Into the Vortex of Confirmation Bias: why we won’t be able to figure out which way Winston will go…

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, October 14th, 2017 - 160 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, election 2017, winston peters - Tags: , , , , ,

I am cursed with the wretched combination of holding impassioned Red/Green values in tense interaction with my decades of work as a social scientist. Every morning, as the waiting for Winston to decide continues to fray my fragile psyche, I can look at myself in the mirror, contemplate my own frenzied speculative hopes for an Ardern Prime Ministership, and immediately think of a host of strong social-methodological reasons why all such speculation is futile.

There are a host of reasons, but I’ll concentrate on three:

1) Categorical over-reach (ie. There is ‘one true meaning’ to what has happened in this election).

Elections are won and lost over a massive array of complex factors. Their outcome is co-produced by endless different, complex interactions. Just like sporting events, we can only comprehensively place a narrative framework on them once the game is over (and even then, by selecting out particular elements of what has happened). Claire Robinson in The Spinoff, fell into exactly this error by declaring this to be a ‘status quo’ election based on one factor – the state of opinion polls 18 months prior to the election – and then retro-fitting this as signifying ‘no change’ as the one true meaning of the election. Andrew Geddis did a good job of rebutting this search for single categorical understandings of what is happening.

But we are all prone to this tendency: picking one single dynamic and using it as the meta-cause beyond which all other things are merely effects. I’ll get back to this problem in a moment, but first, the challenge gets further complicated by another problem…

2) Confirmation Bias (I really don’t need to explain this because we know what this is…):

Bryce Edwards’ columns in the Herald listing ten reasons why the result will go National’s way and then 13 reasons for a Labour win, could be interpreted in a number of ways. As a person who strongly desires one over the other of these outcomes, I read these in very different ways. When I was reading the case for National, I wanted to see the counter-argument to every one of his ten pieces of evidence. When I read the case for Labour, not only was I convinced well before I read the whole thirteen reasons, I didn’t feel the need to see countermanding evidence for even one of them! Thirteen versus Ten reasons! Count em!

Nowhere is this confirmation bias more evident than in our parsing of the character and motivations of Winston Peters himself. US progressives have recently been through a rollercoaster ride of love/hate with John McCain. In the lead-up to his fateful vote ‘saving’ Obamacare, he filled the classic position of the centrist ‘maverick’ politician: there was plenty to hate and nevertheless a lot to admire and like. The moment his vote went in our favour (I’m assuming all Standardista’s wanted to retain Obamacare), his actions and motivations were re-cast in a stellar new light.

Peters gives us an even more complex tableau because his capacity for making multiple contradictory statements, and the sheer volume of his pronouncements have created a whirling vortex of possible confirmation bias for those of us trying to read his mind. There will be an outpouring of love/hate for Winston after this decision with little in between. Maybe it will be best for the emotional stability of progressives if we prepare for either option?

Which leads to the addition of a third layer to the ‘impossible to guess’ cake that I am trying to bake…

3) Elections are Complex not Complicated.

This is one of the key distinctions across a whole pile of methodological fields. Complicated things have multiple independent moving parts which than combine to create a specific effect. Space Shuttles are complicated. There are millions of moving parts, but if you have the blueprints, you can reproduce one and get, more or less, the same thing. Complex systems, however, are defined by sets of relationships that are not independent to each other. They move and change – which then changes other outcomes across the entire system. The relationships between parents and children are complex – they involve multiple relationships that most definitely change over time and produce unpredictably complex effects. There is no blueprint for a successful parent-child relationship.

This critical methodological distinction is the reason why Nate Silver’s 538 model – which was designed to predict the US election outcome in 2016 – gave Trump a 30% chance of winning (actually, quite a distinct chance) compared to the Princeton Electoral Consortium model’s prediction which gave Trump no chance at around 1% (which, BTW, confirmation bias then amplified to be the ‘correct’ prediction for progressives evaluating these two models). The Princeton model was complicated – it evaluated state by state polling with each state being independent from the others. Margins of errors therefore cancelled themselves out over all the states (ie. If a poll had a margin of error that put Trump up too far in Minnesota, random error would balance that with the opposite margin of error in another state). Nate Silver’s model predicted that bunches of states move in complex connection to each other – so if a polling shift in one state showed a bit of potential movement towards Trump, he extrapolated that to all the connected states in his model, amplifying the potential shift. Hence a shift in polling in one Rust-belt state indicated a shift in them all. As we all know to our great regret – the complex model was far more accurate on the night. Trump didn’t win at 100-1 odds, he finessed a one-third chance at victory via a complex shift in voting behaviour across the Rust-belt.

So, elections are not complicated they are complex. If we run down Bryce Edward’s lists of factors supporting an outcome in favour of National or Labour – they aren’t causally-independent from each other. Movement in one factor will potentially influence sets of others. They are in complex interaction. We don’t know which the ‘prime moving’ factor will be that will trigger decisive movement across all the others.

That won’t stop us trying, but really we can’t know which is the primary motivator in Winston’s mind and we can’t know how that will interact with the wider caucus and, now, the NZ First Boards as well. Finally, and most important of all, the prime factor may be something that has been offered or said inside the confidential meetings which can have no way of knowing until well after the fact.

Unfortunately, for the truly obsessed, you can’t simply eliminate confirmation bias by going down the list of ten/thirteen factors that Edwards identifies and add up which are less likely than others and give an accumulated likelihood score of one overall outcome over the other. Maybe we should just add them all up? Maybe thirteen is clearly better than ten? As we know from studies of jury behaviour, for most jurors (the ones who actually end up making a decision one way or the other), the evidence accumulates in complex patterns and ONE piece of evidence ends up being the tipping point that shifts the outcome one way or the other. And for many jurors in the same cases, it is different pieces of evidence that tip them over. We just don’t know what that one tipping point factor will be for Winston. Not that we’ll stop trying to guess!

4) What we do know: it is a tight decision.

In all this murkiness, one thing has become more clear over the last few days. There is one fact we can hang some hats on – Winston has missed his deadline!

If there was one clear factor driving the subsequent complexities in one direction, or if Winston had entered this process with a clear destination in mind, the game would be over by now. He had ample time and information to justify a decision and make his announcement yesterday.

