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Confidence in govt falls on Hobbit debacle

Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, November 10th, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: election 2011, polls - Tags:

The latest Roy Morgan poll shows confidence in government plummeted during the Hobbit debacle. The poll was conducted over the two weeks between Peter Jackson suddenly claiming the Hobbit would go overseas and the Hobbit Enabling Act being rushed through Parliament. It shows confidence in government falling to a new low for Key’s administration. At the beginning of the year, nearly three-quarters of the population agreed the country was heading in the right direction. Barely 50% do now.

Confidence in government is falling close to where it was when the Labour government lost the last election.

The party polling numbers bounce around as you would expect but the trend there is also clear. The gap is gradually closing.

Since, March National has polled below 50% as often as above. The spikes above 50% are becoming less frequent, the forays below 50% are getting deeper and longer. Labour’s core support is solid around 33% but the challenge is to push it higher. Last year, there were dips below 30% where it looked like base support could be eroded. Now, the spikes are upside, into the mid 30s.

The Greens continue to poll strongly around 8% (notice how there’s none of those tired old media comments about them not making 5% this time round). Meanwhile, ACT support is whithering away, which will leave National with real problems forming a coalition. Especially if Peter Dunne loses his seat

As the trend continues to close, Key is going to have even more reason to go for an early election. If you were him, would you wait another 13 months on these numbers?

Despite the way too many media commentators have automatically written off Labour since the last election, this is going to be a close fought race. With Labour/Green polling in the low 40s and National/ACT around 50%, and a closing trend, it only takes a few percentage points shift to change the result. That’s the kind of shift that could easily happen in a campaign dominated by a double-dip recession and National’s privatisation agenda – for instance.


45 comments on “Confidence in govt falls on Hobbit debacle”

  1. M 1

    ‘With Labour/Green polling in the low 40s and National/ACT around 50%, and a closing trend, it only takes a few percentage points shift to change the result.’

    Hope it happens soon – even the RWNJs at work are really grumbling about the massive ramping up of food prices, but will they be able to join the dots?

    It’s only going to take the next step down in the US, which can’t be too far off, to have a flow on effect here with the ensuing cut,cut,cut that is the only tool in the NACT toolbox.

    As an aside, I know someone who has speculated against our currency to the tune of several hundred thousand thinking it would drop massively against the USD and so far has reaped some gut-wrenching losses but is grimly hanging on hoping for a miracle – can’t see it at this rate.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      If I had that kind of money to play around with, I’d be betting on oil going up.

      Should’ve bet on the AUS appreciating vs NZ, that seemed a bit more certain than NZ depreciating vs US.

    • outofbed 1.2

      With Labour/Green polling in the low 40s

      Which makes a bold assumption!

  2. JayDee 2

    Smile and Wave will be “comfortable” with that!

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Insight: when ordinary middle class NZ’ers on $40K-$80K p.a. see their parents, friends, their brothers and sisters, going on strike, giving up weekend time going on protest marches they know that something is going wrong in our society.

    They may not know the exact cause and effect, or where blame lies, but an uneasy feeling comes on.

    Yes the unions might take a hit but then they see that their family members are out there on the line. They know that this is not about nothing, its about something. Even if its not entirely clear what that is, people are angry, and more importantly, people they know are angry. About something.

    And ‘smile and wave’ always seems to be in the middle of that ‘something’. In other words, we are seeing the first signs of shit sticking.

    The Battle of 2011 is ON.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Make that:

      “… see their parents, friends, their brothers and sisters, EX-WORKMATES AND FRIENDS OFF OVERSEAS, EG TO AUSTRALIA OR ASIA, ..”

      Btw, I am considering leaving for overseas as well … the last straw will be if NACTS get in for a second term and drive their agenda further to cut into working people’s livelihood and make NZ more vulnerable in trying to cope with emerging global changes and the economy.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        I know parents who are just desperate not to have their teenagers head off overseas, or choosing to do their university years in Australia.

  4. Pat 4

    I’m not sure about the Hobbit connection. The poll was conducted after the Blackcaps disastrous tour of Bangladesh.

    • Vicky32 4.1

      That shows that ‘Kiwis’ have a strange way of looking at things, if the outcome for a bunch of cricketists can cause a government to go down! WTF?????

