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.

Labour won’t do a deal with ‘celebrity’ Green

Labour refusing to help Green candidate Chloe Swarbrick in Auckland Central could be grim for NZ First, who need to have a deal to have any chance in Northland.

Now Niki Kaye has withdrawn from contention in the Auckland Central electorate it is up for grabs. National haven’t named a replacement candidate yet, but leaving the seat open to discussion about whether Labour and Greens will do some sort of a deal. If Swarbrick wins the seat her party won’t have to make the 5% threshold to get back into Parliament, but Labour are openly unwilling to help.

RNZ: Labour rules out deal with Greens in Nikki Kaye’s seat

Labour is adamant it won’t be doing a deal with the Greens in the Auckland Central electorate.

Labour Party’s candidate Helen White will be going up against Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who is campaigning for both the party and electorate vote.

White said National won the seat in 2017 by just 1500 votes over Labour.

“The vote was so close for Labour, it just isn’t in the same league with regard to the gap that the Greens would have to move,” she said.

Given that, White said she was sizing up National as her main opponent in the seat.

The Greens are polling at about five or six percent, right on the threshold for getting back into parliament.

But regardless of that, White said she wouldn’t be making way for Swarbrick in Auckland Central.

“I actually think the Greens will be fine, they’ve got a solid base and obviously Chlöe is way up on that list, so people will firmly expect to see Chlöe in parliament.”

Asked what she would say to people who pointed out Swarbrick’s higher profile and name recognition, White said: “I’d ask them whether they’re looking for a celebrity or someone to do this job very seriously.”

At a campaign event in Auckland last night, Labour’s national campaign manager Hayden Munro told the crowd the party could not afford to split the progressive vote in the seat.

But if Labour aren’t going to help Swarbrick, or vice versa as some arrogant Labour supporters have insisted should happen, the left wing vote will be split between White and Swarbrick.

Labour will be very keen to take Auckland Central back now Kaye is out of the picture, but as long as the Greens get 5% or more (as I think is likely) then who wins Auckland Central won’t matter, as the party vote is what matters.

Labour refusing to do a deal in Auckland Central has greater implications for NZ First, who are polling well under the threshold.

If Labour don’t do a deal to help Swarbrick then they can’t credibly do a deal to help Shane Jones in Northland. And if Jones loses there (he has never won an electorate), and if NZ First fail to make 5%, they are out of Parliament.

And the old dog Winston Peters seems to have lost his political teeth.

Stuff – Winston Peters: old dog, same tricks but no bite

The NZ First leader is fighting for survival, afraid that he’s about to be tossed out of the toxic swamp of Parliament.

And as his time in the Beehive peters out, he shows no sign of changing. But the old dog’s teeth are no longer sharp.

As he awaits the outcome of a Serious Fraud Office investigation following revelations about the secretive NZ First Foundation, Peters has watched his party’s polling dwindle to around 2 per cent.

He’s been here before. But while pundits were previously reluctant to write off Peters, his tricks just now seem as old and tired as Lazarus himself.

His campaign launch last weekend failed to showcase any new ideas.

No-one buys the schtick of baiting his Government partners any more. In a sense, he’s the victim of his own chaotic tactics. Self-preservation kept him in the Labour-NZF-Greens alliance – destabilising a leader as popular as Ardern would almost certainly have finished him.

But having gone the distance with the Greens, attacking them to kick off a campaign is just meaningless political rhetoric.

His other stock tactic of distraction also failed him last week.

Facing scrutiny about a taxpayer-funded trip to Antarctica for two wealthy mates, Peters cooked up a story about who’d leaked his private pension details.

It was the latest half-cocked claim in a saga that has already cost him $320,000 in High Court costs. He’s got a long history of making unproven allegations under the shelter of parliamentary privilege, while those he accused have no way to defend themselves.

Peters can only win if voters see only his crafted image and ignore the reality of who he really is.

But once the tricks become obvious – when the threadbare curtain concealing him is pulled back – the show man can no longer pass himself off as the Wizard of Oz.

Peters is looking jaded and out of ideas.

His stymieing of a $100m rescue package for Southland, as the region reels from the likely closure of the Tiwai smelter, was cruelly cynical.

