Is anyone terrified by MANA?

Anger. Fury. Fear. Bomber talks up a terror campaign at The Daily Blog:

It’s MANA that the elites fear turning populist anger against them

Bryce Edwards covers off the anger that is simmering in the electorate and the fear by elites of where that anger will erupt, but I think he misses a very important part of the spectrum which is open to radicalism.

And that is MANA.

To date the fear is that angry hordes of the disaffected and under educated will elect some type of Trump-esk figure who will take the nation to hell in a hand basket.


But if you look at who is bleeding here, it is young, poor and brown. The middle classes are getting nervous about the inequality and the pundits are scrambling to understand a poverty that is beyond their suburbs.

The furious response at Hone announcing his re-entry into politics suggests the elites fear those who are being hurt most by the housing crisis and growing inequality will rejoin the debate and demand a welfare state that isn’t as cruel and draconian as the current one has become.

I don’t recall seeing any fury. Bemusement was more apparent.

Radically demanding a reorganisation of the neoliberal state is what makes the elites nervous, not some old warhorse like Winston making ‘two wongs don’t make a right’ styled 1970s retro-racist jokes.

Given their lack of anything close to success to date radicals demanding a revolution will not be threatening many nerves.

If the poor and those on benefits re-engaged under a radical MANA brand demanding dignity, that would scare the bejesus out of the elites.

In the last election MANA attempted to gain representation using Kim Dotcom’s cash. The electorate punished Hone for trying to be too clever and screamed sell out, the grim reality of poverty however now howels at the door and those being hurt most by Key’s elitist economy are scrambling for a radical solution to their ever decreasing living standards. If MANA provides that, the elites will be terrified.

I doubt that many people will be terrified by Bradbury or by MANA.

Combined with the Internet Party and Dotcom’s millions they got 1.42% of the vote last election, they have no MPs, they barely register in polls, and Labour and the Greens have moved on without them. Labour never wanted to be seen with them.

Voters are likely to see another Bradbury promoted campaign not with terror but as terrible.

A divinely crafted political entity

Chris Trotter is back to blasting “Labour’s 1984-1990 betrayals” and wishfully proposing a “divinely crafted political entity” in An Opposition Worthy Of The Name?

The signal achievement of National’s nine years in opposition was the unification of the Right. With ruthless efficiency, Don Brash and John Key rolled up National’s electoral competitors, leaving only the vestiges of parties that had once attracted, between them, more than 10 percent of the popular vote.

.In contrast to this approach, Trotter wants a left wing dream team.

The bitter truth is that if a beneficent angel were to uplift the best politicians from Labour, the Alliance (before it disappeared) the Greens and the Mana Party, and drop them into a divinely crafted political entity that might – or might not – continue to exploit the still potent Labour brand, then the Government of John Key would be in real trouble.

The current Labour Party bleats on (and on, and on) about being a “Broad Church”, but the sad truth remains that its reservoir for recruitment has never been shallower.

That is a real problem for Labour.

A genuinely “broad church” party of the Left would balance off  Andrew Little with Hone Harawira, Jacinda Ardern with Laila Harré, Stuart Nash with John Minto, Kelvin Davis with Annette Sykes, Grant Robertson with Julie Anne Genter and Annette King with Metira Turei. The whole spectrum of alternative power: from Soft Centrists to Hard Leftists; would be covered.

He must presume that Jim Anderton is in permanent retirement and perhaps that Matt McCarten is going to remain in the background coordinating it all.

Here is a better look at Trotter’s divinely crafted political entity:

  • Andrew Little
  • Hone Harawira
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Laila Harré
  • Stuart Nash
  • John Minto
  • Kelvin Davis
  • Annette Sykes
  • Grant Robertson
  • Julie Anne Genter
  • Annette King
  • Metira Turei

That’s just twelve, more would be needed for a Cabinet.

That’s just 50% Labour. Even with last election results and current poll numbers that must be based on Trotter’s perception of competence and electability rather as it is nowhere near proportional representation.

It is disproportionately weighted to the far left with three from the MANA Movement plus Laila Harré, all from the Mana/Internet disaster rejected by voters.

The most notable omission is James Shaw. As Green co-leader that’s odd.

And leaving out Labour’s best performer, Phil Twyford, is curious.

That line up would attract the vote of the 1% who supported Internet/Mana and possibly most of the Green supporters, say 10%.

And if they are lucky about half of the current Labour supporters, the left and the unions, might be happy with that, but few of those with some leaning towards the centre and the 10-20% of centrist voters who have deserted Labour are unlikely to be impressed.

Trotter’s list may be divinely crafted by unions and far left activists, but it would destroy Labour. Andrew Little would be unlikely to get back in on the Labour list.

Perhaps that’s what he wants.


Trottermania and revolution

Chris Trotter reveals some of the thinking of the revolutionary left in his latest post Making It Stop: Taking Stock Of 4 February 2016, With Some Thoughts About The Way Forward.

