Peters complains about polls in warts and all coverage

Winston Peters has been busy touring the country in his bus trying to build back support for NZ First. He is usually good at extracting publicity from media.

As usual he is complaining when the coverage he gets isn’t favourable, and he is complaining about the polls. And he is attacking journalists, clashing a number of times with Katie Bradford from 1 News.

Last time NZ First were in Government, in 2005-2008, they ended up being thrown out of Parliament by voters after failing to make the threshold, getting just 4.07%, and Peters failed to hold his Tauranga electorate.

Polls from a month before the election weren’t far from the mark.

1 News Colmar Brunton: 2.6%, 2.1%, 3.0%, 2.4%
Herald/Digipoll: 2.1%, 3.9%
Roy Morgan: 4.5%, 4.5%
NZ First election result: 4.07%

So overall the polls weren’t too far off, allowing for the margin of error and late shifts in support.

Last election NZ polling a month before the election was actually often better than their election result.

1 News/Colmar Brunton: 10.0%, 9.0%, 8.0%, 6.0%, 4.9%
Newshub/Reid Research: 9.2%, 6.6%, 6.0%, 7.1%
Roy Morgan: 11.5%, 6.0%
NZ First election result: 7.2%

This election (up to a month before election day):

1 News Colmar Brunton: 1.8%, 2%, 2%
Newshub/Reid Research: 2.0%
Roy Morgan: 1.5%, 2.5%

So while polls are just a rough indication of voter support for parties at the time they are taken, it’s fairly obvious that NZ First have hit a rough patch.

And Peters is getting grumpy.

1 News: ‘Boring, laughable, ridiculous’ – Winston Peters goes on attack after another poll puts NZ First out of Parliament

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has once again gone on the offensive when quizzed about his party’s consistently low polling in the lead up to next month’s election.

“Geez, Kate, could you get off your boring narrative about the polls, so to speak?” an exasperated Peters said to 1 NEWS reporter Katie Bradford during a media conference in Kerikeri today. 

“I hope on election night that you’re going to fly a white flag and resign because of countless questions you’ve asked on this silly question.”

He said he knew the National and Labour parties “seriously believe that New Zealand First is going to make it,” asking, “What do they know that you don’t know?”

Of course Peters could be just making that claim up. National and Labour won’t be counting NZ First out, but I doubt they “seriously believe that New Zealand First is going to make it”.

National’s Curia polling had NZ First on 3% at the end of July, and UMR who poll for Labour had NZ First on 3.9% at the end of August.

Leading into the 2017 election UMR had NZ First on 8% (1–8 Aug 2017) and 9% (11–16 Aug 2017), and Curia had them on 6% 20 Sep 2017 with NZ First getting 7.2%.

“You can’t write us off when there’s thousands and tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of forgotten New Zealanders whose only hope is New Zealand First,” Peters said.

He said he “didn’t bother to see” last night’s poll.

While New Zealand First has ranked poorly in political polls in the past, Peters has long been an opponent of what he called “rubbish.”

“I don’t like rubbish. I don’t like rubbish and I don’t like rubbish pollsters,” he said.

“Katie, with the greatest respect, you owe New Zealand First better coverage than this.

“To come along every day and talk about your boring polls is actually risable, it’s laughable, it’s ridiculous and it’s contemptuous of a fair coverage of a political party this campaign.”

Peters said people “deserve better coverage on your national TV than the bias” of 1 NEWS.

This is just Winston-speak for him wanting favourable coverage and no unfavourable coverage.

Peters expressed concern over a Labour-Greens government, saying they “don’t have the experience.”

They have just spent the last three years in Government (with NZ First), so that’s experience.

The popularity of Jacinda Ardern, who is not much more than half Winston’s age (she was born after Peters first became an MP in the Muldoon era), suggests that a lot of voters have moved on from old school politics.

He was also against a National-ACT government, telling Bradford to “do the mathematics.”

“You’re the one that’s always banging on about the polls. Do the mathematics, Katie, and be consistent for five seconds.

“You know that they’re 40 per cent shy of even making it, and if you’re going to bang on about the polls, try and be consistent about it, but I don’t believe in those sorts of polls because New Zealand First, our voter base, has never been fairly represented by them.”

Typical Peters, asking a journalist to be consistent while demonstrating his inconsistency.

