Auckland mayoral poll – two leaders

In two ways of looking at an Auckland mayoral poll there are two leaders – Phil Goff easily leads the other contenders, but ‘Don’t Know’ easily leads Goff.

But care needs to be taken with this poll – it has been done by a pollster with an unknown record and was done entirely online with none of the traditional polling being done.

The Spinoff: Exclusive: new Spinoff/SSI poll shows Phil Goff with huge lead in Auckland mayoral race

A survey commissioned for the Spinoff’s War for Auckland pop-up site puts the Labour MP well in front of his nearest rival, Vic Crone, just weeks out from voting. But many remain undecided.

Comparing the contenders (decided voters):

  • Phil Goff 60.3%
  • Victoria Crone 15.5%
  • John Palino 7.9%
  • Penny Bright 4.6%
  • Mark Thomas 3.3%
  • David Hay 2.8%
  • Other 5.6%

This is a big lead for Goff. Being the only one with well established name recognition the lead isn’t a surprise but perhaps the size of his lead is.

Crone has a huge job to try and close the large gap.

Palino stood against Brown last election so should be known, but his campaign has failed to impress since it launched.

But the numbers look a bit different when adding one significant number.


  • Don’t know 43.7%
  • Phil Goff 31.2%
  • Victoria Crone 8.0%
  • No intention of voting 4.6%
  • John Palino 4.1%
  • Penny Bright 2.4%
  • Mark Thomas 1.7%
  • David Hay 1.4%
  • Other 2.9%


Despite the large lack of certainty – about half chose none of the candidates – that is still a huge lead for Goff. As ‘don’t knows’ get to know other candidates the gap may close but this looks like it is Goff’s campaign to lose. This seems unlikely as he is likely to run a fairly bland campaign.

However the accuracy of this poll is unknown. It was conducted by am international pollster with no phone surveying done.

Survey Sampling International conducted an online survey of 760 Auckland residents 18+ with quota applied for gender, age and Auckland region. Polling took place August 17-19 and there is a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

From the SSI website, About:

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology to drive business success.

As the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, SSI reaches respondents in 100+ countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings.


Goff distancing himself from Labour

In a local body election where Labour (and the Greens) are more actively and openly supporting candidates it is interesting to see that current Labour MP, Phil Goff, appears to be trying to distance himself from Labour in the Auckland Mayoral contest.

Phil Goff steps out in National Party blue-and-white <& his latest policy has the same hue


There are obvious mixed political messages there. And that will be deliberate.

Goff’s website is also absent any Labour links – and doesn’t seem very left leaning:

“A city that thrives on talent and enterprise
– where talent and enterprise can thrive”

 Meanwhile Goff’s opposition…


Similar blue plus some Labour-like red.



Another similar blue plus some read highlights.

Has anyone hear about any polling done for the Auckland mayoralty? Whale Oil claims that Crone and Mark Thomas are lagging but spoiling Palino’s chance of competing with Goff by splitting the right wing vote. Poll rumours are notoriously unreliable.

Goff is not promoting himself as left wing anyway, far from it.


Candidate vows to reduce council costs

An Auckland mayoral candidate has vowed to cut council costs. Wow. A unique approach that would stand out would be to vow to increase costs, but no one seems to try that.

NZ Herald: Phil Goff vows to cut council costs

Labour MP Phil Goff vows to cut fat, introduce road charges and cap rates rises at 2.5 per cent if he wins the Auckland mayoralty in nine weeks.

His fiscal policy, out today, contains a pledge to restore public confidence in the management of ratepayer money.

His fix involves capping rates at 2.5 per cent or less, cutting council spending by between 3 and 6 per cent and introducing road charges.

“Vows to cut fat” will probably, and rightly, be viewed with some scepticism by voters.

But I think there is more to question here.

If spending is reduced by 3-6% and road user charges are introduced how come there is a capping of rates at 2.5% or less? Shouldn’t that read reducing rates by 2.5%?

Ok, no one would believe that, but how does Goff’s maths work? Reduce costs, increase user charges and still allow for rates increases? Something doesn’t add up to me there.

Another point, bot in relation to Goff’s policy and also relevant to the Wellington mayoral candidates who on The Nation all appeared to say they would limit rates rises to about 3%.

Inflation is under 1%, and has been low for some time with no sign of a major change to this.