First he thanks the organisers of Thursday’s TPPA protest in Auckland.

To Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates I can only say thank you. Demonstrations like the one I marched in on Thursday don’t just happen. They are the product of hours and days and years of hard work, during which people fight not only against loneliness and fatigue, but against the insidious thought that their unceasing efforts might all be in vain.

Observing the glowing faces of Jane and Barry, as they rode down Queen Street on the afternoon of 4 February 2016, it was their selfless commitment to battling on, heedless of setbacks and against all odds, that brought tears to my eyes. Once again, thank you.

One of the features of the protest was the re-emergence of Hone Harawira and the Mana Movement, fighting for Maori sovereignty despite Harawira and others making ignorant or deliberately false claims about it – see Harawira versus TPPA.

Jane Kelsey has been a long time anti-trade political activist who has been working with the Labour Party with their move to a more anti-TPPA stance – see Kelsey briefing Labour on TPPA.

Involved in uniting Kelsey with Labour was Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten, who happens to have had close connections with the Mana Party.

Barry Coates was number 17 on the Green Party list for the 2014 election. Recently number 16 Marama Davidson replaced Russel Norman in Parliament so Coates is next in line to be an MP. Here’s his Green candidate profile.

Back to Trotter:

BUT, NOW WHAT? In which direction should the energy generated by the 4 February protest actions be turned?

He suggests a few ongoing protest actions. Then:

The extent to which these core messages have already entered the public’s consciousness has unpleasantly surprised the TPPA’s supporters.

I think he may be overestimating how much the public knows or cares about the TPPA, and there are ample indications the media can see through their spin and have started to call them on it.

Radio NZ, One News and Newshub all showed how little the core messages had entered the protesters’s consciousness let alone the wider public.

They were taken aback at the size and vehemence of the Auckland protests and will already be working on ways to unpick the picture Jane Kelsey and her comrades have embroidered so vividly on the public mind. The Government’s and big businesses’ counter-offensive will have to be met, held, and rolled back.

The comrades versus big business – that’s the core message about what’s driving the TPPA opposition.

I know someone who went to a meeting last week featuring Comrade Kelsey. They genuinely hoped to be informed about the TPPA. They were gobsmacked about how sour and substance-less the messages were.

Strategically, the struggle is between the progressive/patriotic forces operating within the twelve signatory states, and the defenders of the transnational corporations. Obviously, this puts the “Pro” forces at a serious disadvantage. Far from being able to pass themselves off as promoters of the public good, they will emerge from the contest as the big corporations’ fifth columnists, committed to defeating the patriots fighting to prevent the agreement’s ratification.

The people versus the corporations again.

John Key and his Government thus risk entering election year as a collection of figurative “Quislings”, guilty of conspiring against the national interest on behalf of entities without countries, morals or scruples.

If this perception can be driven deep into the electorate’s mind, then National’s chances of re-election will be nil.

Trotter’s comrades dream. It’s a dream they also had last term, with asset sales instead of the TPPA, that became a nightmare when the reality of the election result hit home.

More importantly, the victorious coalition of Labour, the Greens and NZ First will be swept into office with a broad mandate to take on a corporate plutocracy that has ruled without challenge for far too long.

Wonderful. And the world will be rescued from evil at last.

For the first time in over 30 years, there will be a mass political movement dedicated to putting itself “upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus” of the neoliberal machine – and making it stop.

Except this time Labour seem to have decided to fight for the Mana space on the far left, after their worst election result in living memory in part due to a voter reaction against the Internet-Mana.

Comrades were convinced that Internet-Mana would hold the deciding votes after the last election,  and the glorious revolution would be realised.

But instead they crashed, and burned Labour.

Trotter seems to think Labour-Mana is a winning combination along with the Greens and NZ First. I wonder what Winston thinks of all this, he’s politically very astute.

Not long ago Trotter tweeted a link to his post:

Some thoughts on Thursday’s anti-TPPA demo. Has the “Missing Million” woken up?

The ‘missing million’ dream was another failure last election. The ones who vote saw through it.

This seems like just another swing between Trottermanic and Trotterdepressive.

What’s missing is 21st century reality.

Davis assures he’s contesting Te Tai Tokerau

After claims and speculation that Labour were not trying to contest Te Tai Tokerau – see Cunliffe lying about electorate deals? – Kelvin Davis has emphatically assured he is still out to win the electorate off Hone Harawira.

of course I’m going out to win it, as I’ve told you a dozen times already. No one has approached me to do any shonky deal.

Davis will be keen on winning the electorate as his chances via the Labour list look precarious.

Yesterday 3 News reported  Annette Sykes chasing Waiariki deal:

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Internet Mana is…Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

That contradicts what Davis has said.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

“We are campaigning hard in all seven Maori seats and that includes Waiariki – I can’t be any plainer than that,” says Labour leader David Cunliffe.

That would include Te Tai Tokerau. Cunliffe has backtracked on other things but he looks like remaining staunch on this.