Peters was in Southland on Friday making ludicrous suggestions that management or employees buy the smelter, as there is not chance of a Government buyout he had previously suggested.

So Peters was pushing policy that he has no support for from other parties, so has no chance of succeeding with. Voters are likely to see through his promises, which are as lacking in credibility as his accusations in Parliament.

Jones also looks like he has lost already. He must have got the message from Labour that they aren’t going to help him in Northland.

Taogaga, Wogistan, and do political candidates have to have faultless pasts?

A way to deter a lot of people from considering to participate in democracy and standing as a candidate is to dredge through everything a candidate has posted online and make a big deal about something minor from the distant past.

Like this:  Labour sacks candidate who praised racist ‘Wogistan’ column

Labour has sacked a candidate from its list after it emerged he once praised a column describing Islam as a “Stone Age religion” and its followers as a “sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan”.

Kurt Taogaga was ranked 68th on the party’s 84-strong list to contest the election in September – on recent polling an outside chance of making it into Parliament. Taogaga stood in Helensville in 2017 but lost to National’s Chris Penk.

In 2013 – before entering politics – Taogaga said on Twitter “we need to see Islam for what it truly is”. He linked to a news article about what he called a “brave” column by then-New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser in Investigate magazine.

In the article – written after he had a pocketknife confiscated by airport security – Prosser said Muslims threaten New Zealanders’ way of life and said young men who “look like a Muslim” should be banned from flying.

In response to another Twitter user saying Prosser was “only voicing what others are thinking”, Taogaga said “Hear hear. I get that feeling as well. Let’s debate this rather than shout him down. Islam is deserved of serious analysis”.

He then tweeted at scientist Richard Dawkins – an outspoken critic of religion, and particularly Islam – inviting him to come to New Zealand.

Asked about the comments on Newshub Nation, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wasn’t aware of them.

“It is not the belief system of the Labour Party, but I am happy to reflect on a column from, again, seven years ago, and take any steps that might be required as a result in terms of making sure our candidates are familiar with the values we hold as a party.”

At 68th on the Labour list this won’t make much difference to the election, but I wonder who searched back and discovered this fairly minor transgression (if it can even be called that) and outed Mr Taogaga.

And I wonder who was involved in the decision and who made the decision to dump him from the list.

There may be more to this than has been revealed, but on the surface dumping him seems like an over reaction, and is yet another example of how picky and petty and PC that politics has become.

This sort of thing will deter and discourage people from getting involved, and is likely to lead to more blameless and bland candidates and ultimately MPs.


Taogaga hs commented on Twitter:

Government crumbling?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seems to have been keeping a deliberate distance from the handling of Covid isolation and quarantining, and from most other things that are currently besetting her Government. But questions are being asked.

NZ Herald:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responds to claims Government ‘tearing itself apart’

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is shrugging off criticism that her Government is “tearing itself apart,” after New Zealand First killed any hope that light rail in Auckland would get underway this term.

“This is an MMP Government,” Ardern said this afternoon.

“This just happens to be one [area] where we were unable to form a consensus.”

Greens co-leader James Shaw said NZ First’s light rail moves were a “slap in the face of Aucklanders”.

But he insisted the policy was not dead.

Ardern admitted she was frustrated that the project won’t get underway before the election.

“That was a policy that we campaigned on that we have worked really hard on because we believe it will make a difference to congestion issues in Auckland.”

Light Rail was the first big policy announced by Ardern when she took over leadership of Labour leading into the 2017 election.

Labour made a commitment to the Greens in their governing agreement:

Work will begin on light rail from the city to the airport in Auckland.

But Ardern has not been able to prevent NZ First from delaying and then cancelling the project.

Stuff: James Shaw says NZ First are breaching their coalition agreement by axing light rail plan

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says NZ First are breaching their coalition agreement with Labour by axing Auckland light rail this term.

In some of his harshest ever words against the party, Shaw said NZ First’s killing off of Auckland light rail this term was a “slap in the face of Aucklanders” and breached the coaliton agreement between Labour and NZ First.

He also refused to say whether he would go into Government with NZ First again.