Why are candidates happy to propose that rates continue to grow significantly ahead of inflation rates?

And thirdly, pledging to cap rates doesn’t make sense. Should inflation suddenly take off does anyone expect that rates caps would remain?


Cosgrove to work for Mayor Goff

Duncan Garner tweeted this morning:

Hat tip; Clayton Cosgrove to work for Phil Goff when he becomes Mayor of Akld. 

I heard that somewhere a while ago too, so maybe this is a thing.

In April Cosgrove announced he wouldn’t stand again at the next election. He lost the Waimakariri electoratein 2011 and has been a list MP since.

RNZ in April: Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove to leave politics

He said he wanted to take on new challenges and opportunities and was looking for opportunities in the business sector. He did not rule out resigning his seat before the election.

Working for a mayor is not in the business sector. Working for an ex-fellow MP sounds like jobs for mates.

I’m not aware of Cosgrove having much of a connection with Auckland.

Lining Cosgrove up alongside Goff makes it look less like the independent bid for the mayoralty that Goff has tried to portray, and more like an attempted Labour Party takeover.

Goff is probably still hot favourite to win the Auckland mayoralty but Goff + Cosgrove gives his opponents more of a shot.

The ladders of democracy should be equal

Democratic processes should be as even handed and equal opportunity as possible. The Auckland mayoralty contest seems to be far from fair.

Quinton Hogg at Whale Oil pointed out something I have been meaning to post on:

I attended the EMA candidates meeting last week where Ms Crone, Mr Goff and Mark Thomas spoke. And Penny Bright stood outside in the cold as she wasn’t let in.

Of the three Mark Thomas was the most impressive. I had heard Ms Crone previously without being impressed and Mr Goff wandered through the platitudes.

Slater added:

The EMA refused to allow John Palino to participate.

This stinks, regardless of how anyone may rate candidates at this early stage of the pre-campaign campaign.

It is sad to see the Employer’s and Manufacturer’s Association picking and choosing candidates to give exposure to.

Penny bright may have limited appeal, especially to an EMA audience, but she’s prepared to put herself forward and should be given an equal opportunity in a democratic contest.

John Palino (who has Slater as an adviser) and got off to a poor start with a launch that was treated as a bit of a joke by media, but he is one of the choices so should be in the mix at any election meeting.

But this does have some irony as Whale Oil is not exactly an equal opportunity blog for candidates. Slater seems to have been quiet on Palino but has been predictably critical of Goff, and frequently very critical of Crone who happens to have a good chance of keeping Palino out of the contest.

Slater is also often critical of ‘the media party’ and how they influence politics, but this is even more ironic given his claim to be serious media but is far more biased and attack orientated than the MSM are ever likely to be.

The Auckland mayoralty and democracy are being poorly served all round.

The ladders of democracy should be as even as possible.

A Clayton chief of staff?


Good heavens! @RMAHarman suggests in this morning’s Politik that Clayton Cosgrove is likely to become @philgoffmp’s Chief of Staff if Mayor

That’s a big Good Grief! if true. Not exactly a team of young guns.

But I can’t find it at Politik, nor anywhere else.

Labour electorate candidates chosen

Yesterday from the The Press: Lawyer Duncan Webb confirmed as Labour’s Christchurch Central candidate

Lawyer and academic Duncan Webb has been chosen as the Christchurch Central candidate for the Labour Party.

The party selected Webb on Saturday to challenge National MP Nicky Wagner, who has held the seat since 2011.

The electorate was once a Labour strong-hold, but was won comfortably by Wagner in 2014.

Christchurch Central election result 2014 :

  • Nicky Wagner (National) 15,34
  • Tony Milne (Labour) 12,926
  • David Moorhouse (Greens) 2,800
  • George Abraham (NZ First) 1,245
  • Michael Cooke (Conservative) 598
  • Toni Severin (ACT) 122
  • Lenis Davidson (Maori) 109
  • Robin Columbus (Democrats) 57

The party vote indicates that many Green and NZ First voters tactically voted for the Labour candidate, possibly with some Conservative voters backing Wagner:

  • National 15,301 (44.66%)
  • Labour 8,995 (26.25%
  • Greens 5,419 (15.82%)
  • NZ First 2,462 (7.19%
  • Conservative 1065 (3.11%

Webb said his campaign would begin immediately, and he would open an electorate office in the coming months.