But Tova O’Brien at 3 News is not convinced.

Labour’s taken the higher moral ground over coat-tailing, despite not ruling out working with Internet Mana – the masters of coat-tailing – after the election.

So if it does a deal in either of those Maori seats – and it’s hard to tell if it will or not – they’ll be informal deals, done on the ground and on the quiet.

The proof will be in how the campaigns in the Maori electorates play out. If Labour have done or do any electorate deals on the quiet it should be obvious in how the campaign unfolds.

With Labour looking an unlikely winner in the election shoring up any electorate they can and winning as many as possible makes some sense. It will help put them in a better position to rebuild next term – something they have so far failed to do.


Martyn the mastermind

Martyn Bradbury has masterminded a plan so cunning and so effective that polls and policies are irrelevant to this election. Everything is organised so the outcome of the election is inevitable no matter what anyone else tries to do.

Martyn was instrumental in setting up the Mana Party. He was instrumental in setting up the Internet Party. He engineered that planting of Matt McCarten in Cunliffe’s coterie and into the middle of Labour’s campaign team.

He was the brains behind the Mana-Internet Party merge for the election. He was right behind installing Laila Harre as leader of the Internet Party.

And Martyn is the communications guru for the New Auckland Left agenda, with central command being his The Daily Blog. He converted Chris Trotter from left wing columnist to his left hand man.

Ok, some of this could be a tad exaggerated, but Martyn is not shy of blowing his own trumpet and he has been unable to resist bragging along these lines.

And in a blog post this week he couldn’t resist broadcasting the culmination of his masterminded plan. This is quoted verbatim, no embellishment is required.

Why the polls, policy & smears now don’t matter until after 7pm September 15th 2014

There are so many twists and turns to come until the 15th, that I can not imagine that the entire Nation’s attention won’t be on the Town Hall at 7pm.

Martyn really was closely involved in the anti-GCSB protest meeting at the Auckland Town Hall last year. To remind everyone of his triumph he includes a picture of it.

That’s Martyn in a commanding position dead centre, with Dotcom under his watch.

Couple of polls out today, Roy Morgan and the Polls – and they don’t matter.

John Key could announce tax cuts from a live press conference in Hawaii, and it wouldn’t matter.

David Cunliffe could be mocked on ZB by Mike Hosking for 10 hours straight. And it wouldn’t matter.

All that matters now is 7pm Monday 15th at the Auckland Town Hall.

The beauty of what Kim, Internet MANA and those fighting the mass surveillance state have generated here for the price of just hiring out the Town Hall is the entire nations attention and total dominance of the election campaign.

Journalists like Duncan Garner, Vernon Small and Guyon Espiner have been highly critical that Kim doesn’t reveal the evidence linking Key to a conspiracy to collude with the US to entrap him right now so that they can decide if the evidence stacks up. This point ignores that throughout this case the Government have broken law, acted outside the rules and have been manipulating this process with ‘political pressure’ from the very beginning and Kim has every right to counter that by releasing the information when it’s going to be most damaging to Key.

5 days out from the 2014 election is the time that would be most damaging to Key.

There are so many twists and turns to come until the 15th, that I can not imagine that the entire Nation’s attention won’t be on the Town Hall at 7pm.

Laila Harre’s comments that Kim wouldn’t be allowed in have been seized upon as a giant awkward moment between the two. I think that’s a terrible misreading of why she said that.

The meeting will be live streamed on The Daily Blog.

Five days out from the 2014 election is the time that would be most damaging to Key. Not four and a half days. Not six days. This is how pin point Martyn’s planning has been.

We might as well forget the election campaign and ignore all the other parties. The outcome of the election rests on the Kim and Martyn show on September 15.  Trust Kim. Trust Martyn. We will have to get used to trusting them, they will be the brains and the management behind our next government.

Neither of them are standing for Parliament but don’t worry about small details like that.

What Martyn doesn’t explain is that if everyone ignores polls and policies and smears and parties and campaigning then how will they know who to vote for?

Bradbury doesn’t hint that he knows what Dotocm will reveal, which based on his usual keenness to brag about what he knows probably means he doesn’t know. But he knows that September 15 is the BIG THING and nothing else is relevant to the election. Trust or bluster?

Even if what Dotcom reveals on September 15, something so secret that he hasn’t shared the information with his party leader Harre, even if Dotcom blows Key out of the election, how will voters know who to vote for?

Will September 15 be so decisively dramatic that no one will vote? That’s not going to happen, although Martyn’s farcical circus is likely to disillusion more voters and reduce the turnout.

Or everyone will have a revelation and vote for the brilliance of Kim and Martyn? Ok, for Laila and Hone but we know they are just useful tools in this grand plan.

All eyes will be on Dotcom and The Daily Blog to see hints drip fed.

Or voters will not stand for this personal crusade of Dotcom, nor for the Bradbury bull.