The fact that he has missed that deadline comes down, in my mind, to one of three things:

  • He needs more time and a group-process to actually come to a decision.
  • He needs time to strategize the consequences of the decision.
  • Winston is struggling through: health, indecision, or genuine perplexity, to reach a decision and needs a break.

Of these, only the second scenario would suggest that this is a clear-cut decision. I’d be very interested in any other suggestions Standardista’s might have, but the half of me governed by social-scientific sensibilities is winning over my insane Red/Green optimist… This is too close to call and we cannot in any way guess the outcome.

By: Smellpir

160 comments on “Into the Vortex of Confirmation Bias: why we won’t be able to figure out which way Winston will go…”

  1. ianmac 1

    5. Climax Expectations.
    As all film goers know we have the expectation that we will be held on tenterhooks while tension is wound up. As all those who watch 5 day cricket matches know there is a higher risk of a heart attack but yet we indulge in the fun of high expectations.
    So in this case, the antidote is yoga and alcohol in equal proportions and the wisdom of having prepared your will goes without saying.

  2. Lyn 2

    Too close to call is also a protective mechanism. Red/Green values myself and even with Edwards 13 vs10 factors supporting outcomes, this has come down to human nature.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Well done. One of the best articles I have read here.

    I read Bryce Edwards articles as well. I agree with you that it is not as simple as counting up the number of points in favour of a deal with National or Labour. Some points are weighted much more heavily than others.

    If National has offered up Northland to NZ First next time around, this would give NZ First guaranteed survival as a party, and give Winston the legacy he is looking for. So, if National has made this offer, it could have a heavy weighting on the decision process.

    Of course we don’t know if National has made such an offer. But National has form in making these sorts of arrangements, as per its arrangement with ACT. So, I would not be at all surprised if that has been put on the table.

    • If National has offered up Northland to NZ First next time around, this would give NZ First guaranteed survival as a party, and give Winston the legacy he is looking for.

      Consider this:

      Peters received a significant amount of media attention towards the end of the campaign at the height of the Tea Tape scandal which arose during the campaign. Peters had criticised the arrangement in the seat of Epsom between National and ACT in which National encouraged its supporters to vote for the ACT candidate for their electorate MP…

      Given that do you really think that offering him the same rort and that NZ1st would, essentially, be owned by National forever afterwards, he or NZ1st would actually accept such a deal?

      • BM 3.1.1

        Think of it more as insurance.

        If NZ First is polling below 10% in 2020, then yes they’d probably take that option.

        Always good to have a plan b.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          See, the problem is that you actually expect others to drop to your lack of morals every time when they consistently hold to some sort of moral code. It’s called psychological projection and you RWNJs have got it bad.

          Doing such a deal with National will be the end of NZ1st – same as it was the death of ACT.

          • cleangreen 3.1.1.1.1

            I agree with you Draco as Smithfield & BM are right leaners they are postulating National offering the Northland seat to Winston, without any condition assumably.

            But National as (Smithfield states correctly) has ‘form’ (quote) “National has form in making these sorts of arrangements, as per its arrangement with ACT.”

            So we do also know graphically through the last nine years that National always relies on deception and lies to get it’s way.

            Winston will know that this offer to sacrifice northland to Winston is a red flag to drag Winston into a trap, – as later they choose at any time to dis-honour that flimsy so called ‘agreement’ if it indeeed exists at all.

            Winston knows not to trust national, (winebox/super overpay) and any such offer to give Northland to him will be a false offer to grab the treasury again avoiding the coming labour lead Government from discovering that the books are possiblly full of $11 billion dollar holes.

            • tsmithfield 3.1.1.1.1.1

              If they dishonour coalition agreements, then parties will not coalesce with them in the future. So, there is nothing to be gained by doing the dirty and reneging on agreements. In fact it would be a fatal mistake to do so.

          • tsmithfield 3.1.1.1.2

            “See, the problem is that you actually expect others to drop to your lack of morals”

            So where has the Green party’s morals got them so far in terms of power in parliament? Playing by the rules are the morals. You should expect that others will play by the rules and push the rules as far as possible to get their objective. Its called winning.

            “Doing such a deal with National will be the end of NZ1st – same as it was the death of ACT.”

            Yet ACT still exists as a party, and is still represented in parliament. In some future universe they might flourish and grow from that position. It would be much more difficult to do so if they weren’t in parliament at all.

            NZ First is almost certainly doomed without an electorate seat given their proximity to the 5% threshold and the way history has treated minor parties in coalition with larger ones. So, the safety net of an electorate seat will be greatly valued in terms of survival.

            • DoublePlusGood 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Sorry, when was the last time NZ First was consistently polling under 5%. They’ve been solidly 7-9% for quite a while – I think they have a solid enough base that moderately good performance in the next term of government will get them over 5% in the next election. They just have to deliver enough stuff to their support base.

              • tsmithfield

                The moment Winston retires they will drop like a stone. Winston is NZ First.

                • tracey

                  Based on what? This Board of NZF who have all just been named, you believe they will just sit there and nod? Based on what? That is what you would do if you were on their or national’s Board?

                • cleangreen

                  We are not listening to your crap so dont bother smithfield.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.2.2

              So where has the Green party’s morals got them so far in terms of power in parliament?

              Quite a bit actually.

              Playing by the rules are the morals.

              And if the rules support immoral actions then they will be changed by a more moral government.

              You don’t get to call immoral actions moral just because the rules allow them. They’re still immoral and the rules are wrong.

              Yet ACT still exists as a party, and is still represented in parliament.

              Technically I suppose it does exist as a party. After all, it needs 500+ financial supporters.

              In some future universe they might flourish and grow from that position.

              Possible but unlikely. I’d also note that it (and every other party in parliament) did that without parliamentary representation at one point.

              It would be much more difficult to do so if they weren’t in parliament at all.

              Yes because they wouldn’t have the government subsidies.

              NZ First is almost certainly doomed without an electorate seat given their proximity to the 5% threshold and the way history has treated minor parties in coalition with larger ones.

              NZ1st has been in and out of parliament a few times now. I suspect that they know how to survive without the government subsidies.