This is unusually strong words from Shaw, but the survival of his party is at real risk.

NZ First leader Winston Peterssaid it was his reading of the clause that his party would act in good faith with the Greens, but did not actually bind his agreement to theirs.

“It asks us to act in good faith using our best information to make judgements on matters,” Peters said.

Pushed on this point Peters asked that the reporter go to the Human Rights Commission to get an interpretation of the clause.

Good faith and Winston Peters? he is also fighting for political survival and is well known to put his interests first, his party isn’t referred to as Winston First for nothing.

He said NZ First had killed off the plans as it was worried about cost blowouts.

That’s from someone who, along with Shane Jones, are doling out billions to regions whiling claiming as much credit for themselves.

1 News Morning Briefing June 25: Ardern denies coalition is crumbling

Ms Ardern says hers is an MMP Government and “this just happens to be one [area] where we were unable to form a consensus”.

One of a growing number of ‘areas’.

Meanwhile, NZ First has also left business owners frustrated after putting the brakes on proposed changes to commercial leases, forcing Labour to turn to National for support for the bill.

NZ First leader Winston Peters denies he’s blocking the changes, saying, “We’re just making sure the policy is a sound, commercial proposition in fairness to the contractual laws in New Zealand.”

Peters is blocking changes on a number of things at least until the election.

The Spinoff  The Bulletin: Will the three-party government survive the term?

After several days of frantically knifing each other at parliament, you’d be forgiven for thinking the coalition government is on the verge of collapse. The highest profile incident was the news that the process on deciding how to get light rail in Auckland is now off the table…

As if to underline their independence from the wider coalition, NZ First have inflicted several more quick defeats on their frenemies this week. They’ve refused to support the proposal for hate speech laws. They put the brakes on proposed changes to commercial leases, in the wake of Covid-19. They stalled changes to how rape trials operate, based on concerns raised by defence lawyers. In each case, the party put up reasons for their opposition. But the cumulative effect of a barrage of similar stories creates the impression that they’re no longer interested in allowing anything else through before the election.

What’s driving all of this? Politik’s Richard Harman is particularly well informed on these matters, and has speculated that what we’re seeing right now is revenge from NZ First around one of their key projects – the movement of Auckland port operations to Whangārei – not making the speedy progress that they would have liked to see. Among the snubs in this area, the report noted that a proposal to build a floating dry dock in the north was not part of the recently announced list of 11 shovel-ready projects.

Peters reacting out of spite? Surely not.

Could all of this actually bring the government down? It’s not impossible that we’ll see an early election, even if it is deeply unlikely.

I think it is unlikely. Even if the Government collapsed now it would seem pointless bringing the election forward by a few weeks – it is currently three months away.

Peters should be very wary of bringing down another Government, he has a reputation for not going the distance and another failure would not be helpful for his re-election chances.

But an ongoing train wreck won’t help either.


RNZ: Casualties of the coalition government continue to grow

Labour and Green MPs have given up hiding their growing frustrations with New Zealand First vetoing their flagship policies.

Once again the confidence and supply agreement between Labour and the Greens has taken a hit.

Justice Minister Andrew Little hasn’t had a good run negotiating with New Zealand First in the past.

While he’d work with them again, he also said “I might change the ground rules”.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw is less forgiving that yet another policy in the Greens’ confidence and supply agreement with Labour has been placed on the backburner.

“I have faith in the Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour, yes. I don’t have faith that New Zealand First are able to uphold their own coalition agreement.

“Their coalition agreement says that they will act in good faith to ensure all other agreements can be complied with,” he said.

But NZ First Leader Winston Peters brushed off the accusation.

“We’ve acted in good faith but the Greens’ three hours ago were telling you they’re responsible, and then two hours later they had an epiphany and now they’re saying we’re breaching some kind of agreement to which we were never a part.”

Sounds like a dysfunctional government.

UMR poll: National bottomed out

The latest UMR poll suggests that big National’s slide may have ended, getting 30%. They were still polling in the forties in February before Covid struck but slid to 29-30 in three polls, and in the latest (Roy Morgan in late May) they got just 26.5%,

And for now at least, and Todd Muller has at least got higher approval than Simon Bridges had. It’s early days for Muller’s leadership, and his first week was not flash and he was dumped on by media, but he at least has a chance to build on some support.