“This election will be about the whole of Christchurch, seizing the opportunities for everyone in Christchurch and changing the way our city is represented in Wellington.”

Claire Trevett must not have seen that news because she reports: Labour Party selects Michael Wood to replace Phil Goff as Mt Roskill candidate

The Labour Party has selected its first election candidate, picking Michael Wood to take over from longstanding MP Phil Goff as its new Mt Roskill candidate.

Obviously it’s not their first candidate selection, but Wood was expected to walk into the Roskill candidacy, being Goff’s electorate chairman and Goff had already annointed him.

The selection was held early because of a possible by-election if Mr Goff wins the Auckland Mayoralty in October.

Andrew Little appeared to be fairly certain of Mr Goff’s success. He told the Herald after the launch that was a factor in selecting Wood early.

No reason was given for the selection of Webb.

Mount Roskill election result 2014:

  • Phil Goff (Labour) 18,637
  • Parmjeet Parmar (National) 10,546
  • Barry Coates (Greens) 1,682
  • Paul Davie (Conservative) 1,094
  • Mahesh Bindra (NZ First) 717

Parmjeet Parmar has indicated she wants to stand for National again. Going by the party vote the electorate race could tighten up somewhat, but Green tactical voting will help Wood.

  • Labour 12,086 (35.45%)
  • National 14,275 (41.87%)
  • Greens 3,279 (9.62%)
  • NZ First 1,805 (5.29%)
  • Conservative 1,240 (3.64%



Internal polling shock

A surprise result from an internal political poll: “Do Bomber’s attempts at talking up a Green-Labour bloc perception have any credibility?”

  • No 100%
  • Yes 0%

Margin of error: 0.00
Sample size: 1

As predicted here Martyn Bradbury has followed up claims that ‘internal poll rumours’ would support his rants with Latest Internal Polling – National in trouble.

The impact of the Memorandum of Understanding has triggered something deep in the electorate if the latest internal polling is anything to go by.

Obliging the mainstream media to change the way they report politics from a first by the post perspective to an MMP one changes the way voters see the Opposition.

That change seems to be happening at an alarming pace.

The mainstream media aren’t obliged to report things the way Bradbury insists and they haven’t changed how they report polls, which is poorly.

Bradbury claims to have “the latest internal polling” without disclosing:

  • Who has done the polling?
  • What was the question asked?
  • What was the sample size?
  • When was the polling done?
  • What was the margin of error?
  • Is Bradbury making things up?

So what result is Bradbury claiming?

The latest internal polling has National free falling to 44%, Labour at 31% and Greens at 12%.

That means the Labour-Green bloc is at 43% and National is on 44% – that’s a mere 1 percent lead and the speed of the turn around suggests something has snapped in terms of voter apathy.

Even if those are actual results from a credible poll they aren’t particularly surprising or much out of the ordinary. All three party results are within the ranges they have been getting over the past year.

Bradbury has been making unsubstantiated claims and has been trying to talk up a political revolution for several days, ignoring more realistic assessments of polling by the likes of Phil Goff and Michael Cullen.

Bradbury actually had both Goff and Cullen talking about polls on Thursday night on Waatea 5th Estate.


Sir Michael isn’t the biggest change here the perception, we report polls like sports results, National 48, Labour 30, that’s an FPP view, and we are in an MMP environment. The combined bloc of Labour Green shows voters the election is a lot closer doesn’t it?


Well yes but not significantly different. I mean the poll out today, there was another poll from Roy Morgan which showed Labour up just one, Greens two, and they seem to be taking the votes off New Zealand First if you believe, ignoring the fact that it never works like that and polls bounce around.

Basically we’ve still got this gap between Labour Greens on one side and National on the other of about five to eight percent. 

And it still comes down to they key issue which I think the Greens privately recognise…but it’s Labour’s got to win votes off National for there to be a secure change of government, and so far we’re not seeing that.

I mean for Labour to go up and the Greens and new Zealand First to go down it just means that the sort of the same not large enough plate of beans is being passed around between three eaters.

And it’s a fact that National keeps sticking around  forty seven forty eight which is the thing that’s still got to be concerning for Labour and the Greens in particular because you can’t say that Winston’s locked into a change of government.

