Labour slump in Roy Morgan poll

The November Roy Morgan poll has National on 49.5%, very similar to their recent Colmar Brunton result, but Labour has slumped to 23%, the lowest they have been since just after the 2014 election.

Greens have picked up a bit of Labour’s loss but combined they are on just 37.5% so their MoU looks like being a bad move (and this is backed by news reports that Labour members are deserting because of it).

  • National 49.5% (up from 48)
  • Labour 23% (down from 26.5)
  • Greens 14.5% (up from 11.5)
  • NZ First 8% (down from 10)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (no change)
  • Act Party 1% (up from 0.5)
  • United Future 0.5% (up from o)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (up from 0)
  • Mana Party 0% (no change)
  • Internet Party 0 (down from 0.5)
  • Other 1.5% (no change)

Polling from 7-20 November.

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 858 electors in November 2016. Of all electors surveyed 6.5% (unchanged) didn’t name a party.

Remember that like any poll this is just an approximate indication of past preferences. Roy Morgan polls have tended to vary quite a bit – but there’s probably a lot of soft and shifting support at the moment.

National are ending the year at the higher end of their recent range.

Labour look dire, and Labour+Greens looks to be a failure that will be difficult to undo, they are committed until the election with their Memorandum of Understanding (or they will get rubbished if they dump it).

Greens have been on 14% or 14.5% in seven of this year’s Roy Morgan polls.

It’s interesting to see that NZ First haven’t benefited from Labour’s slide, despite Winston’s efforts to jump on the Trump bandwagon.



Key’s departure “will leave Parliament exposed”

Geoff Miller and Mark Blackham suggest in an NBR article that when John Key leaves Parliament (he has indicated he will stand again next year) the inadequacies of Parliament will become clearer to voters and leave it more exposed to a Trump like reaction.

Key is insulating New Zealand from growing discontent around the world with status democratic systems.

It could also be argued that democracy and government in New Zealand isn’t in as dire a situation as in the UK or the US, where voters have revolted against the same old.

Mr Key is our own populist politician. Like Trump, he is wealthy and not a career politician.

Mr Key’s inherent anti-political nature frequently motivates him to behave in ways which we would not previously have expected from a prime minister.

In some cases, such as in the ponytail affair, MrKey has gone too far and ended up apologising for his actions. But generally, his non-conventional style and willingness to make fun of himself have helped him to stay astonishingly popular – despite being eight years into the top job.


Much to the annoyance and frustration of his opponents and especially of left wing activists.

When Mr Key leaves, his populist touch will go with him, exposing the public to a parliament awash with careerist politicians who play it safe, deal in slogans and spin and have no way to forge a genuine bond with voters as Key has done.

The question for many of New Zealand’s MPs ahead of the 2017 election is whether they will heed the lessons of 2016’s Brexit and Trump political earthquakes.

If politicians dish up election campaigns that keep to the stale and uninspiring establishment recipe, they will guarantee and intensify voter backlash.

With Key still in play this may not happen directly in next year’s election, it may still come down to the economy and the Government’s handling of it versus the alternative that looks like it will need to be Labour+Greens+NZ First. Many voters are scared by Labour+Greens let alone the triumverate.

But if National don’t start to show that they recognise real problems with the current way of doing democracy and make genuine and significant moves to address it they could be setting themselves up for a major fall when Key steps down.

Key’s departure may well leave new Zealand exposed to a voters’ revolt.

Upgrade to Chinese FTA

Reports just emerging from the APEC meeting in Peru that John Key is attending is that Key has announced the launch of negotiations to upgrade the Chinese free trade agreement.

I wonder if the timing of this is to send a message to the US over their apparent withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.


Does New Zealand need a revolt?

Bryce Edwards in NZ Herald: Will Trump effect be felt Downunder too?

Donald Trump is the latest political success to highlight the power of anti-establishment politics – but he’s not the best advert for it.

Instead, Trump is a reminder that revolts against the Establishment emerging around the world at the moment take many different forms. Some are left-wing, others right-wing, nationalist, populist, and so forth. So to be anti-establishment doesn’t necessarily mean being a supporter of reactionary politics.