  • Labour 54% (down marginally from 55% in April)
  • National 30% (up marginally from 29% in April)
  • NZ First 5% (down from 6%)
  • Greens 4% (down from 5%)
  • ACT may be 2.5%

No result reported for ACT or parties not in Parliament (but a social media mention of the ACT result).

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 65% (no change)
  • Todd Muller 13%

The April UMR poll had Bridges on 7% so Muller and National may feel a bit of vindication for changing the leadership.

The poll of 1211 voters was taken from May 26 to June 1 and has a margin of error of +/-3%.

UMR polls are private polls (paid for by Labour and corporate clients) but have been more often leaked when they have been favourable to Labour and bad for National

Source ODT/NZ Herald (with a stupid headline, the situation now is very different too when).

Another awful poll for National (and great for Labour)

Today’s 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll is bad news for National, and very similar to the Newshub/Reid Research poll out earlier this week and also a recent leaked UMR poll:

  • Labour 59%
  • National 29%
  • Greens 4.7%
  • NZ First 3 %
  • ACT 2%
  • Maori Party 1%
  • The Opportunities Party 1%

Refused to answer 5%, undecided 11%. Fieldwork conducted 16-20 May.

The ‘preferred Prime Minister was as bad (and exceptional for Ardern):

  • Jacinda Ardern 63% (+21 from last October))
  • Simon Bridges 5% (-6)
  • Judith Collins 3%
  • Winston Peters 1% (-2)
  • Nikki Kaye 0.4%
  • Todd Muller 0.2%

Notable also is that both Greens and NZ First are under the threshold, and Peters is also dropping to negligible ‘preferred’.

So Labour very strong, Act ok (if Seymour can hold Epsom), Greens in the danger zone and NZ First/Peters really struggling.

Of course tomorrow’s National leadership showdown adds importance to this result.

David Farrar very quick off the mark with the poll results but no commentary: Latest poll
(but his Curia poll average hasn’t been updated for three months).

And Greg at The Standard was ready to rumble: The Colmar Brunton poll

Pressure mounts for National and NZ First, Greens still bordeline

The latest Reid Research poll may well be the best result that Labour and Jacinda Ardern get unless the transition out of lockdown and getting the economy up and running again goes smoothly.

But with National on 30% and Simon bridges dropping to 4.5% as preferred Prime Minister the pressure continues to build over leadership, and also for survival for many National MPs.

If National drop to around 30% in the election in September they are unlikely to get any list MPs back into Parliament, and their may be an overhang with their electorate MPs possibly adding up to more than their MMP proportion of votes.

Bridges has sometimes seemed ok but often comes across poorly. The key reason why there are not challengers queueing up is that no one else wants to become leader facing likely defeat.

However the risk with keeping Bridges on is that he could drag National down further, which would be bad for list MPs and MPs in marginal electorates wanting to keep their jobs.


NZ First have not polled over 5% this year in published polls, and slipped to 2.7% in the latest.

Winston Peters hasn’t even featured on ‘preferred Prime Minister’ coverage of the latest poll.

It’s unwise to count NZ First out before an election but they have been dumped before while in Government, in 2008. Each recovery mission must be getting harder for Peters and riskier for his party.

With Labour polling over 50% they wouldn’t need NZ First even if the latter survives the election. Challenging times for Peters.


Greens made the cut, just, getting 5.5%, but they have been struggling to keep over the threshold in polls and they are openly struggling to get donations.

Labour’s popularity may benefit the Greens as long as it doesn’t suck oxygen and support from the minor party.

Not having a single strong and prominent leader works against the Greens beyond their core of dedicated supporters.

And on current polling Labour wouldn’t need the Greens to form a Government. Even if they formed a coalition the Greens are likely to be in a weak bargaining position.


A lot could happen over they next four months, and political support can evaporate as quickly as it can build.

But as Covid continues to dominate the news and public attention, and as Ardern continues to receive adulation and deserved praise, voters may ignore the inadequacies of some of her ministers and keep dishing out support.

