.

There are reports that Labour Maori MPs don’t want to work with the Maori Party, who otherwise seem to prefer siding with Labour, so this could make things difficult for Labour. But Labour have positive momentum and they have more options than National now.

The J effects make it likely we will have a change of government soon.

The Jacinda effect on other parties

The change of Labour leadership to Jacinda Ardern could have quite an effect on how the other parties campaign, and how the fare in the election.

National already had a battle to avoid needing NZ First, that doesn’t change but how they campaign will need a major rethink.

The Greens seem generally happy. It means a rethink of their ‘go for broke’ approach, because a recovering Labour improves their chances of getting into government. albeit with a smaller share of the vote than they were hoping for last week.

The biggest impact may be on NZ First, which could be why Winston’s response to the leadership change yesterday was gruff dismissal. If Labour come back into the reckoning that could significantly reduce NZ First’s opportunities and influence. Peters could easily attarct media attention from Little, but that will be much harder with Ardern.

Peters versus Ardern is a very different contest to Peters versus Little, and swings the pendulum significantly.

The smaller parties are at risk of being ignored even more.

It reduces TOP’s chances of picking up disgruntled voters.

Kelvin Davis’ elevation to deputy makes the Maori party’s battle with Labour quite a bit harder.

Davis must be a hot favourite now to beat Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau and keep Mana out.

ACT have struggled for relevancy and support and that won’t get any easier.

Peter Dunne already had a major challenge in Ohariu and this probably makes things harder for him.

One thing is certain – the whole complexion of this campaign has dramatically changed, and it affects all parties in major ways.

And one aspect of change is probably bigger than Jacinda herself – the media. They had given up on Little long ago and dreaded a boring election campaign. They have promoted Ardern all year, helping get her promoted to deputy, and now to leader.

The media have played a major part in changes to date, and may be the deciding factor inb this election.