Misunderstanding a Memorandum of Understanding

Donald Trump answering questions on the negotiations for a trade agreement between the US and China:

I think the MOU is going to be very short term.

I don’t like MOU’s because they don’t mean anything. To me they don’t mean anything. I think you’re better off just going into a document. I was never a fan of an MOU.

He was then contradicted by his top trade representative Robert Lighthizer:

A memorandum of understanding is a binding agreement between two people.

This was in front of  a Chinese delegation.

They obviously have different ideas about how to negotiate trade deals. They may both be wrong.

Investipedia: Memorandum of Understanding:

“A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a nonbinding agreement between two or more parties outlining the terms and details of an understanding, including each parties’ requirements and responsibilities. An MOU is often the first stage in the formation of a formal contract.”

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is not legally binding but is viewed as a serious document by the law. In the United States, an MOU is the same as a letter of intent, which is a nonbinding agreement stating a binding agreement will soon follow. MOUs are most often used as part of multinational international relations because, unlike treaties, they are quick and can be kept secret.

An MOU signals a legal contract is imminent. However, an MOU itself is not legally defensible but should still clearly outline specific points of an understanding. An MOU should describe the parties are, the project on which they are agreeing, the scope of the document, each parties’ roles and responsibilities, and more. An MOU can help two parties move in the right direction toward an agreement.

An MOU, while not an enforceable document, still holds a lot of power because of the time, energy and resources needed to draft an effective and fair document. An MOU forces the participating parties to reach a semblance of a mutual understanding, and, in the process, the two sides naturally mediate and figure out what is most important in moving toward an eventual future agreement that benefits both sides.

The misunderstanding about an MOU:

There were mixed responses, from:

Much as I hate to say this, but Trump is right. Any MoU I have negotiated included clauses that made it clear it was non-binding. It’s not a contract. Poor choice of a Trade Rep who doesn’t understand this though. The below is the official UK government definition.

To:

Jesus Christ Dom…. this is Government not commercial law…. MOUs are how trade deals are made functional. They bind countries.

It doesn’t surprise me that Trump gives no weight to an MOU – he dumps full trade agreements he doesn’t like, and starts trade wars as a way of forcing changes to trade practices and regulations.

The understanding from this is that anything goes with Trump, regardless of normal practice on negotiating trade agreements.

I don’t think that Trump’s rubbishing of the value of an MOU will give the Chinese any confidence about trade negotiations, and will negate the value of any Memorandums of Understanding.

Green position on the budget

There has been a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about the Green Party position on the budget delivered last week, after Greens voted for the tax package in the budget, and also for the settlement on the pay equity case.

Co-leader James Shaw tries to clarify: Our position on National’s 2017 Budget

A number of people were left with the impression that the Greens had voted for “the Budget”. This is incorrect. The Green Party did not – and will not – vote for “the Budget”.

The Budget is what allows National to govern. If National failed to pass the Budget, all its legal ability to tax and spend would dry up and the Government would fall apart. There is no way we would vote for the Budget, because that would be supporting the National Government and its agenda.

Budget time often brings other legislation too, which gets debated under urgency. This year, there were two such Bills:

  • The first was a Bill giving effect to the settlement of the high-profile gender pay equity case for people in the caring profession, brought by Kristine Bartlett.
  • The second was a Bill changing Working for Families and income tax thresholds.

We voted in favour of both of these.

We voted for the pay equity Bill because, well, we believe in pay equity. The Bill the Government introduced is far from perfect. But it has been a long time coming and it fits comfortably within our Green Party policy and our values.

The Working for Families legislation was also far from perfect. But we voted for it because, imperfect as those changes are, they will make a positive difference for some people. We had to make this decision quickly, but we did not do so lightly.

Ending child poverty in New Zealand has consistently been one of the Green Party’s top priorities for many years now. The Government’s Bill is not the transformative income support and tax package that a Green Government would put in place (we’re working on that – watch this space).

