Labour-Green down in Roy Morgan

In the first poll since Bill English took over from John Key National have barely changed (up 1 to 46%) and Labour+Greens are down 3.5 to 39.5%.

It’s early days yet for time post-Key but the change of Prime Minister is showing no sign of being the game changer that some on the left had hoped.

And the campaign since late last year on Whale Oil to attack National and Bill English hasn’t nudged things down at all let alone by the 10% Cameron Slater has suggested might happen.

  • National 46% (up from 45)
  • Labour 27% (down from 28.5)
  • Greens 12.5% (down from 14.5)
  • NZ First 9% (up from 7.5)
  • Maori Party 2% (up from 1)
  • ACT 0.5% (no change)
  • United Future 0.5% (no change)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (no change)
  • Mana Party 0% (no change)
  • Internet Party 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Other 2% (up from 1.5)

Polling was done from a very quiet time, from 3-16 January 2017.

The movements for Labour wouldn’t look so bad if quoted separately, but some on the left are very keen to combine the two.

roymorgan2017january

It’s very early in election year but this will have disappointed a few on the far right and many on the left.

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7127-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-january-2017-201701201143

The poll has been mentioned at The Standard but no post as yet. No mention that I can see at Whale Oil but they are often slow with fresh news there, unless it is favourable to one of their agendas.

Considering a minority government

A minority government hasn’t been tried under MMP, but perhaps it is time to seriously consider the option.

If the other parties call Winston Peters bluff, take him at his words on his bottom lines, it is unlikely either National or Labour+Greens will be able to form a majority coalition Government.

MMP was designed to provide a more representative Parliament, which it has. But this could be taken further and give us a more representative governing arrangement. This could be done with a minority government.

Here is a feasible outcome of seats from this year’s election:

  • National 56
  • Labour 28
  • Greens 16
  • NZ First 16
  • Maori Party 2
  • ACT 1
  • UF 1

This puts Labour+Greens+NZ First > National, and Greens+NZ First > Labour, and NZ First=Greens so there is no clear majority in any situation. If the result is approximately along these lines similar uncertainties will exist.

National with twice the MPs of Labour could form the Government, perhaps with the small parties in formal confidence and supply arrangements, but they would still have to rely on either of Labour, Greens or NZ First to pass any legislation. This means successful bills would have a clear majority rather than a bare majority as happens often now.

For Government to be truly representative ministerial positions could be given to opposition party MPs. The best of each party could then participate in running the country.

Some suggestions for portfolios:

  • Andrew Little: Minister of Labour – he has a good background for this and it would allow him to focus on his party’s roots.
  • Grant Robertson: Minister of Foreign Affairs -David Farrar has recommended him for this role, perhaps he has done polls on it.
  • David Parker: Minister of Economic Development, Associate Minister of Finance
  • Jacinda Ardern: Minister of Women’s Affairs, Minister of Communications – she has an affinity with women’s magazines and I couldn’t think of what else she could do.
  • Metiria Turei:  Minister of Social Welfare – giving her experience with the reality of fixing all of our social problems within a budget.
  • James Shaw: Minister of the Environment – something most people expect the Greens to be experts in.
  • Winston Peters – Minister of Workplace Safety, Minister of Mines.
  • Ron Mark: Minister of Defence – it would be good for him to work on the opposite of attack).
  • Te Ururoa Flavell: Minister of Māori Development, Minister of Whanau Ora – makes since for the Māori Party.
  • David Seymour: Minister of Education – time he stepped up to a real challenge beyond his Partnership Schools agenda.
  • Peter Dunne: Associate Minister of Health, Associate Minister of Justice, Associate Minister of Corrections -it would be interesting to see what changes he could make in drug law reform without being hobbled by National.

Being the largest by far National would be the dominant party but would have to work with the whole of Parliament to get things done.

On confidence and supply, with all parties contributing to Government they should be responsible for ensuring it doesn’t fall over.

Those on the right and the left who want radical reforms may complain about a representative arrangement like this, but if they want ideological lurches they need to build sufficient support in Parliament to achieve this.

They won’t do this by sitting on the sidelines complaining, they need to do what everyone else does, build a big enough party with enough MPs to achieve what they want.

A minority government as suggested is unlikely to be a radical reform government, but that’s not out of the ordinary under two decades of MMP anyway.

