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LocalBodies: National Slumps in Polls As Ministers Struggle

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, March 24th, 2014 - 22 comments
Categories: bill english, Gerry Brownlee, greens, Hekia parata, john banks, john key, Judith Collins, labour, Metiria Turei, national, paula bennett, peter dunne, polls, same old national, Steven Joyce - Tags: , , , ,

bsprout at LocalBodies has a look at the hysteria about polls over the last few weeks.

In an earlier post I questioned the danger of reading too much into polls and predicting elections based on a couple of polls months out from an election.

Many commentators were claiming that National was too strong to lose the next election and were making heaps of assumptions regarding Labour’s poor results and the Greens drop to 8% in one rogue poll. Few looked at multiple polls, accounted for the margin of error nor the trends over past months. Even John Key expressed caution about National’s 50+ results (the last time National had more than 50% support in an election was in 1951 under a First Past the Post system).

The last fortnight has seen a complete turn around in National’s fortunes with the latest Roy Morgan Poll seeing them plummet from the Colmar Brunton result of 51% to 45.5%. The Greens have apparently leapt 6 points to a solid 14%.

National have every reason to be worried because most polls tend to favour them and their results are probably always at the top end of the margin of error. Their 51% result was more likely to be around 47% which is the highest that they have ever achieved in a general election over the last few decades. This probably means that the latest result is likely to be around 42% in reality. The only party that they could possibly form a coalition with is New Zealand First and they are languishing on 3.5%.

For the first time the attention is away from the the leaders of the two largest parties and the focus has been  the Ministers and MPs behind them. John Key is a popular Prime Minister but his lack of decisiveness in dealing with his struggling Ministers and his past support of Banks and Dunne is becoming a concern for many. He has also had his successful visit to China muddied by revelations of his own dodgy connections with Oravida and the $56,600 golf photo.

National will need more than an upturn in the economy to reverse their current image of conflicts of interest, coverups and incompetence. Our success with our dairy and timber exports probably would have happened under any government and everything that they have been directly responsible for is looking a little rotten.

Bill English’s reputation took a hit when he appeared to have no real ideas in how to manage the Auckland property boom and limit increases in interest rates. It appears that we will get by through another asset sale and hoping we can muddle through. His ongoing mantra about balancing the books looks even more distant with a drop in tax revenuewhen the economy is supposed to be improving.

Mr Fixit, Steven Joyce, still hasn’t fixed the Novopay debacle and the government has spent $33 million in trying to do so.

Judith Collins’ arrogance has not served her well when dealing with an obvious conflict of interest. She cannot keep passing off her meals and meetings with border control officials and company heads as casual get togethers with ‘very good friends’. It is clear that the relationships between Government Ministers and Oravida is well beyond what was ever implied with SkyCity. Many commentators struggle to understand why Collins hasn’t offered her resignation when other Ministers have done so for less.

Hekia Parata has had so many backdowns and miss-steps that many are surprised that she has remained in charge of the education portfolio. The class size policy failed, Novopay was taken from her, two court cases found against her decisions, National Standards are still not embedded, her Education Ministry head resigned and she can’t even convince the sector that an injection of $359 million into school leadership will be useful. Her management of the Kohanga Reo Trust concerns displays incompetence beyond belief, especially when the terms of the investigation didn’t even cover the key issues.

Gerry Brownlee’s bluff and bluster impresses no one as he bumbles through his management of the Christchurch rebuild and the flawed processes he uses to determine the worth of his $12 billion motorways.

Tony Ryall has managed to get on reasonably well with his health portfolio until Kevin Hague discovered his inaction regarding potential fraud and the revelation that the celebrated increase in surgeries and supposed reduction in waiting lists had been created through dangerous cuts throughout the system.

Amy Adams is struggling to defend herself from the conflict of interest charges made against her as more comes out about her involvement with the removal of ECan and her family connections with Central Plains Water Ltd.

Simon Bridges has failed to present a reassuring presence when defending the Government’s support of deep sea drilling. His shrill, slightly hysterical interview on Campbell Live was disconcerting for many.

