National are still cruising in the polls, and no doubt feeling pretty confident about the next election. But ticking the blue box is easy – how firm is that support? We’re seeing big protests against this government.
Nearly 50,000 people signed a petition opposing opening up protected land for mining. Over 53,000 people signed a petition opposing proposed cuts to Adult Community Education (ACE). 53,000 people called on the government to do better over whaling. Almost 38,000 signed the petition opposing the Nats disastrous “national standards” in primary schools. 6,300 people (out of a population of 22,000) signed a petition calling for North Rodney to remain independent of the new “Supercity”. Yesterday several hundred people took to the East Coast beaches, and fires burned to protest at plans for offshore drilling. And let’s not forget the thousands turning out to protest in Christchurch at the abolition of local democracy, and the 50 – 60,000 people who marched in Auckland against mining in the biggest single protest in this country since 1938.
Against these grassroots protests, we have National’s claims of widespread support. Claims like the following:
It’s been great to receive positive feedback about National Standards and our other education initiatives from parents in [insert region here]
So, questions. Is there any significant National policy that isn’t attracting popular protest, criticism from the experts, or both? Why should be believe National’s claims of support on issues when they are clearly running a centrally managed astroturf campagin? Where is the genuine evidence of support? And National’s poll ratings, currently high but softening, how much further will they have fallen by the 2011 election?