Incremental change with clear majority support in Parliament is the most sensible way of operating a government – and I believe it is what most voters prefer and want.

Minority government may seem in itself a bit radical but I think it is something well worth trying. It’s really just a step further than what we have now, and a logical step under MMP.

Simon Wilson’s Labour series

Simon Wilson, who left as editor of Metro Mag in October, has written a series of articles at The Spinoff over the last few days that almost appear to be the beginnings of some sort of an election campaign.

His main focus is on what the National led government is doing wrong and what Labour in particular needs to do to take over. His political leanings are fairly obvious. In one article he says he would have voted for David Shearer and Helen Kelly.

But there is quite a bit of interesting and thought provoking content – particularly for Labour if they are willing to concede that their current strategies are failing and they need to lift their game substantially.

The articles up until yesterday:

Welcome to election year in NZ. Here’s how the Labour Party can make it a real race

Does Andrew Little stand a chance of leading a centre-left government into Christmas 2017? Ahead of Labour’s caucus retreat this weekend, Simon Wilson has been pondering their task.

The Andy Plan: A 3-step programme to make Labour’s Little an electable prime minister

If Andrew Little hopes to lead the centre-left to victory in the election later this year, he’s got a lot of work to do. In the second of a six-part series, Simon Wilson sets out the task.

The identity politics debate has become cancerous for the centre-left. One Labour MP showed how to join the dots

Is identity politics destroying the Labour Party or is that just the catchcry of a bunch of old white guys trying to get their own way again? Is Labour really a broad church party? Here’s the third part of Simon Wilson’s analysis of Labour in 2017.

Social investment: the two uninspiring words upon which the entire election could hang

If the National Party gets its policy of “social investment” right it could stay in power for another generation. So what will Labour and the Greens do about it? Here’s part four of Simon Wilson’s analysis of Labour in 2017.

Hear us out: There are lessons for Labour in Trump’s win

What on earth can the left learn from Donald Trump? Quite a lot, as it happens, as Simon Wilson explains in part five of his week-long analysis of Labour in 2017.

I don’t know whether Wilson is angling for a press job with Labour for election year, or is offering up his advice because that’s where his interest lies (or perhaps he may be planning a similar series on National (who he generally blasts in this series), Greens, NZ First and other parties contesting the election.

Wilson’s latest article will be addressed in my next posts – see National’s ‘index of shame’.

Dunne to stand again

Peter Dunne has confirmed his intention to stand in Ohariu again this year.

NZ Herald: Peter Dunne will contest 2017 election

Dunne today confirmed his intention to stand again in the Ohariu electorate in Wellington in this year’s general election.

“It is certainly my intention to stand again based on the many strong messages of encouragement and support I have been receiving from my constituents over recent months,” he told the Herald.

It will be interesting to see how this is dealt with by other parties:

  • Will National contest the seat or effectively support Dunne’s re-election? This term (since National lost the Northland by-election) Dunne’s support has maintained a government majority along with ACT as an alternative to the Maori Party.
  • Will Greens stand aside in a deal to help Labour try to win the seat?
  • Who will stand for Labour?

Labour’s Ohariu candidate at the 2014 election, Virginia Andersen, lost to Dunne by 710 votes and has since been confirmed as the party’s Hutt South candidate for 2017.

After coming close in 2014 this was a curious shift for Anderson to what may be a more winnable seat, but she is by no means assured of success against Chris Bishop.

Former Police Association president Greg O’Connor is rumoured to be interested in becoming Labour’s Ohariu candidate. Nominations close on February 3.

O’Connor did not respond to a request for comment today.

O’Connor has a public profile so would have to stand a reasonable chance against Dunne, especially if Greens don’t stand a candidate.

However they are both older white dudes – O’Connor is 58, Dunne is 62 – so lack in contrast in some respects.

O’Connor stood down as head of the Police Association last year and a year ago said he had ‘no plan’ for politics: Outgoing Police Association president Greg O’Connor has ‘no plan’ for politics:

Perfect grooming, one might speculate, for a 57-year-old former cop to embark upon a political career – given all that time spent making contacts and grabbing headlines in the shadow of the Beehive.

“It is a reasonably political job that I’m in, but I can give an absolute guarantee that there is no plan.”

O’Connor bats away the very thought of it: “A lot of people don’t believe me – they think there’s a masterplan. But there’s not.”

So if politics isn’t a goer, might his next move be to lend his voice to another section of society?

“Never say never. There is a workforce out there that work with disabled people who work for very little remuneration [out of] absolute devotion. That is just humbling. That is a group of people that are very special.”

But that was a year ago. O’Connor stepped down from the Police Association in October.

Whether O’Connor stands for Labour or not the outcome in Ohariu is likely to depend a lot on what other parties do. The Labour party vote was poor there in 2014, below their low total vote.

ohariu2014

National got better than their country-wide party vote and Labour got less than their’s, but Greens were well above theirs. Many of those who party voted Green tactically voted for the Labour candidate.

If Greens don’t stand a candidate at all they risk  losing party vote. Same for National.

Dunne is the longest serving MP in Parliament. He first became a Labour MP in 1984 so this is his 33rd year as an MP, his eleventh term. He helped set up the United New Zealand Party in 1995 and has retained his seat for what became United Future since then, although the party is now very poorly supported.

He has been a Minister since 2005, first for a Labour led government and since 2008 with a National government.

Dunne’s last term was difficult for him. After some controversy when he refused to hand over emails with a journalist in relation to allegations he had leaked a GCSB report he stood down as a Minister, but was later reinstated. His party was de-registered until it could prove it had sufficient members. This will have impacted on his reduced majority in the election.

This term has been fairly uneventful for Dunne. He is strongly criticised by pro-cannabis activists but has no chance of changing drug laws under a National government. He has been criticised for not allowing easier access to medicinal cannabinoids but he has encouraged applications for use under existing laws and procedures.

He is also strongly criticised by left wingers who don’t like his electorate arrangements with National because it helps keep Labour out of government (and because he deserted Labour).

He is also not liked by some on the right who want one party rule.

As the incumbent MP who does a lot of work in his electorate another Dunne win can’t be ruled out, but it is also far from assured.  Much may depend on what other parties do as much as who ends up standing for Labour.

Trotter predicts

Chris Trotter makes a number of debatable predictions for the year in 2017 in the shadow of Trump (Stuff).

The political consensus at the beginning of 2017 – election year – is that the National-led Government will hold on to power.

Who is in general agreement that National will hold on to power? I think there’s too many unknowns and uncertainties to claim this with any confidence.

National are very likely to comfortably get the most votes and seats in this year’s election, but it’s far from certain whether they will be able to form a similar coalition to this term (with ACT, UF and the Maori Party), or if the need more whether NZ First will join a coalition or let National run a minority government from the cross benches. It’s also possible (but unlikely with Turei as leader) Greens  could enable a National led Government either in coalition or from the cross benches.

Not in its own right, as might have happened had John Key led them into battle, but with sufficient parliamentary support to govern comfortably.

They don’t govern comfortably this term, requiring two of the three minor support parties to back any legislation, and they have been limited because of this.

The most significant political event of 2017, however, could well be the collapse of the Labour Party and the emergence of the Greens as New Zealand’s leading party of the centre-left.

Labour collapsing is a real possibility, and any further decline in their share of the vote could be seen as a collapse. But they could just as likely stay at a similar level of support, or increase their vote a bit (to the high twenties), or recover into the thirties. At this stage i think which of these will happen is impossible to predict with any certainty.

In a way Greens can already be seen by their actions as the leading party of the centre left going by performances inside and outside Parliament. Their party vote seems to have hit a ceiling at about 11%, but even if they increase to say 15% (their target last election) they are likely to remain smaller than Labour.

A number of people have predicted that NZ First grow bigger, causing a drop for Greens to fourth in the party pecking order. I think this is quite possible – NZ First are likely to pick up more ex-National vote than the Greens if the National support declines.

A key factor driving the New Zealand electorate’s flight to the right will be the profound and ideologically toxic influence of Donald Trump’s presidency.

There has been no sign of New Zealand moving much to the right this century.  Both Helen Clark and John Key aimed at the centre and apart from a few policies mostly stayed moderate. Even National’s asset sales were watered down to being only half sales.

If anyone has learned anything yet about the effect of Trump they should know that it’s difficult making predictions about his influence. It’s quite possible Trump as US president will have a negligible effect on New Zealand overall. Or not.

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman predicts a global trade war, and the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine is filled with disquieting articles foreshadowing an ominous deterioration in the relationship between the USA and China.