              • tsmithfield

                “And if the rules support immoral actions then they will be changed by a more moral government.”

                Exactly right. That’s how rules evolve. But, whatever the rules are, they will always be pushed to the limit.

                “You don’t get to call immoral actions moral just because the rules allow them. They’re still immoral and the rules are wrong.”

                Mate, do you live in a fantasy world populated by Smurfs and Telly-tubbies? Because, the real world isn’t like that. You need to get out more.

                “NZ1st has been in and out of parliament a few times now. I suspect that they know how to survive without the government subsidies.”

                But it is much easier to do so inside government than outside. Which is why an electorate seat will be a very attractive proposition.

                • red-blooded

                  Are the people of Northland as tame and easily dictated to by National as the people of Epsom? After all, they were disenchanted enough with the Nats to send them a message in the by-election…

                  • tsmithfield

                    Exactly. Which is why they are the ideal electorate to offer NZ First from National’s perspective.

                  • Shona

                    Yep and over 24,000 of us did not vote National.(13,000 votes) in Northland

                  • Skinny

                    Actually the only difference to the by-election was Prime (Labour) was campaigning for the candidate vote, had to be her own ego as she was in on the list. And the Greens voted for Prime as they were venting NZF had got ahead of them in the polls.

                    None of this matters now as Peters won’t be back so even Jones standing there as leader in 2020 probably won’t change King winning again.

                  • Hongi Ika

                    Northland is a different kettle of fish to Epsom different demographics.

                • …the real world isn’t like that.

                  Whenever right-wingers say that, they mean “the right-wing world isn’t like that.” We know it isn’t, that’s one reason we’re not part of it.

                • tracey

                  Again ” the real world isn’t like that. You need to get out more.” what does this actually mean? Describe this real world, where do we need to go to find it? Like your “rules are morality” statement, they are meant to sound superior and intelligent but are actually empty, border-line ad hominems betraying an inability to actually argue the points being made.

              • tracey

                What Rules? You both need to define the Rules you are talking about.

                English said he has a moral mandate. TSmithfield says the rules are the morals. There is no rule that says getting a smidge over 44% is a mandate.

                DTB – I do not mean this rudely but I think by jumping past these ” elusive Rules” that Smithfield glibly throws around gets him off the hook of explaining and justifying his statement “the rules are the morals”.

                Until we know what he means by these “Rules”, which he can presumably name/list, let alone his definition of morals, we are being led by the nose?

            • tracey 3.1.1.1.2.3

              You keep writing “Playing by the rules are the morals” as though it is a fact and an automatic refutation of the suggestion the rules and the morals are different. It sounds little like people who say “it’s PC gone mad” as though that is a legitimate counter argument rather than an attempt to silence dissenting viewpoints.

              What is it based upon, is it a quote or a saying of your own making?

              The Greens have had proximity to the 5% threshold since 1996. Is 21 years how long this demise will take if National don’t give Winston a seat and he doesn’t take it as payment? It seems to me this one-trick pony thinking is off-base. I certainly hope far more depth of thought and anaylsis is going into this decision-making process than you are crediting.

              Anyway back to your claim that the “Rules are the Morals.” Would love to see this backed up in some way. Convince me. Start with outlining the Rules you are referring to.

              • tsmithfield

                They are just the basic rules of how MMP works:

                1. 5% threshold for representation.
                2. An electorate seat is the exception to that rule.
                3. The grouping with the majority of seats forms the government (unless a minority is allowed to rule through abstaining on votes for confidence and supply etc).

                That is pretty much it. Anything that happens within those rules is fine, whether it is electing not to stand in a seat so another party can win etc.

                Perhaps you could now tell me which “morals” invalidate any of those rules, and the way they can be used.

                • Perhaps you could now tell me which “morals” invalidate any of those rules, and the way they can be used.

                  Telling people how to vote (National, Epsom) is immoral.
                  Working the system so as to get far more power per person in an electorate than other people get in other electorates is immoral (National in Epsom and Ohāriu).

                  These actions are presently allowed by the rules which makes the rules wrong as they allow immoral actions. Just because the rules presently allow those actions doesn’t make those actions moral.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Abiding by the rules is the moral thing to do. You agree that the actions you describe are within the rules. Therefore, behaviour within these rules is moral.

                    • You’re full to the brim of Logical Fallacies.

                      Abiding by the rules is the moral thing to do.

                      Not when the rules are wrong.

                      You agree that the actions you describe are within the rules.

                      Yes they are but they’re also immoral. Being within the rules doesn’t change that.

                      Therefore, behaviour within these rules is moral.

                      A non-sequitur and Circular Logic.

                    • Tracey

                      Rules and Laws set minimum standards of behaviour not maximum standard. You choose to equate morals with rules so that you can be comfortable with the lowest standard of behaviour. I agree with Draco… you are full of logical fallacies. I am sure you thi nk you ate being clever but the qurstions you avoid answering are as telling as tge ones you do.

                • Tracey

                  How does that fit with the lying by English and Joyce? Cos that is not covered by any of your Rules.

                • Tracey

                  Were my other questions too hard??

      • veutoviper 3.1.2

        +11111

      • tsmithfield 3.1.3

        You clearly haven’t learned much about Winston over the years. What Winston says and what Winston does are two different things.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.3.1

          He is still right-wing. I just think he actually has a moral compass and dislikes being embarrassed by himself whereas National and it’s supporters don’t.

        • tracey 3.1.3.2

          Like Key (no new taxes) – cue raised GST, raised petrol taxes raising a tax creates a new tax… English (11b hole) actually proposed zero budget which he ran in 2014 and 2015… WFF is communism by stealth according to Key when campaigning, but afterwards it remained and funding increased… English voted against marriage equality but in campaign mode says he would vote for it now… suddenly believes in poverty in NZ…

          The funny thing is that from all I have learned over the years about Winston and national, I would trust Peters more.

        • cleangreen 3.1.3.3

          Smithfield = winston hater.

    • NewsFlash 3.2

      tsmithfield

      The number of times I heard this about National gifting the Northland seat to Winston, you know, Labour and the Greens are actually in a better position to offer Winston that seat, the Greens received 1850 votes in Northland and Labour 7500 votes, Winston only lost the seat by a little over a 1000, if NZF had aligned it’s self prior to election with the left, Labour and Green voters could have ensured Winston held on to the Northland seat as they did to get him elected the first time with the “send them a message” campaign in the by-election.

      I have made the comment previously that Winston was unlikely to win Northland in the general election because he wouldn’t be supported by the G/L block as they will be voting for their individual parties, and without that support, a likely loss for Winston, which was the outcome.

      Tbh, Winston probably didn’t want to align himself with the Left as it would/could affect some of the support base, disenchanted National voters, but at end of the day, the scare mongering contributed to a significant decline in support for him anyway.

      • cleangreen 3.2.1

        1000005 NEWSFLASH,

        Brilliantly summmmerised, I guess smithfield will be upset that the left have learned to strategise now ha ha.

  4. Robert Guyton 4

    During the negotiations, Labour will not have said, “If you don’t choose us, we’ll destroy you over the next 3 years, besmirching your name, relentlessly bad-mouthing the Government you fabricated and every action it takes. You know we can, we have the mechanisms in place and the ethical vacuum needed to behave this way. Be warned, Winston!”

    But National will have 🙂

    And that’ll be all it takes to have Winston choose…Labour 🙂

  5. ianmac 5

    It seems very unlikely to me that National would make an offer of Northland. 10 years ago it would have made sense but when you are in your 70s most unlikely.
    Winston would be far more likely to want the legacy of steering NZ into a caring society and away from a belief that every one can be rich and every Government decision must be to benefit the economy.

    • tsmithfield 5.1

      Remember though, at seventy he will be looking for legacy, given that he may well retire prior to the next election, given his age. So, what better legacy is there than the ongoing continuation of the party he initiated?

      It also makes sense from National’s long term strategic perspective. They need more coalition partners going forward. Such an arrangement would ensure a compliant NZ First in future elections because National could easily take the security blanket away if NZ First don’t play ball in future elections.

      • ianmac 5.1.1

        Remember that Winston called Seymour the highest paid beneficiary in NZ. Would he want that label for himself?

        • tsmithfield 5.1.1.1

          I guess he wouldn’t be a beneficiary anymore once he retires. But is fellow MPs might be very interested in such a safety net.

          • tracey 5.1.1.1.1

            So for you, this entire decision is based around one man’s self interest?

            • tsmithfield 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Read what I wrote more carefully. It means the opposite of what you just said.

              • Tracey

                It is hard to follow you sometimes and especially when you leave gaps and refuse to answer questions which will clarify it

      • Michael 5.1.2

        It will be Sir Winston and the keys to Broomstick One again rather than endless vitriol over the contents of his annual declarations to WINZ about his entitlement to NZ Super that will decide the matter. He’ll pick the nats and take them down with him in 2020 as his final contribution to our country’s public life (although I won’t understimate Labour’s capacity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again).

      • cleangreen 5.1.3

        “It also makes sense from National’s long term strategic perspective”

        What more have they got lined up to sell yet now as their ‘long term strategy ‘ as it is only about selling the last of what we have got left?.

    • Gristle 5.2

      Developing a mechanism to ensure the longevity of NZF will not be achieved by gifting an electorate seat. Look at Act in Epsom to confirm this.

      Electoral longevity for NZF has to be centred on maintaining relevance amongst the electors. This means it is about what NZF achieves in this next government.

      • BM 5.2.1

        If that’s the case he only has one option and that’s to go National.
        David Farrar put some data up a day or two ago pointing out where NZ First does best and where it does worst.

        Top 10

        Whangarei 14.1%
        Northland 13.2%
        Coromandel 12.3%
        Tauranga 11.3%
        Te Tai Tokerau 11.2%
        Bay of Plenty 10.8%
        Rangitikei 10.4%
        Wairarapa 10.3%
        Waikato 10.1%
        Whanganui 10.1%

        Bottom 10

        Wellington Central 2.3%
        Epsom 3.1%
        Mt Albert 3.4%
        Rongotai 3.7%
        Ohariu 3.7%
        Ilam 3.8%
        Auckland Central 3.9%
        Tamaki 3.9%
        Mt Roskill 4.4%
        Botany 4.6%

        As one of the posters wrote in the thread 19 out of their 20 best results were in seats won by National MPs.

        https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/10/best_and_worst_seats_for_nz_first.html#comments

        • Nick 5.2.1.1

          You had me at David farrar……. Not.

          • james 5.2.1.1.1

            Yep ignoring clear cut and provable facts – simply because you dont like where they came from.

            Must be strange living in such a bubble – see point 2 of this post.

            • marty mars 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Spinners spin and only fools and the gullible don’t take that into consideration. See point 2 of this post.

              • Enough is Enough

                It is a statement of fact. There is no spin with those numbers

                • lprent

                  That means that NZ First’s campaign for change in those electorates as an opposition party to National worked well.

                  David Farrar is just spinning numbers to get the opposite meaning. He just likes to screw with the heads of political idiots.

                • You are gullible if you think that imo. What gets presented as facts and why give context to the ‘facts’ – context is where the spin is.

            • tracey 5.2.1.1.1.2

              How many people voted Labour or Green in those seats?

          • NewsFlash 5.2.1.1.2

            Nic

            I find it curios that these individuals use Farrar as an example of CREDIBLE information, particularly on this site

        • Skinny 5.2.1.2

          Shane Jones after being somewhat disappointed at his candidate vote in Whangarei must be tickled pink he took the highest party vote honours for NZ First, nearly 1% over the next best Winston is something to be proud of.

          That is a strong enough mandate to head off any other wannabe successors to take the helm after Peters steps back from the role.

          • BM 5.2.1.2.1

            Yeah, he was never going to beat Reti, but like you say good result for Jones in the party vote, just behind Winston.

            For NZ First to survive post-Winston Shane Jones has to be the leader he’s the only person outside of Peters with any sort of media ability and presence.

            That’s another reason why I think Greens are really going to struggle next election, like her or loathe her Turei appealed to the media.