Paula Bennett still refuses to measure child poverty or accept more needs to be done as every statistic related to it points to an increasing problem.

Tim Groser is more interested in being a member of the ‘Big Boys Club’ then genuinely looking after New Zealand’s real interests.

Anne Tolley’s personal and clearly racist attack on Metiria Turei was extraordinary as was the support she received from Judith Collins. Metiria’s TV tour of her $130,000 two bedroom castle revealed the nonsense behind the accusations.

Now that the attention has shifted from the style of leadership to the broad competence of the different parties a different image is emerging. Labour has been looking more assured and competent. While Shearer appeared to struggle as leader he would make a solid Foreign Minister, Grant Robinson impresses every time he speaks and Chris Hipkins has Parata struggling with his questions.

The Green Party also look very strong as the overall competency of the Green MPs continues to impress. Many voters could probably name more Green MPs than National ones such is their high profile on regional and national issues. A Labour/Green coalition is actually looking more reassuring than the rather seedy and desperate image emerging from National and their increasingly extreme coalition partners (Act, Conservatives, Dunne).

All Green Party policy announcements over the last few months have been financially modest but would potentially making a noticeable difference to the lives of ordinary New Zealanders and surely that is what real governance should be all about. The Royal Society of New Zealand has also just released a report that supports a shift to a greener economy.

I think this is the beginning of the end of ‘governance through corporates’ as voters become more aware of what the Government has really been up to and how little they have benefited.

22 comments on “LocalBodies: National Slumps in Polls As Ministers Struggle”

  1. Tom Gould 1

    Only 3 News (on line) and the NBR (behind the pay wall) covered the Roy Morgan. Doesn’t fit with the group-think narrative of the political and financial media. These Tories sure have the best cronies money can buy.

  2. Bearded Git 2

    Great post. I have just texted National Radio (2101) to ask Williams/Hooton at 11.05am about the Roy Morgan poll (Lab 31.5 Gr 14 Nat 45.5).

    Others should do likewise NOW!

  3. Clemgeopin 3

    This present National government is a disgraced, unfair and traitorous outfit of the wealthy, by the wealthy with policies that are primarily geared for the benefit of the wealthy, the monopolies and the corporates, at the detriment of ordinary people of this country and its future.

    I agree with the excellent points you have made in your article.

    I think the election worm at last is slowly but steadily turning towards a Labour led government.

    Based on the poll results so far this year, I am estimating that if an election was held today, the party votes would be as follows:

    NATIONAL……..42.6 %
    LABOUR………..33.1 %
    GREENS…………11.5 %
    NZF………………06.3 %
    CONS……………02.4 %
    MAORI………….01.6 %
    MANA…………..01.0 %
    ACT…………..…00.3 %
    UF……………….00.2 %
    OTHERS………..01.0 %

    The Labour led coalition possibility can be easily increased if the ACT, UF and Conservative candidates, (White, Dunne and Colin) are kept out from winning by the left voters in those constituencies by smartly giving their candidate vote strategically to the National candidate and party vote to any of their own preferred left parties, Labour, Greens or Mana. This will ensure that National will have just 3 electorate MPs there rather than 3 List Mps +3 coalition partners=6, while the Labour or left parties will still have their 3 list Mps due to the party vote, provided they are put in fairly higher up on the list.

  4. tricledrown 4

    Where are the rights gloaters today.
    Attacking the greens is the only policy they have.

  5. Red Rosa 5

    Well said all round.

    Corruption is not a word to be used lightly.

    But we have a Minister of Justice who is an admitted liar, on a question of personal gain from her ministerial office. How more corrupt can you get?

    A Minister of Education who runs her a close second for ‘economy with the truth’.

    A Minister of Police who has ignored two very dodgy cop issues around civilian control – off duty assaults and the ‘Hutton eulogy’ promotion.

    Numerous examples of government blatantly its power to shift cash to its mates – charter schools, irrigation, asset fire sales, while punishing those such as Problem Gambling who speak out on dodgy deals such as Sky City.

    Restriction on democracy proposed in education by cutting out student and staff representation on university councils, and the teachers registration board changes. Shades of ECan, where you’d expect calls from farmers around ‘no taxation without representation’, but somehow not…

    Fascism is also not a word to be used lightly. But taking Mussolini’s definition as ‘business comes first’, then this government is looking more like Musso’s every day.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Fascism is also not a word to be used lightly. But taking Mussolini’s definition as ‘business comes first’, then this government is looking more like Musso’s every day.

      National has always been business first but with the added to enrich the already rich. Fascism it may be but it’s far closer to feudalism.

  6. tricledrown 6

    Looks like parata is toast followed by collins and Key .
    More to come
    Keys involvement with Orivida
    Collins must be demotef(higher standards)
    Keys token Maori may be photogenic but failure as minister.
    Army Adams to close to cronyism.
    Tony Ryalls sacking of the problem gambling foundation
    He has to be stood down before he goes.
    Key has painted himself into a credibility corner more lies about Orivida.
    What will happen Key won’t do anything because he hasn’t got Enough mps to sack anyone.
    So the only option left is an early election deny deny deny.

  7. Tracey 7

    i dont like polls. they are a lazy substitute for journalism and to open to manipulation.

    i dont believe nats will get 50% of the vote at election time.

  8. captain hook 8

    The National Party Caucus is a gaggle of lowbrow graspers and they are due to get the boot very soon.

  9. mickysavage 9

    Scoop has a press release from the Kohanga Reo Trust stating that Tata Parata is a director of the trading arm.

    I wonder if he and Hekia are related? If so things just became really interesting …


    • Tracey 9.1

      from a 2012 article

      The complainant is Tata Parata, who describes himself in the complaint letter as a Stokes Valley JP, former police officer and former Lower Hutt city councillor.

  10. Tracey 10

    Parata made this statement today

    ” The Government’s expectations in relation to on-going engagement with the Trust are very clear. We expect to see that the Trust has representative, accountable and transparent governance and management arrangements.”

    The government has no such expectation on its ministers though.

  11. Zorr 11

    It will be very interesting in the next polls because the polling period for this one was before the shit truly hit the fan

  12. swordfish 12

    Once again, I find myself agreeing with the broad thrust of the post, while disagreeing with certain key aspects.

    bsprout rightly questions the hysteria/panic in certain quarters over the Nat/Right spike and Labour/Left slump in a series of polls over recent weeks. Clearly, some commentators are congenitally unable to take a long-term view of poll trends. I could particularly do without panic-pants types, screaming doom and gloom and woe is me.

    But the problem is: in one and the same breath, bsprout (a) rightly chastises people for “reading too much into polls”, “predicting elections based on a couple of polls”, or obsessing over “one rogue poll”, while then going on to suggest that (b) the results of just one poll – the latest Roy Morgan – represents ” a complete turn around” in Party fortunes. What’s more – the post title includes “National Slumps in Polls” (plural), when – at this stage – it appears to be just the Roy Morgan.

    Now, the last thing I want to be here is some sort of self-righteous holier-than-thou milk-monitor, chastising my own side for analysing in a partisan way ( that’s more lurgee’s job :smile: ), but we need to be cautious. Certainly, this is the first time the Nats have dipped below 48 % since late Jan. And my analysis of monthly poll averages over the last 18 months suggests that the surge that National/the Right Bloc have enjoyed over recent weeks won’t last. But we still need to be cautious. Wait for the next few polls to see if there is, indeed, a swing back.

    My feeling from going through the monthly averages is that the usual state of affairs over the last 2 years – the average that the polls keep returning to after temporary surges for the Left and the Right – is Right Bloc 50% / Left Bloc 44%. Taking into account the way Right Bloc support has been consistently overstated (month after month) in the lead-up to the two previous elections, and the way Left Bloc support has been very slightly understated, I’d suggest that the state of equilibrium over the last 2 years is essentially: Right Bloc 47 % / Left Bloc 45 % (or thereabouts – give or take a percentage point).