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        In that case the All Blacks at the RWC will either promote Key to Emperor of NZ or send him off drawn and quartered.

        By the way, I’m sure Pat was kidding. Well, hopefully anyway.

  5. gingercrush 5

    Who cares what the Greens poll nobody actually believes they’ll get whatever percentage they’re polling. That 8.5% may as well be treated as 6%

    And you’re a fucking tool. Well done for taking the confidence rating at a low no doubt we won’t see a fucking word stated when the confidence rating once again goes upwards. Just like the party support goes up then down then up then down. You really do need to shut the fuck up about trends. You don’t have a fucking clue about trends.

    Of course after the 2008 election National was going to reach unrealistic numbers while Labour in turn after being knocked from government would see their polling fall below what they would get at a General Election. Its to be expected. The numbers have simply reverted back to more realistic numbers and I can’t see that they’re particularly good for the left. With the Greens polling numbers they never reach and Labour outside of the Sep20-Oct3 can’t break out from 34%.

    Sure the numbers aren’t dire for the left and National has a problem in coalition partners etc but I sure wouldn’t be celebrating if I was the left. You have an idiot in Phil Goff and an arrogant Labour party who will surely set themselves up for embarassment come 2011.

  6. insider 6

    Was there a poll of confidence in the CTU carried out at hte same time? That no doubt would see their stocks rising if your theory were true…

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Public confidence in the CTU is relatively unimportant for the Battle of 2011.

      Public confidence in Key and the National Government however, is.

      I feel a panic pulse coming from over on the Right.

      • Pat 6.1.1

        “I feel a panic pulse coming from over on the Right.”

        If you take your hand off it, you’ll notice that what you felt was something entirely different.

      • insider 6.1.2

        It’s important as a proof point if you think the hobbit is the cause of a poll shift down. I don’t think it was – I think it’s an overly hopeful correlation by Marty.

        I could equally argue that the “NZ going in the right direction” poll could be down because people are concerned at the antics of the unions and see their actions as a sign of bad things to come. Given generally reported reaction to the whole issue, I’d suggest that has a bit more evidence behhind it although I wouldn’t want to put any money on it.

        • Lanthanide

          I agree.

          Also note that the question isn’t “what is your confidence in the government”, but “do you think NZ is heading in the right direction”. I’d say a low result for that reflects more on union antics than it does on the government.

          • felix

            It’s true that it is a very vague question, one that can be answered on almost any basis… BUT it’s also true that supporters of the govt always trumpet a high result as a vote of confidence in the govt.

          • Pascal's bookie

            Same poll saw national drop two percent though eh.

            But yeah, I’ve got issues about reading too much into this poll, as I’ve said before.

            On the wording

            “Generally speaking, do you feel that things in New Zealand are heading in the right direction or would you say things are seriously heading in the wrong direction?”

            That, to me at least, seems to be biased towards a positive result. You are asked to choose between ‘generally,… the right direction’ and ‘seriously… the wrong direction’.

            • felix

              Yep, heavily weighted. You only need to feel mildly positive to answer “yes” but have to be totally pissed off to say “no”.

              • Jim Nald

                Seems weighted to me for at least this reason – there is no qualifying adverb in the first limb but there is a loaded qualifying adverb in the second.

                “are heading in the right direction” cf. “are SERIOUSLY heading in the wrong direction”

                Would be more neutral with the removal of “seriously”.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Knowing the slant of the question’s wording towards favouring the current Government, we can read the results of the poll a bit differently. And that makes it quite interesting eh?

              • Lanthanide

                I would honestly answer ‘yes’ to the question as worded. If they removed ‘seriously’ then I’d probably answer ‘no’.

                Because I know the question is interpreted as ‘support for the government’ I would answer ‘no’.

                • Bright Red

                  it’s Roy Morgan who calls it the Government Confidence Rating, and lots of other foreign pollsters do it too. I guess incumbent govts have a harder time getting re-elected when fewer people think the country is going in the right direction.