National came close but always failed to get enough votes to rule alone under MMP.

In the current circumstances and with current levels of support Labour and Ardern look to be in the strongest position of any party to win a majority alone.

Cannabis referendum could be ignored or low priority by incoming Government

We get to vote on the cannabis legislation that allows for recreational for those 20 or older bit with strict controls.

But will the next Government honour the result if a majority vote in favour? There’s no guarantee of that as it is not a binding referendum.

The cannabis reform bill got this far due to a governing agreement between Greens and Labour at the Green Party’s request. The Greens have not had a strong influence in Government (they operate outside Cabinet) and the Bill is quite conservative.

And it could still be ignored or put on the back burner. At best it could take a year or two to happen, depending on what priority the Government gives it in the next term.

If Greens don’t make the threshold, or just get in again with a small number of MPs, or are rejected by Labour in the next governing arrangement (NZ First may make a condition of support being that Greens are left out), then Greens may have little or no say.

NZ First + Labour may not honour the referendum result, but that would be a ridiculous stance for NZ First given their insistence on referendums to let the people decide.

If National lead the next Government they may ignore the will of the people, they have been very conservative on cannabis reform.

But a possibility that should not be ignored is if Act get a few seats and enable National to govern – they may insist on change.

Peter Dunne discusses these issues except the last point (Newsroom):  Cannabis questions dropped in too hard basket?

Given that the moves towards freeing up the recreational cannabis market were primarily Green Party initiatives that neither Labour nor especially New Zealand First were all that keen about, the proposal that has now emerged hangs together reasonably well. It is an improvement on the current de facto situation, and for that reason alone is worth supporting in the referendum.

However, possibly reflecting the awkwardness of its development, it is far from perfect, with a significant number of issues either apparently unresolved, or seemingly parked in a very deep too hard basket.

What happens if the referendum supports change?

The present Government has made it clear that while it will not regard the outcome as binding, it will undertake to introduce reform legislation at some unspecified time during the next Parliamentary term.

There is no guarantee within that commitment that any such legislation will mirror the referendum proposals or that the Labour Party will even support it beyond its introduction stage. If, for example, the Greens have less influence in the next government, what influence will that have on the shape of legislation? Conversely, if the next government is more reliant on New Zealand First, what assurance is there that a Bill will even make it to the introduction stage?

Should the National Party lead the next government, the prospects for any form of legislative change following on from a positive referendum vote seem pretty low, based on statements to date from its various spokespeople.

They reinforce my own experience working as Associate Health Minister responsible for drug policy, in the last National-led government where National was extraordinarily wary of any changes to drug laws.

How long it will take to pass such legislation?

Typically, a Bill of this type takes between six and nine months to pass through all its stages in the House, including the select committee process and the hearing of public submissions.

Even if such a Bill were to be introduced early in the life of the next government, it would most probably be the latter half of 2021 at the absolute earliest before it would be passed by Parliament. Again, typically, allowing time of say two to three months as a minimum for the development and implementation of the regulatory regime to follow, it would most likely be late next year at the earliest before recreational cannabis could be legally available.

So if the law change is supported will people wait until it actually becomes law? If not, how will the Police deal with it?

In the meantime, assuming a vote for change, there will be a strong public feeling that having voted for change it should be permissible to use cannabis recreationally immediately.

That would put the police in a very awkward position. Would they be quietly encouraged to go lightly on the current law, because it is about to change, which would be a very dangerous precedent, or would they be expected to keep enforcing a law that everyone knows is about to be overturned?

Either way, their position is invidious, and does not appear to have given been sufficient consideration. Certainly, to date, the Government has given no indication of its thinking on this point, which is not helpful.

Maybe they haven’t thought about it. The Greens should be making sure the Government does think ahead on this.

Presumably, the police would be expected to enforce these new restrictions vigorously, otherwise they are pointless. But enforcement of this type would lead to more people coming before the Courts for diversion, a fine, community service, or even possible imprisonment.

However, the current law on illegal use has been barely enforced by the police for years now, so it is an open question whether they would be any more diligent in enforcing any new, tighter law. And if they are not going to do so, what is the point of making the law tougher?