But the Child Poverty Action Group estimates that National’s changes to the Family Tax Credit will bring between 35,000 and 50,000 children out of poverty. We asked ourselves if we could in good conscience oppose something that would help up to 50,000 kids, and on balance, we decided that we couldn’t.

In the Budget two years ago, National raised benefits by $25 a week. Both the Greens and Labour supported that, even though we both knew that not all families would get the full $25, and even for those who did, we knew it wouldn’t be enough.

But it was something – and so, last week, we made a similar call to vote for a package of measures that will mean that New Zealand’s hardest up families get even a little more.

Our friends and colleagues in the Labour Party made a different call last week. That’s quite common.

Since the last election, we’ve often voted differently from Labour. On 68 occasions, Labour has supported National while we have opposed National. And on 11 occasions, we have supported National while Labour has opposed.

We’re different political parties, after all. When MMP arrived a little over 20 years ago, many of us hoped it would lead to a more pluralistic Parliament, where political parties came together in different formations around the merits of any given policy proposal.

About 40 Bills have passed unanimously since the last election with the support of all political parties. A lot of what Parliament does is relatively uncontroversial.

On this occasion, we’ve talked it through with Labour.

There have been reports that Labour was blind sided by the Greens voting with the Government.

They understand why we supported National’s tax and Working for Families Bill and we understand why they opposed it.

Does anyone else understand? There has been a lot of confusion and discussion.

Those talks began on Budget day itself, when Opposition parties go into a small room together and have an hour with the Budget books before everything becomes public at 2pm.

It’s been a year this week since we signed the MOU with Labour. The MOU is an agreement to change the Government – not to always do everything the same way as each other.

We’re looking forward now to the election, and to this time next year when a new Finance Minister will deliver an entirely new kind of Budget that puts people and the planet first.

We might even replace the Budget’s traditional blue cover with a nice shade of green.

We? Would Labour go with shade of green budget?

Would NZ First go with a shade of green budget?

Is Shaw hinting at (or wishing for) a shade of green finance minister?

Labour nominate Peters, but pick Greens as first cab

Yesterday Andrew Little announced he was nominating Winston Peters to replace David Shearer on the intelligence and security committee, leaving Greens out but apparently with their support for Peters.

Little also said that Greens would be the first party he would call after the election “if the numbers go our way”.

Stuff: Little signals Greens will be ‘first cab off the rank’ in post-election talks

Labour is to treat the Greens as “first cab off the rank” for post election talks in a signal it is firming up its plans to work in coalition with its allied party.

But in an Opposition two-step Labour leader Andrew Little on Thursday first announced he was nominating Peters for the intelligence and security committee – with the Greens support.

He said the fact the Greens had agreed to Peters replacing David Shearer as an Opposition representative on the intelligence and security committee “showed they have a maturity about forging relationships beyond just the Labour Party”.

The Greens were keen to have their representative replace him on the committee but they will endorse Peters, who has been a member of the committee in the past.

Greens have previously been miffed that they have been excluded from the committee.

John Key and Bill English have said that the Greens anti-intelligence stances make then incompatible with the committee.

Earlier this month, English said he was not comfortable with a Green MP being on the committee.

“They’ve got a deep-seated hostility to any intelligence apparatus at all, which is not a responsible attitude, and we wouldn’t want to foster it,” he said.

But Little, who is pushing for wider party representation on the committee, at the time said he would be very comfortable with the Greens being on it.

It looks like the Greens and Labour have decided it isn’t a fight worth having at this stage of election year.

Little…

…then made it clear that in a “quid pro quo” the Greens would be the first cab off the rank and the first party to receive a call if Labour was able to build a government after the September 23 election.

“After September 23 and if the numbers go our way and I am in the privileged position of putting together a government they are the first phone call I will make. No question about it,” he said.

“We haven’t spent the last many-a-year now formally strengthening our relationship and working out common ground … for it to mean nothing at all when it comes to a general election.”

