Jacinda Ardern rules out electorate deals for NZ First, Greens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Greens are not getting any help in Auckland Central.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ardern reiterated there would be no deal.

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

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

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

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

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

Northland electorate may be lost saviour for NZ First

With NZ First polling well below the 5% threshold (except in Winston’s claimed but never revealed polls) an alternative way of keeping them in Parliament is for Shane Jones to win the Northland electorate.

Jones has actually said that if voters want NZ First back in Parliament they should vote for him in Northland. But he has never yet won an electorate (this is the third he has stood in).

And a 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll on Northland doesn’t look promising for Jones or NZ First.

Candidate votes in the 2017 election:

  • Matt King 38.30%
  • Winston Peters 34.81%
  • Willow-Jean Prime 21.61%

Jones has puled out of a Q+A interview this morning saying he had another engagement after previously committing to the interview.

Interesting to see National (41%) close to Labour (38%) on the party polling there – that looks ok for National compared to recent polls, but it isn’t flash compared to the 2017 election result:

  • National 46.35%
  • Labour 30.12%
  • NZ First 13.17%
  • Greens 6.05%
  • Conservatives 0.37%
  • ACT 0.47%

NZ First party vote is well down on that at 7%, and they are headed off by ACT jumping to a remarkable 8%.

Labour won’t do a deal with ‘celebrity’ Green

Labour refusing to help Green candidate Chloe Swarbrick in Auckland Central could be grim for NZ First, who need to have a deal to have any chance in Northland.

Now Niki Kaye has withdrawn from contention in the Auckland Central electorate it is up for grabs. National haven’t named a replacement candidate yet, but leaving the seat open to discussion about whether Labour and Greens will do some sort of a deal. If Swarbrick wins the seat her party won’t have to make the 5% threshold to get back into Parliament, but Labour are openly unwilling to help.

RNZ: Labour rules out deal with Greens in Nikki Kaye’s seat

Labour is adamant it won’t be doing a deal with the Greens in the Auckland Central electorate.

Labour Party’s candidate Helen White will be going up against Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who is campaigning for both the party and electorate vote.

White said National won the seat in 2017 by just 1500 votes over Labour.

“The vote was so close for Labour, it just isn’t in the same league with regard to the gap that the Greens would have to move,” she said.

Given that, White said she was sizing up National as her main opponent in the seat.

The Greens are polling at about five or six percent, right on the threshold for getting back into parliament.

But regardless of that, White said she wouldn’t be making way for Swarbrick in Auckland Central.

“I actually think the Greens will be fine, they’ve got a solid base and obviously Chlöe is way up on that list, so people will firmly expect to see Chlöe in parliament.”

Asked what she would say to people who pointed out Swarbrick’s higher profile and name recognition, White said: “I’d ask them whether they’re looking for a celebrity or someone to do this job very seriously.”

At a campaign event in Auckland last night, Labour’s national campaign manager Hayden Munro told the crowd the party could not afford to split the progressive vote in the seat.

But if Labour aren’t going to help Swarbrick, or vice versa as some arrogant Labour supporters have insisted should happen, the left wing vote will be split between White and Swarbrick.

Labour will be very keen to take Auckland Central back now Kaye is out of the picture, but as long as the Greens get 5% or more (as I think is likely) then who wins Auckland Central won’t matter, as the party vote is what matters.

Labour refusing to do a deal in Auckland Central has greater implications for NZ First, who are polling well under the threshold.

If Labour don’t do a deal to help Swarbrick then they can’t credibly do a deal to help Shane Jones in Northland. And if Jones loses there (he has never won an electorate), and if NZ First fail to make 5%, they are out of Parliament.

And the old dog Winston Peters seems to have lost his political teeth.

Stuff – Winston Peters: old dog, same tricks but no bite

The NZ First leader is fighting for survival, afraid that he’s about to be tossed out of the toxic swamp of Parliament.

And as his time in the Beehive peters out, he shows no sign of changing. But the old dog’s teeth are no longer sharp.

As he awaits the outcome of a Serious Fraud Office investigation following revelations about the secretive NZ First Foundation, Peters has watched his party’s polling dwindle to around 2 per cent.