        • freedom

          why don’t they simply change the question to
          ‘Is The National Government taking NZ in the right direction?” and remove the ambiguity

          then, “Are the unions taking NZ in the right direction?” etc etc

          if stats are supposedly about accurate representation of data then the initial data surely is the important bit

    • grumpy 6.2

      I think that will become obvious when the polls come up for the period after the Hobbit was sorted.

  7. tc 7

    Interesting even though it’s another one of those rubbery polls, one thing that is certainly occuring is the unemployment, wages growth, immigration trends, price rises and continued amateur performance of sideshow and his ministers (ineffective laws/trolley wreck etc) is making up folks minds that voted for that nice Mr Key and all his lovely promises that they were well and truly conned.

    There’s no plan, ability or even intention to make NZ better for most of society just the same old flog off assets, reward the already well off even more and crush the proles….folk who’ve lived through the 80’s on already knew this however alot of new kiwis didn’t but they know all to well now.

    The hobbit debacle showed key at his best, clueless, a shite negotiator who happily gave up more taxpayers money for a movie that wasn’t going anywhere else anyway and passed laws that muddied not clarified matters.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    The government are trying very hard to lose the election.

    The opposition aren’t trying very hard to win it.

    Stay-at-home party set for a landslide.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      I’d agree with that. But chances are both are going to turn around next year.

      Peter Dunne’s income splitting is going to be the cherry for the budget, and not much else besides.

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      Yes Labour is not quite there yet but I do think it is gearing up quite nicely. Mana is a practice run, Labour has activists from all over the country there getting properly stuck in. And there is plenty of work going on around the party developing the details of the “Two New Zealands/Better Jobs, Higher Incomes/Children” platform described quite clearly at Conference.

      Stay-at-home party set for a landslide.

      Yeah, not the Labour folks I know.

  9. Adrian 9

    Income splitting is not a goer, it is just unaffordable in the next God knows how long.

  10. salsy 10

    Dont forget the truism, As Auckland Goes – So Goes the Country… If anything, that should scare the sh*t out of the Nats. Especially when John Key wont hand over any money for rail, but that nice guy phil goff *has* promised it, oh and with trains made in Dunedin because that new Labour government are commited to building our economy, not Asia’s.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      What Labour need to do know is propose a timeline which gets Dunedin built trains to AKL real fast. For the first traunch of trains that may mean doing a bit less and importing a bit more but that will change for future batches.

      • salsy 10.1.1

        Claire Curran made an interseting point, that $500 million Kiwirail $$ taken straight out the NZ economy. Jobs and investment in technologies handed over to Korea, but no outcry. The same amount threatened to leave via the hobbit and huge outcry. Kiwis have lost their sense of pride and ownership of their own assets and technologies. That is what needs fueling..

        • Colonial Viper

          Add aviation fuel and watch it burn, my man, its the Battle of 2011.

        • Frank Macskasy

          “Claire Curran made an interseting point, that $500 million Kiwirail $$ taken straight out the NZ economy. Jobs and investment in technologies handed over to Korea, but no outcry. ”


          Hence this little piece I write a week or so ago…

          ““No Middle Ground on Middle Earth”

          by Frank Macskasy

          If ever mass hysteria gripped this country, it was no better demonstrated that the last few weeks, when an industrial dispute erupted between Peter Jackson and Actor’s Equity. The reaction from every segment of New Zealand society was one of collective naked fury not seen since the Under Arm Incident of 1981 or as divisive as the Springbok Tour, in the same year.

          A simple dispute between Employer and Union turned into a near-panic and events spiralled unbelievably out of control, taking all the main players by surprise. There were street marches; Youtube videos of Union officials harassed by anonymous video-photographers; threats; counter-threats; abusive emails(again mostly anonymous); newspaper editorials; and Talkback radio and internet chatrooms that demanded blood and the sacrifice of First Born.

          All over a couple of movies about hairy-footed fantasy characters.

          Actors Equity, to it’s credit realised that the ire of the Village Mob had been aroused; were screaming for retribution; and duly called off any and all industrial action. Mostly to no avail, as reason had taken leave of most New Zealanders, it seems.

          Finally, our esteemed Prime Minister and Typical All-Round Nice Bloke, John Key, faced off against a high-powered gang of Hollywood executives from Warner Bros. He went into the meeting declaring beforehand that there would be “no bidding war” with the likes of Slovakia or Hungary to retain the movies.