The Memorandum of understanding expires on election day but it would be remarkable if Labour didn’t at least start post election talks with the Greens. Peters may not like this if he feels he holds the balance of power.

He said there were no guarantees, and the numbers would dictate what will happen.

What if NZ First gets more numbers (MPs) than the Greens, something that is a real possibility?

“They will be the first party I will talk to to interpret what the numbers might be and what that means. It’s a commitment that the relationship does mean something after the election.”

But it’s very likely that the numbers will mean Labour would have to talk to NZ First and convince them to join them in a coalition. The Greens are already a virtual certainty, NZ First is likely to be the party with bargaining power.

But would he be prepared to leave the Greens out of government if Winston Peters insisted and Labour needed NZ First to govern?

“I think that is unlikely.”

That’s a weak ruling out. And considering how Little far more strongly claimed there wasn’t going to be a deputy leadership change a day before it was announced, in an obvious bid to improve Labour’s numbers, the numbers game has no rules in politics.

 

Labour/Maori MoU

In contrast to the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Greens all Labour seems to have for the Maori Party and MANA Movement is Memories of Utu

Ever since Maori MPs split from Labour and created the Maori Party in 2004 Labour seem have wanted revenge, or at least nothing to do with a party competing for the Maori seats in Parliament.

Leading in to the 2005 election:

SAINSBURY: If you had to, could you deal with the Maori Party in terms of forming a coalition? Yes or no.

HELEN CLARK: They would be the last cab off the rank, because I’ve got other options.

Twelve years later Andrew Little’s Labour seems antagonistic towards both the Maori and MANA cabs, wanting to slash their tyres and smash their windows. Little has all but ruled out trying to work with either party in government.

But does this make any sense apart from exacting utu on the party that split from Labour?

Labour are in a weak position and may all the potential coalition partners it can get, if not to form a government with but at least to strengthen their negotiating position.

It would probably be much easier to get Green and Maori parties working together in coalition than the Greens and NZ First.

Last month Bryce Edwards wrote in Labour’s balancing act with Mana-Maori:

Of course Andrew Little has no choice but to support his Maori MPs, and it may be politically astute to distance Labour from the Maori Party and Harawira before the election. But a ruthless examination of Labour’s path to government would suggest that losing the Maori seats would not necessarily be a disaster.

While Little’s comments have been interpreted as “all but” ruling out working with the Maori party, it would be foolish to damage the relationship and re-kindle the bitterness that existed when Tariana Turia was leader.

It’s a delicate MMP balancing act that requires party leaders to look beyond the individual and factional interests of their MPs in order to secure the treasury benches.

Labour seem to think differently, having ramped up their attacks and antagonism towards the Maori Party and since they have joined forces also MANA.

At The Standard in Kaupapa Pākehā Weka wrote yesterday:

I understand why Labour need to be pragmatic around the Māori seats. Not only is this traditional Labour territory, it will be important to the Māori MPs in the party. There’s mana at stake. But technically Labour don’t need to win the Māori seats to govern. They could lose the six of the seven seats they hold and it wouldn’t affect the number of Labour MPs in parliament, because Labour get their MP total off the list vote.

It would affect the balance of MPs across the house (in part to do with the overhang issue), and I’m sure Labour have been crunching the numbers, but there are other ways that this could play out. Labour don’t need the Māori seats, but they do need coalition partners.

This raises an interesting point.

Of course Labour would like to have all the Maori seats, but that’s not what will get them into government. They need to improve their all important party vote.

Stirring up and dividing the Maori vote may work against Labour’s overall interests.

There is a jarring contrast between Labour and the Greens trying to show how well they can get on and work together.

NZ Herald: Greens’ Julie Anne Genter and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern strike up friendship in Mt Albert

The least bitter rivalry in New Zealand politics has broken out in the Mt Albert by-election, with the two leading candidates striking up a new friendship.

The Greens’ Julie Anne Genter and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern have been car-pooling to events together and handing out leaflets side by side.