            Compare that to James Shaw who as Robert Guyton pointed out is considered as weak as moth wees and has been generally pilloried by the media.

            • marty mars 5.2.1.2.1.1

              Check it out – moth wees is wickedly wonderful

            • Skinny 5.2.1.2.1.2

              Jones does have friends left in Labour, after plenty of deadwood who didn’t like him are gone. The strong Maori bench is a big plus that Jones can use better than what Winston will be able to.

              Then you look at Jones and National, not much there for him. I think Joyce would need to retire immediately, Jones like Peters can’t stomach him, so having that smart arse around giving you grief would be off putting for any sort of coalition arrangement.

              • BM

                National gave him his last job, so obviously there’s some dynamic there between National and Jones.

                • Skinny

                  For some reason it looks like it back fired. I’ve never heard him say anything nice about them. Not very diplomatic I thought on each occasion, never bothered to go into details, not that I wanted to hear it my position he knows very clear.

            • tracey 5.2.1.2.1.3

              Really? I thought like all Green policy they only showed an interest when they smelled blood?

        • lprent 5.2.1.3

          As one of the posters wrote in the thread 19 out of their 20 best results were in seats won by National MPs.

          *sigh*
          That means that National MPs are a strong competitor, not someone that you want to cooperate with. If you examine those provincial electorates you will also find that NZ First garnered large chunks of the vote who opposed National. That was why the NZ First campaign targeted change specifically in those electorates. They are the opposition in those electorates.

          David Farrar tries to act like a political moron, but really he just provides mischief lines on behalf of his primary income source (the National party) for the benefit of the politically gullible like you.

          • tracey 5.2.1.3.1

            Exactly, the stats posted are facts but the interpretation is opinion, and, notably, the leaving out of the entire range of votes in those electorates and others.

        • DoublePlusGood 5.2.1.4

          Actually, the main thing to take out of that is not that NZ First’s best seats are National (because their second worst seat is one of the most National seats in the country), but that NZ First does will in rural areas, especially those with a lot of retirees. NZ First does very poorly in much more socially liberal urban areas
          NZ First’s support stronghold is rural poorer socially conservative retirees that don’t vote National because they’re left behind by National’s policies, and don’t vote Labour because they are socially more conservative.
          NZ First has to deliver policy wins for that support base – that is how they stay above 5%

      • veutoviper 5.2.2

        I am with you on the two points you make, Gristle.

        IMHO, in addition to what NZF achieves in this next government, relevance and thus electoral longevity also rests on the make up of the NZF members and supporters.

        Many peoples’ perceptions are that they are an ‘oldies’ party and that their membership is made up mainly of retirees etc (such as myself!) . (I am not a member of NZF but have followed their path over many years – and did give my party vote to them on one or two occasions in the distant past – but not this election.)

        In the last two electoral rounds, I have been interested in seeing the number of younger members attending their conferences (from media photos etc; not in person) and hearing about the numbers of younger people joining the party. Their Young New Zealand First wing of NZF has also been a bit more prominent this election.

        The other day, when it became known that the NZF Board and Directors would be (supposedly) making the decision as to whether it is National or Labour + Greens, I did a quick, rough check via Google of the members of the Board and Directors. This indicated that while the proponderance of the office holders (President, VPs Treasurer etc) were middle aged or older, the six Directors appeared to be mainly younger and from a wide range of occupations etc. So, they may different views to some of the older people who will be attending on Monday.

        i don’t think people should assume that NZF will fold once Peters is no longer involved, or that they will be compliant if ‘gifted’ the Northland or Whangarei seat, or continue the policies etc that the party currently holds.

        A lot also depends on who of the current members of NZF comes out dominant in the aftermath of Peters – for example, Ron Marks or Shane Jones (if the latter remains around longer enough; I have doubts that he will be there in even a year’s time).

        Having written the above, I found this Spin-off article which gives an interesting history and insight into the Young NZF wing. Its history has certainly not be smooth but it is future also looks like it could go in difference directions …

        https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/11-09-2017/winstons-children-meet-the-tempestuous-youth-wing-of-nz-first/

        • Delia 5.2.2.1

          Tracey Martin is always neglected as Leader, is that because she is a woman, she has spent years in the party

          • veutoviper 5.2.2.1.1

            Agreed and I have a lot of time for her.

            However, there is apparently a bit of a ‘nepotism’ perception within the NZF Party re the Martin family. Tracey’s mother, Anne Martin, was President for many years and a brother/son in law has also run for the party several times.

            Tracey’s sister, Kirsty Christison, has also worked for several years as a Parliamentary Services employee, for NZF in Parliament. Kirsty has been part of the NZF negotiating team this week along with Tracey.

            Here are a couple of Herald articles on the Martin family and NZF

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11423779

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/67683682/Tracey-Martin-in-Winston-Peters-shadow

            On a personal note, I worked in the public service in Wellington for many years, in positions where I liaised and worked with Ministers’ offices, Select committees and other Parliamentary functions, and did a number of secondments there. I had many dealings with Winston Peters and never found him misogynistic etc or gender biased. OTT he was someone I was happy to work with/alongside etc, but not someone I would ever work under.

            • tracey 5.2.2.1.1.1

              Can I ask, are you male or female?

              • veutoviper

                Female. I have posted that fact here many times over many years. My identicon has recently changed as I changed my email – last Saturday actually as my comments were getting caught up in the moderation/spam thingy although I have never been banned etc.

                I disappeared from here for some time about a year or more ago for a range of reasons, including behaviours etc of some others here that I decided were not to my liking and that I was not prepared to subject myself to.

          • Skinny 5.2.2.1.2

            Tracey Martin a very popular choice to face off with Shane Jones for the leadership. Ron appears not wanted or supported. Interesting times ahead in that space. The new leader will be need time before 2020 to stamp their own style.

          • tracey 5.2.2.1.3

            Agree wholeheartedly. And they won’t change if Peters were to be replaced by Jones.

    • cleangreen 5.3

      Agreed ianmac,

      National are not going to weaken their hold now, they crave power at any price.