The future for US trade relationships and US foreign relations are uncertain. Trump will definitely do things differently – but it depends on how China learns and adapts as to whether problems will escalate or not. Predictions of Trump trashing the economy have already proven to be premature at least.

If the US and China clash New Zealand may manage to stay out of the melée. That could be complicated by Winston Peters – but if there’s trouble abroad and Peters is seen to try and stir that up here it could easily backlash against him in the election.

In a neat division of political labour, NZ First will lead the attack on China while, publicly, National condemns (but not too loudly) Peters’ racially-charged rhetoric. Meanwhile, privately, the conservative supporters of both parties will be encouraged to recognise the inherent electoral synergies of the unfolding crisis. As the countdown to the election shortens, the prospect of a National-NZ First coalition government will begin to acquire the aura of inevitability.

Some voters here like maverickism, but most prefer stable status quo government when it comes to economic matters.

Especially if there is an ‘unfolding crisis’ a National-NZ First coalition government will become more uncertain rather than certain. If Peters ramps up his attacks on China it is more likely to create further division between NZ First and National, and voters tend to avoid this sort of uncertainty.

Amplifying the conservative message among the Maori electorate, the Maori Party will cast the Chinese as a second-wave of colonisers threatening not only tino rangatiratanga but also Pakeha sovereignty. Iwi corporations will be portrayed as the foundation stones of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s economic independence. The incipient government of the centre-right will thus be presented as a National-NZ First-Maori Party alliance.

Is Trotter serious? Or is he taking the piss? Or is he trying to stir something up?

An alliance involving NZ First and the Maori Party seems unlikely given Winston’s previous antagonistic attitude towards a ‘race based’ party.

I think it’s highly unlikely that Winston will present an alliance including NZ First and National prior to the election – he has been staunch in not indicating which way he may go – and even less likely of any NZ First-Maori Party presentations.

The turmoil created by the Trump administration will similarly throw into sharp relief the serious disjunction between the beliefs of the Labour Party and its electoral base. Even if Andrew Little and his advisors were of a mind to join with Peters in attacking China, the reflexive anti-Americanism of his caucus and Labour’s wider membership would drive the party inexorably towards their enemy’s enemy. Immediately, what was left of Labour’s support among “Waitakere Men” would decamp for the Sinophobic right.

That’s more likely to be to  NZ First rather than to National.

The reverse manoeuvre – in which Little prevails upon caucus and party to follow National, NZ First and the Maori Party into Trumpism and Sinophobia – would only drive Labour’s younger, more progressive, voters toward the Greens.

I think Trotter is in fantasy land here trying to connect National and the Maori Party with ‘Trumpism and Sinophobia’.

And to claim ‘Trumpism and Sinophobia’ would split Labour is even more bizarre.

The classic Labour solution – trying to have a bob each way – risks losing both the conservative and the progressive components of its electoral base.

Labour already seem to be trying the bob each way approach, and have already lost both conservative and progressive parts of it’s electoral base to an extent. An international crisis, should it happen, is more likely to force Labour into being seen as responsible rather than divisive.

The extreme-nationalist complexion of the Trump administration and its geopolitical focus on the burgeoning power of China can only hasten the disintegration of Labour’s electoral position.

I think this is far from certain, and even if it becomes a contributory factor  in further Labour decline it would be impossible to quantify.

It is, however, highly doubtful that sufficient young people will participate in the 2017 general election to significantly offset the emotionally powerful appeal of an unabashedly nationalistic, Sinophobic and pro-American coalition of National, NZ First and the Maori Party.

I think Trotter is trying to create an absurd political meme here, either ignorantly or disingenuously. Fantasy or deliberate fiction.

Neither conservative fish nor progressive fowl, Labour is likely to see its party vote plummet into the teens – and with it any hope of reclaiming major party status.

That’s already possible without any Trump crisis involved.

The baton of progressive politics will pass to the Greens. Real political power, however, will remain with the National Party and its allies.

It may be that Trotter has genuinely given up on the Labour Party. Labour could collapse further.

But NZ First becoming allies with the Maori party seems preposterous. And National joining Winston’s Asia bashing and siding with Trump is more so.

Trying to promote Greens as the progressive baton carrier and the dominant opposition party seems to be wishful thinking, at best.

Trotter’s political propositions were all over the place last year, and they seem even more confused now.

