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Little impact from Hughes affair, NZF on the rise

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 pm, April 8th, 2011 - 49 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, national, nz first, polls - Tags: ,

The latest Roy Morgan poll shows little impact from the Darren Hughes affair to date. We still don’t know how the investigation will play out but the poll suggests dithering leadership matters less than economic fundamentals. The big news, though, is that New Zealand First would be back under these numbers.

Here are the numbers:

  • National 51% (down 1.5%)
  • Labour 31% (down 1%)
  • Greens 8% (steady)
  • ACT 2% (up 1.5%)
  • NZF 5% (up 1%)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (steady)
  • UF, Prog and other total 1% (steady)

So, little change in the Left vs Right balance but the crucial point is that NZF is on 5% and would be back in Parliament. A Lab/Green/NZF alliance has 44% to Nat/ACT’s 53%. The gap has been smaller in the past but the trend is closing. And it’s NZF doing the work. So far this year, NZF has averaged 4.1% in the Roy Morgan’s compared to 2.5% at the same point last year.

NZF presents a conundrum for National. If the trend continues and they get back in it gives a real chance of a Labour-led government but if National is expends time and resources attacking Winston Peters all it does is give a him larger platform. And exposure is all for his popular messages is all that Peters is lacking at the moment, hampered by not being in Parliament.

Add a Hone-led Left Party to the mix, or Hide losing Epsom, and things get really interesting.

The other measure to watch is the Confidence in Government. This peaked at 155 (that is net 55% think the country is heading in the right direction) in late 2009. Now, the number is 125. In other words, about one in six Kiwis have gone from thinking the country is doing well to thinking it’s going badly in just over a year. This measure is seen as a leading indicator of support for government parties and it’s sinking.

The missing piece of the puzzle for the Left remains Labour. The 4-5% that the Left needs to take from the Right needs to be won by Labour. The asset sale debate alone could turn that many people, if Labour does a good job. If Labour can poll in the mid to late 30s, then Phil Goff can lead a government with the Greens and New Zealand First (and Peter Dunne, as if he counts).

So can Labour win back half or more of the voters that voted for it for three elections from 1999 to 2005 but who voted for the ‘brighter future’ lie in 2008? Why not? It’s not as if they have any reason to vote for John Key’s hollow promises again.


49 comments on “Little impact from Hughes affair, NZF on the rise”

  1. Rob A 1

    I said a while ago here that I’m a typical swing voter who if asked to vote tomorrow would go for Winston, more out of a jaded lack of faith in the two main  parties than anything else.  I’m wondering if I’m not alone

    And considering Labours track record over the last couple of years I wouldn’t hold my breath for them to do a good job over anything. They have an over abundance of ammunition (asset sales, attacks on welfare, dubious performance in Chch, tax cuts for the rich, the list goes on) and have yet to gain any real traction.

    • PeteG 1.1

      You’re probably right Rob, NZF are doing very little to earn the support, they seem to be picking up some of the protest vote by default.
      My pick on the trend towards election day will be voters will want to give National a reprimand but won’t be ready to try Labour again. This might save Act, but Hide will have to raise his game because it would have to be through Epsom.

      • Eddie 1.1.1

        ACT’s support is trending down. sSo far this year, they’ve averaged 1.1% compared to 1.9% same period last year.

        Winston is actually working his arse off with speeches to hundreds of people all the time all over the country. it’s just below the national msm radar. Despite that lack of msm coverage, NZF is polling around 5%.

        If he runs in Epsom, his first electorate, he’ll get all the national exposure he needs.

        • Pascal's bookie

          If he runs in Epsom won’t that help Rodney?  

          My ideal sunday after election day reading for Epsom would be finding out that Rodney missed out to a drongo Nat sacrificial lamb because the Lab and Green candidates there got one vote each; and ACT got 4.9% party vote. 

        • Lanthanide

          What other electorates could Peter’s run in, to get a high profile? A maori electorate? What about against Peter Dunne? Ideally he’d run in an electorate with a high profile and then win it.

          • Jasper

            I wouldn’t be in favour of Peters running in Ohariu.
            Chauvel narrowed his margin under Possum to just 1008 votes in 2008. He would have won the seat, but for the Greens candidate (Gareth Hughes) getting just over 3000 votes.
            I hope the Greens this year don’t campaign for the electorate vote, but instead push the party vote – nationwide. Running an “Electorate vote Labour, party vote Green” campaign, could well win them a few extra seats.
            If Peters did run in Ohariu, it’d be likely to split the Shanks/Chauvel vote, giving the Possum yet another term in Parliament.