Actually it appears that 1 News have been providing a range of good and not so good coverage of Peters campaigning. Over the last week:

That seems like a reasonable range of coverage.

Peters attacking journalists is normal for him. I think it is his way of trying to bully or coerce them into giving him better coverage.

But he has a real problem competing with Ardern’s niceness approach to politics.

And he is also competing for support with a resurgent ACT Party, and also with other parties seeking niche votes like New Conservatives and Advance NZ.

Peters has promoted NZ First as the anti-government party with some success in the past, but that’s difficult for him this time having just enabled the Labour led Government for three years.

He may still find some issue with which he can strike a chord with voters, but with Covid and Ardern dominating he is running out of time.

NZ First may hang on, but if they do they will likely be a lot weaker next term. Labour probably won’t even need them to form a Government.

Kudos to Katie Bradford. She has been in close contact with Peters on the campaign trail and she has the gumption to ask him difficult questions, and to report on Winston warts and all.

Political coverage upheaval at 1 News

Political journalists at 1 News are deserting faster than National MPs after a change of leadership.

NZH: TVNZ reporter quits as new leader steps in

1 NEWS reporter Jessica Mutch has been in her role as TVNZ political editor for just over a month and it seems her Wellington colleagues, Katie Bradford and Andrea Vance are a little miffed they did not get the job.

Vance has quit the national broadcaster while Bradford has asked for reassignment to Auckland after they both missed out.

TVNZ, Mutch, Bradford and Vance did not want to comment but a spokeswoman for TVNZ confirmed the newsroom had been told of Vance’s and Bradford’s moves.

Vance, from Northern Ireland, has been with 1 NEWS since 2015.

Bradford, daughter of former Green MP Sue Bradford, has been with 1 NEWS since 2013 and Spy understands she made no secret of her desire to return to Auckland if she didn’t land the political editor role.

Mutch, 33, was based in the press gallery for eight years, and was TVNZ’s deputy political editor before moving to London as Europe correspondent.

So it’s not just political parties who have power struggles and departing unsuccessful candidates.

Dann leaving, and now followed by Vance and Bradford leaving, forces major changes to 1 News political coverage.

Dann announced a move to a full time role at Q&A in January.

Vance has been reported to be going back to Stuff. Her Twitter profile:”Northern Irish journalist. Can’t stop moving.” I don’t know if that has been recently revised.


Winston Peters dirty on immigration

Winston Peters was interviewed by Katie Bradford on Q+A yesterday and was asked about immigration.

His responses will generally be agreed with by many people, but he plays to fears and prejudices without providing any substance to his insinuations.

If you found yourself agreeing with Peters then try analysing what he actually said and then consider the lack of substance.

Unless Peters can substantiate his claims – and he usually doesn’t – I call that very dirty politics.

Katie Bradford: On immigration then, we’ve seen Bill English talk about record migration, is it going to hit its peak? What needs to happen? What, if you were in government, would you do?

Winston Peters:  We’d bring people here that we need, not people who need us.

That’s the aim already, and the points system is designed to achieve this – “classify migrants on their skills, personal qualities, and potential contribution to New Zealand economy and society” – except for refugees, and they are carefully vetted as well. Already.

See Tools and information for meeting criteria

Katie Bradford: But how do you define that? Who are you talking about?

Winston Peters:  Treasury put a paper out just the other day, six months late, where they warned the government that a lot of this immigration policy is of low-skilled, low-qualified people and that it’s not working and that there were some serious dangers.

He doesn’t specify what the ‘serious dangers’ are. And we have a shortage of low-skilled, low-qualified people in some areas and occupations anyway. Dairy, horticulture and viticulture are very reliant on relatively low-qualified immigrants.

Katie Bradford: So who do you think should be allowed in the country and who shouldn’t?

Winston Peters:  Sorry, who’s been saying that for a long time, Katie? Why don’t you tell the country that someone has been saying for a long time that this is going to be a great cost? Because it does cost, and the infrastructural burden in Auckland now is massive and homelessness is really a despairing disgrace.

Only vague comments and no specifics about the cost.

The Government has made it clear that the infrastructure burden in Auckland should be covered by property developers.

There are financial benefits from immigration – that’s why National, Labour – and Peters – want immigration and population growth to continue.

Katie Bradford: Okay then, so how many people should we let in a year? Do you have a number in mind?