Winston’s bottom lines

There’s a lot of unknowns about how next year’s election will go. One of the biggest questions will be how National goes under Bill English’s leadership – will their support drop now John Key has stepped down? Will it stay dropped?

Labour are still struggling to be a major party. They seem to have given up competing head to head with National, and are now relying on Labour+Greens, but their Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t seem to have enthused voters.

There is one certainty – the media will continue to promote Winston Peters as ‘kingmaker’. There’s a good chance (but no guarantee) NZ First will end up in a position where they can play National off against Labour+Greens. Winston remains adamant he won’t do that until after the election.

But there have already a few bottom lines mentioned.

1. Superannuation

New Zealand First’s objective is to preserve the entitlement of New Zealanders to retire and receive New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) as it now is with eligibility at 65 years and as a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/superannuation

It’s very unlikely Winston would relent on this one.

2. No Maori Party

Ensure the future of the Maori seats is a decision for the people to make having examined the significant increase in representation numbers of Maori MPs under MMP.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/maori_affairs

And (in June 2016):

Stopping separatism …is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…and for example a parallel state where you’ve got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

Peters has ruled out a coalition that included the Maori Party in the past. This doesn’t look like changing.

3. Immigration

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/immigration

The rest of their Immigration policy sounds strong but is actually vague.

…stopping mass immigration is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…if mass immigration continued…then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

It’s difficult to know what Winston would insist on for immigration, but he plays the immigration card often to supporters so would have to make some demands.

4. Pike River Re-entry

Winston Peters says Pike River re-entry is bottom line to election deals

Winston Peters says re-entering Pike River mine is a “bottom line” to any election deal made next year.

“I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be,” he said on TV’s Paul Henry show on Wednesday morning.

Any political party seeking New Zealand First’s support to form a government in the 2017 election will have to commit to re-entering the mine.

National want to leave any re-entry decision up to Solid Energy. Andrew Little has supported re-entry but has not absolutely committed Labour to it.

5. Police numbers

Winston Peters demands 1800 extra police

The New Zealand First leader and Northland MP wants the number of police officers increased by 27 percent, in line with Australia’s per capita ratio.

“We’re looking at something like 1800-1900 officers just as a start now to get to a level where we once were, and then build upon that,” he says.

He says it’s a bottom line in any negotiations regarding the formation of the next Government.

So that is five bottom lines that I’m aware of.

? Prime Minister

Arise Sir Winston, Prime Minister of New Zealand?

…here’s another theory that’s been doing the rounds much longer.

It is that Peters will only retire after he has fulfilled his ambition of one day being prime minister. It’s even said to have been put on the able in NZ First’s protracted negotiations to form a government in 1996.

And:

Forget ‘kingmaker’, Winston Peters wants to be the next Prime Minister

That seems to be a claim only on the Paul Henry Show, Peters doesn’t say that. But is that one of his goals?

I don’t think National would agree to a Winston as PM deal, but would Labour and Greens, where none of none of Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw have any government experience? Peters has already been deputy Prime Minister, from 16 December 1996 to 14 August 1998 (under Jim Bolger).

Are there other Winston/NZ First bottom lines so far?

Clark on RM poll

The December Roy Morgan poll had National down 4.5to 45%, and Labour up 5.5 to 28%. These weren’t out of the ordinary movements but were predictably heralded by left wing blogs.

The Daily Blog: LATEST POLL SHOCK: National plummet to 45% Labour-Green jump to 43%

National have suffered a shock drop of 4.5% and Labour-Greens have jumped up 5.5% in the latest Roy Morgan Poll…

Typical exaggeration from Martyn Bradbury. It would be more shocking if RM polls stayed consistent.

The question as to whether or not National would retain its popularity post Key looks like it is getting answered.

That question hasn’t been answered at all by this poll.

The Standard: Nats take a plunge on the Roy Morgan roundabout

The erratic Roy Morgan poll has swung around again, Nats down 4.5% to 45% and Labour/ Greens up up 5.5% to 43%. Worryingly for the B-team, government confidence fell a “whopping” 10 points.

Less over the top but it was hardly a plunge, given that National was 42.5% in April,  43% in May and 41.5% in September (and swung to 48% in October and 49.5% in November).

This sort of over-excitement is  to be expected from them, just as silence from them is the norm if polls move against them.

But Labour MP David Clark posted this on Facebook:

It has been an unusual political year. I wonder how much conflict within National’s ranks will cost them in next year’s election? Events like the frightened withdrawal in Mt Albert, the challenge to Todd Barclay, Jonathan Coleman’s unquenched ambition, and English’s early missteps in getting rid of broadcasting and housing portfolios – may have contributed to the sharp drop in the first public poll. Or is it just that people everywhere have decided it is time for a change?

Is Clark just trying to spin a line to his fan club or does he actually believe any of this?

The RM polling was actually being done (November 28-December 11) during the period that John Key resigned, Bill English was chosen as Prime Minister. English appointed his ministers and advised National wouldn’t stand a candidate in Mt Albert until after the polling period had finished.

Relative to normal poll fluctuations it wasn’t a ‘sharp drop’. The RM movements for National this year have been:

+1.5, -2.5, -3.5, +3, -2.5, +10, -7, -4.5, +6.5, +1.5, -4.5

National’s RM average over the year is 46.3%, well within the margin of error, so they haven’t finished far off that.

I hope Clark was just spinning a line. Otherwise his ignorance is alarming.

And also quite sad is Clark, The Standard and Bradbury seeming to accept Labour closing the year on 28.5% without concern.

Labour have only twice this year topped this, with 29.5% in May and 33.5% in September. For the rest of the year they have received 27.5, 27, 28, 26, 28, 25.5, 26.5, 23.

Labour have averaged 27.4% over the year and have closed just above that, which is similar to where they were leading into the 2014 election where they dropped to their lowest result for a long time at 25.13%

It will take several polls in the new year (and more than just the swinging Roy Morgan) to get a reasonable idea how party support is going  are doing under English’s leadership.

To look like a strong lead party Labour really need to get up to 35-40% at least by next year’s election, otherwise at best they will have to share power with Greens and probably New Zealand First.

NZ political parties in 2016

Brief reviews of the mid term political year for New Zealand parties.

The main issues have been:

  • Continued shortages of new house building and an escalation of housing prices, especially in Auckland, and an increased focus on homelessness
  • Growing attention given to ‘poverty’ as it is in New Zealand, and the income gap  despite the first increase in benefits in forty years.
  • The Trans Pacific Partnership got a lot of attention early in the year but that fizzled as it became evident that the US was unlikely to ratify it.

National

The National Party would probably have thought they had survived the year quite well, chugging away without doing anything radical, and staying  extraordinarily high in the polls most of the time for  a third term government.

An improving economy along with improving dairy prices have helped.

But Key resigned in December. National selected the Key anointed Bill English to take over, but how a new look National will be seen by the public won’t be known until next year.

Labour

Andrew Little consolidated his leadership, kept the Labour caucus under control and appears he is safe until next year’s election, but he failed to lift his appeal to the public, and Labour must be worried to be stuck in the twenties in the polls.

Labour entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Party and they tried to rebrand as a two-party alternative government but that didn’t change the polls much and may have created as many problems as it solved.

Labour finished the year buoyant after successful local body and Mt Roskill by-election campaigns, and noticeably raised in confidence when John Key resigned, but they have failed to impress as a potential lead party in government.

They survived the year and hope to benefit from a Key-less National but haven’t done enough to make a positive impression.

Greens

New co-leader James Shaw settled in without standing out, but Greens have lost one of their most respected MPS, Kevin Hague.

Their big play was the Memorandum of Understanding with Labour but that doesn’t seem to have  been the game changer they hoped for.

Metiria Turei seems to be dominant, and that probably limits the Greens’ electability, but they have at least stayed in a 10-15% support band in the polls so have a base to work from next year.

NZ First

Following Winston Peters’ big win in Northland NZ First have benefited from unusually good poll support for most of the year (it tailed off towards the end).

But it looks like Winston is catching his breath before election year. The party has done little of note apart from Peters occasionally trying to appear as the anti-politician, even though he’s one of the longest serving members of Parliament. He tried to capitalise on the Trump success in the US but that doesn’t seem to have done much.

Maori Party

The Maori Party has been working towards more complementary campaigning with the Mana Party in an attempt to create a stronger Maori bloc in Parliament. They are targeting the Maori seats held by Labour.

Maori tend to do politics quite differently to the rest. The Maori party has been the best of the rest in the polls but will want to pick that up more next year as well as pick up some electorates.

ACT Party

David Seymour has done fairly well at getting attention for a one person party and has had some small successes but his party has struggled to get anywhere. It has been Seymour rather than ACT.

United Future

Peter Dunne has had a quiet year apart from bearing the brunt of medical cannabis and recreational drug criticism, even though he is severely limited by National who don’t want to change anything on drug laws. Dunne’s party remains pretty much anonymous.

Conservative Party

An awful year for Colin Craig in the courts and an awful year for his party. Neither are credible and neither look likely to make a comeback.

Mana Party

Hone Harawira and the Mana movement are trying to make a comeback by working together with the Maori Party, so have established some possibilities this year without proving they can get back into Parliament.

Internet Party

Kim Dotcom seems to see his political influence in other ways than expensive and ineffective parties, and ex leader Laila Harre has joined Labour and wants to stand for them, so the Internet party looks a short blip in political history.

Cannabis Party

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has simplified it’s name and has tried to benefit from increasing changes on cannabis laws overseas but haven’t found the formula required to become a significant political force yet.

The Opportunities Party

Gareth Morgan launched his own party this year and gets media attention – money speaks – and has announced a couple of policies but so far it looks like him and no one else.

NZ Peoples Party

The Peoples’ Party launched as a representative of immigrants and stood a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election but will have been disappointed by their result, despite a weak National campaign.

Last RM poll of the year

The last Roy Morgan poll of the year and probably the last political poll of the year is typically bouncy but is probably a relief for both National and Labour without being great for either.

The polling was done while a lot was happening, following the Mt Roskill by-election and covering John Key’s resignation and the selection of Bill English as Prime Minister. Nothing much can be read into the poll from any of that.

  • National 45% (down from 49.5)
  • Labour 28.5% (up from 23)
  • Greens 14.5% (no change)
  • NZ First 7.5% (down 0.5)
  • Maori Party 1.0% (down from 1.5)
  • ACT Party 0.5% (down from 1.0)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (no change)
  • Internet party 0.5% (up from 0)
  • United Future 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Independent/Other 1.5% (no change)

Those are rounded to the nearest 0.5.

National will be relieved they didn’t drop more than that, they are about average for RM polls this year and had as low as 41.5% in September.

And Labour will be relieved to have recovered from last month’s low.

rmpoll2016december

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 872 electors between November 28-December 11, 2016. Of all electors surveyed 5.5% (down 1%) didn’t name a party.

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7107-roy-morgan-new-zealand-voting-intention-december-2016-201612211126

Opportunity for a voter revolution in Mt Albert

With National choosing to stay out of the Mt Albert by-election the voters have effectively been given a free shot – they could make a massive statement if they wanted to.

Jacinda Ardern is expected to win the Labour nomination, and she is expected to comfortably win the by-election in what has been a safe seat for David Shearer since 2009 and previously for Helen Clark, and Warren Freear going way back to 1947 (Freear thwarted Robert Muldoon’s first shot at Parliament in 1954).

With no National versus Labour contest, which would have been futile for National anyway, and nothing significant at stake for parliament, this gives the voters a chance to make a statement of some sort.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter has expressed an interest in standing if Greens decided to run a candidate. Greens got double their overall party vote in 2014 in Mt Albert – 21.68% (8,005 votes).

So it could be a chance for Greens to test their mettle against Labour without the complication of their Memorandum of Understanding as Greens don’t need to help Labour out.

While Greens need Labour to have a chance of getting into government (unless they get really radical and do a deal with National, very unlikely under Turei’s leadership) their best opportunity for increasing their party vote is taking support off Labour.

Despite the MoU Greens understand MMP and know that the higher their vote is relative to Labour the bigger their bargaining power.

Labour on 38% (they wish) and Greens on 11% would have a very different balance of power to Labour on 28% and Greens on 20%. Of course there may need to be other parties involved such as NZ First and the Maori Party.

Other small parties might fancy their chances, like the People’s Party or Gareth Morgan’s TOP, but they are unlikely to excite the voters into making a big statement against the political system.

Mt Albert voters could get even more radical than giving Labour a fright and Greens a boost, and giving National the finger – they could get in behind an independent candidate. That would really put them in the political spotlight.

Of course this would be dependant on a high profile independent candidate standing. Would anyone be up for the challenge? It would be a brilliant way of stirring up the old parties.