            • felix

              Yeah Green voters really need to get their shit together in Ohariu. in 2008 there were 2,665 green voters who effectively voted for Peter Dunne.
              If even half of them had skipped their Saturday morning cones on election day, Dunne would be gone now. His majority is only 1006 votes. He’s hanging from the cliff edge by his fingernails and Green voters are throwing him a rope.
              I know that some Green voters are offended by this suggestion and some genuinely believe that the principle of voting for their preferred candidate trumps strategic thinking. I do have some sympathy for that position. I want to vote for a Green candidate too.
              But one of the enduring and admirable traits of the Green party is the pragmatic approach to policy wins, the sense that getting green policy through the house is the important thing even if other parties try to claim the glory.
              I urge Green voters – especially in marginal seats like Ohariu – to apply this same pragmatic approach to electoral wins.
              Gareth is a good guy, even if he is a pixie. He does deserve your vote. But no matter how much we want it to be so, there’s no way your candidate vote can make Gareth the MP for Orariu in November. It can however wipe Dunne off the political map. Forever.
              The realpolitik choice you have is:
              a) Vote Gareth (no gain for Greens) or

              b) Vote Dunne out (win for all progressive people)
              Come on Greens, let’s fuck this cat.

    • Eddie 1.2

      yup. People on the left will generally think he’s too conservative on social issues and indifferent to environmental ones but his economics are good and no-one can deny that, over 20 years, he has fought for his values consistently. He has walked away from government twice rather than contradict his values.

    • Salsy 1.3

      Actually thats not true. Labour are in the process of launching their anti-asset sales message right now, and probably an excellent time to do so. “Tax cuts for the rich” is all Phil Goff ever talks about… The message is getting out there, without a doubt.

  2. deservingpoor 2

    It is a damning indictment of Labour that NACT can run on a platform of asset sales, cuts in social spending and bailouts for the rich, 6 months out from an election and still realistically expect to be returned to power. I had hoped that New Zealand had had enough of those policies in the 90s but apparently not. 
    Labour’s inability to fight this and remind NZ of how badly these policies have already failed, shows that they are either:
    1) Spectacularly useless or (in my opinion more likely)
    2) Complicit.
    Victorian London, here we come.

    • Jum 2.1

      Deserving Poor
      No it is a damning indictment on the greed and selfishness of New Zealanders that still think the moneytrader gives a damn about them and even more unbelievably actually wants to give the workers a decent lifestyle.

    • Deadly_NZ 2.2

      Well its way past time when some one gets in to Phils ear and says “Piss or get off the pot!!!”

    • Colonial Viper 2.3

      Under these deteriorating conditions and this piss poor National leadership, I agree that Labour should be exploding upwards in the polls. That it is not is a question to be very seriously reflected upon.

  3. McFlock 3

    The big question: Is Peters peaking too soon, or will he end up with 10%?
    I’d probably like to see him in parliament again, but where lab/greens can muster 51% without giving him the temptation of bargaining for baubles. Maybe lab/green/mp or lab/green/nz1 being governable, but not NACT/nz1 or nact/mp.
    Still it’s all early days just yet.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    Note: National down 1.5% Act up 1.5%
    Labour down 1%  NZ First up 1%

    It looks to me that National is losing votes to the right, whereas the protest NZ First vote appears to be going against Labour.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The Right is forcing National to veer that way and sharply too, especially now that the Right Wing’s former favourite ride ACT has collapsed lame.
      At a guess, that’s why Power has left. This is not a party he wants to be involved with any more.

    • Marty G 4.2

      you can’t conclude that from one poll’s changes, ts. you need to look at the trends. as eddie does in the post.

      • McFlock 4.2.1

        Agreed – if this result was in october I might be drinking a bit more and considering emigration, but at the moment it’s a bit like comparing ODI run rates in over #4.

        • PeteG

          Yep. A one off percent or two variance on thirty or fifty doesn’t mean much at all unless it is confirmation of a trend and it looks like nothing much out of the ordinary is happening here.
          Greens and NZF will be happy.
          Party support doesn’t affect the Maori Party.
          Act should still be worried.
          National won’t be worried much.
          Labour may be both relieved and frustrated. I wonder what they’ll do if the anti asset sale campaign is a fizzer, they risk overdoing the dramatics.
          One quiet wee number – 7% (unchanged) didn’t name any party.

