National, Greens may boost Labour vote

National continues to warn of the dangers of a Labour government pushed into implementing radical policies by the Greens, while the Greens keep saying they would push Labour into being ‘bolder’.

This may have the reverse effect to what both parties want – more people voting for Labour to reduce or eliminate Green influence. And going by recent polls there’s a real possibility Labour could get enough votes to either govern alone, or if they choose to govern with a majority but with a weakened Green Party in coalition.

Voting for National will probably do nothing but reduce their embarrassment a bit, they look a long way from challenging Labour even with ACT.

Voting Green will increase the chances of them making the threshold, and if the manage that it will increase the chances of Labour requiring Green support and increase Green leverage in policy negotiations.

ODT: Labour ‘cannot govern alone’: Greens

The Greens are warning their supporters that Labour “cannot govern alone”, and their party is the only one bold enough to meet the challenges New Zealand faces.

And, despite repeated rebuffs by Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw say a wealth tax is still firmly on the table if Greens negotiate with Labour post-election.

“They can say what they need to in an [election] campaign,” Davidson said when asked about Ardern’s repeated flat-out rejection of the plan.

That keeps feeding National ammunition to attack Labour with, which Judith Collins has been doing.

Davidson said the fact that National has been hammering this policy so hard was a “sign of their desperation”.

“It has become alarmingly clear that the priority of National, and the other smaller parties, is not to keep us safe … but to divide us, and to make us scared, in the pursuit of power,” she said during her speech.

In his speech, Shaw made something of a call to action to his supporters.

“At this election, I can confidently say that the Green Party is the only party putting forward proposals that are actually bold enough to meet the scale of the challenges we face.”

And Davidson took it further: “Labour cannot govern alone.”

“Unchallenged decisions can mean bad decisions, and with the Greens at the decision-making table, we’ll make sure that we truly face the challenges we’ve been ignoring for too long.”

This is a contrast to last election when Greens went out of their way to play down concerns about what influence they might have on Labour in government.

Green survival depends on getting 5%, so they are having to compete with Labour for votes.

Collins has kept trying to hammer Labour, repeatedly insisting that the Green wealth tax would be a certainty. RNZ: Judith Collins says Greens ‘unemployable’ in latest wealth tax attack

Collins has spent much of her time in recent days warning voters about the Greens’ proposed wealth tax, arguing Labour leader Jacinda Ardern would break her promise not to introduce it.

Regardless of National’s position, Ardern says not is not the time for experimental taxes.

“One of the reasons we have ruled out the Green Party policy is because no other country has this form of taxation. Now is not the time to be experimenting with tax policy when we need to focus on our economic recovery.”

Collins would not budge, saying she believed her concerns were very real, and rejecting the claims of desperation.

“No, I think they’re very real … she shouldn’t go into name calling. “

She took her attacks on the Green Party further still, saying the Greens “didn’t really pay taxes before entering Parliament”.

“Well, most of them are unemployable I always thought. The whole lot of them. Don’t mean to be nasty but there we go, it’s the truth.”

She says having co-leader Marama Davidson as deputy prime minister “would be challenging for the country”.

The role of Deputy Prime Minister has no more power than any other Minister. All they have to do is occasionally fill in for the Prime Minister. Winston Peters did it this term and simply carried out a caretaker role. He had far more power in coalition negotiations.

I’m not a fan of Davidson at all, but I have no concerns with her becoming Deputy PM.

There is also one MP who is still supporting Collins:

But that’s false. Voting National instead of Labour would increase the chances of Greens having more influence. Voting Labour instead of National is the most effective way of reducing Green influence.

Large lead for Labour candidate in Auckland Central

Auckland Central is the electorate where Nikki Kaye beat Jacinda Ardern twice after defeating Judith Tizzard in 2008.

Kaye is stepping down. A poll from Newshub/Reid Research Labour candidate Helen White, who lost to Kaye last election, well in front, with National’s late selection Emma Mellow 16% behind, closely followed by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick.