He’s been here before. But while pundits were previously reluctant to write off Peters, his tricks just now seem as old and tired as Lazarus himself.

His campaign launch last weekend failed to showcase any new ideas.

No-one buys the schtick of baiting his Government partners any more. In a sense, he’s the victim of his own chaotic tactics. Self-preservation kept him in the Labour-NZF-Greens alliance – destabilising a leader as popular as Ardern would almost certainly have finished him.

But having gone the distance with the Greens, attacking them to kick off a campaign is just meaningless political rhetoric.

His other stock tactic of distraction also failed him last week.

Facing scrutiny about a taxpayer-funded trip to Antarctica for two wealthy mates, Peters cooked up a story about who’d leaked his private pension details.

It was the latest half-cocked claim in a saga that has already cost him $320,000 in High Court costs. He’s got a long history of making unproven allegations under the shelter of parliamentary privilege, while those he accused have no way to defend themselves.

Peters can only win if voters see only his crafted image and ignore the reality of who he really is.

But once the tricks become obvious – when the threadbare curtain concealing him is pulled back – the show man can no longer pass himself off as the Wizard of Oz.

Peters is looking jaded and out of ideas.

His stymieing of a $100m rescue package for Southland, as the region reels from the likely closure of the Tiwai smelter, was cruelly cynical.

Peters was in Southland on Friday making ludicrous suggestions that management or employees buy the smelter, as there is not chance of a Government buyout he had previously suggested.

So Peters was pushing policy that he has no support for from other parties, so has no chance of succeeding with. Voters are likely to see through his promises, which are as lacking in credibility as his accusations in Parliament.

Jones also looks like he has lost already. He must have got the message from Labour that they aren’t going to help him in Northland.

From drought to floods in Northland

Following a devastating drought in Northland they have now had bad flooding. The lack of feed supplies on farms will make dealing with the floods more difficult, and the lack of grass will result in a muddy mess for farmers.

RNZ: Northland floods leave homes uninhabitable, farms under water

As the flood waters recede in Northland the full extent of the damage from the weekend’s deluge is becoming clear.

After months of near-crippling drought more than 200mm of rain fell over 10 hours from Friday night.

The main road into Kaitaia remains closed by massive slips.

The Waiharakeke Stream near Kaikohe has slowed to a raging torrent after bursting its banks and flowing into the small town of Moerewa.

Most people have been able to return to their homes, often to find them caked in mud and strewn with debris, and some are uninhabitable.

Moerewa residents are becoming sadly accustomed to the floods, which seem to come every couple of years now.

I heard this one referred to as a 500 year flood, which seems like an arbitrary label, but it highlights the severity of this flood.

There’s a vast plain between Whangārei and Kawakawa could almost be mistaken for a lake if it wasn’t for the tops of fence posts and the farm houses on raised ground surrounded by water.

Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare visited the region yesterday and said it would be a few days yet before the full extent of the damage is known.

Floods closed some of the region’s water treatment plants and Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai said residents are being asked to conserve water for the next few days.

“The quality of the water coming into the treatment plant is just awful and it takes a lot longer to treat that water.

Once the extent of the damage understand more clearly the councils will talk to central government about long-term solutions for flood prevention and repairs to infrastructure, she said.

It’s bad, but it will take time to determine how bad. It will take some time to deal with the damage, and flood prevention wil be a longer term and very difficult project.

 

Shane Jones signals NZ First attack on immigration

It’s not a surprise to see NZ First target immigration coming in to an election campaign. NZ First had planned to launch their campaign this weekend, but that has been delayed a weekafter what seemed like urgent but minor surgery this week for Winston Peters – see Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters takes medical leave (Peters also had hospital treatment and a week off work last year).

Shane Jones was interviewed on The Nation, but ‘hinted’ at tough immigration policy, presumably leving the big announcements to Peters once he is back on deck.

Newshub: Shane Jones hints at controversial New Zealand First immigration policies despite COVID-19 border closure

Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, Jones said he believes employers have “a duty” to train New Zealand workers before immigrants.

He promised New Zealand First does not intend to make it easy for language schools while acknowledging the border closure will make their business difficult regardless.