What all these revolts have in common is their rebellion against the status quo and those in power.

Such a revolt could be beneficial in New Zealand – especially if it took a much more progressive orientation, compared to Trump and other more populist, reactionary and nationalist demagogues who sometimes surf the wave of public disenchantment with mainstream politics.

While political commentators and media may long for a revolt, boring same old doesn’t put them in the limelight, do people in New Zealand generally want a revolt against the system? I don’t see any sign of it apart from the likes of Edwards and Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury and a few radicals in social media.

It’s interesting to see Edwards wish for a specific type of revolt – “a much more progressive orientation”. As in socialist?

Much as they might like to I don’t know that media commentators get to pick the nature of revolutions.

Anti-establishment politicians and movements are a necessary part of politics. They shake things up and open up possibilities with radical ideas.

By asking difficult questions, putting forward unfashionable ideas and questioning authority, an anti-establishment force can highlight problems in the system and give voice to the powerless and forgotten.

From what I see they tend to give voice to themselves, frustrated activists on the margins who think they represent the will and the needs of masses but are far removed from reality and ordinary New Zealand.

Such a movement here is likely to be more left-wing. Earlier in the year when a UMR opinion poll on the US presidential candidates gave a choice between radicals, 77 per cent of New Zealanders chose Bernie Sanders, compared to 8 per cent for Trump.

Why is it likely to be more left wing?

Mana failed last election when they joined forces with Kim Dotcom, they went backwards rather than forwards with their hopes of revolution.

Labour and Greens are hardly likely to precipitate a revolution, they are trying to look united and a mainstream alternative. Their leadership seems entrenched and hardly El Che.

Edwards then details his “10-point manifesto for change in New Zealand”. Is he a political scientist and commentator, or a political activist?

He is leaving Otago University next year and moving to Wellington.

ODT: Politics lecturer leaving amid humanities cuts

Dr Edwards used Twitter to announce his voluntary resignation after 10 years in the politics department.

“Sad to be saying goodbye to @otago — just signed my voluntary redundancy from Politics Dept. Finish in April, appreciative of 10 great years”.

On leaving the role in April he planned to move to Wellington to complete a book about problems in New Zealand democracy and take “a very active role” analysing the general election.

Will the book be launched in the election  campaign?

I think Bryce is hoping for something exciting to happen in New Zealand politics to give him more to write about and talk about.

But with this revolutionary talk does he hope to spark the revolution?

I don’t think New Zealand needs a revolt, we could do with a few tweaks to a system that is generally working quite well.

TPP without the US?

When Donald Trump was elected US president it was presumed the Trans-Pacific was history, but it’s possible the other eleven countries will go ahead without the US.

This would presumably require another agreement because the current agreement was dependant on the US ratifying it.

Stuff: TPP nations eye a future without the US with Trump in the White House

Leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership nations are openly considering going it alone, without the United States, in a so-called ‘TPP minus one’ in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The 12 countries are meeting on the margins of the 21-strong Apec meeting in Lima, Peru.

Talking to reporters shortly after arriving in the Peruvian capital, Prime Minister John Key made it clear the grouping faced a critical crossroads with Trump’s election.

.”Maybe it is one of the most important Apecs I have been to.”

It could be interesting, but I would be surprised if the US is in a position to make decisions or even give an indication where they stand as Trump transitions into the White House.

There were three scenarios: Go ahead without the US with an 11-member TPP, Trump changes his position and accepts the agreed text, or the countries go back to the table and start talks again.

New Zealand’s goal was a free trade agreement that included the US and Japan through the TPP. 

But a deal without the US, but with Japan would still be worth it from New Zealand’s point of view.

A meeting of TPP leaders is planned for Sunday and New Zealand was reserving judgement on a ‘TPP minus one’, he said.

“It might be, in the end, the way we go forward without the United States – that’s  not an impossible scenario. But we have a few years to make that decision.”

If they want to proceed with a Pacific trade partnership it looks like it will have to be minus the US.