  • Helen White (LAB) 42.3%
  • Emma Mellow (NAT) 26.6%
  • Chloe Swarbrick (GRN) 24.2%
  • Jenny Marcroft (NZF) 2.2%
  • Tuariki Delamere (TOP) 1%
  • Felix Poole (ACT) 0.9%
  • David Seymour 1.9%
  • Other 0.9%

But: 20.7% of voters still undecided

That’s a different David Seymour.

Jenny Marcroft has effectively been dumped by NZ First, being dropped to 17 on their party list.

For the new poll, Reid Research interviewed 532 people in the Auckland Central electorate via landline, mobile, online and on the street in the first and second weeks of September. The results were weighted to match the electorate’s demographics. The margin of error is 4.2 percent.

That’s a small sample size.

And here are the single electorate party results:

Party votes for Auckland Central in the 2017 election:

  • National 39.15%
  • Labour 37.71%
  • Greens 13.87%
  • NZ First 3.87%
  • TOP: 3.14%
  • ACT 1.05%

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland_Central_(New_Zealand_electorate)

The current result looks roughly in line with recent poll trends based on the last election spread.

Newshub: Auckland Central poll puts Labour’s Helen White way out in front

Shaw sort of talks tough on tax and other coalition demands

Following a ‘pledge’ by Grant Robertson that tax-wise Labour “we will only implement the changes that Labour is campaigning on” next term – see Labour’s underwhelming tax policy – Green leader James Shaw sort of talked tough, saying Greens would consider not forming a coalition if they didn’t get what they wanted.

Shaw said that a wealth tax would be ‘a top priority’ when asked if it would be a bottom line.

Stuff: Labour rules out Green Party’s wealth tax in any Government it forms

The Labour Party has ruled out implementing the Green Party’s wealth tax.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said no new taxes or other changes to income tax would be introduced in the term.

He was asked if that included proposals from possible coalition partners, such as the Green Party who are campaigning on a substantial wealth tax on millionaires.

“This is Labour’s tax policy. We are committing to not implementing anything other than this if we are in Government,” Robertson said.

He was asked again if this meant he was ruling out giving some ground to the Green Party in possible coalition talks.

“What I’m saying is that this is the policy that Labour is campaigning on, and we will only implement the changes that Labour is campaigning on,” Robertson said.

Polling consistently over 50% Labour can probably afford to talk as if they will be in a position to do what they like next term, which is nowhere near enough on tax, certainly not transformational or reforming.

But Greens are desperate for votes to get them over the threshold to keep them in Parliament, and need to move support from Labour to do that, so are trying something they have done little of before, talking tough.

ODT/NZH: Greens prepared to play hard ball on forming next Government

The Greens are prepared to forego a coalition or confidence and supply arrangement and sit on the crossbenches if post-election talks do not go their way.

Co-leader James Shaw made the comments on Thursday, saying the only post-election deal that was off the table completely was one which would give National power.

However, he said if the Greens held the balance of power it was “always a possibility” that it would walk away from negotiations with Labour if they could not get the gains they wanted.

If there was no coalition or confidence and supply agreement, that would force a minority Labour government to seek the Greens’ support for legislation on a case-by-case basis.

He wouldn’t say what the Greens’ bottom lines in those talks were, but said a wealth tax was a “top priority”.

First the Greens have to get enough votes to get back into Parliament. They also need to hope that Labour don’t get enough votes to have a one party majority (which would enable them to do as they please).

And they also have to learn to do tough negotiations, something they seem unfamiliar with. Within the Green Party they make decisions by consensus, which is quite a different skill to doing inter-party coalition negotiations.

Time will tell whether they get enough votes, and if the do whether they can walk the tough talk.

Shaw also made other indications of demands.

He would also be pushing for co-leader Marama Davidson to be a minister and suggested a Green MP hold the agriculture portfolio.

If Greens are in coalition then Davidson should be one of their ministers, bu this is a different approach to this term when they chose for Davidson to lead from outside Government.

I’d be very surprised if Labour gave Greens the agriculture portfolio.

Shaw said a new Labour-led government would need to be in partnership with the Greens for it to be truly transformational.

“I think, in the next Parliament if Labour and the Greens are able to form a government together, then you will see a truly progressive government for New Zealand.”

The Greens need to push this line to take votes from Labour, but it provides ammunition to opponents, who will say that their are risks with a Labour+Green government getting radical, but there’s been no sign of Labour going anywhere near radical. Instead they look very centrist conservative.

If the Greens were in a position to negotiate a post-election deal, Shaw said it would be up to the party’s members to give any deal the nod.

It makes tough negotiations difficult if the negotiators have to refer to party members to confirm and deals.

Shaw:

“If you look at the policies we have released so far … those give you an indication of where we want to be able to play a role in government.”

He went on to specifically name-check its wealth tax policy as well as its minimum income scheme, clean energy and its upcoming agriculture policy.

Asked if the Greens wealth tax plan was a “bottom line,” Shaw said that it was a “top priority”.

Labour have made it clear it is not an option at all for them.

Greens have some tough times ahead. First they have to make it back into Parliament. Then if they do they have to hope Labour don’t have a majority. They will also hope NZ First are out of the reckoning in coalition negotiations.

If they are in a position to negotiate they then have to see if tough talk can become tough negotiations.

One risk for the Greens with Shaw’s stance – if Labour get enough votes to give them a majority on their own they can do what they like with tax policy, and can hardly roll over on it for the Greens.

If this happens the Greens have virtually ruled themselves out of being included in Government if Labour offers that option.

Green reaction to Labour’s tax policy

Labour announced their tax policy yesterday that will barely change anything – see Labour’s underwhelming tax policy.

One of the strongest critics was the Green Party.

From RNZ Labour pledges to raise tax on earnings over $180k

Greens co-leader James Shaw says Labour’s policy does not address “the growing wealth gap and inequality in Aotearoa”, or help pay for the Covid response.

“The Greens believe we should ask those who are benefiting the most to chip in a bit of what they’ve gained to help the people who need support during this crisis.

“We know that a huge accelerator of this inequality is our broken tax system that taxes people who earn but not people who own,” Shaw says .

Greens emailed Labour’s announcement is not enough:

Earlier today, the Labour Party announced their proposal to introduce a new top tax rate. Fixing the way we tax here in Aotearoa is long overdue, but this isn’t the way to do it. Labour is proposing patchwork solutions when visionary change is needed.

Too many of us are struggling to put a roof over our heads, food on the table, or pay rising rents and bills. Tinkering around the edges of an already broken system isn’t enough to address the growing wealth gap and inequality — and it puts us at risk of the gap growing even further. 

We know a huge accelerator of inequality in Aotearoa is a broken system that taxes people who earn, but not people who own. Unless we fix this, the lucky few will continue to amass wealth without paying their fair share while the rest of us struggle to get by. 

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Earlier this year we announced our Poverty Action Plan: a whole new approach to tax that makes sure the wealthy pay their fair share so everyone has what they need, when they need it. 

A small 1% tax on the wealth of millionaires means big change for the rest of us. It’s a simple and fair way to even the playing field and unlock the resources all of us need to thrive and participate fully in our communities. 

By rewriting the tax rules, we’re going beyond the old, broken system and guaranteeing that everyone who needs it, no matter what, has a minimum income they can rely on. Support shouldn’t be conditional and our plan isn’t either. That means support for students and people out of work, extra help if you’re sick or disabled, and simple payments for families so all kids can thrive.

When we announced our plan, Labour was dismissive and said that it relied on “heroic” assumptions. It’s not enough for us to settle for broken systems — a compassionate system is possible and we’re the only ones with the vision and the plan to make it a reality. This is why the Greens need to be at the table in the next Government. 

We are at a crossroads. We can hit reimagine Aotearoa exactly how we want it. Now, more than ever, we know how much we can achieve when we work together — this is our chance to create change that benefits all of us.

But again Labour has been dismissive of Green tax policy. Grant Robertson:

Robertson is promising no other increases or new taxes, but was asked whether that would stand if Labour needed to negotiate post election for support, with a party like the Greens, that has a more aggressive tax policy.

“This is the policy that Labour is campaigning on and we will only implement the changes that are in this policy,” he said.

So he has effectively told the Greens to get stuffed.

With Labour polling at over 50% he can probably be arrogant.

And with Greens polling mostly close to the 5% threshold and 3.2% in the latest (UMR) poll they may have little or no say in the next Government.

Labour’s underwhelming tax policy

Grant Robertson announced Labour’s tax policy yesterday, not Jacinda Ardern. There’s not much to it, and it was criticised from the left and the right.

So what are the changes? Is Labour putting up taxes?

Our balanced plan protects vital services like education and health and keeps a lid on debt. 

Our three tax policies are:

– A new top income tax rate of 39% – only affecting income over $180,000 

– A freeze on fuel tax increases and no new taxes for the entire term

 – Closing tax loopholes to make multinational corporations pay their fair share 

Just the 2% highest earners will pay more tax – this means MPs (excluding party leaders and ministers) will avoid the higher tax.

The pledge not to increase any other tax in their next term actually means that with bracket creep middle income earners will continue to be taxed at a slightly higher overall tax rate with every increase in their income. This has been happening since the last lower bracket adjustment about ten years ago.

Governments have been promising to ‘close loopholes’ used by multinational corporations for many years, with little changing.

The projected increase in tax take will be only about half a billion dollars a year, which won’t come close to paying back the many billions of dollars borrowed to address the Covid Pandemic.

There appears to be nothing new to try to address property assets – Labour’s announcement mentioned only what they have already done, which seems to have done nothing to reduce property inflation.

They continue to promote ‘fairness’ – “We’re improving the fairness of our tax system to make sure everyone is paying their fair share”. Fairness is in the eye of the payer – most people think it’s fair for others to pay more tax, not them.

National and ACT and others tending right criticised the higher tax bracket.

Goldsmith, Seymour slam higher tax rates

Labour’s opponents say more tax is not the answer to the economic challenges facing New Zealand.

“No country’s ever taxed its way out of recession,” National’s Paul Goldsmith says.

“And this is classic Labour Party policy, spend more, tax more.”

“And there’s a very big question as to how much actual revenue will be gained because this will be great for tax planners and accountants to work their way around.”

Goldsmith also warned this is “just the beginning”.

ACT leader David Seymour said the new rate announced by Labour would raise little revenue and describes it as “divisive populism”.

“Jacinda Ardern likes to say we’re all in this together, but Labour is picking on a small group of New Zealanders to fund the Covid-19 recovery.

“Labour is telling young New Zealanders ‘if you study hard, get good grades, get a good job, save money, and invest wisely, we’ll tax you harder’ – that’s the wrong message,” Seymour says.

One valid criticism was that the Trust tax rate was not being increased so would be 11% lower than the highest bracket. This is likely to increase the use of trusts to try to avoid tax.

The top bracket will also increase to significantly more than the business tax rate, which will also encourage ‘management’ of income and assets to try to reduce tax.

Greens were amongst the strongest critics – see Green reaction to Labour’s tax policy.

But on current polling Greens and NZ First look like struggling to make the threshold and may not be in the next Government.

The latest UMR poll (25 Aug – 2 Sep 2020):

  • Labour 53%
  • National 29%
  • ACT 6.2%
  • NZ First 3.9%
  • Greens 3.2%

It’s looking like Labour may be able to govern alone, or at least with a majority. And they are acting like they believe that will happen.

Robertson is promising no other increases or new taxes, but was asked whether that would stand if Labour needed to negotiate post election for support, with a party like the Greens, that has a more aggressive tax policy.

“This is the policy that Labour is campaigning on and we will only implement the changes that are in this policy,” he said.

That could be seen as confidence or arrogance.

Peters attacks Labour

The Government lasted nearly three years lasted nearly three years trying to portray the three party arrangement as solid and working well together.

But with the election looming and the fear of failing to make the threshold rising Winston Peters is attacking both the Greens and Labour. This post is on the Green target.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters takes swipe at Labour over response

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters relaunched his election campaign at a brewery but instead of taking a swig, he took a swipe at his Government partners.

He wrapped up the morning visit by saying the Auckland outbreak of Covid-19 was because Labour ministers were in charge of the key areas of the response.

“We could have done better on Covid-19. That’s a fact. If we could compare ourselves with Taiwan, we haven’t done as well as we could have done. We let our guard down.”

“Too many things fell through the traps, or the holes so to speak, that were deliberately left there by the bureaucracy … The fact of the matter is that the Labour ministers are the only ones in charge of all that.”

“I’m pointing the blame, but we’ll never get anywhere if everyone thinks we’ve done the best job in the world. We haven’t done as well as we could have done.”

Peters seems to be trying to claiming credit for ‘we’ doing the best job in the world but Labour Ministers stuffing up.

Peters said there were mistakes made and “it’s better to own up to them” – though he sits around the Cabinet table and is in Zoom meetings with Labour ministers when many of the important decisions are made. He will be in a Cabinet meeting on Friday morning.

He said if NZ First MPs were in charge, they would have brought in the military much sooner.

“Don’t keep on gilding the lily and saying everyone’s fine when it wasn’t going fine.

“The testing wasn’t going on, the surveillance wasn’t going on, the oversight and scrutiny that should have been done by the military was not happening. And masks were not used.”

Similar criticisms have been made by others including National, but this is one coalition partner taking swings at another.

It is also worth pointing out that Peters is doing this now as he launches into campaign mmode, not while the decisions were being made – by the Cabinet he and other NZ First ministers were a part of.

In fact, Peters has implemented a “no mask, no ride” policy on his NZ First campaign bus – but it apparently doesn’t apply to the party’s leader or deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau who climbed aboard with their faces uncovered.

Peters may have thought that Labour should have made the plebs wear masks but that shouldn’t apply to him.

But the pair did make the effort to scan CovidTracer QR codes.

Tabuteau logged into every business and Peters at least opened his app at the first venue, but didn’t appear to actually scan in.

A politician ‘rules for others, not for me’ trick.

Ardern has responded – It’s a ‘disservice’ to say New Zealand hasn’t done well with Covid-19, says Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has hit back at Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters for saying New Zealand was “gilding the lily” about its response to Covid-19.

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had done “exceptionally well”.

“I think we do a disservice to every single New Zealander whose been part of that team effort if we don’t acknowledge that.

“I think we need to take into account, relative to other countries, how well New Zealanders have done and the results that have been generated.”

Peters did take that into account in saying the Government had done relatively well, it was just the Labour part of the Government that had stuffed some things up.

I’ve seen quite a bit of speculation about how National may have managed Covid if they had been in Government, from much the same as Labour (which is probably close too the mark) to killing thousands of people in order to allow businesses to make money (from the type of people who said similar of National pre-Covid).

But if the Covid response was negotiated just after an election with Peters holding the balance of power how well would we have done?

We would have still probably done fairly well with a few mistakes.

Peters seems a bit annoyed that he and NZ First haven’t had a lot of influence in the Covid response, with Ardern and Labour ministers getting most of the attention coming up to an election, but that is largely because the Prime Minister led the response and Labour ministers held the key portfolios of Finance and Health.

The military was called in but Minister of Defence, NZ First MP Ron Mark, got little exposure for that.

The NZ First initiated and run Provincial Growth Fund was diverted into the much larger Covid Recovery Fund, which shifted the handing out from Shane Jones to Labour ministers.

But Peters is limited in how much he can attack the Government he is a part of.

He hasn’t yet targeted Ardern herself, and I think that’s unlikely as that would likely be a political fools errand.

Peters came into the current Government seemingly positioning himself as virtual Prime Minister, seeing his long experiencing easily overshadowing the inexperienced leader Ardern.

But Ardern has stepped up big time on the big issues, the Christchurch mosque murders, the Whakaari eruption and now Covid. She has been widely praised for her leadership, leaving Peters looking like a barely relevant and fading sidekick.

Peters will probably keep attacking Labour but without being able to go head to head against Ardern without great risk his past it’s prime brinkmanship may overshadow his statesmanship.

Peters has been out-leadered by Ardern, and he has another problem that may be insurmountable – Ardern represents a new generation of politics, while Peters is a cranky political grandfather with more grate than gravitas.

I think NZ First’s political future may be largely out of Peters hands. They seem to be largely reliant on whether voters decide for themselves whether to moderate Labour’s power – we haven’t had a one party majority under MMP – and whether voters desert or come back to National.

Covid still dominates the news and public concerns. Peters can’t compete with that.

Similar to last election the Greens have managed to grab attention by shooting themselves in both James Shaw’s feet. When Metiria Turei gambled and lost support for the Greens slid, but so did NZ First support when Ardern stepped up for Labour.

Peters never reached great heights in preferred Prime Minister polls but he now barely gets a mention.

And NZ First don’t have a plan B if plan Winston isn’t working. Shane Jones has never win an electorate so winning an election seems something he can’t even buy. Who is the NZ First deputy?

It could be a tough campaign for them.

Ardern and the ‘COVID election’

In her speech launching Labour’s election campaign Jacinda Ardern emphasised it being ‘a COVID election’ – her published speech notes emphasised COVID (in capitals), mentioning it fifteen times. She also referred to a much promoted pandemic phrase ‘team of 5 million’ five times.

She and Labour chose to campaign on one of Ardern’s strengths, crisis her management skills, but also to use the pandemic as a focal point of their campaign. This is smart politics, but it is also cynical use of a crisis for political purposes.

I don’t believe conspiracy theorists suggesting that the Covid outbreak this week was a political set up, but Ardern and Labour have merged it with their campaign.

Ardern has emphasised that politics is inextricably intertwined with the Government and Ministry of Health Covid response.

She is insisting her governing right to front Covid media conferences, which gives her a considerable campaign publicity advantage – she fronted two media conferences that would have had great public interest yesterday.

This could be to her and Labour’s significant campaign advantage, but it has it’s risks.

Ardern’s Labour Speech: Labour Campaign Launch 2020 included:

Thank you for all your work over these last few months, which has made this gathering possible. In a COVID world, our team of 5 million has been a steady ship and I am so grateful for that.

Whether it was March 15, or Whakaari White Island, or even COVID-19 – these three entirely different events that devastated in very different ways – they drew out a response from kiwis that was the same.

They applauded Ardern’s handling of them.

Some have asked me whether this is the COVID election.

No one wants it to be.

Yet she has embraced it as her prime means of self promotion.

And so yes, there is no denying that COVID has changed New Zealand, and therefore it will inevitably change what we talk about this election.

And there is a lot to talk about.

There wasn’t a playbook for COVID-19. That means there was no pre-written plan for how a country should respond to a one in one hundred year global pandemic. But respond we did.

COVID has undoubtedly created many friends for us to worry about, and we know there are tough times ahead.

Our team of 5 million’s approach to fighting COVID means there is huge willingness in our business community to avoid unemployment rising by taking on new staff where they can, but many just need a little bit of extra support which this package provides.

It will act as a strong incentive to support those who have been hit the hardest by COVID, and provide additional support to businesses who might not otherwise be in the position to take someone on long-term.

It will act as a strong incentive to support those who have been hit the hardest by COVID, and provide additional support to businesses who might not otherwise be in the position to take someone on long-term.

Ultimately though, there is no costless response to COVID, but Grant Robertson’s excellent management of the books means we went into COVID with lower debt relative to GDP than almost any other OECD nation, and look to come out in a better position than Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.

And so, when people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is.

But that does not mean that there aren’t still choices to be made. It does not mean there aren’t ideas to be debated, or plans to be discussed, policies to be announced.

In fact, it’s the very reason why this is election is more important than ever.

It’s about the future. It’s about leadership and it’s about values.

It’s about whether we stop and change to another team, or whether we keep those we know and we trust.

Ardern has emphasised that politics is inextricably intertwined with the Government and Ministry of Health Covid response.

She is insisting her governing right to front Covid media conferences, which gives her a considerable campaign publicity advantage – she fronted two media conferences that would have had great public interest yesterday.

She is getting extraordinary publicity this week over the new outbreak, which is frustrating other parties who have had to suspend their campaigns due to newly imposed lockdowns.

While Ardern withdrew from regular Covid media conferences over the past couple of months she is fronting them again now big time, and insisting she has a right as Prime Minister to do this right up to the election despite protests by political opponents.

This could be to her and Labour’s considerable campaign advantage – not that Labour needs it, they are currently well out in front – ,but it has it’s risks.

If Covid turns to custard here, and if the election goes ahead as planned next month, Ardern and Labour could suffer a backlash. If there is too much bad news expect Ardern to distance herself and leave the delivery of that to Ashley Bloomfield and Chris Hipkins again.

But for now Covid gives Ardern a huge advantage, and she is using that for all it’s currently worth.

UMR poll August 2020

The UMR polls seem to be getting published now with a reasonable amount of detail and history. The latest poll results done from July 29 – August 3) (with comparison from their 26 May – 1 June poll):

  • Labour 52% (down from 54)
  • National 28% (down from 30)
  • ACT 5.9% (no result to compare to)
  • Greens 5.4% (was 4)
  • NZ First 5.1% (was 5)

That’s fairly consistent with other polls, which means great for Labour and ACT, awful for National, marginal for Greens and better than other recent polls for NZ First, this must be the poll that Winston likes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2020_New_Zealand_general_election

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 61%
  • Judith Collins 20%

Source: https://thestandard.org.nz/umr-poll-august-2020/

Collins is rating much better than Simon bridges and Todd Muller but is a long way behind Ardern, and i think will struggle to get much closer going by her recent performance.

Jacinda Ardern rules out electorate deals for NZ First, Greens

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has pretty much ruled out doing anything to help Shane Jones win Northland to save NZ First from being dumped (unless they can turn around slumping party support), and has also ruled out helping Green MP Chloe Swarbrick in the Auckland Central electorate.

A Colmar Brunton poll shows that Jones is a way off the pace in Northland, getting less than half the support of both the National and Labour candidates.

In 2015 Labour helped Winston Peters win Northland in a by election, but he lost it in the 2017 general election.

1 News: Jacinda Ardern shuts down idea of deal with NZ First for Northland seat

A deal between New Zealand First and Labour for the Northland seat is not “on the table”, says Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, despite Shane Jones’ poor poll results over the weekend.

“The suggestion that we do a deal implies there’s been a conversation … it’s just not something that’s on the table for either parties,” Ms Ardern told TVNZ 1’s Breakfast.

“At this point, and as I’ve said many times before, we’re campaigning for Labour in that seat.”

She says Ms Prime has “consistently” had her full support.

“Our view is that we need to keep working really hard on that seat.

That’s a clear public signal that Labour won’t help NZ First there.

In response to the poll, Mr Jones told TVNZ 1’s Q+A he needed to get the “political jackhammer” out, with his message to Northlanders that if they wanted to get NZ First back into Parliament they should vote for him or the party.

Jones seems to have accepted the poll result and concedes he has an uphill battle. He is regarded as a poor campaigner and has not won several attempts to win an electorate. He stood in Whangarei last election, coming a close third just behind the Labour candidate but both were 11,000 votes behind National’s Shane Reti.

So with no help from Labour, at this stage things are looking grim for NZ First.

And Greens are not getting any help in Auckland Central.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern doesn’t think Chlöe Swarbrick will win Auckland Central from National

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern doesn’t think the Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick will win the Auckland Central seat.

Ardern, who previously stood and lost twice in the seat against National’s Nikki Kaye, told RNZ this morning she thought a Swarbrick victory was unlikely.

“The idea that the candidate that would be polling third should suddenly catapult up I just don’t think is keeping in mind the voting habits of that particular seat,” Ardern said.

That suggests Labour have been polling there, I haven’t seen any public polling for Auckland Central.

With the Greens hovering around the 5 per cent threshold, there had been some speculation Labour would do a deal with the party to keep it in Parliament.

Swarbrick herself poured water on this, telling RNZ, “we haven’t sought out a deal”.

“If we’re going to win this we’re going to win it the old-fashioned way,” Swarbrick said.

Ardern reiterated there would be no deal.

“Our view of course is we take the running in seats very seriously, we want to make sure we give our Labour voters and supporters the choice to vote for their Labour candidate on the ground.”

So Labour are doing what makes sense, going all out for as many seats and as many party votes as they can get.

There’s a real chance they will be the first party under MMP to get a majority on their own.

If Greens survive I think Labour would still include them in Government but if Labour has a majority Greens would be weak and used by Labour.

So the election is shaping up to be Labour or Labour + Greens versus National + ACT.

Labour launch Jacinda/Covid campaign

Labour launched their election campaign yesterday. For obvious reasons Jacinda Ardern was prominent. A lot of confidence was on display – there were comments that they looked like they were celebrating already.

RNZ: Labour launches re-election campaign with $300m plan to create thousands of new jobs

The Labour Party has launched its re-election campaign today with a promise to invest $311 million to help unemployed New Zealanders into jobs.

The government’s existing Flexi-wage scheme – a wage subsidy to help employers hire those on a benefit at risk of long-term unemployment – would be revamped and expanded under a re-elected Labour Party, with the average amount a business can access to hire a worker more than doubling.

The party believes scaling up the scheme could enable 40,000 people to be employed.

Jacinda Ardern, speaking at the launch today, said $30 million will also be ring-fenced to help unemployed people start a business through an expanded Flexi-wage self employment programme, which will provide the equivalent of the minimum wage for up to 30 hours a week.

Trying too address things that the Government has been trying to address for the last few months. Unemployment could be a big issue as the campaign progresses and the wage subsidies run out.

A lot of us would prefer not to become unemployed in the first place.

Martyn Bradbury: Labour Party Campaign Launch tone deaf

So the Labour 2020 Election Campaign Launch was a tad disappointing.

We have just endured the worst pandemic for a century, there is fear and there is genuine worry about what happens as early as September and what was the tone Labour struck with their launch?

A slam poem that came across as a religious sermon mixed with an arts festival variety show which is not what worried NZers are wanting right now.

They are wanting to know how the bloody hell we get out of this mess.

Singing and dancing can be done once we’ve won folks, but the pandemic has reset everyones reality and the immediate future in a way not seen outside of World War 2.

Labour’s variety show came across as tone deaf and smug.

Labour are celebrating before they’ve won.

Labour’s lack of major policies and lack of ambition (except their ambition to win) is being noted.

Henry Cooke (Stuff): Labour launch an extremely centrist campaign

This was Labour’s campaign launch and first real policy release. Finally, after three years of only promoting things that could pass the Winston Peters’ test, Ardern had a chance to release some properly Labour Party Labour policy, the kind of “transformation” stuff she had been itching to do all term but couldn’t get away with.

Instead, she launched a hiring subsidy so centrist that the National Party already built it in 2012, albeit in a different form. And it isn’t even new spending: The whole $311m package comes from left-over money unspent by the extension to the wage subsidy.

The hiring subsidy may well be good public policy.

But what it isn’t is particularly Labour. BusinessNZ were effusive in their praise for it, and even Judith Collins was only able to muster a “we did it first”. This was Ardern’s first chance in a long while to set out what her party stood for, outside of the binds of Winston Peters, and she released a policy that you would probably get 119 votes for in Parliament. Indeed, it’s hard to see why the Government wouldn’t just do this policy before the election, if it was such a good idea and the money is just lying around unspent.

It makes total sense for Labour to campaign from the centre. Centrism is probably the route to keeping that huge swath of voters Ardern won over during lockdown on their side through September 19. The party’s base loves Ardern and hates Collins enough that they would probably be out door-knocking if Ardern announced a business tax cut next.

But voters do deserve a contest of ideas, and not just one fought between the Green Party and ACT, who have put out policies that really tap into the ideologies of each party.

There is no doubt that Ardern is a very good image marketing politician.

But she seems very unambitious when it comes to delivering on transformation, progressiveness, reform, anything much apart from promoting a popularity contest.

Even The Standard did little to promote Labour’s launch. A few hours afterwards a post appeared: Jacinda’s speech to the Labour campaign launch

And comments there were generally fairly muted and mixed. Maybe they believe they can coast to victory.

Perhaps Muttonbird summed things up:

Except apparently Jesus actually did a bunch of stuff for the poor.

Ardern: “When people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is,” 

Campaigning a lot on what they have done (recently), and little on any plan or vision for the future.

For Labour this election is all about three things – Jacinda, Jacinda, Jacinda.