The campaign is at a very interesting stage.
The country’s love of Jacinda is very evident. She went to Mangere on Saturday and pretty well everyone turned up to greet her.
At the same time Judith was at Howick and the response was pretty underwhelming. She had to fend off questions about Alfred Ngaro’s bizarre social media post attacking Phil Twyford.
She also had this unfortunate interaction with a Labour supporter. From Michael Nielson at the Herald:
Collins also picked up a face mask, bread, sausages, and two packets of shortbread from Gloria Graydon, of Cheltenham Cakes.
“My husband loves shortbread,” Collins told the Herald.
Graydon didn’t quite share the same love for National, though, telling the Herald she was “definitely voting Labour”.
“Judith, she is very lovely. It was so nice of her to stop by and I’ve always wanted to meet her.
“But I’ve always voted Labour, for those who support the working people.”
Driving back home I realised why. A huge number of National Activists were on the Great North Road, Rata Street intersection, one of the busiest in West Auckland.
But no one was tooting. When local Labour does sign waving we get a huge number of toots. National’s attempt with Judith in the middle fell really flat.
She chose yesterday to go on the offensive about Labour’s tax plans based on Green party policy. The attacks however suffered from two problems:
Thomas Coughlan has the details:
National has taken down an election attack ad after getting its numbers wrong by about $1.8 million.
The party has kicked off its last week of campaigning with an ad criticising the Green Party’s wealth tax, which alleged the tax would cost an average retired couple in Auckland $140 a week.
That was based on a couple owning the average Auckland home, worth $950,000, mortgage-free, according to REINZ, and that couple having savings a Westpac paper suggests would give them “choices” in retirement.
Those savings would be worth $785,000, giving the couple a net wealth of $1.75 million.
The problem with the ad is this couple wouldn’t actually pay the wealth tax at all, as the Greens tax only applies to individuals wealth over $1 million.
A couple would have to have net wealth of more than $2 million to be hit at all.
The couple in question could double their retirement savings – putting aside a cool $1.5m on top of the mortgage-free home and still only pay $48 a week in the tax.
A corrected ad has been published. But these guys are meant to be fiscal geniuses. How can they keep making these mistakes?
National is hanging in there but you get the feeling that the wheels may well and truly fall off at any stage. A report by Richard Harman in Politik this morning (paywalled) has the details.
Two aspects stood out. Judith has apparently cancelled a campaign trip to Tauranga so that she can concentrate on campaigning in Hamilton. I said two months ago that on a good day both Hamilton East and Hamilton West could be vulnerable. Looks like they are.
The second is that Harman states National has figured out who leaked the Denise Lee email. And it is someone in their top 20. Stand by for hostilities to escalate dramatically after Saturday.
In other news Peeni Henare is ahead of John Tamihere in Tamaki Makaurau but not by much. The Maori Party has this election pledged to support Labour if it is elected to Parliament.
And early voting has been very, very heavy. Good turnout is always good news for the left.
This is going to be an interesting week …