If this is what ends up happening it will be interesting to see how many still oppose it because it’s a trade agreement, and whether some decide to switch to supporting it without the US being involved.

Earthquakes continued…

Quakes have continued to rumble through the night in the north east of the South Island, with 28 recorded at Geonet in the last hour (4:20 to 5:20 am). There have been about 800 aftershocks altogether.

There are reports that there could be up to 100,000 landslides/slips.

Geonet says that multiple faults have ruptured:

Rapid field reconnaissance indicates that multiple faults have ruptured:

  • Kekerengu Fault at the coast – appears to have had up to 10m of slip
  • Newly identified fault at Waipapa Bay
  • Hope Fault – seaward segment – minor movement
  • Hundalee Fault 

What we are finding in New Zealand is that quite a few of our larger earthquakes involve jumping from rupture on one plane to another in a complex sequence.

‘Strong’ or ‘severe’ quakes overnight (these seem to have slowed down):

  • 5.0 (severe) 10:49:56 pm 10 km east of Kaikoura
  • 5.1 (strong) 12:16:42 am 15 km east of Seddon
  • 4.8 (strong) 1:03:00 am 5 km west of Kaikoura
  • 4.6 (strong) 4:22:19 am 10 km east of Seddon

So both Kaikoura and Seddon continuing to bear the brunt of this. Those are moderate sized quakes on the scale but they are shallow (8-25 km) so more energy gets to the surface than deeper quakes.

This map shows the pattern of quakes since midnight yesterday. Most of them are shallow.


Earthquakes midnight 14 Nov – 5:30 am 15 Nov (Geonet)

And this shows their strengths better:


Last 500 earthquakes light to severe as at 6:oo am 15 November 2016 (Geonet)

That shows the clustering in North Canterbury-Marlborough with a couple in Wellington but they feel the bigger Seddon quakes in Wellington too.

Updates from Geonet:

M7.5 Kaikoura Quake: What we know so far

Updated at 23.52, 14/11/2016 This earthquake was the largest recorded in New Zealand since the M7.8 Dusky Sound earthquake in 2009. But, given its location, it was more widely felt and more damaging. This earthquake unsettled many people and that is perfectly normal; earthquakes can be upsetting events. The best advice we have is to be prepared for earthquakes.  We can say one thing with certainty: there will be more earthquakes to come in this area.…

M7.5 Kaikoura Earthquake: Latest updates

Multiple ruptures

Rapid field reconnaissance indicates that multiple faults have ruptured:

  • Kekerengu Fault at the coast – appears to have had up to 10m of slip
  • Newly identified fault at Waipapa Bay
  • Hope Fault – seaward segment – minor movement
  • Hundalee Fault 

In the simplest case an earthquake is a rupture on a single fault plane.

What we are finding in New Zealand is that quite a few of our larger earthquakes involve jumping from rupture on one plane to another in a complex sequence. We first saw that with the Darfield Sept 2010 EQ where multiple segments ruptured together as a single earthquake. We appear to have seen this again overnight.

In terms of what might happen next: The scenarios provide an overview of how we see this earthquake sequence evolving over the next few days to one month. What is on the web page is our best information that we have to hand at the moment.

We’ve developed three scenarios based on what we know so far but be aware that our understanding is evolving as we do more analysis and receive more data. 

Scenario One: Very likely (80% and greater)
A normal aftershock sequence that is spread over the next few months to years. Felt aftershocks (e.g. M>5) would occur from the M7.5 epicentre near Culverden, right up along the Kaikoura coastline to Cape Campbell over the next few months to years. This is the most likely scenario.

Scenario Two: Likely (60% and greater)
In the next month, it would be likely that rupture of earthquakes of about an M6 in the North Canterbury and Marlborough regions will occur, as well as potentially offshore in Southern Cook Strait and offshore Kaikoura.

Scenario Three: Unlikely (less than 40%)
The least likely scenario is that in the next month, (it is unlikely but still possible) there would be rupture of longer known faults (with earthquakes of about M7), in the Marlborough and Cook Strait regions.

So there is at least likely to be a continuation of the many aftershocks, with the lower possibility of some quite large ones still to come.

Trump protest in New Zealand

NZ Herald: Trump protesters clash in Auckland

Opponents and pro-Trump supporters squared off during a protest in Aotea Square which saw an American flag burned and heated confrontations.

People opposing Trump’s election announced this morning that they would be staging a peaceful protest at 2:30pm, run by a group calling itself ‘Aotearoa Against Trump.’

The group describes itself as a ‘grassroots movement established in reaction to Trump’s election to facilitate education, discussion and ultimately, change of the system that has led us to this point.’

What next, the Greens to start an anti-Trump petition?

People want to express their opposition, for whatever reason, maybe just to vent, but protesting in New Zealand is fairly high on the futility scale.

Ah, I was joking about the petition but there have been a number of petitions against Trump at over the past year, including a post-election petition:

Impeach Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump has won the 2016 presidential election. It is clear something is wrong if an openly homophobic, racist, xenophobic and sexist individual can become the most powerful man in the world.

Make it clear you do not want this man leading our free nation. Donald Trump as POTUS is a danger to the entire world.

By signing this petition you are taking your stance and requesting the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump – to remove his position as President of the United States of America.

Stand with us!

This petition will be delivered to:

  • U.S. Congress
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • President Barack Obama

Searching for Donald Trump returns 3,754 results! So far none of them appear to have been successful.


‘The media enable extreme candidates’

There should be a lot of reflection after the US election, by the Republican and Democrat parties, and by the media. They have all enabled a train wreck campaign.

And the outdated first past the post electoral system with all it’s variations from state to state is also a major culprit.

The media have had major influences on entrenching a two party system despite the existence of other parties. What may suit the media for ‘entertainment’ value does not necessarily serve democracy well.

One major media player, the New York Times, writes in What 2016 Has Taught Us:

The media enable extreme candidates and the parties are too fragile to stop them. Social media sites and TV news transmitted every political spitball and insult spewed over the past 18 months. But they had little capacity to establish widely shared truths or foster constructive debate about issues like climate change or criminal justice.

In democratizing the media, Twitter and Facebook have also made it possible for Americans to encounter only the messages they want to hear.

Desperate for ratings, Fox News, CNN and other networks handed Mr. Trump an open mike early in the contest.

The New York Times was a part of this, and has been a part of establishing the media corruption of democracy in the US.

And having fanned the flames of extreme partisanship for years, Republican leaders were powerless in the primaries to stop Mr. Trump’s rise, and then were afraid to alienate his supporters by opposing him in the general election.

Mr. Trump used his media savvy and entertainment value — often in the form of insults — to keep all eyes on him. Imagine how much further a more disciplined demagogue might go applying a similar formula.

It’s not over yet. While Trump’s chances appearing to be slipping he could still win the presidency. And if he loses he could go on to cause major disruption to the governance of the Unites States – using the media again.

Even if the Republicans, the Democrats and mainstream media learn from their massive mistakes and take significant measures to rectify things the US now has a well established alt-media, who use the Internet to spread misinformation and lies, and have proven successful at trashing the chances of some candidates.

A sizeable chunk of the US population are happy to be carried along by alt-media that tells them what they want to hear, regardless of how ridiculous or devoid of facts and decency it may be.

What about New Zealand?

It is different here because of size – ‘everybody knows everybody’ makes it harder for alt-anybody to have much influence.

It is different here because New Zealand is a single state, with one Parliament and with one electoral system administered by an independent body.

And it is different because of MMP. This gives more power to the people, and the people have tended to restrict political power. In the twenty years of MMP the voters have never given oner party sole charge – the last few elections we have come close but the major party running Government has always had to deal with other parties to get a majority.

MMP has it’s drawbacks. It limits the chances of major reforms, and we could do with major reforms of our tax and welfare systems.

The major parties have hobbled MMP through a ridiculously high threshold to protect some of their power from new party challenges.

But MMP’s advantages clearly outweigh the down sides. It allows the voters to stop the hijacking of our Government by small powerful groups.

MMP allowed rich people with mixed agendas to set up parties that contested elections, like the Conservative Party and the Internet Party, but the voters rejected them.

(I think there were some worthwhile things offered by both parties but they both had financiers/leaders with serious deficiencies).

MMP has a moderating effect on governance, and on those doing the governing, and in the main this is a good thing.

MMP, along with country size, limits the opportunities of alt media to influence our democracy and our governance.

Fringe players like Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Martyn Bradbury (The Daily Blog), who both have ambitions of revolution through alt-media, have failed to establish the influence and power of US websites.

New Zealand nutters can get far more ridiculous content from offshore, which they do. But this is very small scale and non-influential. So far the majority have not been sucked in to alt-media scams here.

The media here do help promote more extreme candidates. Winston Peters has been a favourite headline maker for a long time. Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom didn’t want for media attention, they just blew their media advantages.

It was interesting to see the mainstream and social media reaction to Gareth Morgan launching his The Opportunities Party. He was given plenty of attention and publicity – far more than the average party start up who are usually ignored and starved of the attention they need for making any impact.

But the Kiwi clobbering machine was evident straight away, with a lot of the media coverage involving a trashing of Morgan.

Our New Zealand political parties could do much better. Our mainstream media could do much better. Our social media, particularly the main political blogs could contribute far better too – for example The Standard showed in the weekend that dirty blogging is still prevalent there. And I noticed Manolo still lying and attacking someone at Kiwiblog yesterday unchecked.

We don’t have the huge problems faced by Government, by democracy and by media in the US. We haven’t come close to enabling an extreme candidate to take over a position of significant power.

But we have plenty of room for improvement.

If we want a decent democracy we have to do more to demand one.

Story out, The Project in?

I haven’t heard of ‘The Project’ from Australia but it is apparently coming to New Zealand to take over from the ‘Story’ timeslot on TV3.

Sydney Morning Herald: Australia’s The Project plans to conquer New Zealand

It’s a prime-time staple on Aussie screens – and now The Project is planning a Kiwi version.

Fairfax Media can reveal the current affairs show – which promises “news done differently” – is planning a Kiwi version, to launch in 2017. 

While a deal is yet to be inked, negotiations are underway between Roving Enterprises – producers of The Project in Australia – and New Zealand’s TV3 network.

It will be called The Project – but air as a half-hour program. (The Aussie version began in 2009 as The 7PM Project; in 2011, it was extended to one hour and moved to 6.30pm.)

I rarely watch Story. I might check it out but will probably rarely watch The Project.

Duncan Garner is thought to be moving from Story to the morning slot that Paul Henry will vacate at the end of this year, so probably starting next year.

New Zealand TV has struggled to deal with current affairs in prime time for a few years.

Ireland 40, All Blacks 29

Is history going to be made at Soldier Field in Chicago? UPDATE: Yep, a great day for Ireland!

Ireland has comprehensively outplayed the All Blacks in the first half of the test and lead 25-8 at half time.

The ABs have made too many stupid mistakes, including several dangerous tackles, one resulting in a sin binning – and Ireland scored two tries during that ten minutes. Their lineout has barely functioned. They have turned over mall ball and except for one try have failed to make much of an impression.

In contrast Ireland have played smartly and with determination and passion. Three tries to one is an emphatic clobbering, so far.

There’s another half to go, but if Ireland can keep things up and the ABs fail to fire again in the second half then Ireland could make history today.

Ireland started the second half with another try to lead 30-8. The ABs played quite a bit better from there and closed the gap to a few points. But mistakes crept in again and the Irish finished better, scored another try late in the game to score 5 tries to the AB’s 4 to clinch the game.

Ireland 40, New Zealand 29

A well deserved win for Ireland, their first win ever against the All Blacks..

It’s great for them, and good for world rugby.

And it won’t do the All Blacks any harm. This makes their European tour much more interesting, with games against Italy, France, and what should be a riper of a return match against Ireland.