Anybody who thinks that doesn’t understand how Winston operates in any particular situation.

National has dropped into the low forties occasionally but also sometimes goes up into the fifties but as shown by the RNZ poll of polls “National’s average through this year has been between 44% and 48%, remarkably high for the midyear of a third term in government”.


Phil there are lots of rumours about the new internal party polling…

Substantive polling usually takes longer than two days to do (this was two days after the MoU announcement). And Labour or the Greens woukld hand their internal poll results over to blabbermouth Bradbury? (Possibly if they thought he would do a job for them)

…that would suggest the blocs are even closer. If you gain momentum could we see level pegging before the end of the year?

Roy Morgan:

During September (2015) support for National fell 6% to 44.5% now just behind a potential Labour/Greens alliance 46% (up 8%).

During April (2016) support for National fell 3.5% to 42.5% – the lowest for two years since April – May 2014, now only 2% ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance 40.5% (down 1.5%).

Labour+Greens have fluctuated in and out of level pegging so it’s already an unsurprising poll outcome.


Well I think that’s certainly what Labour wants to see. At the moment, ah,  you know National has been reasonably consistent in the public polls, around forty seven, forty eight.

On public poll of poll averages, yes they have been consistently in the high forties but not in individual polls as shown by the above Roy Morgan results.

Ah in our own polling they have from time to time dropped as low as forty three percent and Labour on thirty six. Ah then you can see that a Labour Green coalition could easily become government at the next election.

If Greens poll high when Labour do, but as Labour goes up Greens tend to go down (they have been as low as 8% in public polls).

And ah in the midst of all of that of course you’ve got Winston Peters who has that balance of power. I doubt that he’d want to come in with, ah, let the left if the left was still polling well behind National.

What Labour has to do as Mike Cullen has said, it’s gotta win some of those light blue votes off National. That’s what changes an election.

And ah I think there are a lot of things in that environment out there, I’m thinking of housing, and I’m thinking of transport problems in Auckland. There are a lot of things out there that people are really unhappy about in a way that they haven’t been over the last two terms of the National Government.

So the environment is there.

If Labour and the Greens look like a stable coalition force, and not like the, you know the Kim Dotcom Mana Internet mix that was at the last election, then I think there’s a prospect that Labour and the Greens can win the next election.

That’s probably an unintentional dig at Bradbury who promoted the Kim Dotcom Mana Internet mix as the supposed game changer last election.

Neither Cullen nor Goff mentioned the Memorandum of Understanding.

Some interesting and probably widely shared measured views on polls and election chances by Cullen and Goff, but since then Bradbury has ignored most of that (what would they know?) and continued on his perception building exercise that ignores basic facts about past polls.

The only shock would be if Bradbury’s claims and promotions were taken seriously.

Labour success in London

A significant success for Labour in London with the election of Sadiq Khan as mayor.

ODT editorial: New standards by London mayor

The recent election of Sadiq Khan as the Mayor of London has been widely celebrated both in the city and throughout Britain.

His election is seen as a counter to the racially-charged political atmosphere in many parts of the world.

Mr Khan is a Muslim, which should not by itself cause any major issues.

Except, of course, far-Right campaigners in Europe, Britain and the United States have some serious problems with Muslims and Islam, in particular.

One of the first things Mr Khan did as mayor was attend the Yom Hashoah Holocaust memorial service in Barnet, which signalled a clear attempt to distance himself from the Labour Party’s leadership’s handling of recent allegations of anti-Semitism inside the party.

The mayor was warmly welcomed by members of the Jewish community and was told he had promised to be a representative for all Londoners.

His visit to the Holocaust centre was seen as the start of fulfilling his pledge.

So Sadiq Khan is setting a laudable example for Labour in the UK – and Labour in New Zealand could learn something positive from him too, and not just on his ability to connect across ethnic boundaries.

In a move which will resonate in New Zealand, Mr Khan says the key thing for him to tackle is the housing crisis.

He is bringing together an alliance of people from local authorities, housing associations, developers and those in finance to ensure building starts on the “genuine affordable homes” the city needs.

The alliance will change London’s overall strategic plan and publish new supplementary planning guidance, both policies that govern the amount of affordable housing developers are obliged to build when they erect new private homes.

Mr Khan believes his pledge to tackle the housing crisis has allowed him to reach out to voters across the political spectrum.