Winston Peters:  Yeah, something like, I would think if you’re talking about seriously qualified to fill those science and other gaps that we have and that we always have had for a hundred years, that may be somewhere between 7000 and 15,000 people. And you would also have this priority – if you go to the provinces, you’ll get far higher points. Because we’ve got all these skills gaps in the provinces which are not being filled because people are teeming into Auckland. The population of New Plymouth is coming to Auckland now every year.

But it isn’t this simple due to the unrestricted flow of New Zealanders out of and into the country. For example 48,815 immigrants arrived in 2004-2005 but 10,000 more people left so we had a population decrease.

When the Australian economy and job market boomed many New Zealanders moved over the ditch, but in recent years this flow has reversed. Immigration New Zealand cannot control the flow of New Zealanders, and cannot vet them on their qualifications or character. When jobs become scarce in Australia less qualified Kiwis are more likely to return.

Katie Bradford: Just lastly, just on that issue of who should come into this country, do you have in your mind who we should let in and who we shouldn’t?

Winston Peters:  Yes, I do into this context. It is not race based. They could come from anywhere in the world, as they have, and some have been brilliant people who have come into this country as both refugees and immigrants. But here’s what we want. We want them to salute our flag, respect our laws, honour our institutions and, above all, don’t bring absolutely anti-women attitudes with them, treating women like cattle, like fourth-class citizens. And I’d hope the women in this country wake up to what’s going on, because when you have that being imported into our country with no respect for our views, then I think it’s not good for us long term.

I have never saluted our flag, my guess is that most New Zealanders don’t salute our flag – nearly a half of us wanted a different flag. This is a stupid requirement.

“Respect our laws, honour our institutions and, above all, don’t bring absolutely anti-women attitudes with them” is cynically playing to populism and prejudice.

Peters gives no specifics about whether this addresses actual substantive issues with immigration, he is playing on fears and prejudices by implication.

Unless Peters can substantiate this sort of insinuation then I will call it dirty politics.

Katie Bradford: That sounds like you are targeting certain religions anyway. I mean, what are you saying there?

Winston Peters:  With the greatest respect, I have been to a lot of Muslim countries. I’ve been to Turkey. You couldn’t have the same view about how the Turkish think, whereas other countries, there are some serious reasons why we wouldn’t take those people. And the number-one one is their attitude towards women as just property, as cattle. Now, if we want that sort of society, then I think we’d be mad.

It’s clear that Peters is targeting Muslims without saying it directly. Again he provides no substance about whether immigrants with unlawful or anti-woman attitudes are coming to New Zealand. I haven’t seen any evidence any of this is a particular problem with immigrants in New Zealand.

Katie Bradford: So how do you choose that? How do you decide that? You can’t discriminate on the basis of someone’s views.

Winston Peters:  You interview each one.

Is that necessary? Is it practical? Would it be any more effective?

Just imagine interviewing Peters for a visa application – he would avoid giving straight answers.

Katie Bradford: Every single one of those 15,000 people should be interviewed?

Winston Peters:  Well, it’ll be so much easier with a smaller number, won’t it?

Except that the ‘smaller number’ is bunkum, and I presume Peters knows that. He’s not dumb, he’s cunning.

If we go back to 50,000 people a a year leaving New Zealand then to meet his net target of 15,000 that would require something like 65,000 interviews.

Katie Bradford: But the cost of that! Who’s going to sit down and do that?

Winston Peters:  Well, there’s a massive cost if you don’t. That’s the point. There’s a huge cost now. In every area of infrastructure in this Budget, there was a greater demand to which they are providing insufficient money. I didn’t say that; other economists have said that.

He just said it. Without any substance or references to which economists have said what.

Katie Bradford: Okay, and just lastly, do you think our refugee quota should be increased? We’re going to see the government make a decision on that soon.

Winston Peters:  New Zealand First has made that very clear. First of all, we want to know who’s coming. We’re not just going to take anybody; we need to check them out person by person. But the first thing you must do, and that’s the precondition, you’ve got to cut mass immigration of one, 20,000 a year or net 70,000 at the moment. You can’t do both.

Peters is not clear at all, except about his playing to prejudices and avoiding answering simple questions.

He didn’t answer a straight question about refugees – and refugees are causing the most concern at the moment due to where they are coming from, helped by  vague insinuations and warnings from people like Peters.

We don’t just take anybody. Refugees are carefully vetted, first by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and then selected by New Zealand.