  6. Xanthe 6

    Great post thanks.
    This is the sort of thing we should be reading in our mefia outlets

  7. cathy 7

    another possibility is that there is one proposal that is clearly better than the other but it’s not the one Winston wants, so he needs more time to bully his caucus and board to his own opinion

    • The decrypter 7.1

      Tend to agree cathy. Love to know the makeup/requirements of, or on this so called board. Either way pressure is either coming from Winston on them ,or vice versa, Seems to me they suddenly have more relevance, or Winston wants to make them feel important ,or once again vice versa? Make up of this board –anyone?

      • veutoviper 7.1.1

        There has been plenty of media articles etc on this over the last day or so easily available via Google.

        Because the sun is out, here are links to some comments I have made right here on TS in the last day or so on the make up of the NZF Board, Directors etc.

        Every body wants to rule the world

        Every body wants to rule the world

        And also see 5.2.2 above in this very thread.

        If you want to see the NZF Constitution itself and its requrements re Board etc, go to the NZF website.

    • cleangreen 7.2

      Cathy Winston is gragically explained time and time again “its all about our policies”.

      It is not about him, he has listened to his membership and communities he has travelled around the country in his bus and wants all his side to go through them all page by page to make sure they are aware of every detail firstly before they make their call.

      We must let Winston explain the importance of all of NZF policies that is why sso much time was needed.

      Possibly he has to play catchup breifing with new members also firstly?

  8. Skinny 8

    Here is a loose list of things to consider that Winston Peters in my considered opinion will weigh heavily on his mind as to which party is the best fit between National & Labour. Others can copy it out and show us your score card by putting an N or L or both next to the list and see what you come up with?

    1. Survival
    2. Legacy
    3. Respect
    4. Sovereignty
    5. Manufacturers/ Exporters
    6. Housing
    7. Immigration
    8. Environment
    9. Rail
    10. Regional Development
    11. Education
    12. Monetary
    13. Maori Development

  9. Antoine 9

    Really guessing is a bit futile, the main thing you should do is mentally prepare yourself for Winston going either way. (And also to get your head round the idea that a Labour-led govt including Winston may not look or act quite how you might hope)

    A.

  10. Brian Tregaskin 10

    Prediction:-
    Based on Sunday Stars times day after election issue , every article demanding NZF go with National
    Tomorrows issue Sunday Star Times expect some big toys to be thrown because it has not happened yet. Tomorrows issue will be well worth buying !!!

    • Anne 10.1

      Back in the day when it was known as the Sunday Times it was a liberal minded paper. Good articles, balanced political discourse. Chris Trotter and Matthew Hooton took turn about to present the left and right views on issues of the day. Both of them were more reliable in their analysis than either are today. Then they changed their name and went populist and I cancelled my subscription.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    I don’t think either side should be too disappointed if Winston decides against them. Three years in a coalition with NZ First is like a poisoned chalice for both parties I expect.

    • cleangreen 11.1

      If National rules again expect, TPPA, and widespead oil/mineral dregging and prospecting of every coastline and land based location in New Zealand.

      So after another three years of this National wrecking ball NZ would be a barren landscape with widespread pollution with water unfit to drink and air to dirty to breathe.

      Our Assets would be sold off in droves with “internet auctions” and many Kiwis homeless sleeping outside in the cold without jobs!!!!

      So does Winston want to leave this legacy?

      No he does not so give up right wing spinners and stop callling it a national done deal.

      • Gristle 11.1.1

        The TPPA11 needs to be ratified.

        The issue with this it is probable that the treaty would have to be ratified. NZF would not support this at an Executive level, so does this mean that Parliament would ratify the treaty. If so, then that really becomes a constitutional precedent.

        If it became a Parliamentary vote then would Labour + National support it. A “grand coalition” of the Neo-liberals.

        • tracey 11.1.1.1

          Isn’t the ratification by Caucus? NZF won’t have the numbers in Caucus?

          • Gristle 11.1.1.1.1

            The Executive Council, which is populated by Ministers of the Crown (who need not necessarily be Cabinet Ministers but usually are) makes Orders in Council.

            Caucus refers to the members of a parliamentary arm of a political party, and I don’t think has any any constitutional role.

            If TPPA11 is one of those policy areas that NZF said it will not support, then how can a National/NZF Government go forward with it? My speculation was to take the ratification to Parliament and get Labour’s support in the House.

            The ratification of a Treaty in the House would be novel and may be seen as a useful constitutional development that restricts the Executive from adopting Treaties without first getting the blessing of Parliament.

    • tracey 11.2

      It depends on whether any of the politicians have matured since prior Coalitions and grown their understanding of consensus and collaboration. Given the attitude of the media and many supporters, I suspect that will be in spite of those around them.

  12. Good post thanks. I imagine they are working out how to present the decision as best as possible. I’m happy to wait.

  13. Richard Christie 13

    .
    The fact that he has missed that deadline comes down, in my mind, to one of three things: ….
    …. I’d be very interested in any other suggestions Standardista’s might have,

    Perhaps we could take him at his word that it is because due process requires it be discussed and decided with representatives of his Party.

    • Stuart Munro 13.1

      Or perhaps he wants to spread responsibility for the decision – whichever way he jumps a proportion of his supporters are going to be very pissed off with him.

      • NewsFlash 13.1.1

        Stuart

        I think that’s a pretty accurate summary.

        I just can’t see how Winston can balance his campaign of changing the Govt and then siding up with National, the chances of making ANY significant changes to the way National would Govern with the 9 seats of NZF, I think is extremely optimistic to say the least, a National/NZF would just be business as usual, and a huge loss of support for NZF in the next election, dog tucker.

      • cleangreen 13.1.2

        Stuart,

        72% of the NZF have said they want a coalition with a Labour lead Government so many more will be pissed if NZF go with treasonous National.

    • xanthe 13.2

      I am not convinced that a “deadline” ever existed
      Is this not just another mefia construct here?

      It seems that an often repeated ploy here is to create/inflate an expectation and then scream “fail” when it is not met!

      Did Winston ever give any date out as a “deadline” ?

      • veutoviper 13.2.1

        Winston gave Thurs 12 October – Writ Day – as the deadline many, many times right from prior to the actual election itself.