Phil Goff in particular could do well by learn from what is happening in London, should he become the Labour mayor of Auckland.

The campaign between Mr Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith was brutal.

Mr Khan stopped short of condemning the Tories’ mayoral election campaign as racist but said he was disappointed the Conservatives chose to have a campaign that was nasty, negative and divisive.

After spending his life encouraging minority communities to get involved in civil society in mainstream politics, Mr Khan warned he will continue fighting extremism and radicalisation.

Politics should be conducted in a positive way to enthuse people to get involved.

Some good points to note there for Andrew Little and New Zealand’s Labour strategy team (if they have one).

Labour’s mission is to change people’s lives for the better but it only did that by winning elections.

In New Zealand, Labour continues to languish in the opinion polls.

It caused outrage by linking Auckland’s housing crisis to people with Chinese-sounding names.

The party will be wise to follow the lead set by Mr Khan.

Labour, he says, can only win elections if it reaches beyond its own activists to a “big tent” of people.

But being wise doesn’t seem to have been a strength of Labour here for some time.

There are some signs that some are starting to get it.

I’ve clashed at The Standard over the years for their active animosity to anyone deemed not from the left tent, but there were often inter-tent fights in their own camp.

But some of them there seem to have realised that to become more widely popular mob attacks and hounding newcomers and driving them away are not very smart tactics for a party trying to recover support.

If activists can wake up to their self destruction and turn things around then perhaps the party and it’s leadership can do similar.

The focus on NZ Labour has been on their hash of handling Chinese sounding names and their attacks on companies (like Scenic Circle over donations) and mass smearing of people with trusts and with wealth.

It is probably not coincidental that Labour is struggling to get sufficient donations, and they are struggling to keep even meagre levels of support.

Little could do well to look at London and learn.

Pissing on the tent and pissing people off is not working, and neither it should.

Labour, Sadiq Khan says, can only win elections if it reaches beyond its own activists to a “big tent” of people.

Anti democratic Auckland election event

The South Auckland Business Group is ratepayer funded and is running a mayoral election event, but it is only inviting two candidates.

Worse, they invited John Palino and then cancelled the invitation. Palino stood for the Auckland mayoralty in 2013 and got 108,928 votes (31.67%).

Regardless of perceived prospects, selecting some candidates and excluding others is unfair and is very poor democratic process.

Radio NZ reports: Mayoral hopefuls decry rescinded invitations

Two Auckland mayoral candidates aren’t happy at being invited and then excluded from an election event being organised by a ratepayer-funded business group.

Mark Thomas and John Palino said they were invited to the South Harbour Business Association candidate event, but then removed from the line-up, leaving just Vic Crone and Phil Goff.

Mr Palino said he was invited by email to join a line-up including Phil Goff and Mark Thomas, but 20 minutes later received another email withdrawing the invitation.

Ironically RNZ did similar in 2013, at least in Dunedin where they featured only four of eight candidates in their election coverage because they ruled out the chances of half the candidates, denying them equal opportunity to attract votes.

The business lunch was organised by the South Harbour Business Association, which is funded entirely by a targeted rate and a grant from the Auckland Council.

Email exchanges obtained by RNZ News showed some of the on-again, off-again exchanges:

  • April 6 2.18pm: SHBA’s manager Alex Holley, confirms that Vic Crone and Phil Goff will attend.
  • April 21 12.27pm: SHBA writes to the Goff campaign – “Further to my email regarding Mark Thomas wanting to join, I have received a call from Victoria Crone’s representative saying Victoria will not appear with Phil and Mark.”
  • April 27 11.49am: SHBA invites mayoral candidate John Palino to present “alongside Phil Goff and Mark Thomas.”
  • April 27 12.05pm: SHBA emails John Palino (16 minutes later) “Please disregard my previous email as my request is now withdrawn.”

That’s very shoddy, as is the selection of two candidates and rejection of others.

Ironically Radio NZ has pre-selected candidates that it wants to give campaign exposure to in the past.

RNZ allowed only four of the eight Dunedin mayoral candidates to feature in their election coverage in the 2013 campaign, and presumably did similar for other cities as they defended their anti-democratic pre-election selectiveness.

That was very shoddy, especially for a fully publicly funded broadcaster. I hope they give fair and even coverage this year.


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