2. Selection eligibility

The criteria for selecting UNHCR Quota refugees are similar across the countries under consideration. They typically include:

  • legal eligibility
  • family reunification and/or family connection factors
  • health or medical factors (individuals with communicable diseases or mental illnesses may be excluded)
  • good character (lack of criminal convictions and no security risk)
  • an ability to integrate.

New Zealand also favours families over single people because it is easier to find accommodation for them.

Incoming refugees then have to stay at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre for 6 weeks before settling in New Zealand, with the assistance of Red Cross.

Peters appears to be playing to fears and prejudices by making vague insinuations.

It ignores what is really happening and ignores how complex immigration is.

It impacts on attitudes to immigrants and it stokes intolerance and anger.

It is dirty politics, and Peters is accomplished at it. And he largely gets away with it.


Katie Bradford on political affiliations

I often see criticisms, presumptions and accusations made about TVNZ journalist Katie Bradford. These are all because of a family relationship – she is Sue Bradford’s daughter.

This often comes up on Kiwiblog, as it did this morning in relation to the TVNZ/Shane Taurimu/Labour story. Longknives comments:

TVNZ- Is anyone really surprised?? Considering their star reporter is Sue Bradford Jnr…

So I asked Katie:

@katieabradford a question that keeps coming up – do you have any political affiliations? Can you please advise.

She responded:

@PeteDGeorge not at all. My work speaks for itself.

I’ve never seen any obvious political bias from Katie – and watching journalists on Twitter you can often get a clear indication of their political preferences.

I haven’t seen any indication from Katie. In fact I suspect Katie tries harder than most journalists to be politically neutral.

Those journalists who are aware of possible perceptions of bias and work on being unbiased are usually more balanced than those who are ignorant of their leanings.

Good coverage, good vibes at Waitangi

If you watch and read and listen to news about Waitangi it’s easy to get the impression the celebrations are riven by protest and confrontation. The rest of New Zealand collectively rolls it’s eyes when “thrown”, “jostled” and “Harawira” are mentioned.

Rachel Smalley describes this in More balance needed in Waitangi Day reporting?

No surprise. Waitangi celebrations have begun and the key headline is that there was a scuffle, some jostling apparently, an altercation. It’s tense, we’re told. It’s tense on the marae.

I hear this and I think ‘here we go again, another year at Waitangi, another year of sloppy reporting’.

You see, the media needs a headline. It needs to entice, it needs to suggest there is conflict. Why? Well the media is ruled by listener or viewership numbers, and the reality is that Maori politics and Maori issues don’t snare a big audience in this country. So there’s an unspoken need, if you like, to ‘ham it up’.

So that’s one of the reasons we see a distorted view of Waitangi celebrations. Yes, at times Waitangi has been confrontational. There have been protests and flag burnings. But when the conflict isn’t there, the media invents it.

Smalley reported from Waitangi last year and saw a major difference between media focus and what happened overall.

I reported from Waitangi last year and the focus then was on the power struggle between kuia Titewhai Harawira and Ani Taurua. Both women wanted to lead the Prime Minister on to the marae. Anyway, the media made a meal of it, and then it was all over.


I had a great day at Waitangi last year. It was like a carnival. I was welcomed wherever I went. Maori were cooking and selling food, culture and craft was on display, and it’s set in a truly beautiful part of the world. It is emotive and yet there is a lightness to it too. I loved it. 

So as I watch the way Waitangi is reported in the mainstream media this year, I am again frustrated. The media is selling the public short and it should be mindful of the role it plays in race relations in this country.

One journalist may have read Smalley’s column. Katie Bradford (TVNZ, @katiebradford) provide a tweet account of the day:

Good morning Waitangi. Beautiful still morning for a run.

Kaine Thompson @pointoforder: today, you have the best job ever.

This week, I have the best job!

My interview with the @GovGeneralNZ about yesterday’s events & how he views the importance of Waitangi … via @ONENewsNZ

Annette Sykes address the hikoi outside Te Tii marae

Protestors waiting to be welcomed on to Te Tii Marae.

Duncan Garner @garnerlive: That’s your Mum’s party!!

It’s a whole mixed bag…
including a number of ministers!

@liamkernaghan: Potential conflict of interest there Katie?