        For example, this from July 2017:

        https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/07/24/39728/winston-reveals-d-day-for-coalition-announcement

        As noted in this article he did the same in 2005 – used Writ Day as the deadline if negotiations were needed.

        This is only one of many articles reporting Peters stating Writ Day 2017 as the deadline and Peters has never disputed the date but in the last week did dispute WHAT would be announced on 12 Oct.

        • xanthe 13.2.1.1

          ahh the headline claims it as a deadline but the content does not!

          thats mafia 102

          • veutoviper 13.2.1.1.1

            There are plenty of other reports of Peters setting Writ Day as the deadline for announcing which party NZF would go with – both back in July and since, particularly in the last few days when the deadline was not met. Easily found using Google.

            I believe those reports – including Peters himself who has not denied that he set the deadline but tried to argue what he meant – not people who do not bother to check for themselves. That’s ignorance 101.

            • xanthe 13.2.1.1.1.1

              its simply bullshit!

              what he said and what he meant was that no decision could be made until the votes were all counted!

              If you want to cleave to Hoskins be my guest.

              The process should be judged on the process not some media confection

  14. Brian Tregaskin 14

    Prediction:-
    1: National have offered NZF a deal with Northland they will not stand a candidate
    Rating 100% likely
    2: Labour has figured this out and are offering the mother of all offers to counteract 🙂
    Rating 100% likely

  15. Brian Tregaskin 15

    Nationals trump card is “Northland” –this will ensure NZFs survival in 2020 !!!

    • Stuart Munro 15.1

      It’s not a given, even if National carve out Northland as an NZF fief, the loss of support from left preference NZF supporters may be sufficient to toast Winnie – unless he can get some large measurable achievements out of the Gnats. Not something they’re good at.

  16. Bill 16

    Well, I’m picking that Winston Peters and NZF’s lot will be thrown in with another pack of politicians.

    Then I’m picking a great number of people will be right hacked off within the next three years.

    Further to that, there will be wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, but most will off down to the ballot box again in a 1000 odd days from now with the vain hope that “maybe this time”…even although the years of their lives are metronomically marked by parliamentary false dawns, dashed hopes and disappointments.

    • veutoviper 16.1

      Wonderful!!!! Except it may be less than 1000 odd days …

    • marty mars 16.2

      Wow thanks for that analysis although I do wonderbill.

      • Bill 16.2.1

        What’s ye wondering marty?

        • marty mars 16.2.1.1

          I was riffing off wonderful (quite well too i thought ☺) and half wondering what’s the point? You’ve been through enough elections to know that what you wrote is correct and incorrect at the same time. If you dont have hope why bother – if it is just gist for the mill and a big hiding to nothing why bloody bother at all. If you do have hope which I hope you do then why bother writing what you wrote. Anyway, not a biggie for me, sorry if I offended or pissed you off or if what I just wrote did.

  17. DH 17

    Whatever the outcome I think if people could look past their own biases they might observe that it shows MMP in a positive light. Peters is clearly being pursued by both Labour and National and it’s also obvious they’re prepared to give something up in return for his support.

    That’s why most of us wanted MMP; to prevent the major parties from having free rein to do whatever they pleased when they gained power. Peters is doing just that and I for one have no problems with it at all. This is real democracy at work, not the sham we had under FPP or the Act ‘MMP’ scam.

  18. Nick 18

    Winston is just f#cking with the Natz, for his own pure enjoyment, bending them over so far they break, and then leaving them in a pile of excrement.
    Northland is not an enticement legacy either.

    • cleangreen 18.1

      Winston will go left as he has many “policies” he wants enacted, and they do not conform with National and they know this!!!!!

      Winston confirmed this in front of 230 people while in Gisborne last month.

      Remember what was written in large words across his election posters? “Had enough”

      That is the “final straw that will break the camel’s back” so to speak.

      Prediction; 100% = it will be a Labour lead coalition deal being finalised.

  19. Incognito 19

    Very nice post, thank you! I look forward to reading more from you.

    I’ve been quite indifferent about the potential coalition talks; almost Zen-like if only I knew what that really feels like. That said, in the last little while I’ve seen so many photos of Peters and so much fluff being written about mainly him that I’d be happy to turn the page, so to speak.

    I liked the juxtaposition of complex vs. complicated but I think it is a red herring anyway in this situation because even if there is a ‘blueprint’ for WP’s decision-making we don’t have access to it and any attempt to second-guess which way he’ll go is an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, some ‘brave pundits’ have tried to exactly do this by extrapolating from his past behaviour to future decisions.

    Our bias also extends to what we think the negotiating teams of National and Labour may have put on the table and what they may be trying to get out of or from a potential coalition deal with NZF and, perhaps more importantly, what they may have ceded to the competition.

    We will find out soon enough what decision NZF will have made but even then we still won’t know what this will mean for the country and all the issues that we’re faced with. Further, there are so many things we cannot control that I think we should try and stop worrying so much about these – worrying is habitually addictive 😉

    • Smellpir 19.1

      Thanks Incognito. I feel suitably encouraged to post some more in due course…

      I must confess, however, that I had a previous story ready to go which I then had to bin… As a social scientist I’m particularly interested in polling, its limitations, its potentials and the way in which we tend to read polls. I had a nice story all ready to go titled: ‘Six reasons why the pollsters got it wrong on Election Day’ which turned out to be rubbish!

      Straight to the trash icon, dammit!

  20. xanthe 20

    its all been said before in a song

  21. Craig H 21

    Whatever happens, my opinion is that NZ First risk being in deep trouble in 2020.

    I think their voters can be categorised as 4 types:

    1. People who like their policies – they will be happy if there are some good policy wins, and not too much dead rat swallowing.

    2. People who want to see them back Labour, probably to make it more centrist than a straight coalition with the Greens would be – obviously they will be happy with a Labour coalition, but very unhappy with a National coalition.

    3. People who want to see them back National, probably because they don’t like Labour or the Greens, but don’t particularly like straight National policies either – obviously they will be happy with a National coalition, but very unhappy with a Labour coalition.

    4. People who vote for NZ First as a protest vote – propping up a government will make it very hard to vote for them again as a protest vote, since NZ First would now be the establishment.