  5. ak 5

    The march of tides

    The trend’s the thing

    Sweet seismic vibe

    Slow liquefaction

    Of dull reaction

    The Reaper grins

    As Winnie sings

    Oer portaloo alleys

    And anomie valleys.

    The trend’s the thing

    Wherein will crash

    The confidence

    Of the Thing.


  6. RobC 6

    What amuses me is Roy Morgan continues not to graph NZ First even though it’s now at 5% 😀

    That will have to change – I agree with Rob A, NZ First may potentially continue to creep up by attracting protest votes from people disenchanted with both major parties. He is right, he is not alone.

    Say what you like about Winston, but he is a very shrewd political operator. Unfortunately NZF holding some balance of power is IMO the second-worst scenario, it just happens to be slightly better than the worst one (an absolute majority for Nat)

  7. Jono 7

    It’s definitely a welcome trend for NZF supporterst to be moving up in polls, but they need to do a lot of work & get very lucky to get back into parliament. As far as I know, there’s never been a party in an MMP system which has re-entered parliament after being voted out. 

    The main things going against them are a lack of institutional & activist support; they don’t have as many dedicated volunteers as labour, national or the greens, and they lack the massive advantage of parliamentary funding that every other party gets to funnel into campaigning. I’d argue they’ll need to be polling more like 6%+ in order to just scrape in, and to do that they need to resist any temptation to moderate their policies (like laws influence on their economic policy in the late 90’s) – people are going to be voting for Winston because he’s loud and brash about what he thinks is wrong, and how to solve it. There’s a few key issues like asset sales etc he can tap into which are black & white issues for most people, if they react to it in a certain way & somebody is offering a really solid (even extreme) policy on that issue they’ll support them. 

    Interesting times ahead!

  8. freedom 8

    slightly off topic but am i the only one wondering where the investigation has ended up?  I am guessing it is sleeping in someone’s ‘tomorrow’ basket as the weeks drag on.  How complex a case can it be for NO CHARGES yet to be laid against Darren Hughes yet his career was absolutely destroyed so at least  the instigator of the leak must be satisfied.  But why are the media not asking a single question?  There was a limited number of witnesses to interview, there is only so much evidence that can be collected from the site of the alleged offence and unless the whole thing was a created event with a stupid political groupie as a patsy then the Police should have had viable charges ready weeks ago.

    Seriously, for the weeks to grind on without advancement it only looks more and more like the alleged offence was non-existent but too many people in power need it to be ignored and they are relying on the fickle public memory to be distracted by the all important Royal Wedding before they quietly sweep it away into the corner with maybe a softshoe press release saying it was all a misunderstanding and no charges will be brought  …

    this is really starting to stink

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      How complex a case can it be for NO CHARGES yet to be laid against Darren Hughes yet his career was absolutely destroyed so at least  the instigator of the leak must be satisfied.

      I don’t think a complainant would be ‘satisfied’ that they had destroyed someone’s career, unless they were actually out to get them in the first place. The only real satisfaction for them would be to see their case go to court.

      Lynn: the quote button is quite strange, it took me quite a bit of fiddling to get the following sentences to be not-quoted. Just pasting in the above text and quoting it, everything following ended up being quoting too (even after making multiple paragraph breaks, or clicking the quote button off). In the end I had to make 3 sections of text, select the middle one (the actual quote) and quote it, and delete the other two. Browser is latest version of Chrome.

      • lprent 8.1.1

        You have to select what you want to be quoted. If you just quote when there is no selection it quotes everything. Then it gets tricky unquoting stuff.

        I think I’d better add a helper page (this afternoon is The Standard update time). But I’ll add the code button back in

      • freedom 8.1.2

        i was not referring to the complainant.  The Police say they only approached him after receiving an anonymous letter as apparently he had not laid any complaint relating to purported events, as i said he is looking like an age old patsy.

        A young political groupie, maybe promised a cruisy career later on down the track if he helps do this one little thing….. I admit the statement is completely without basis except for this gnawing beast in my gut.

        This whole operation sadly highlights how Americanized our Politicians and our media have become.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    One News poll out on Sunday. Taken last week, up to Thursday (Tupperwaka day was Wednesday).

    I’ll try my luck as a horse-race tipster: NZ First over 5%.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      I agree. Winston hasn’t even hit his stride yet. NAT is going to look worse and worse as the year wears on and LAB is planning – who the heck knows?
      So Winston could easily take up the slack.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1

        I think we’ll see Winston back this year even if it’s with list seats only.