          He came out some hours later confirming that tax-payers would be paying $85 million to Warner Bros, and we would be changing our labour laws to comply with their wishes. The Mafia couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

          But was on Earth caused such a nationwide, feverish hysteria from so many normally easy-going Kiwis? What sparked such an outrage that saw local actors threatened with violence and even death? Even Robyn Malcolm stated she would be selling her home – such was the naked hatred being expressed toward members of New Zealand’s Actor’s Equity.

          To be clear, this mass hysteria has little to do with an industrial dispute.

          It has little to do with the prospect of losing a $650 million dollar venture to Eastern Europe.

          And to be brutally clear, most folk couldn’t care tuppence about local actors and technicians losing their jobs in the process.

          After all, New Zealanders have stood by quietly and meekly as company after company relocated their manufacturing base and call centres tro China, Australia, Fiji, India, and elsewhere. Certainly not one single New Zealanders marched in the streets when Fisher & Paykel moved their manufacturing to China or when Telstra Clear moved part of it’s call centre to The Philippines; as did many other companies.

          Since the late 1980s, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost overseas, and most of our manufacturing sector has followed suit. Even our farmland is now up for grabs (more on this in a moment).

          So obviously, New Zealanders are not to fussed about the ‘gutting’ of our economy. It has been happening for over twenty years and mostly with practiced indifferance by The Kiwi Masses.

          So what was it that stirred the blood of ordinary New Zealand men and women to boiling point?

          The answer, I would suggest, lies in our sense of self; our national identity.

          Quite simply – we don’t have one.

          Once upon a time, we took pride in our rugby team, the All Blacks. Players such as Colin Meads, Sid Going, Brian Lahore, Ian Kirkpatrick were the stuff of legends. We were a tiny nation, but our team of fifteen black-garbed heroes could venture forth and thrash teams from far more numerically-populated nations. Australia, Britain, South Africa, France – all fell before The Mighty Blacks.

          Then, as rugby became commercialised and slightly less “heroic”; splintered into various other ‘codes’; tickets became outrageously expensive; and the names became more South Pacific than South Island – we slowly ceased to identify ourselves with the game. We became more sophisticated and were tempted with other sporting distractions in which we could take a small measure of national pride.

          Also once upon a time, we took pride in being a rural country that could out-produce any other agricultural and farming country on this planet. Our archetypal hero, Fred Dagg, was a simple character with common sense wisdom and good-natured, blokish, humour.

          But we outgrew Fred Dagg; John Clark moved to Australia; and our farmers began to speak with American, Australian, and Chinese accents.

          We were a nation left with not many heroes, except for randy doctors and nurses on “Shortland Street” and high-flying financiers such as Faye & Richwhite and Allan Hawkins. Except that Faye & Richwhite were eventually investigated by the Securities Commission for insider-trading; the NZ Railways they purchased was looted and our rail system fell apart through lack of maintenance; and Allan Hawkins ended up in jail. The doctors and nurses on “Shortland Street” carried on with their amourous activities.

          Then almost overnight, a new hero burst upon the scene: Peter Jackson.

          Jackson started off in 1987 with his Z Grade splatter-movie, “Bad Taste”. He quickly ran out of money and required tax-payer bail-out to the tune of $235,000 from the New Zealand Film Commission.

          The film achieved a small measure of cult-status and kick-started Jackson’s career. His subsequent films were popular, employing unique and charming aspects of Kiwi culture and humour.

          In 2001, Jackson’s first installment of “The Lord of The Rings” was released and became an international sensation. The eventual-trilogy earned Jackson Hollywood accolades; millions of dollars; and more Oscar Awards than could be carried in Fred Dagg’s old wheelbarrow.

          Indeed, the entire country shared in the radiant glory. New Zealand was suddenly the center of international attention, if not most of the Known Universe. To be a Kiwi was cool. Tourists flocked to our country, eager to see the mountains; the rivers; the forests; and Hobbits roaming freely. Aotearoa became Hobbiton.