Even if Key and National are seriously compromised it’s likely most of the voters won’t look kindly on the hijacking of our democracy.

A collapse in voter turnout and an election lottery is possible. I wonder if Martyn has bought a ticket. That might be his best hope on September 20.

Martyn seems to think he has masterminded a dead certain election result.

But remember that he masterminded a grand left wing co-operative for the election, and that was quickly dashed when Labour made it clear they would have nothing to do with it, and Greens had already recognised the dangers in a Dotcom led political revolution.

It has been suggested that the September 15 town hall meeting will be a bomb shell. Martyn would like it seen as a Bomber shellacking of John Key  – but we’ve seen Bradbury flops before.

Martyn’s master of his own mind but his left wing revolution may be spinning in his head.

Footnote: the comments on Martyn’s post have been mostly very sceptical and negative.

The ‘new Auckland left’

Who is involved in the ‘new Auckland left’? There are a number of pieces in common in an interesting political jigsaw.

The well signalled deal between the Internet and MANA parties and the surprise appointment of Laile Harre as the acceptable-to-MANA leader of the Internet Party has set the cat amongst the campaign pigeons.

Kim Dotcom has done the rounds of parties looking for a way into Parliament for his new Internet Party. It’s been reported (and admitted) that Dotcom has been visited a number of times by Winston Peters, Russel Norman and Clare Curran. He ended up finding a willing partner in Hone Harawira.

Despite much bluster from some in promoting a cosy electorate deal between MANA and Labour it also seems to have set Labour against Internet/MANA – see Labour staunch in contesting Te Tai Tokerau.

A number of interconnections have become apparent.

Harre has been a member of Labour, New Labour, then an MP for the Alliance Party, eventually becoming leader. She has recently worked for the Green Party and considered putting herself forward as a candidate. There have been conflicting reports, of her pulling out and of Greens rejecting her.

Matt McCarten also began in Labour, and then progressed to New Labour and the Alliance, taking over leadership from Harre. He then switched to the formation of the Maori Party, and then moved on to the Mana Party.

In February McCarten was recruited as David Cunliffe’s chief of staff with claims he would be a significant driver of Labour’s campaign this year.

Interestingly Wikipedia says:

McCarten has previously distanced himself from attempts to forge a new Left Wing party in New Zealand.

It would be interesting to know what McCarten thinks of the Internet-MANA deal and of Labour’s apparent commitment to strongly contesting Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau.

A close friend and union associate of McCarten, Gerard Hehir, is secretary of the Mana Party and as such is set to be on the Internet-MANA campaign committee.

Left wing political commentator and columnist Chris Trotter, who also has a union background and has served on the Labour Party’s council, seems to have embraced the Internet/MANA movement and has been highly critical of Labour for not giving up Te Tai Tokerau to Harawira – see Authoritarian Labour: Why Kelvin Davis needs to STFU – and soon! at The Daily Blog. He has also just posted Keeping Our Eyes On The Prize at his Bowalley blog.

What does all this mean?

Some things are becoming clearer but much remains uncertain. Perhaps an inveterate bragger has let slip a hint.

Martyn Bradbury advertises himself as be a leading left wing political activist, organiser, recruiter and party starter.

Last year it was revealed he was a paid adviser to the MANA Party (he didn’t disclose it in his blogging and media activities). He was later linked to the start up of the Internet Party where he had asked for remuneration – also not disclosed.

But Bradbury has a propensity to broadcast his political prowess, activities and ambitions.

On the announcement of Harre as Internet Party leader – The potential for a Labour-Green-Internet-MANA majority.

This will become a game changer if Internet MANA pull the don’t knows to their flag.

What should excite progressives this election is the possibility of a Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority. The Left have never been able to be truly progressive because conservative brake pedals like NZ First and United have always dragged it back, if the majority were Labour-Green-Internet MANA however, there would be no conservative or neoliberal brake pedals.

A Labour-Green-Internet MANA majority is a unique opportunity for genuine progressive change, such opportunities rarely come by and when they do they must be risked.

There could be a bit of a problem here. Both Labour and Greens seem to have recognised the substantial risks of working with Dotcom and they seem to have backed off any involvement. They also presumably recognise that if Internet-MANA succeeds it could deplete their share of the party vote.

If the Internet-MANA gambit fails it could destroy Labour and Green election chances, and if it succeeds it could seriously reduce Labour and Green power if they end up dependent on Harawira and Harre for votes in Parliament.

And Labour probably won’t appreciate being told which electorates to throw by people with obvious interests in other parties and potentially detrimental outcomes.

Today in Q&A: Josie Pagani as a commentator Bradbury at least embellished the chances and possible effects of a minor comment by Josie Pagani:

The constitutional crisis that Josie’s idea would plunge NZ into if Cunliffe had taken her advice, would become a global news story. To change the rules of the election 4 months out from that election would create catastrophe as an immediate legal challenge to that decision would be forced by those political parties currently using that strategy. There would be rioting in the streets as those whose vote suddenly becomes voided by this unprecedented and unconstitutional change go berserk at what would be perceived as an illegal tactic to erase the voice of everyone not voting Labour, National, Green or NZ First.

Now I appreciate I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that my setting up of political parties to provide parliamentary math game changers annoys some in the established left and has the Wellington Twitternati in constant fits of rage, but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested tactics that would see the country plunged into a fucking civil war.

The likelihood of riots in the streets and civil war are very dubious from a population increasingly bored and turned of by politics. Fits of rage are fanciful effects of Bradbury’s claimed prodigious party setting up .

Bradbury then may have revealed a bit more about what may be behind much of the current left wing arrangements, if he is not exaggerating that too.

What’s going to be interesting this time around for the election, despite the best attempts by some msm pundits, is that the Left may against all predictions and odds win. Unfortunately for the msm however, they don’t have any actual insights into the new Auckland Left that is now influencing so much of these strategic moves.

Election night coverage by both major networks could sound like crickets chirping if their lack of analysis starts to fumble when the results begin rolling in.

Internet MANA means the game has changed, the msm haven’t comprehended this yet.

Internet-MANA may have changed then game, for the time being at least. The media will presumably be looking into various political possibilities, including the influence of the ‘new Auckland left’.

Bradbury’s overstatements are well known. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t provide useful hints – and he might one day strike the political jackpot.

Politics can be fickle and ambitions don’t always work according to plan, especially when requiring the buy-in of multiple factions and multiple parties. Labour seem to be already resisting being organised to play a wider game.

Kelvin Davis tweeted:


Sorta ironic that in 1914 Mata Hari was a German agent, and in 2014 there’s Laila.

Harre is now very openly working for (and is being paid by) the big German – although the Greens may feel a bit betrayed, she presumably has what could be useful inside party information.

It could be prudent for David Cunliffe to check out where Matt McCarten’s loyalties lie.

State of the parties

The election campaign has effectively kicked off in earnest. The next six months will be a long time in politics. It’s difficult to predict many things. Everything remains up for grabs.

Two polls yesterday had similar results for the three main parties, and the recent Roy Morgan is also included.
RM=Roy Morgan, CB=One News/Colmar, RR=3 News/Reid Research

RM 45.5, CB 47, RR 45.9

Polls have ranged in the low forties to low fifties, averaging around the current levels which are similar to National’s last election 47%. They seem to have survived recent Labour attacks on Judith Collins and Hekia Parata reasonably unscathed.

It’s very unlikely National will get a majority of seats alone so is as much reliant on small party results as it is on keeping it’s own support up in the high forties. The Maori Party, ACT and UnitedFuture are all in doubt but stand a reasonable chance of getting several seats between them. It’s doubtful if the Conservatives will get into the mix.

An improving economy is in National’s favour which will be balanced against second term attrition.

John Key remains reasonably popular although down from the last term. He usually does well in one on one debates but has to be careful to not appear arrogant or dismissive.

If they avoid major scandals (especially involving Key) National should hold up but will be hoping for weak partners to step up.

RM 31.5, CB 31, RR 31.2

Polls have settled down in the low thirties after a brief surge after David Cunliffe took over the leadership. Recent attacks on National have failed to lift Labour, negative politics may knock the opposing party a little but it’s usually not good for gaining support, which Labour desperately needs to do.

Labour are totally reliant on a partnership with the Greens. A plus is that Greens look solid. A minus is that Labour remains unconvincing. Labour may also need NZ First and possible Mana and/or the Internet Party. A party that still looks in disarray with a difficult to manage combination of parties makes Labour’s job of convincing voters they are ready to govern again challenging.

After an initial surge of support Cunliffe keeps slipping, getting 8-9% in the latest Preferred Prime Minister polls. He struggles to look authentic and is often missing in action. Labour have not yet succeeding in recovering from the departure of the Helen Clark and Michael Cullen partnership  both a party and with leadership.

It’s possible Labour could end up cobbling together a coalition but the election and the post election negotiations will both be difficult for them. A chance of a collapse in support hovers should the voters give up on Labour’s various vulnerabilities.

Green Party
RM 14, CB 11, RR 11.3

Greens had a recent poll of 8% but that looks to be an outlier, they have otherwise ranged between 10 and 14 averaging 11-12 which means they are holding their last election support (but they often poll higher than they get in elections).

The Greens are looking very well organised and are into campaign mode. They are the one solid party of this term and if they avoid campaign disasters should come to close to maintaining their current MP numbers, and could increase them.

Their main problem is not their own, it’s their essential coalition partner, Labour. If Labour fail then so do the Greens no matter what they achieve.  NZ First are also a threat because if Winston Peters returns he will hold stronger cards then the Greens, being able to play off National against Labour. The Internet Party may take some Green vote.

Russel Norman has often looked like the Leader of the Opposition this term. He is experienced, focussed and ambitious. He is a consistent strength for Greens but his ambitions on economic matters worry some and may end up playing against him. He is being promoted as possible Deputy Prime Minister.