@MeganCampbellNZ: ultimately Katie is a professional and a bloody good one

Duncan Garner @garnerlive: agree

It’s not often you see government ministers mixed in with activists. All quite peaceful.

Titewhai Harawira leading anti oil and gas exploration protestors on to Te Tii marae.

Winston Peters to protestors “don’t come here and crap on the traditions and protocols of this part of the world”. It’s “bad behaviour”.

John Key expected to arrive at Te Tii any minute. Procreedings 90 minutes late.

John Key being welcomed on to Te Tii marae. Protestors on one side of the marae but largely peaceful.

Events largely peaceful in Waitangi. Hone Harawira and Metiria Turei agree that it’s one of the most peaceful in years.

(Hone Harawira was asked about this on Breakfast: “I find most years are calm apart from two or three minutes.”)

John Key speaking on Te Tii, says he’s here to “straighten the waka” & National have done, and do plenty for Maori. Thanks the Maori Party.

On the marae, Key tells anti oil and gas exploration protestors they are “wrong” & challenges them to come to Wellington & face facts

John Key is being screamed at on the marae. Performers outside start singing to drown it out. Applause from Key at end of speech.

A bag of fish got thrown at Key as he was leaving. Didn’t hit him and the guy who did it is refusing to comment on why he did it.

Festive feeling at Waitangi. Bands playing, performers practicing.This is why everyone should visit Waitangi.

Dave @caffeineaddict: seen this?
(refers to Smalley’s column)

Did you see my last tweet? Exactly what I’m saying.

Dave @caffeineaddict: yeah, thats why I linked it to you. To back up your last tweet.

What are Waitangi protesters fighting for? (Video 1:57)

“Banners and rowdy behaviour makes Waitangi protesters highly visible.”
(TV News headline proving Smalley made a valid point).

@JodiIhaka hello from Waitangi!

@JodieIhaka: OMG. Thank you – that’s made our morning.. ask my brother to show you some Ihaka hospitality – kai or tequila. love London x

Good! That was the plan. We just talked about Northland as fellow Northlanders. Nothing makes me happier than being up here!

@JodieIhaka: Absolutely agree.

Sounds like it was a good day at Waitangi. Some of the news reports…

NZ Herald: Marae hums as overseas visitors, locals and helpers enjoy day

There was calm at Waitangi’s Te Tii Marae yesterday with some locals going as far to say that things were “pretty tame and chilled”.

Stuff: Woman speaks at marae

Metiria Turei becomes the first female politician to speak on Te Tii Marae, 16 years after Helen Clark drama.

3 News:Historic day as women speak on Waitangi marae

Despite the odd tussle and some political mud slinging, it was a largely peaceful Waitangi Day eve.

3 News: Waitangi ‘one of the quietest’ ever – Key

John Key says this year’s reception at Waitangi was “very calm” compared to others when he had been belted or shouted down while speaking.

Radio New Zealand: Parties vie for Maori vote at Waitangi

Political parties have made their bid for the Maori vote in Northland during a largely peaceful day ahead of the commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Radio New Zealand: Flag change support at Waitangi

There was strong support for a change to the New Zealand flag among people gathered at Waitangi for the Waitangi Day celebrations.

It took some look to find coverage of yesterday at Waitangi. A day without antagonism and grandstanding struggles to make the headlines.

Why was yesterday uncontroversial? There will be a number of reasons, especially that no one made a spectacle of themselves. Even the fish throwing protest was low key. It is possible that media heeded Smalley’s comments enough to not stir things up and create news headlines. What she said was at least noted by some.

Most New Zealanders will have a public holiday today remote from the activities at Waitangi, and without the media giving them much to roll their eyes at. But a big bunch of people seem to be having a good time at Waitangi. That’s very good to see.

Thanks for speaking up for better journalism Rachel, and influencing better media coverage at Waitangi.

And thanks for some balanced coverage Katie and a good insight into what really happens at Waitangi.

Update: One News report this morning – Waitangi protests not the true picture, PM says

The PM says protests at Waitangi give the wrong impression and it is usually a very happy family day.

From journalist to celebrity

Funny tweet:

Re-routing @katieabradford‘s work mail 

Television does tend to have a self-celebritisation effect. At this stage it’s unknown if it’s a dig or just someone with a sense of humour in the Parliamentary mail room.

Unless it’s re-direction instructions.


 just changed the details and walked four steps and put it under her office door…