          The Mountain Troll stood guard in Wellington’s civic square. A hero’s parade at the World Premiere of “Return of the King” wound it’s way through Wellington’s streets. Dragons adorned The Embassy and Readings Theatres. A giant arrow was cleverly plunged into the side of a Courtney Place pub. And a giant statue of Gollum greeted visitors to Wellington’s International Air Terminal.

          We suddenly knew who we were; we were the mythical land of Middle Earth. We were the nation that produced a man who could complete three complex movies, back-to-back, reaping hundreds of millions in profit in the process.

          It put New Zealand on the map and our national and personal pride was boundless.

          When the trilogy won a combined total of seventeen Oscars, Billy Crystal was moved to say, at the 2004 Academy Award ceremonies; “It’s now official. There is no one left in New Zealand to thank.” .That was the point at which Kiwis experienced a collective orgasm.

          As many of the protest-placards stated during the recent “Save The Hobbit” marches; “New Zealand IS Middle Earth”.

          So when Actor’s Equity began their industrial action at the end of September, they were not just taking on Peter Jackson. Nor were they taking on Warner Bros. No, Actor’s Equity was “attacking” New Zealand’s deepest, cultural psyche.

          New Zealanders now identified so closely with hobbits and Middle Earth that any suggestion that movie productions be moved offshore was akin to wounding our collective heart. No wonder we responded with such irrational anger and hatred; our very national identity was under threat and as any psychologist will tell you, assaulting a person’s psyche can have far more dire consequences than simply biffing him one.

          New Zealand was not about to lose something we identified so closely with. (Because we had nothing else left in which to express our national pride.) And certainly not through industrial action led by an Australian, through an Australian trade union – which in itself raised stark issues surrounding our rivalry with that country. Australia was (in)famous for attempting to steal our cultural icons and now it appeared that they were after ‘Our Precious’, The Hobbit.

          Yes, it seems we are that insecure.

          So when John Key bent over backwards to the Wide Boys from Warner Bros, he was prostituting this country because he had no alternative. Far better to “take one for the team” than an alternative that, conceivably, could have resulted in people actually being harmed or killed.

          Yes, the hatred was that palpable.

          For a brief moment in our history, we went collectively mad. We were Bilbo Baggins faced with the awful prospect of losing The Ring forever.

          And like Bilbo, we just couldn’t bear to part with The Precious. We were The Precious and without it, we were faced with a cultural emptiness.

          We are indeed slaves to The One Ring.

          • felix

            Beautifully put.

          • Carol

            Frank, your points on loss of jobs overseas to other industries, are very significant, and need to be repeated as widely as possible in NZ.

            On our national identity: you link it with “national pride”, which I think is maybe more of a significant factor than the identity issue. This is because, the main screen production in NZ that stimulates comments about it representing characters that Kiwis can identify with, is Outrageous Fortune. And even though Robyn Malcolm has been the audience choice as sexiest woman on TV for many years, because of her role as Cheryl West, somehow Malcolm’s support of the actors’ cause did not trump the Jackson-Middle Earth generated hysteria. And Jackson’s Hollywood films have less in them that Kiwis can identify with, at least at a character and narrative level. Middle Earth is championed, not so much for it’s representation of NZ, but because it “puts NZ on the International map”: ie it has to do with national pride.

            The question is, why is that “pride” in an internationally recognised sense of a very superficial national identity, more important than our deeper and more personalised sense of a local identity? It does seem to have to do with a “loss of national identity”, as you say Frank, but a long side the loss of a national identity at an international level, we do have at least one local production that has constructed a sense of Kiwiness for a large proportion of New Zealanders.

        • g says

          surely some mileage can be made out of this exporting of money instead of giving the local economy a boost.
          hopefully someone is keeping their powder dry to use nearer ballot time

  11. Sean Brooks 11

    Unless there is a major scandel or things really turn to custard, there is no way national will be a one term government.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Both are likely to happen, and at that crucial stage Key will be ousted as his ‘light weight’ demeanour will have become a distinct liability to National credibility in tough times.

  12. g says 12

    winston could be both of those….
    also if the voters in mr dunne electorate were to realise that he is not the family friendly chap he makes out and that he will do whatever with whoever to keep on as an mp….
    act just needs to keep it together for a bit longer…
    (if act is the answer we need to ask different questions)

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    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago