Politikiwi – polling aggregation and politician popularity tracking for NZ politics

RobACNZ on Reddit: Introducing Politikiwi – A polling aggregation and politician popularity tracking site for New Zealand politics.

I’ve spent the last few months working on this for my software development portfolio, and I’m ready to show it off:


Politikiwi (portmanteau of “political” and “kiwi”) is a one-of-a-kind-in-New-Zealand web-app which offers:

– an aggregate of recent opinion polls.

– a political values test which tells users their ideology and suggests aligned political parties.

– a custom party leader popularity tracker which, using thousands of tweets and the power of natural language processing, measures the popularity of New Zealand’s political party leaders by day, week and month.

I plan to add more to the site in coming months, such as more insights into social media sentiment using the data I’ve gathered over the past few months, an articles section where anyone can submit content, and later on an awesome interactive web experience to view the results as they come in on election night in 2020.

Politikiwi’s Poll of Polls could be useful, but states:

Our custom poll of polls predicts the outcome of an election held today, based upon an aggregate of the most recently conducted polls. It assumes that all parties win the same electorates that they did in the 2017 election.

It doesn’t really predict what wukld happen if an election was held today.  We have little polling done now, so it can only base predictions based on a few historical polls.

No poll predictor can account for what will happen in an election campaign – the 2017 election being a prime example of how quickly things can change.

And the only safe assumption that can be made about electorates is that there will be changes next election.

The Party Leader Popularity is not really of much use, apart from feeding ‘dump the leader’ frenzies.

I’ll check the Measure Your Political Values test when I get time.

It’s good to have more political websites trying to provide useful rather information rather than partisan activism.

All Blacks versus Springboks

There is more interest than usual in the test match this morning between the All Blacks and Springboks being played in Pretoria this morning.

The Springboks won the first of two Rugby Championship games between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington last month (36-34). There is more pressure than usual for the All Blacks – if they lose then the Springboks will be unbeaten against them in 2018.

It is good to have a test with more interest at stake. One loss for the All Blacks is not uncommon but not a bad thing, but a second loss against the Springboks would be a major blow for them.

All Blacks lose to the Wallabies

The All Blacks have lost their second test of the season 23-18 (the also lost one to the British and Irish Lions), in the third of the year against the Wallabies, in Brisbane. The ABs had won easily in the first test in Sydney but only just came out in front in Dunedin a week later.

This was a ‘dead rubber’, the Bledisloe Cup had already been won for the season, but it will have (or should have been) a severe blow to All Black pride. But overall it shouldn’t do them any harm, being reminded of the hurt of losing can help drive teams to win.

It was a big win for the Aussies, who have been under a lot of pressure this year but are improving. Good on them.

This is obviously an excellent result for the Wallabies and for Australian rugby. It is also good for the game worldwide.

I didn’t watch the game so I won’t comment on specifics of the game. It was too late for me to be bothered going out and watching it, and I’m still refusing to pay Sky exorbitant amounts for single games and also won’t pay a subscription for a lot of crap I don’t want just to be able to watch what I do want to see.

I see that the All Black business is going to offer pay-per-view internationally for the tour of Europe, starting shortly. Sky will supply the feeds via streaming. I could be tempted, but at $24.95 a game that’s still a bit steep. The Maori All Black games are more reasonable at $14.95 but I’m not as interested in watching them – with so much rugby on these days I’m a lot more selective in what I watch.

All Blacks v Springboks

I’m glad I got up to watch the test between New Zealand and South Africa at Cape Town this morning. A classic match.

The ABs were relentless at times but made a lot of mistakes and failed to capitalise on their dominance. The teams were barely separated after a 50 minute first half.

Then the second half was absorbing. The Springboks started well and took the lead, and the lead kept changing from there. A couple of very good All Black tries, but the Springboks kept coming back. In the end a 25-24 scoreline was a fair enough reflection on how the game went, but it could easily have gone either way.

Commentators complained about the red card but I think that was the only option. A deliberate late charge with forearm contact to the head had to result in marching orders. It would always have been a yellow at least so it made no difference to the final outcome, apart from giving the All Blacks what turned out to be a crucial 3 points.


North Korea claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb

Not long ago significant seismic activity was reported from North Korea 0n 6.3 magnitude.

North Korean media has since claimed they have tested a hydrogen bomb of a type that could be fitted to an intercontinental missile similar to what they have been recently testing.

This is certain to ramp up the tension in the area.

Earlier on RNZ: North Korea: Tremor detected in sign of possible nuclear test

US seismologists said the 6.3 magnitude quake in the north-east of the country was a “possible explosion”.

It is in the area where the North has conducted previous nuclear tests.

Japan has concluded that the tremors detected in North Korea were a nuclear explosion, marking the sixth atomic test by Pyongyang since 2006.

“After examining the data we concluded that it was a nuclear tests,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono said at a briefing broadcast by public broadcaster NHK following a meeting of Japan’s National Security Council.

The tremor comes hours after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was pictured with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb.

State media said the device could be loaded on to a ballistic missile. Neither claim could be independently verified.

South Korea officials said the quake took place in Kilju County, where the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site is situated.

Lions series result could have been much worse

Major sports results can swing on small things, like single refereeing decisions. That was the case in the 3rd and deciding All Blacks-Lions test.

There has been a lot of talk about the referee changing a penalty to a scrum in the last minutes, something he shouldn’t have done, perhaps denying the All Blacks a win (if the penalty shot had been successful).

The referee also denied a possible try by not allowing advantage to be played.

The All Blacks were within a whisker of a win, but a different decision could have easily swung the game and the series against them

The Telegraph: Ref Romain Poite could’ve avoided controversy by awarding Lions a penalty for Kieran Read’s challenge

To my mind there were three elements to the decision. The first was whether Kieran Read’s challenge in the air on Liam Williams was legal, and if a penalty should have been awarded to the Lions.

On the first question I disagree with the outcome that Romain and George reached in deciding that Read’s challenge was legal. I would argue that Williams had already taken the space in the air and that Read could not win possession from where he was, even with an outstretched arm.

That is a decision that could have been legitimately changed by video review. Read was lucky to get away with his challenge.

If the penalty had been reversed the Lions would have then kicked for touch and the line out with their throw in would likely have been in kicking range if the All Blacks had then given away a penalty.

We can lament a controversial decision denying the All Blacks a win, but it also saved them a much greater risk of a game and series loss.

Perhaps we should be thankful for the draw. It’s how things ended up anyway, and is now written into history.


All Blacks v Lions, 1st test

Crunch time for the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions tonight as when they meet in the first of three tests in Auckland.



I’m looking forward to this game more than most, due to the difficulty in predicting a winner, and due to the novelty of Lions tours – they come here every 12 years so their last tour was in 2005.


The All Blacks haven’t been beaten at Eden Park this century – their last loss there was in 1994. They have been hard to beat anywhere in the world, but the Irish showed that it can be done last year when they played in Chicago.

They had a romp against Samoa last week but should be game hardened through the players involvement in the Super competition.

The Lions had a mixed start to their tour but have improved and have won their last two games. They will be very strong in the forwards, and are expected to kick ahead a lot to keep things in front of their pack.

It may be wet which may favour the Lions a bit but the All Blacks should be ready to deal with the conditions.

I think it’s anyone’s game, and I’m happy to put them at 50/50 odds.

Roll on 7:35.

A ripping first half. The ABs have put on a lot of pressure and got points but the Lions came back with a top try running it from inside their 22.

Halftime 13-8 to the ABs.

Great game, ABs too strong in the middle of the second half, the Lions came back to score on full time but too little, too late.

Final score 30-15.

North Korean missile test

North Korea has successfully launched a test ballistic missile that could have a range of at least 4,000 km – two thirds of the distance to the US.

BBC: North Korea carries out new ballistic missile test

Japanese officials say the missile, which launched from north-western Kusong, reached an altitude of 2,000km.

The nature of the launch is still being determined, but analysts have said the test could suggest a longer range than previously tested devices.

The Japanese defence minister said it flew for about 30 minutes before falling in the Sea of Japan and could be a new type of missile.

Tomomi Inada said it covered a distance of about 700km (435 miles), reaching an altitude of more than 2,000km (1,245 miles) – higher than that reached by an intermediate-range missile North Korea fired in February.

If the Japanese analysis of the trajectory is right (that the missile reached an altitude of 2,000km), North Korea appears to have advanced its technology markedly.

Experts quoted by Reuters say the altitude meant the missile was launched at a high trajectory, limiting the lateral distance it travelled. They say if it had been fired at a standard trajectory, it would have had a range of at least 4,000km.

The US Pacific Command said in a statement the type was being assessed but that its flight was not consistent with that of an ICBM, which would have the range to reach the US mainland (more than 6,000km).

This will raise concerns and tensions.

South Korea’s newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who is seeking deeper engagement with the North, said it was a “reckless provocation”.

The White House said President Donald Trump “cannot imagine Russia is pleased” because the missile did not land far from Russian territory.

A Kremlin spokesperson later said Russian President Vladimir Putin was concerned by the test.

China, North Korea’s only major ally, called for restraint by “all relevant parties” in the wake of the latest test.

I’m not sure that either Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump are able or willing to exercise restraint, at least with their rhetoric.



All Blacks v. Ireland – one that matters

Posts will be slow this morning as I will be watching the test in Dublin.

It’s good to have real interest in a test, this is one that matters for the All Blacks, and no doubt Ireland will be keen to prove they can do it again.

Ireland out thought and out played the All Blacks in Chicago a fortnight ago and won deservedly. It was great for them.

The All Blacks will be keen on reversing their form in that game and getting back on top.

It will be a fascinating game, and one that matters a lot for both teams.

Half time 14-6 to the Al Blacks.

The ABs started well with early pressure that resulted in a try, and another good try, but they conceded a lot of penalties and Ireland fought back strongly.

The interest remains for the second half. The ABs have the advantage but too close to call.

Black Ferns win

The Black ferns came back from being behind 7-17 to beat England women 25-20.

Italy beats South Africa

In a surprise result, coming back from a drubbing by the ABs last week Italy beat South Africa for the first time 20-18.

And Wales came close to embarrassment wining against Japan with a late drop goal 33-30.


Big Bikini boob

Just released archive footage of 1946 nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll show that the US navy boobed big time in their estimates of what damage the bombs could cause, and especially the ongoing effects if radiation.


NZH: New footage reveals Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test aftermath (By News Corp Australia Network)

Now footage of the final death throes of the battle fleet assembled at Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test of 1946 has been released.

The US National Security Archives has declassified and released the entire stock of footage shot by surveillance aircraft that over flew the nuclear test site just minutes after the bomb went off.

It shows a churning cauldron at the bottom of the coral bay where the device was detonated, and a slew of major warships battered into hulks – and many of them sinking.


The first bomb – code name ‘Able’ – was similar to the one used on Nagasaki in Japan.

The 23 kiloton device exploded 160m above the surface and only sank a handful of relatively minor ships. The radiation (which had spiked to lethal levels within the ships) quickly dissipated in days.

Unedited U.S. Air Force footage of damaged and sinking ships near ground zero of the Able detonation (1:004:30), with oil leaking from the ships causing environmental damage.

The documentary additionally depicts four shots of the Baker test from different ranges (5:44, 8:56, 11:28, and 14:10), showing the formation of the nuclear cloud past the height of clouds in the sky, and drones flying toward the Baker detonation (10:39, 10:54). The end of the documentary depicts the aftermath of Baker’s explosion to the water and testing fleet (15:40).
U.S. National Archives, Motion Picture Branch, RG 342, Department of the Air Force, 342-USAF-34282A


Set off some 30m beneath the surface on July 25, 1946, it hurled an enormous dome of water vapour across the surface and a shock wave through the water that simply hammered the fleet to destruction.

Two heavily armoured battleships and an enormous aircraft carrier soon sank, much to the US Navys’ surprise. Five other big ships also went down.

But the true shock was the radiation.

Mountains of radioactive water, dirt and debris had been hurled into the sky and dumped back in the lagoon, inundating the ships.

It proved impossible to decontaminate the vessels of this fallout. In fact, the navy soon found itself in crisis as the crews sent to assess and reactivate the ships quickly became exposed.

Some 200 pigs had been placed at different positions within the ships as part of the test. They were all dead within a month.

The lingering nature of the fallout had simply not been expected.

The hulks of the ships had to be deliberately sunk because they remained too dangerous to be used in any way again.

70 Years Later Bikini Atoll May Still Be Too Radioactive For Resettlement