“We’ve had the COVID experience – the borders have closed and it’s hard to see when and how they will open,” he said.

“I can say New Zealand First has no agenda of making it easy for language schools which have brought migrants into New Zealand with low skill, low values and had a very disruptive and negative impact on our labour market.”

Host Simon Shepard said the border closure has removed the immigration debate from the election conversation – a claim which Jones debated.

“I’ve every confidence our leader, our Caucus and our party will have very profound things to say about immigration,” he said.

“Just watch this space – we will have sensible things to say about immigration and it may come to pass that not everyone will enjoy what we have to say,” he continued.

“We’ve got to speak about the fact that in our population of five million we cannot rely on unfettered immigration at a time when our infrastructure is creaking.”

His comments follow a February interview with Newshub Nation where Jones blasted the Government’s immigration policy, saying too many people “from New Delhi” are being allowed to settle in New Zealand.

“I think the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions,” he said about academic institutions.

Jones defended his comments despite the Prime Minister calling them “loose and wrong”.

NZ First are in for a tough battle this election, with recent poll results around 2%.

In their favour is the disproportionate amount of free publicity the media are likely to give them.

1 News: Battle for Northland seat between Matt King and Shane Jones shaping up as a must win for NZ First

Its candidate Shane Jones is trying to snatch the seat off National MP Matt King in a bid to help keep the Winston Peters-led party in Parliament.

But National’s Matt King says it’ll take more than political stunts to win the seat.

“They won’t be fooled by the game these guys are playing,” he told 1 NEWS.

The MP alleges that the Provincial Growth Fund is being used to curry favour, with Northland securing nearly $600 million.

However, Mr Jones says it’s not Northland “feeling the love”.

“All the provinces have felt the provincial love and that’s because we were elected to drive provincial development.”

PGP handouts have been somewhat overshadowed by much bigger Covid subsidies and handouts, and some PGP funds have been shifted tor Covid recovery.

List MP Willow-Jean Prime is standing for Labour again.

Labour have so far given no indication they will help NZ First in Northland. If they stick to this approach it will be difficult for Jones, who has never won an electorate.

Like Peters, Jones is a boundary pushing attention seeker.

Newshub: Shane Jones stops putting up billboards in Kerikeri after council admits error in allowing it

National MP Matt King, the current MP for Northland, accused his New Zealand First opponent earlier this week of putting up “illegal” election advertising in Kerikeri.

King argued the ‘Jones for Jobs’ billboards broke the Electoral Commission’s rules that election hoardings cannot be put up until July 18.

The Electoral Commission had a different take, explaining how it’s fine for hoardings to be up before July 18 if the local council allows it.

“Election advertising may be published at any time, except on election day. This means election hoardings can be put up at any time, subject to the rules the local council has in place.”

Newshub went to the Far North District Council – the authority overseeing the town of Kerikeri – and CEO Shaun Clarke said there were no rules against it.

“There are no active bylaws or policies which would restrict early hoardings on private land in the Far North District.”

But Clarke has contacted Newshub to say he got it wrong and that there is a rule stating election signs can be erected “no sooner than 8 weeks prior to, and then removed no later than the close of day before polling day”.

Those rules are similar to most if not all local bodies for election hoardings. The CEO should have known that.

Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis confirmed there is no nationwide law to say you can only put up election billboards in a specified period before the election.

Outside of that period it’s up to local councils.

“If the CEO doesn’t know his own bylaws, that’s a worry,” Geddis said.

I hope it was only ignorance of his own bylaws.

Jones should have also been well aware of the by laws, he’s been a politician for a long time and has contested several electorates, including Northland in 2008. He unsuccessfully contested Whangerei in 2017, coming third, over ten thousand votes behind current MP Shane Reti.

Peters won Northland in a by-election in 2015 when Labour told their voters to support him (and most did), but lost to King inn the 2017 general election to King by 1,389 votes.

 

 

NZ First bottom lines begin – moving Auckland’s port

NZ First seems to have a bottomless pit of bottom lines in election campaigns.

Last election: The comprehensive list of Winston Peters’ bottom lines

I think this is the first one this campaign:

Predator free far north

Ngāti Kuri have revealed a plan to protect the northern tip of New Zealand with a predator fence stretching 8.5 km from the west coats to the east coast. This will be about 20 km from the northern tip at Cape Reinga.

RNZ:  Iwi to build predator-free fence from coast-to-coast

Northland iwi Ngāti Kuri has revealed its plans to build the $1.2 million fence just south of Cape Reinga.

The fence will run from near the Te Paki sand-dunes on the west coast, to near Te Hapua on the east coast, spanning nearly 8.5 kilometres.

Map source

Ngāti Kuri trustee Sheridan Waitai said it would help protect an isolated area which was home to many endemic species, including insects and trees.

She said the fence would keep pests like possums, rats, mice and stoats out of the area.

It looks like a lot of the area has some sort of bush cover (Google Maps):

It’s a small beginning but if they succeed with this they may be able to progress down the island.

The fence protecting the Orokonui Ecosanctuary just north of Dunedin is 9 km enclosing an area of 307 hectares near the coast.

The fence protecting the Zealandia sanctuary near Wellington is 8.6 km enclosing an area of 207 hectares.

The area they aim to protect in the far north looks to be much larger than the sanctuaries.

 

Election – key electorate results

In general the party vote is all important, but some electorate results can be critical.

Total provisional numbers of seats:

  • National 58 (60 in 2014)
  • Labour 45 (32 in 2014)
  • NZ First 9 (11 in 2014)
  • Greens 7 (14 in 2014)
  • ACT Party 1 (1 in 2014)
  • Maori Party 0 (2 in 2014)
  • United Future 0 (1 in 2014)

It is thought likely that National could lose a seat on the final count, NZ First could also be at risk of that. Greens or Labour could pick up 1 or 2 between them.

This election Te Ururoa Flavell losing means the Maori Party are out of government…

Waiariki provisional result:

  • Tamati Coffey (Labour) 9,847
  • Te Ururoa Flavell (Te Ururoa Flavell) 8,526

…and National may be short of support partners (although the Maori Party could have sided with either them (again) or Labour.

Winston Peters has lost his Northland seat:

  • Matt King (National) 13,686
  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 12,394

Peters won what had been a safe National seat in a by-election in 2015 so this isn’t a shock result, but it is a shock to Winston’s ego and means that NZ First are back to being a klist only party. Alongside a reduction in NZ First’s party vote they don’t have a strong mandate, but due to the way the numbers fell under MMP are in a strong negotiating position if Greens keep refusing to work with National.

Apart from ego losing his electorate may be a good thing for Winston. He won’t have to split his time between an electorate and leading the party in Parliament. And if he decides to retire this term he can do so without causing a by-election.

Other electorate results of interest but having no effect on the overall outcome:

Christchurch Central:

  • Duncan Webb (Labour) 13,838
  • Nicky Wagner (National) 11,573

A loss for a Cabinet Minister but this seat has generally been more Labour in the past. Wagner will still return on the list.

Epsom:

  • David Seymour (ACT) 13,325
  • Paul Goldsmith (National) 8,549
  • David Parker (Labour) 5,048
  • Barry Coates (Greens) 1,878

Seymour saves ACT.

Coates only came into Parliament in 2016 when Kevin Hague resigned, but will be out again now due to the Green party vote slump.

Hutt South:

  • Chris Bishop (National) 17,392
  • Ginny Andersen (Labour) 15,387

Bishop got within about 700 votes of Trevor Mallard last election and earned this win through hard electorate work and favourable boundary changes.

Andersen pushed Peter Dunne hard in Ohariu last election but for some reason moved to Hutt South and lost again.

Ōhāriu:

  • Greg O’Connor (Labour) 14,486
  • Brett Hudson (National) 13,807

Peter Dunne decided not to stand leaving this seat open. Hudson had already asked voters to vote for Dunne so had to switch to asking for votes which will have counted against him, but Green’s late decision to stand Tane Woodley made it harder for O’Connor.

The party vote in Ohariu us interesting

  • National 15,697
  • Labour 11,713
  • Greens 3,203
  • NZ First 1,343
  • United Future 73

The UF candidate got more votes (212) than his party. Dunne used to get far more votes than UF.