    • mickysavage 12.1

      Agreed swordfish. This makes the right and MSM’s “the election is over” meme so frustrating. If only everyone would vote …

      Right now we are looking at NZ First holding the balance of power. And I am pretty sure this will end in tears.

      • swordfish 12.1.1

        Yep, Mickey. My strong feeling is that Young Winston will, once again, hold the balance of power. And, unfortunately, I suspect – as you’ve implied – it may very well end in tears for the Left.

        Problem is: I think he sees this as his swansong, a last stint as Minister of Foreign Affairs (before retiring to the cocktail / big-game fishing circuit in 2017). And the fact is (as I’m sure you’re aware): NZ First may be closer to the Left on economic policy and issues of sovereignty, but it’s out on the America-Right-Or-Wrong ideological right when it comes to foreign policy. Opposite end of the ideological spectrum from the Greens in this regard (if there was one MP Winston absolutely delighted in baiting pre-2008, it was Keith Locke). And from voter surveys I saw a few years ago, I’d say NZ First’s supporters feel exactly the same way – Cold War warriors.

        I can only see Winnie going with Labour if (1) the Greens are muzzled and if (2) the campaign momentum is in the Left’s favour (if, for example, Labour’s poll ratings lift during the campaign or Cunliffe does unexpectedly well in the leadership debates – which, incidently, I think he’s eminently capable of – and that, crucially, this is reflected in media coverage).

        But having always been the bridesmaid and never the bride, and being twice as popular (in Party-Vote terms) than they were back in 05, and with leaders/MPs eager for government, I really can’t see the Greens taking a back seat for Winnie (and, as someone of the Left – rather than a Blairite type – I’d have to say neither bloody-well should they !).

        That is, however, the Left’s conumdrum.

        • Clemgeopin

          Here is a scenario :


          the polls turn positive for Labour…………………………………………………….AND
          the wicked ways and silly policies of Nats get exposed……………………………..AND
          the Nat supporters or their swinging supporters think things through…………..AND
          decide en masse to vote for Labour instead,………………………………………..Then
          Labour could form a government on its own………………………………………..AND
          without any encumbrances of any other party………………………………………AND

          then try and make our nation a fairer and better place once again.

          Just a fleeting wishful thought……..

    • Hanswurst 12.2

      But the problem is: in one and the same breath, bsprout (a) rightly chastises people for “reading too much into polls”, “predicting elections based on a couple of polls”, or obsessing over “one rogue poll”, while then going on to suggest that (b) the results of just one poll – the latest Roy Morgan – represents ” a complete turn around” in Party fortunes. What’s more – the post title includes “National Slumps in Polls” (plural), when – at this stage – it appears to be just the Roy Morgan.

      I think the title and the spin are somewhat tongue in cheek. They are knowingly applying the same spin to this poll as was applied to the earlier one by the right, thus highlighting how absurd it is and how easily the media can influence perceptions by framing an issue which is in itself of marginal validity.

      • swordfish 12.2.1

        Ahhh, well if that’s true, Hanswurst, then I’ll have to apologise to bsprout. Perhaps – like many New Zealanders – I’ve had an irony / satire by-pass ? Or perhaps I’m just a bit of a humourless bastard at the best of times ?

      • lprent 12.2.2

        That was how I read it as well. So I carried it through to the excerpt..

    • Swordfish, you’re quite right with your criticisms of my post. I probably didn’t get it quite right but it was intended to be tongue in cheek and proving a point by imitating what I was critical of. The interesting thing about polls, and the commentary that goes with them, is that they can become self fulfilling prophecies and I half hoped that I could help start a shift in thinking similar to what I outlined.

      While it is important to understand the reality behind polling they obviously won’t go away so I guess we also need to use them to our own advantage when we can.

  13. It is surprising that Judith Collins’ Family Court reforms have not received more attention. The Family Court routinely deals with society’s most vulnerable and from 31 March it will be a complete mess for the foreseeable future.

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