Metiria Turei is co-leader and is currently ranked number one in Green ranking. She tends to work with the Green base more than the wider public. The traditional media seem to dismiss her chances as Deputy Prime Minister but the Greens will decide who they want to put forward. Their official stance is co-leadership but two deputies will be out of balance in a coalition. Turei would provide an interesting dynamic in an old school Labour dominated cabinet.

Greens should do well but their fate is out of their hands, they are reliant on Labour looking like a credible Government and they would prefer NZ First and the Internet Party drop out of the picture.

NZ First
RM 3.5, CB 7, RR 4.9

NZ First is fluctuating in the polls but maintains a healthy average and looks a reasonable chance of beating the 5% threshold again. They are benefiting from National slips and Labour’s lack of traction.

The NZ First MPs are very low profile and as usual look like relying on Winston Peters. The old campaigner pops up occasionally but is mostly out of the news – but he knows how to campaign and will time his run.

Peters is a master of manipulating media and will be looking for any opportunity to jump on a defining issue in the last few weeks of the campaign. National will be doing their best to avoid another cup of tea disaster but the media seem addicted to boosting their ratings with Peters and therefore boosting his chances.

At this stage NZ First looks a good bet to succeed this election. The big question mark is what that means for any coalition possibilities and there will be fears of Winston induced instabilities. This is more likely to limit their numbers rather than drop them below 5%.

Maori Party
RM 2.0, CB 0.9, RR 1,5

Party support in polls and elections hasn’t been a significant factor for the Maori Party in the past because their strength has been in electorate seats, but this may change this year.

The Maori Party has a battle on it’s hands to retain any of it’s three electorate seats this time but the odds are good to keep at least one of it’s current three. If it only keeps one or two then their party vote may become a factor in their final count.

New leader Te Ururoa Flavell is out there trying to build a profile but is an unknown at this level. He needs to step up and find a way of getting some media attention, which could be difficult because he is (so far) uncontroversial.

The Maori Party should return but will have to battle hard to keep their numbers up. Labour’s struggles may help them

ACT Party
RM 0,5, CB 0.3, RR 1.1

ACT have recovered from poll zeroes but it’s early in their attempted recovery. All will depend on Epsom. If they succeed there they could help National retain power.

The ACT party vote could lift from their 2011 debacle when Don Brash ousted Rodney Hide and took over, and installed an unlikely John Banks in Epsom.

New leader Jamie Whyte is intelligent but intellectual. He will struggle to interest the media unless he stuffs up. He will also struggle to appeal to voters. As he builds experience and if he can appear confident he may lift things a bit.

ACT’s best chances may come from National spin-off. If enough voters want National returned but don’t want to reward National too much or don’t want a single party majority  then ACT may benefit.

Mana Party
RM 0, CB 0, RR 1.1

You can’t take much from the polls for Mana, their supporters may be the hardest to find for pollsters.

On their own Mana are unlikely to lift much in party support. This is probably why they are considering a deal with Kim Dotcom, realising lifting their own party vote will be difficult. This may help them, but it could just as easily damage their brand.

Hone Harawira is the obvious essential for Mana and should retain his Te Tai Tokerau electorate – unless there’s a backlash against the Dotcom dalliance. This is a real risk for Mana. Labour have got the respected Kelvin Davis as candidate again, he has been closing the gap on Harawira in previous elections.

Mana are a good bet to retain an electorate but the Internet Party is a risky punt.

RM 0.5, CB 0.1, RR 0.1

United Future have really struggled to impress in polls for two terms. To the voting public the party is non existent, although a surge of membership last year when UnitedFuture was de-registered shows there is still some interest out there.

Peter Dunne’s chances in Ohariu look reasonable. Labour and Greens no longer have candidates with public profiles. National are likely to assist with a low profile candidate. Dunne knows how to work his electorate.

Otherwise the prospects for UnitedFuture simply aren’t there. They don’t have a very active party and they have no people other than Dunne with any profile.

Dunne is a good bet to retain Ohariu and may help National stay in power but that is the best that can be expected.

Conservative Party
RM 1.5, CB 2.3, RR 1,9

The Conservative Party has maintained an average of around 2% with a range of 1-3. They should be able to maintain this – but doubling support to make the 5% threshold will be very difficult, despite being one of the best financed parties.

Colin Craig is determined and rich, and he has some appeal but he is also seen as wacky and is sometimes unfairly called Crazy Colin.

An easy electorate ride has been talked about but it remains elusive for Craig. National would be taking a big risk gifting him a seat and look lukewarm on it at the moment.

The jury is out on Craig’s chances. The Conservatives may pick up some ‘alternative to National’ votes but 5% looks a high hurdle. The media probably won’t do them any favours like the do for Peters.

Internet Party
RM 0, CB 0, RR 0.4

The polls were too soon for the Internet Party launch this week so don’t mean much. Roy Morgan had them on 0.5% for two polls when the first launch attempt was aborted but they got publicity. They are likely to feature in polls from now because the media will give them coverage.

It’s far too soon to tell how the Internet Party will go. Kim Dotcom will attract some support from his substantial existing following but he will put others off – and he can’t stand so either has to fade into the background or he will be seen to be interfering.

The Internet Party needs some credible candidates. They’ve said they won’t be announcing them until June but have claimed to have an existing electorate MP ready to join. There’s a lot of doubt about this, and even if they did it would be extremely difficult for such a candidate to hold their seat, they would be competing with their ex party and risk splitting the vote.

If they secure a high profile candidate I would expect the Internet party to announce it as soon as possible. Otherwise a leaderless candidate-less party will struggle to impress.

The Dotcom financed party could play a significant part in the election. It’s possible (but unlikely) they boost Mana’s seats to two or three. They may take some National vote and are likely to pick up some protest vote.

But as Russel Norman openly fears they could take votes from the left and waste them by failing to reach 5%. The Internet Party make their primary goal of defeating John Key harder for the left.

Other Parties

There are no other parties with profiles.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party keeps getting some support but is generally looked on as a protest or wacky baccy party. They have competed with Greens on cannabis law reform and could get some traction on this – Russel Norman said on The Nation in the weekend that cannabis law remained a Green policy but it would not be one they would be promoting.

The Alliance and Democrats for Social Credit keep chugging away but will continue to be ignored by the media so have no show. Losers are already picked regardless of their merit.

Focus New Zealand registered in January and are targeting the rural vote but will struggle with that.

Brendan Horan has been trying to get an Independent Candidates party off the ground but his own chances of retaining a seat and any party chances have been written off already. The media doesn’t do different approaches to democracy. And Horan doesn’t seem to have a significant following.

This simple fact is that it’s a near impossible for new parties without rich founders able to buy attention.

After the MMP review the threshold has stayed at an insurmountable 5%. The review recommend a drop to 4% which would have made no difference for small parties wanting to add themselves to the mix.

The large parties seem to actively avoid allowing nuisance parties to interfere with their ambitions and shut down their chances. Ironically more small parties would give the large parties more options and more bargaining power.


National may slip in support a bit but are still looking reasonably in charge. Greens are looking strong. But the rest is up for grabs, which means this year’s election is still very open – with more complicating factors than usual.

The Colmar Brunton poll showed a large wild card (or cards): Don’t know 13%, Refused 5%

The media play a major role and can make major stories out of the trivial. It’s a major concern that the balance of our democracy could swing on the whim of journalists. They have become very powerful, and they know it. And they are accountable to no one but their ratings and egos.

Our elections risk being more superficial lottery than a contest of policies and parties.

Unfortunately this year’s election may be decided on the least worst option as the positives in our politics are paltry. The parties, press and people are all culpable.

Voting deciles in Ikaroa-Rawhiti

The Daily Post has done an interesting analysis of the voting patterns in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election, looking at approximate votes per decile by matching votes per booth linked to school. See Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election autopsy.

Bradbury is over-enthusiastic about what this might mean for Mana’s chances in the next election, and bashes the Maori Party (Bradbury is paid as a consultant by Mana) but the results show a predictable leaning of low decile voters towards Mana.

The decile results for the 4 main candidates are:

Greens            2.51
MANA            2.08
Maori Party  2.52
Labour          2.57

Mana is on it’s own, significantly lower in the deciles.

Looking at just the decile 1 schools (which account for over a third of the votes taken at schools) the % vote for each party are:

Greens            12.6% of the vote
MANA            30.6% of the vote
Maori Party   18.8% of the vote
Labour          36.2% of the vote

Odd that Labour rates higher than Mana in decile 1.

It’s not surprising to me to see the difference between Mana and the Maori Party, it’s known that they appeal to different demographics.

Overall the Green Party is similar to the Maori Party and Labour.

It’s especially interesting to see how much lower the vote looks for Greens are than all the others for decile 1. The Greens try to appeal to the poor, those in poverty, those on benefits – in other words one of their major target demographics is low decile.

But the Green candidates look like they represent a different demographic – educated middle class and even well off voters. So I don’t think it’s a surprise to see them struggling to attract low demographic votes.

But having done all that it’s worth comparing the above percentages to the total vote. It’s possible to read too much from limited statistics.

Greens            11.1%
MANA            26.0%
Maori Party   19.8%
Labour          40.7%

There’s not a big variation to that, the analysed results are probably within the margin of error.

I doubt that it’s the massive election winner that Bradbury hopes for.


Ikaroa-Rawhiti result a bit interesting

The result of the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election is a bit interesting but not much can be deduced from it. By-elections are generally not an accurate reflection of how an electorate or the country would vote in a general election.

For the record here’s a summary of the official results:

Michael Appleby (ALCP) 161 1.5%
Marama Davidson (Greens) 1188 11.3%
Adam Holland (Independent) 13 0.1%
Te Hamua Nikora (Mana) 2607 24.8%
Na Raihania (Maori) 2104 20.0%
Maurice Wairau (Independent) 27 0.3%
Meka Whaitiri (Labour) 4368 41.5%
Informal 51 0.5%
TOTAL 10519

As predicted the turnout was very low with about 1/3 of registered voters participating. In the previous general election in 2008 the turnout was 20,455.

Turnout in the last by-election, Te Tai Tokerau in 2011 was 13,594.

During the campaign there were claims from Mana that their candidate was polling within 5% of Labour. No evidence was shown.

It’s difficult to meaningfully compare by-election results with previous elections, especially when an icon like Parakura Horomia was involved.

Here are the last three election results:

Candidate/Party  % Vote  % Party
2005 Parakura Horomia (Labour)  53.75      58.28
Atareta Poananga (Maori)  42.80  28.06
Tauha Te Kani (Destiny)   3.47  1.97
2008 Parakura Horomia (Labour) 51.49     57.20
Derek Fox (Maori)   42.96 26.89
Bevan Tipene (Green)   5.55  3.16
2011 Parakura Horomia (Labour)    60.71  49.58
Na Raihania (Maori)  23.10  14.98
Tawhai McClutchie (Mana) 14.28   9.60

There was no Maori candidate prior to 2005 so earlier results are difficult to compare.

It generally looks like Labour support moved to Mana and the Greens.

Labour will be happy to have had a comfortable win, albeit with a significantly lower %.

Mana will be happy to have nearly doubled their %.

The Maori Party had a strong candidate (I thought he looked the best) so should be a bit concerned about their drop.

Greens will be happy, but they promote themselves are strongly pro treaty and pro Maori and got just a little more than their general poll support level. They had by far the best party leader support in the campaign from Metiria Turei.

Bottom line

The end result is that Meka Whaitiri has a new job and Labour have a new MP. And the parties and the pundits will scratch around claiming positives and negatives that don’t really mean much in the whole scheme of things.

If you want some amusement check out Martyn Bradbury’s take on it: BREAKING: Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election: Labour limp home

Meat and three veg coalition?

Labour supporters are in a stew over polls again. Unenthusiastic hopes rest on being the meat in coalition stew.

There’s been the usual gnashing of teeth at The Standard over another disappointing poll result for Labour. The latest Roy Morgan poll has them still wobbling, down 2 to 33%.

Most comments are despondent.

Some assure themselves that all that matters is that “the left” wins.

“nothing to worry about if you’re a left supporter.”

It is now a fixed view that Labour+Green is the left hope, not just Labour. Labour is never talked of as a one on one competitor with National any more, there is a general acceptance that Labour’s only chance of Government is joined at the hip with Greens.

“labgrn moving from well behind to consistently too close to call (even nudging ahead at times, not seen for years)?”

“The polls say Labour/Green Government. Hardly a massive failure.”

“It’s the policies that count, because, on the left, that’s what we’re about. And if Shearer scrapes in, as it appears he will, then we get the best of Labour and the Greens to set our country’s future. That’s a pretty cool outcome, whoever the PM is.”

There’s a lot of Green hope and optimism – despite their lack of traction in the polls they are at least holding ground with their best election result.

I have never seen the Greens so popular. In the inner city liberal suburbs it is touch and go if Labour or the Greens are the most popular liberal party.

I have never seen the Greens win the party vote like they did in Wellington Central last time. I have never seen an electorate lose 10% points of the party vote like Labour did in Auckland Central.

I have never seen Dunedin swing so powerfully to the Greens like it did in 2011.

So nothing to worry about if you are a Green supporter. But if you are a Labour supporter well what can I say?

Despite the hope that Labour might still manage a win thanks to Greens and possibly others there is mostly Labour gloom.

The polls are a massive failure for Labour. The Labour strategy is wrong. The wrong people are at the top table. Look at the figures. Every member of the party sees them.


Yes, many are disappointed or disillusioned. Those who collected Asset Sales petitions saw it mismanaged and we had to back out again.

Then we found out that our “Leaders” were flying up from Wellington and Christchurch to sup in the Sky Box the same day.

The sense of hope that existed last year has been replaced with numbness.


Nothing cool there. It is very chilling. All Labour people should be very very concerned.

But a coalition might still get Labour home in 2014. An interesting description of Labour+Green – meat and veg:

The Labour party is doing fine under MMP. MMP, if you don’t recall, is supposed to have coalition governments. They provide the meat, the greens provide the healthy veges.

Clearly Labour haven’t been doing fine under MMP over the last two elections and five years. The meat is looking well past it’s best.

And on the last election result and current polling Green veges would not be enough. Labour also need a wilting Winston and possibly a Mana side salad (way out on the left side).

So that could be a meat and three veg coalition.

And Labour may find it tough being the meat in a multi-grained sandwich.