Te Tai Tokerau:

  • Kelvin Davis (Labour) 10,448
  • Hone Harawira (MANA) 6,178

No comeback for Hone, this may be the end for him in politics and also for MANA.

Te Tai Tonga:

  • Rino Tirikatene (Labour) 8,435
  • Metiria Turei (Greens) 4,448
  • Mei Reedy-Taare )MAori Party) 3,843

Tirikatene seems to be succeeding more from his name and connections than his performance.

Turei is out of Parliament after her disastrous power play that nearly brought the Green Party down.

Northland shootings

The killing of two women and injuring of a man in Northland looks like a tragic and sad mix of mental illness and firearms.

It was known that the murderer was a frequent user of firearms.

It seems to have been known that he suffered from mental illness and depression, and he had a record of violence.

He didn’t have a firearms license but had somehow acquired a lot of weapons.

RNZ:  Gunman had multiple weapons – reports

Police are refusing to discuss how a convicted criminal who shot two women was able to collect firearms without a licence.

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

There are reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Police have confirmed he did not have a firearms licence.

He served 18 months in prison for stabbing a police officer multiple times with a 33cm hunting knife in Hamilton in 1983.

Patterson’s only sister, Gloria, says her brother’s mental and physical health deteriorated rapidly this year and she had urged him to seek help.

NZ Herald: Northland shooting: A portrait of killer Quinn Patterson

Friend Leah Cameron said Quinn’s father brought his children up with a “Doomsday” mentality.

“He was fatalistic about the world, that it was not a good place. He could have been classed as being a bit of a fanatic”.

He made his children dig graves with him and he and his wife apparently wrote a book about UFOs.

Patterson liked guns despite friends saying he did not have a licence and was not a hunter. Neighbours would often hear him shooting in his backyard.

“He just shot in his back lawn by the sounds of it, you could hear it from here, you could hear it from everywhere,” Walters said.

“They were big guns. we’re talking automatics, semi-automatics, big calibres. They sounded like cannons, you could hear them going off with, like, 16 rounds.

“He was just sort of a law unto his own.”

He became paranoid and started to accumulate several weapons. A friend told Newshub he had grenades, shotguns, rifles and hand guns. He had “barricaded” himself in the property with bars on the windows.

He was becoming more and more depressed and paranoid, friends said.

He had taken several types of medication over the years, including sleeping tablets and had tried natural medication, vitamins and exercise in an attempt to get better.

There are some obvious questions that need to be asked about all this.

Hikoi highlights ‘P’ problems

This year’s hikoi to Waitangi highlighted ‘P’ problems, which are a major issue in Northland. It’s a good choice for the hikoi, addressing problems that the community can and should do something about.

Northern Advocate: Northland hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi demands end to P scourge

Marchers in an anti-P hikoi from Cape Reinga to Waitangi say they succeeded in raising awareness about the drug’s devastating effect on Northland – and where people can go for help.

More than 500 people took part in the final stage of the hikoi yesterday from the campground next to Te Tii Marae to the Treaty Grounds, where they were given a rousing welcome at Te Whare Runanga (the carved meeting house).

A day earlier about 50 people arrived at Waitangi after a five-day walk from Cape Reinga, with more joining in each time the hikoi passed through towns on the way.

While past hikoi have focused on environmental or land issues, this year’s called on Government and iwi leaders to do more to combat methamphetamine, also known as P.

The hikoi was also unusual in that it had wholehearted backing from the police, and some of the marchers called on the Government to boost police numbers so they were better able to fight the class A drug.

The Government recently announced a significant increase in police numbers.

Hikoi leader Reti Boynton, of Kaitaia, said in parts of Northland it was easier to find P than it was to get cannabis, and addicts had to wait three to six months to get into rehab. By then it was often too late.

The drug made people aggressive and willing to sell anything to get it, he said.

“It turns women into prostitutes, men into thieves, and takes food out of cupboards. And what is the Government doing about it? Nothing.”

I don’t think it’s true that ‘the Government’ is doing nothing about it, but ‘P’ has become a major problem.

And it’s not just up to the Government and the police to deal with social issues, society itself, and communities, need to take some responsibility in speaking up and acting.

Which is what this hikoi has done. Good on them.