Current policing attitudes notwithstanding, one of the strongest criticisms over the years from cannabis reform advocates has been of what they have seen as the clogging of the Courts from cannabis prosecutions and the consequent labelling for life of many people with criminal records as drug offenders.

Yet under the new regime, this could potentially intensify, making the situation much less satisfactory than at present.

An unintended consequence could be more arrests and convictions.

All this could be rendered moot if the majority vote against change.

If a small majority vote for change it may give National or NZ First (or Labour without the Greens) to drag it out over years, or ignore it altogether.

The best way to make it difficult to ignore the referendum result is for a significant majority to vote in favour of the modest reform being proposed, but it could be difficult getting enough to see it this way.

A hard to ignore leaked poll: Labour 55%, National 29%

The bottom line for a UMR poll (warning – leaked private poll) conducted between 21-27 April as we approached the end of the Level 4 lockdown:

  • Labour 55%
  • National 29%
  • NZ First 6%
  • Greens 5%
  • ACT 3%

(But RNZ have NZF and Greens swapped: “It has polled the Green Party at 6%, New Zealand First on 5%”)

With NZ First and Greens on similar levels to other recent polls this suggests a big chunk of ex-national supporters have swung to Labour, but at the same time ACT has improved.

This looks grim for National, and it’s no wonder the talk of Simon Bridges and leadership has ramped up lately.

There’s a lot that can happen before the election with Covid and the economy, but it’s a big challenge for National to turn this around without changing their approach or their leader.

Also Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 65%
  • Simon Bridges 7%
  • Judith Collins 7%
  • Winston Peters 3%

If a Labour activist could make up a poll result that was sort of credible but great for Labour and terrible for National it would look something like this, but all they have had to do is leak their actual poll. There have been similar numbers mentioned over the past couple of weeks.

NZ Herald: A leaked poll shows National has dropped below 30 per cent, and Labour at 55 per cent

But speaking to the Herald, Bridges rubbished the poll.

“UMR are Labour’s pollsters and are consistently, badly wrong.”

He added that Labour “should be focused on getting New Zealand back to work, not leaking dodgy numbers”.

But this is a big pig of a revelation for National, and Bridges is rough at applying lipstick.

Polling under 30 per cent is a huge psychological barrier for National and means many of their current list MPs would lose their jobs at this year’s election.

It wasn’t long ago that 40% would have been seen as pretty bad for National.

And perhaps more good news for the Government – the poll shows that 78 per cent of New Zealanders believe the country is heading in the right direction.

The number of people saying New Zealand is on the right track hasn’t been this high on a UMR poll since 1991.

“This can again only be attributed to a rallying around in a national crisis and a related current confidence in the government steps taken to combat Covid-19,” UMR said in its commentary.”

Again, things could change, but I expect this poll will be in a post at The Standard very quickly and not so fast at Kiwiblog.

NOTE:

  1. As far as it’s possible to determine I think that Labour’s internal polls conducted by UMR have tended to favour Labour.
  2. Leaked polls should always be viewed with some suspicion but more details seem to have been made available this time to media.
  3. At a time of crisis with a Government generally seen to be managing things well it is going to benefit, and the Opposition is likely to not benefit

UPDATE: The Standard posted on this an hour and a half ago – UMR’s bombshell poll result

By my count National have 39 electorate MPs and 18 list MPs. If they got 29% in the election they would not get enough MPs to get any list MPs, there would be an overhang of a few MPs.

I can imagine a few list MPs will be getting a bit nervous about their futures – like Paul Goldsmith, Michael Woodhouse, Alfred Ngaro, Melissa Lee, Juan Yang, Brett Hudson, Nicola Willis etc

Government , National both announce hot air on dealing with Covid-19 effects on the economy

Two economic announcements today, one from the Government, one from the National Party, are dripping with political campaigning.

The Government has announced they will be making announcements this week, and are assuring media they have already done some things to help businesses adversely affected by the Covid-19 virus.

Beehive: Next steps of Govt and business COVID-19 response

This week the Government will roll out the next steps of its plans to support businesses and workers as part of New Zealand’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

These initiatives will be on top of the immediate measures already in place, including support for the tourism and fisheries industries, an increase in business support funding, and tax and income assistance through IRD and MSD.

“Ministers are actively considering a range of options in response to the impact of COVID-19, and Cabinet will discuss these tomorrow,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

So Robertson has given assurances the Government is doing something, and says that Cabinet will consider doing more tomorrow.  he follows with general political palaver, and then explains what they have been doing.

Last week, the Ministers of Finance and Revenue met with the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, the Tourism Industry Association and Xero to discuss the situation.

Grant Robertson also met with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Reserve Bank Governor to discuss macro-economic impacts as a result of the coronavirus.

“We’re taking the time now to work with industries to plan for how we kick-start activity again as we exit out the other side of COVID-19. What we do know is that this will pass.”

So more talking, but nothing really to announce yet.

Note to editors: The Government is already taking the following actions:

Trying to get editors and media to say how well they have already been doing things.

  • Continuing to work closely with banks to ensure they are being proactive with their clients
  • Improving cashflow for small businesses by signalling action on prompt payment terms and times
  • Inland Revenue is entering into instalment arrangements and waiving penalties on a case by case basis where individuals and businesses have had their income and cashflow affected
  • An extra $4 million invested in the Regional Business Partner Programme to allow for extra advisors and give them more time on the ground supporting businesses
  • Working with Xero to get real-time information about the impacts on business, particularly SMEs.

Not much there considering the virus impact on business activity. We will have to see what they come out with later this week.

Aimed directly at the Government announcement, National have also made an economic policy announcement today, aimed at concerns over the current virus induced slowdown.

Paul Goldsmith: Relief package needed as NZ nears recession

With four banks now forecasting negative growth it’s past time for the Government to announce a relief package to help people stay in their jobs, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“When Cabinet meets tomorrow, this should be at the top of its agenda. This needs to be a detailed package to support businesses and workers directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Political palaver edited out.

“It now seems quite likely New Zealand will go into a recession this year.

It’s not good for a major party to be talking up an economic recession.

“Businesses need clear and urgent action from the Government to help them through this period of uncertainty, not just tinkering around the edges and ad-hoc announcements that lack detail.”

So this announcement doesn’t say anything of importance.

Simon Bridges was just on RNZ saying National were announcing part one (of five) of their economic policy, but it was mostly about a promise to cut red tape, cutting two bits of red tape for every bit they introduce, or something. Bridges mentioned a few things that annoy businesses, but this really sounded like opportunist tinkering around the edges.

RNZ: National wants ‘common-sense test’ on health and safety regulations

National says it would introduce a “health and safety common-sense test” if elected, as part of its plan to slash red-tape burdening small businesses.

The Government is at risk of being seen to as slow to react to the developing economic problems, on to of their reputation for talking more than doing. They have to come up with substantial and urgent plans this week to address things.

It will unveil the “first plank” in its five-point economic growth plan this morning, outlining how it will reduce regulation.

Leader Simon Bridges said the programme was about giving small businesses confidence and creating an economy “where it’s not just burden and cost”.

If elected, National said it would commit to a “bonfire on regulations”, doing away with two regulations for every new one introduced.

It would also scrap 100 regulations within the first six months.

So this doesn’t address the Covid-19 effects at all. Ironically the virus requires increased regulations or restrictions.

National are risking putting more negative pressure on the economy, not a good look for a party that claims to be better at managing the economy. At times when the country (and the world) faces potentially major economic difficulties a responsible party would put the good of the nation ahead of their own election campaign. There will be plenty of time for them to bicker and propose their own ideas that can’t be implemented until later in the year at the earliest.

Both Labour and National have started the week doing little but grandstanding. Struggling businesses deserve better than that.


UPDATE: Jacinda Ardern has just been interviewed on RNZ and was asked if the Government would include National in their talks. Ardern said that National were being kept informed and any suggestions from National on what could be done better would be welcome as it was a global and national problem. Sounds good, but whether there’s any substance to cross-party cooperation on this it is yet to be seen.

I’ll post a link when it becomes available