    There will, of course, be overlaps between the categories, such as having a preferred coalition partner based on liking some aspects of NZ First policy e.g. likes National but really wants lower immigration. However, that doesn’t really change that particular voter’s agreement or otherwise with the NZ First decision.

    Based on my pseudo-analysis above, I think that the protest votes will be lost next election (which I think is a reasonable percentage of their vote) and the voters who were supporters of the other coalition will also vote elsewhere (probably just vote for Labour or National accordingly).

    I have no idea what the weighting of the above actually is, but it seems like they are going to annoy two out of four categories of their voters, which is not exactly a recipe for success in 2020.

    I think this is slightly more of a risk if they go with National than Labour, as National is more likely to implode if they lose, whereas Labour and Jacinda will just power on and collect NZ First left-leaning voters next time, making them more likely to drop below 5% in that scenario.

    • Brian Tregaskin 21.1

      Quote of the week–thank you Craig H
      “I think this is slightly more of a risk if they go with National than Labour, as National is more likely to implode if they lose, whereas Labour and Jacinda will just power on and collect NZ First left-leaning voters next time, making them more likely to drop below 5% in that scenario.”

      Fact:- The specials have closed the gap between left and right to 1.29%
      Im guessing Nationals only trump card is “Northland and not standing a candidate” they are counting on NZF to be more worried about self survival in 2020 and going for the deal.
      NZF are much better than that IMHO and will do the right thing 🙂 Sunday Star Times will throw a lot of toys

      • Andre 21.1.1

        That would be quite a risk to National to not stand a candidate in Northland. Their vote share there is a lot less than in Epsom, and the Epsom voters have had a lot of training to vote for whichever ACT sock-puppet gets put on the ballot. And there is precisely zero risk that their ACT puppet will vote against Nats on anything that matters.

        Whereas with no Nat electorate candidate to vote for, there’s quite a risk Northland Nats wouldn’t bother voting, let alone voting for someone that just might go with Labour instead. Which gives the Labour candidate a very good chance, particularly if Greens voters get strategic. Whoever stands for NZF also won’t have the benefit of incumbency from the dawn of time like the hairdo from Ohariu had.

        • Craig H 21.1.1.1

          They’d be better off continuing with Epsom but for NZ First instead of ACT (the irony would be delicious).

          • Andre 21.1.1.1.1

            When I read that, I snorted my fruit juice out my nose, the cat left my lap at speed and is now looking at me suspiciously, and I now have claw wounds in sensitive areas.

            But yeah, that would be fun to watch.

          • cleangreen 21.1.1.1.2

            Craig,

            Lots of good logic thanks,

            Points
            1/ Winston has been solid on ‘policies’ as the central tenant of his legacy and he does not even want to play personallity politics.

            2/ NZF policies align closer to labour by a mile and do not align with National infact they collide with national’s in every way.

            3/ NZF always polls over 5% so they will survive even if in the labour coalition they hit some road bumps or re-railments. Winston will live a lot longer as he is healthy and fit.

            4/ Labour leader jacinda sent a email today with a video saying she is confident that she will be able to lead a labour lead coalition.

            We hope she has this right as the country cannot afford another three years of the national rort.

  22. Foreign waka 22

    Can we give it a rest? The elections have been held, the votes were casted and maybe many did not get what they hoped for, it always is like that. Compromises have to be made and any outcome will be based around either of the main parties that had most but not the majority vote, being the new government.
    Patience is needed when a country is not a dictatorship or an oligarchy. And thank god for that.

  23. Kay 23

    Couldn’t we just stay without a government for a while longer? I haven’t felt this relaxed for a long time, having no pesky politicians around to make things even worse. Belgium seemed to manage ok for a couple of years wasn’t it?

    I am of the opinion that all populations deserve time out from governments to maintain sanity.

  24. tracey 24

    Great post. So was Swordfish’s the other day debunking the former Elf to Jenny Shipley.

    I note the Standard was not quoted in Edwards piece on reasons labour will form govt with NZF. I also note the alarming preponderance of white men’s opinion’s being relied upon in both his articles.

  25. cleangreen 25

    Kay,

    I am with you here.

    As for the last seven years we have been under a dictatorship, with National doing what they please and afterwards tellling us to be grateful for it!!!!!

    And now we are in trouble, so go Winston get rid of them pronto.

  26. cleangreen 26

    Point eight says it all,

    8) NZ First still has profound differences of policy and ethos with National

    RadioLive’s Mitch Harris says “National as the landowning, farming and big business party is less worried about housing costs and likes to have a plentiful supply of cheap labour. Labour, The Greens and NZ First want Government to have a greater hand in directing the economy. These are profound differences in outlook and no coalition agreement can ‘future-proof’ these sorts of differences three years into the future” – see: Common purpose more important than just ‘wins’.

    He is predicting a Labour-NZF-Green government, largely due to their similarities: “In 2017 Labour and The Greens have far more in common with NZ First than National does. Labour and NZ First want to cut back our high immigration numbers to give working people a better chance of earning a decent living. They also share a concern about wealthy foreigners bidding up the costs of land and housing”.

  27. Brian Tregaskin 27

    Im guessing Sunday Star Times will go mental tomorrow –they are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at NZF with demand articles!!!
    Anyone know who owns this weekly paper? makes the NZ Herald look decent towards labour and greens

    • veutoviper 28.1

      Thanks for that, Draco.

      Jacinda certainly knows the importance of communication and how to do it! Part of the audio of that message was just played on the RNZ National 5pm news.

      Mind you her degree is in Communications, and she is well versed in and comfortable on social media, and how to communicate with the younger generations – sighs an oldie!

      Her public Facebook page is usually pretty active as well, although it has slowed this week understandably. Lots of keeping people up to date on her formal activities with little touches of personal also thrown in but in a reasonably discrete manner.

      https://www.facebook.com/jacindaardern/

    • Tracey 28.2

      Thanks Draco

  28. Sparky 29

    Geez its only Monday…hardly a saga…..

  29. So many colourful terms politico’s use,…

    ‘Sock puppets ‘

    Mike ‘ Huskings’

    ‘NZ news mefia’

    The ‘Hairdo’…

    🙂

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