Genter, who is the Greens’ health and transport spokeswoman, said she had built up a close relationship with Ardern on the campaign trail.

“It’s been really fun being on the campaign with her. We get on really well and I’ve really appreciated it.

Genter and Ardern have made a point of not attacking each other to show their parties can work together under their Memorandum of Understanding.

In contrast Little has been vigorously attacking the Maori parties over the last few weeks, with things escalating this week.

Bitter battles seem to be overriding common sense.

If Labour want to increase their party vote, which is what they need more than any Maori seats if they want to get back into government, then they should be showing they can work with any other party, including Maori and MANA.

If not they are both limiting their chances of maximising their party vote, limiting their coalition negotiating strength and limiting their coalition options.

I’m not the only one baffled at Labour’s approach.

Memories of Utu seem to dominate their thinking, which puts their party vote and their coalition options at risk.

Little: “there’s not a great deal more”

While Labour and the Greens are ramping up their co-campaigning, announcing they will have a joint ‘state of the nation’ speech at the end of the month and will tour the country with a joint policy statement, Andrew Little has oddly said that “In terms of big, headline stuff there’s not a great deal more. There will be maybe one possibly two more.”.

That is quite vague as we head into election year.

The union between Labour and Greens seems to be Labour’s headline campaign strategy.

NZ Herald: Expect join Labour-Green policies in the lead-up to the election

Leader Andrew Little told media that his party had one, maybe two, big policy announcements to make in election year, but would mostly focus on existing messages around key issues including housing affordability, crime, education and health.

“In terms of big, headline stuff there’s not a great deal more. There will be maybe one possibly two more. There will be some rules about fiscal discipline that we are working on at the moment so people will have a clear understanding about what our priorities are when it comes to government spending and taxing.”

This lack of preparedness at this stage of the term is remarkable – Labour always seem to be working on policy at the moment, and with “not a great deal more” to announce I wonder what they are going to base their campaign on.

Little said he would not announce new policy on January 29.

That’s his best shot at being noticed in setting out Labour’s campaign plans and he’s not announcing any policy? Remarkable.

“You can expect to see one or two joint policy announcements in the next few months between Labour and the Greens.

“There are plans to do that in different sort of ways. One of them is to get around the country with a joint policy statement – talk to a collection of audiences right across the country on a policy area that we have common ground on. People will see that as the year wears on.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Greens seems to have been a flop. When it was announced there was a lot of hope expressed on the left that it would lift poll numbers, but that didn’t happen. If anything Labour looks more precarious.

Yesterday in Labour leader Andrew Little to stand as a list candidate, leaving Rongotai open Little acknowledged Labour’s poll problems:

“I have to lead a party that starts from 2014 at a 25 per cent vote, polling at the moment at late 20s, 30 per cent sort of mark.

So we have a lot of work to do, and I don’t underestimate that.”

The biggest emphasis from Little seems to be on what Labour and Greens have in common and how they can work together on. This seems a very risky strategy, and one that can’t be undone or diverted from easily.

It looks like Labour are putting Green eggs in one election basket.

Or is it the other way round?

redeggsgreenbasket

Is there not a great deal more than this for Labour?

Green MPs “a really busy and positive year”

The Green Party have good reasons to be fairly happy with their year.

James Shaw has settled in as co-leader after Russel Norman’s exit in 2015, they secured a Memorandum of Understanding with Labour, there’s been no major embarrassments or stuff ups, John Key stepped down, they gained a second new mid-term MP (Barry Coates), and two more MPs indicated they would step down next year making room for more fresh faces (if they at least maintain current levels of support).

The loss of one of their most respected MPs, Kevin Hague is a negative but not a major considering how everything else has gone for them.

Metiria Turei reflects on 2016 and looks ahead in Well, THAT happened: reflecting on 2016 and beyond:

2016 for our MPs

Green MPs have actually had a really busy and positive year working on the nation’s most pressing issues: poverty and inequality, housing, climate action, inclusive education, safe drinking water and clean rivers to name a few. We’ve been talking with people up and down the country, promoting legislation, setting out the solutions, and, where possible, working with other parties in Parliament to achieve progress.

They have done as much as could be expected from Opposition, and have been visibly more active on policies and issues than NZ First and probably Labour most of the time. The are far more organised and persistent in social media.

2016 for us and Labour

In May, the Green Party signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Labour. It’s the first time political parties have reached such an agreement before an election, and means we get to have a conversation with New Zealanders about why we are working to change the government.

We worked constructively with Labour on the Homelessness Inquiry and early in 2017 you’ll see us working together on a range of other issues.

The Greens got what they wanted with the MoU and are happy with it, but it’s yet to be seen whether it will help their cause. They are very reliant on Labour to get into Government and are keen to do what they can to make that happen – but they also want to increase their share of the party vote relative to Labour to give them more leverage.

2016 for me

For me, this year has been one of consolidating my work on housing and inequality because I am determined to do all that I can to ensure that families have the resources they need to nurture their babies.

We need mothers educated, healthy, and secure so that they can shape the future of our nation. It will be women that determine the fate of our country next year, make no mistake.

I don’t know how that will work, there are about as many male voters as there are female.

So, I’ll be spending the summer resting and getting ready for a busy 2017. I want to spend time doing craft, reading, walking my dogs and connecting with my whānau so that next year I can run hard with the Greens to change the government.

‘Change the government’ has been repeated a lot by the Greens and Labour already, trying to get voters thinking about it being time for a change.

Turei is well supported and respected amongst her own. It’s yet to be seen whether she can appeal to a wider constituency so that Greens grow their vote (they failed to do that last election) and so that Andrew Little and Turei (plus James Shaw) look like a viable alternative to run the country.

If Little continues to try to appeal more to the left than the centre Greens and Labour may end up competing for the same votes – unless they can find the formula for inspiring current non-voters to back them, a strategy that failed last campaign.

But with Bill English taking over from Key next year’s election is wide open.

Greens thought they had their best shot in 2014 and that didn’t work out for them. They get to have another go – and it may be Turei’s last shot at making it into government.

Turei telling the truth as she saw it

Audrey Young writes that their can be harsh political lessons in telling the truth, and she thinks that Metiria Turei has been taught one, in Harsh lessons about telling truth in politics

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was telling the truth as she saw it, that in order to improve affordability of housing, house prices needed to fall by up to 50 per cent. She didn’t say they needed to fall fast. In fact she said they needed to fall gradually to prevent a crash.

But she didn’t think it through and Labour was smeared with it, less than two months into the memorandum of understanding between the two parties.

Disregarding the political carelessness of her comments, they also breached the agreement because Labour was not warned in advance that Turei was going to posit such a controversial policy. Andrew Little and John Key seized on them.

You can hear it already: A Green-Labour Government says house values must fall. It is a gift that National will return to no matter what qualification the Greens put around it and no matter how much Labour seeks to distance itself from it.

Little needed to distance himself quickly from the Green policy. The only thing scarier than the prospect of falling house values for a home-owner is a politician with a plan for falling house values – and Labour cannot be associated with that plan.

But it appears to have been a carefully planned announcement by Turei.

The Greens promote themselves as a party of principle and courage.

Turei was attempting to meet the challenge of former National leader Don Brash who told me three weeks ago that politicians of the left and right were terrified of saying house prices had to fall.

She later described her own comments in terms of political courage.

Somebody has to be “brave enough” to talk about cutting house prices so a rational conversation about how to do it could begin.

But…

Turei may have told the truth as she saw it but for someone who has been a party leader for seven years, it was careless and damaging to her party and to Labour.

Stacey Kirk: Labour and the Greens fall out over whether house prices should be cut in half

Just two months later the Greens have thrown a grenade at their cosy little home.

More precisely, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei announced (debatably on the hoof) that her party supported slashing house prices in half to fix the crisis.

Labour leader Andrew Little was never going to agree to this – he’s spent the last however many months repeating the word “stabilisation” like it’s going out of fashion.

To add salt to the wound, the first Little heard of the Greens’ plan to drop house prices to about three or four times the average household income, was when media started calling him asking for his thoughts.

Turei’s random announcement is a serious breach of the MOU – there’s no two ways about it.

What possessed the Greens to put a wedge between the two just as the Opposition was making some headway is anyone’s guess.

LabourGreenSplit

How ‘on-the-hoof’ was Turei’s announcement?

At Dim-Post, on the Notes towards a Red Queen hypothesis of New Zealand politics thread, a claim was repeated that everything the greens decide on has to be agreed to by the membership:

RJL:

The Greens are driven by their membership, so for the Greens to move to the right, their membership would need to utterly change. That is, not going to happen.

But Ximenes responded:

Strange that none of the Greens I know knew anything about the latest policy on driving down house prices. Did that ever go before the Policy section or was it just made up on the hoof? At the latest branch meeting not a single person was aware of the policy.

Turei made it sound like it was a party proposal – Greens want 50% house price drop:

“The Green Party is putting together a plan for how to reduce house prices responsibly and gradually, and that will include making sure people who’ve recently taken out big mortgages to buy a home are safe and secure.

“Nobody, including the Green Party, wants to see the housing market crash and equally nobody thinks the current situation can go on like this.

“Our plan for more affordable housing will include building more houses, a capital gains tax (excluding the family home), and restricting non-resident foreign buyers,” Mrs Turei said.

But she went further on RNZ, clearly saying that Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced by up to 50 percent over a period of time to make the market affordable again.

Andrew Little and Labour weren’t aware of this Green target, and Little strongly reiterated opposition to any drop in house values.

It appears some of the Green membership was unaware.

Was James Shaw in the Turei loop, or did she decide to go it alone?

She may have been telling the truth as she saw it, but perhaps it wasn’t the Green truth, and it certainly wasn’t the whole truth in respect of the Labour/Green MoU.

The truth is Turei made it look like a Misunderstanding of Unity.

 

Proof of poll movement

With the latest One News poll Colmar Brunton revealed evidence of how much opinion – or the polled measure of opinion – can move over a short time.

One aspect that is usually ignored is that voters may think quite differently during an election campaign as they consider the governing possibilities and they decide how they want to vote – strategic voting has become more common – than how they might think in a spur of the moment poll mid-term.

The main poll question asked was “If a general election was held today, would you be eligible to vote?”

As usual One News show how the seats in Parliament would look if an election ‘was held today’.

But the polling in this week’s poll was done over 6 days, from Saturday 28 May to Thursday 2 June. And the poll was reported on Tuesday 7 June, 10 days after the first day of polling and 5 days after the last day day of polling.

How much could opinion change in that short a time? Quite a lot going by poll numbers split pre-MoU announcement and post-MoU announcement provided by Colmar Brunton:

cku-ghbuoaaoo3x

The Memorandum of Understanding was announced by the Greens on Tuesday 31 May at 3.30 pm.

There is no indication of when people who were polled heard about the MoU, how much they heard about the MoU or whether they heard about the MoU at all before being polled.

There was quite a bit of ongoing discussion and news about the MoU after the polling was complete, especially over the following weekend with coverage of the Green AGM where Green leaders and Andrew Little spoke about the MoU.

And Labour and Green leaders, as well as Winston Peters,  were interviewed about the MoU on Saturday on The Nation and on Sunday on Q+A.

So people who were polled in the last two and a half  days of the polling period, as opposed to the first three and a half days days of the polling, would at best have only based their poll decisions on very preliminary consideration of the implications  of the MoU, if at all.

It should also be noted that the MoU was not the only news over the polling period. Other news may have affected people’s opinions other than the MoU. Assuming that the MoU was the sole cause of a shift in opinion is baseless.

So as far as the MoU goes the before and after poll results should be viewed with a lot of caution.

As well as this single polls in general should be viewed with caution. Trends of one pollster over several months and aggregation of multiple pollsters are generally regarded as much better indicators of public opinion.

And another point – the before and after results show how much opinion measured by a poll can change in a short space of time, a matter of a few days.

NZ First support dropped from about 11% to about 7%, by about a third, a big variation.

Greens support increased by about a quarter, despite it being stated this wasn’t statistically significant I think it is notable.

And Labour support moved over 5%, from 26.1% to 31.3%. We don’t know whether support moved up a further 5% in the next 3 days, or dropped back again, or if the poll was an outlier poll.

All we know from this with any certainty is that polled opinion can change significantly over a short period of time.

Therefore the precise seating arrangements displayed by One News and others, and the ‘analysis’ of what a poll result might mean and why it might mean whatever they claim should be viewed with a lot of scepticism.

Reporting on polls by the mainstream media is usually awful and ignores the realities of political polling.

Single polls are no more than a rough indicator of opinion averaged over a few days.

One last point – a sample size of 1500 is unusual, 900-1000 is far more common.

As far as I understand it most polling results are usually obtained in the initial days of a polling period with the rest of the period used to fill the gaps in their demographic quotas.

So was a mid-poll decision made to increase the number of people being polled by 50%? Polling 628 people in two days seems unusual to me and may make polling variances more likely.

This latest Colmar Brunton poll demonstrates about how much opinion, or the measurement of opinion, can change over time, even over a very short time.

One News Poll – June 2016

One News Colmar Brunton poll for June 2016:

  • National 48% (down from 50)
  • Labour 29% (up from 28)
  • Greens 12% (up from 10)
  • NZ First 9%
  • Maori Party 0.7% (down from 1.1)
  • Conservative Party 0.7% (up from 0.3)
  • ACT Party 0.3% (down from 0.7)
  • Other 0.6% (up from 0,2)

Base(n=) 1,245

Despite the commentary on One News I think it’s far too soon to read much into this result in relation to the Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding.

Polling was done between 28th of May and 2nd of June, after the budget and with the MOU announcement part way through.

Regardless of that, Labour+Green at 41% is still a long way short of National’s 48%.

ColmarPollJune2016trend

For preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 39%
  • Winston Peters 12% (up from 10)
  • Andrew Little 7%

Before and after MoU:

cku-ghbuoaaoo3x

That might surprise and worry some people but I still think it’s too soon to judge much from this poll in relation to the MoU announcement. I’d say that Greens will be a tad anxious.

Full report (PDF)

Pushing a perception – gutsy or stupid

Going by the lines Andrew Little and Metiria Turei have been pushing, and others like JulieAnne Genter – see No NZ First aim – and Martyn Bradbury bombs on basic facts where he says “that new perception changes everything” it has become apparent what the strategy is.

There’s been a number of claims about ‘perceptions’ being all important over the last few months.

Labour and Greens want to to create the  perception in polls that Labour+Greens can compete head to head with National, and hope that will then become a reality.

They are deliberately leaving Winston Peters out of their MoU lines.

Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw in weekend interviews tried to divert from any mention of Peters or NZ First, and also in their speeches at the Green conference they repeated ‘change the Government’ and Labour and Greens over and over with no mention of the elephant in their election room.

They are working on creating a Labour+Green versus National perception, hoping to turn that into a reality.

Turei called it a game changer.

But if reality remains as it is, or if Labour or Greens or both take a hit in the next few polls, the opposite perception could become apparent – that there is no way they can make Government without Peters and NZ First.

Peters will be doing everything he can to promote the latter perception, and to pick up as many disillusioned Labour voters as he can to make his perception the reality.

Labour and Greens have effectively changed the battle they had and will now be fighting on two fronts, against Key and National, and against Peters and NZ First.

That’s either very gutsy or quite stupid.