      • Jum 9.1.2

        You still need to watch Winston Peters and get his mark on the words “I will not vote for National because they will sell off our assets.”  Near the 2008 election I am sure he muttered something about maybe selling…
        GreyPower are totally against selling off our assets – it’s in their mission statement; Key’s brought a fight there and no one will trust whatever he says because he made it clear that a vote for him whatever he promises will be a vote for him to sell – that is why he was brought in as leader, after all.

  10. jbanks 10

    Pfft, as if the Huges/Goff incompetence would be shown in the polls yet.

    • gobsmacked 10.1

      The polling period was dominated by the Hughes story. So of course it would show up in public opinion polls, if people cared. But they don’t.

  11. Anne 11

    The polling period was dominated by the Hughes story. So of course it would show up in public opinion polls, if people cared. But they don’t.

    Spoke to a couple of apolitical relatives a week ago. They made it abundantly clear they… didn’t give a damm about the Hughes story!

    • lprent 11.1

      Same around my contacts. It had a minor impact on how Goff was perceived, but not very much.
      Beltway gossip issue..

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.1.1

        The bullying story from Oz was by far the most discussed topic at school and at the football club. Thats why Key sent out his tokenistic letter.

        This week it’s Powerball

  12. With a completely ineffective opposition, and a Government now even being judged as “stupid” and “a failure” by their own big business mates, New Zealand First is the only real option for any decent voter with any sense.  The National fanatics though of course will keep voting National, even as they see the Country dive deeper into a hole it may never escape from.

  13. PeteG 13

    New Zealand First is the only real option for any decent voter with any sense.

    Who is NZ First? A party needs a lot more than one pensioner leader with credibility problems to be a credible option.

    New Zealand First is the only real option for any decent voter with any sense.

    Who is NZ First? A party needs a lot more than one pensioner leader with credibility problems to be a credible option.

    On the NZ First website, under About, it has two headings – Winston Peters

    That’s not looking ahead much.

    One old wheezer does not a party make.

    • ianmac 13.1

      Who is National?
      Lead by a celebrity style money-changer who has not produced a single thing – ever. Principles? Philosophy? Dunno.

  14. @PeteG.  Looking at NZ First policy via their website, I would say they are one party who actually have PLANS – unlike National have.  Their policies are sound, they are all people friendly and achievable.  Their record in Government would demonstrate more success in helping the average kiwi than any other party (eg. Free Drs visits for children, 1000 extra Police, extra funding for Maori Wardens, lowering business tax, Gold Card, pay parity for Primary Teachers, etc).  What is National’s achievements?  Um, a National walkway – that hasn’t gone anywhere?  Great job Nat voters!

  15. http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/policies2.html – is where you will see their policies, but nice try to deceive people Pete.

  16. PeteG 16

    I’m not trying to deceive Trevor. At the moment NZ First doesn’t look like a party, it’s one person.

    Winston First.
    No one second (no deputy leader).
    No list.
    No indication if WP will stand in an electorate, nor where.

    Right now it’s the Grey Ghost party.

  17. Steve Withers 17

    The Roy Morgan poll has, for many election cycles, been the most reliable.

    Almost all the others appear to all over-sample areas or groups that vote for National. Colmar-Brunton is the worst of them for this. This has been well documented over the years and it hasn’t changed. The Listener did an excellent article on C-B’s dodgy polling not long before the neo-liberal purge at the Listener when Finlay MacDonald left as editor and was replaced by Pamela Stirling, who hired such luminaries as Joanne Black and Deborah Hill-Cone.

    These pollsters themselves say that whatever sample bias may exist, their polls will reflect the trends – even if particular groups are over or under-represented in any poll (or all THEIR polls in this case).  This is more than disingenuous…..at best….particularly as their polls appear to become miraculously more accurate during the last stages of the official election campaign period, peaking on the night. Then they claim they were on the money….and use that to give legitimacy to their shonky polls through out the rest of the 3 year term. Typically, they (C-B) favour National by 6% to 8%. I have always tended to discount the share they give to National, but where to re-distribute it to isn’t easy to say. 

    It’s worth noting the TNS poll used to also be reliable,  but since the last election they have been bought by WPP,  the same huge US corporate that owns Millward-Brown, who own Colmar-Brunton.

    The last time I researched this, the Roy Morgan poll was the only *major* polling company that wasn’t ultimately tied to WPP. The much smaller “Digipoll” run by the NZ Herald appears to be Hamilton-based with a chunk of function outsourced to India. I have no solid opinion on their results, though I don’t recall them differing much from the Herald’s overt editorial positions on any issue.

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    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago