web analytics

National’s polling hypocrisy

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 pm, October 27th, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: labour, national - Tags:

Having previously led the charge on the Labour polling story, John Key has gone very quiet on the issue now that a former National supporter has blown the whistle on National doing the exact same thing.

Thanks to this former supporter we know that under Bill English’s leadership National told volunteers to say they were from ‘Gallagher Research’ (which appears to have never existed as a registered company) and use fake names as they conducted public polling.*

This practice is understood to have continued for some time and, short of a denial, may well still be happening.

The change in Key’s approach to this issue has been revealing.

On Sunday he was in full man-of-principle mode, thundering that it was ‘a serious matter’ and demanding a full inquiry in the Herald. On Monday The Standard published a guest post from the former supporter criticising the practice, but pointing out National’s gross hypocrisy.

By this morning Key had gone to ground on the issue. Gone was the talk of the inquiry, and when given a free kick by Radio NZ this morning all he had to say was that ‘claiming that your name is Bill when it’s really Rick I would have thought was problematic.’

Now it’s been shunted on to Bill English to front, because frankly he hasn’t got any credibility worth preserving. That’s not helped by the hypocrisy of English demanding openness and transparency from Labour when he’s been doing the exact same thing himself.

I doubt we’ll be hearing any more about Key’s inquiry now. But if we do, we should demand that it also includes a thorough investigation into the National Party’s polling practices, including the role of Gallagher Research and any other front group National has used, past or present, to deceive the voting public. After all, it’s all about openness and transparency, isn’t it?

* A commenter in that thread claims ACT has done the same.

[In case there was any doubt, I don’t support using the names of non-existent companies for polling, though I can understand why a person might not want to give their real name. I’ve worked in call centres and it’s common practice. This looks to me like a case of amateur behaviour from Rick Barker that would have only produced unscientific results anyway. If you’re going to poll just pay UMR to do it for God’s sake.]

45 comments on “National’s polling hypocrisy ”

  1. mike 1

    On TV1 tonight Goff stated that this (polling) used to be done by professionals but it’s cheaper for us to it.

    Couldn’t agree more with old 5% there. Makes you wonder why we let these bloody amateurs run the country down for 9 years…

  2. Pat 2

    “…John Key has gone very quiet on the issue…”
    “…By this morning Key had gone to ground on the issue…”

    Yep Key is definately hiding from the issue. Or he is in Asia doing PM stuff. One of the two.

    • Eddie 2.1

      Um, look at his weak comment on RNZ. Russel Norman was going in for the kill, Key basically had nothing to say. A far cry from the thundering denunciations we were hearing on Sunday.

  3. Pat 3

    “…If you’re going to poll just pay UMR to do it for God’s sake…”

    Assuming your party has got the money to pay UMR. Presumably money was the reason why Labour was using volunteers with fake names and a fake company.

    I guess Labour have learnt their lesson and from now on will use volunteers with fake names and a real (albeit non-descript) company.

  4. Ron 4

    It really isn’t an issue, is it? The media do it regularly, other companies do it, political parties do it. By not revealing who they are they get a slightly more uncluttered response, I imagine.(how many double negatives was that?)
    It has BECOME an issue because key waded into it. Idiot.

  5. TightyRighty 5

    If you want to make an issue out of nothing, at least take one lesson from farrar. you need to have at least one piece of believable evidence backed up by a whole lot of spin, then people will believe. this is a lame attempt, i seriously thought you were better than this.

    • Eddie 5.1

      You are sensitive about this aren’t you? It’s not spin, it’s a genuine question. A former National supporter has given us detailed information about National’s polling activities under English. Easy enough for him to deny it.

      I have no interest in defending Labour, I think Barker’s actions were stupid even if hardly worthy of the condemnation we’re hearing in the media. What I am interested in is seeing the same standards apply to National as they demand of Labour.

      • TightyRighty 5.1.1

        not really, as i have said, provide some real proof and i’ll back off. but only seems to be unsubstantiated rumour? give me some more detailed information eddie, i think it’s important, you know, to apply the same standards of reporting as the media do. you don’t want the msm showing you up do you?

        • Eddie

          Media use anonymous sources all the time. They also have access to politicians to ask them follow-up questions, unfortunately we don’t. Bill can end the speculation by denying the claims. So far he hasn’t done that, and I don’t think he will.

          • TightyRighty

            so any allegation, if not denied, is then true? has anyone even asked bill english if this has happened? or is he going to have to trapse over here and answer to innuendo and hearsay? if you don’t have the info, you don’t really have a story.

            • Eddie

              I don’t think you understand what a blog is, or you’re intentionally trying to misunderstand it.

              The claims made here have as much weight as you choose to give them. I wouldn’t convict Bill in a court of law based on a guest post on The Standard, but an enterprising journalist might like to ask him a few questions.

              And it goes without saying that I wouldn’t be putting the claims out there unless I had confidence in the source’s integrity.

            • TightyRighty

              ok, so give me some more information so i can reassure myself that it’s not BS. think of me as the journalist who you think should be asking Bill English the tough questions.

              Eddie, what information or proof do you have to back up your allegation that national has also been as deceptive as labour over the internal polling conducted in ministers offices, and where can the public see such proof?

            • Eddie

              It’s not The Standard‘s policy to reveal our sources.

  6. Sorry it was not a fake company. As long as the word “Limited” was not used no law was broken. And if they said it was the Labour Party then the result would be skewered.

    If the nats want to debate this maybe they could tell us how Curia is being funded.

    • Herodotus 6.1

      Your statement is deflective for the actions. Why cannot someone either say this is what we did and we are NOT ashamed, embarrassed and we will continue to do so, OR this was misleading and we are sorry. Which ever may be applicable.

      • Ari 6.1.1

        Reading the paper this morning, it seems like that’s exactly what the Labour Party is doing.

        • Herodotus

          Which paper is this so I can read this on line, I am interested in which direction Labour have taken?
          Thanks Ari

          • Tigger

            Dom Post today has an editorial slamming the practice as though Labour are the only ones who’ve ever done it (also page 2 piece on Barker).

            Honestly, at least do some damn research, Dom Post!

            • mickysavage

              The reasons are for the protection of the interviewers. I am aware that a few senior public servants are Labour supporters. When they help the party they do not want their identity being made puublic. No doubt the comment was made in that context. Not a good look but not a hanging offence either.

  7. Come on eddie.

    Howls of outrage when the right tried to use the “they did it too” line when Nat MP’s were in the spotlight. Surprised to see you there for stoop to such a tactic.

    What about Barker’s lies to the media? Are there situations where it is OK to lie? I assume this only applies to Labour or left MP’s?

    felix comments yesterday did make me think. Sadly, all that’s happened is that we seem to have reversed sides and roles with equally hypocritical behaviour on both sides. I also think it’s fair to say these exchanges are being played out on the fringes which the general population is largely disinterested.

    It’s sad because the economic challenges we face along with the well documented (at least here!) climate challenges would suggest that now is the perfect time to be having a some serious debates about long term decisions and directions.

    • Eddie 7.1

      Nowhere have I attempted to defend Barker. Read the post, I even explicitly criticise him. I’m just saying that if National wants to get on its high horse and demand transparency from Labour it should be prepared to answer questions about its own polling activities.

      Seriously, sometimes I wonder about the reading comprehension of some of the righties here.

    • Ari 7.2

      “They did it too” isn’t a valid defense, but it is a valid criticism if you admit that your side was wrong to do it as well.

      Right-wing bloggers tend to use “they did it too” as a defense. Eddie is using it as a criticism of National’s attacks on Labour over this. There is a big difference.

  8. To get things into perspective I think the following are really important issues where the current Government is failing us:

    1. Its sabotaging of all of the country’s climate change policies,
    2. Its sabotaging of Auckland’s democracy,
    3. Its destruction of our education system by, for instance, cutting very good programs such as ACE and giving this money to private schools,
    4. Its undermining of workers rights through ACC reform, the 90 day fire at will bill and various other policies.

    The following are not:

    1. The anti smacking referendum,
    2. Whether or not Phil Goff rode a bike when he was younger,
    3. The state of John and Bronagh Key’s relationship,
    4. Whether Labour volunteers conducting a poll used their correct first names or not.

    Perspective would be good.

    • Daveski 8.1


      I’ll disagree with your views on 1-4 but I agree entirely that the debate is no longer on the issues but on matters of perception. I don’t think this is a post election issue either but a trend over many years.

      The dumming down of the media has a role to play as does news and entertainment … or should that be entertainment as news???

      So couldn’t agree more – perspective would be good.

      • Herodotus 8.1.1

        I concur. Yet we get this from Labour. Is this not confirming an earlier post from here “Everyone is doing it…” hundreds of thousands of families…. (see below) If we are to have real issue debates then can we also have committment not to feed us crap. Selwyn Pellet (Posted Bty T Mallard) had 2 interesting posts on issues that I think relate to NZ. yet how many have a grasp of what is being referred to.
        Perhaps there are far too many issues of min thought just junk food topics. How about focusing on real issues ACC, Govt depts spying, ETS & EFA to name a few.
        Trevor Mallard says:
        October 27, 2009 at 5:49 pm
        Piggy – there was substantial change in child poverty through working for families for example where hundreds of thousands of families were lifted over the poverty line.

  9. Ianmac 9

    A few years ago I was polled. The questions seemed to have a bias towards National but I was not sure. So I asked the man who he was working for. He said he didn’t really know. I asked him if it was for National but he hung up. Have wondered though but can’t prove anything.

    • Mac1 9.1

      Ianmac, I too was polled by a National phone canvasser a few years ago. Her first question was whether I knew who the present National MP was. Answer, “Yes”. Another question. “Do you know who the new National candidate is?” Answer. “Have you forgotten who she is?”
      About this time the National canvasser, as she ‘fessed up, and I was told later by her daughter too, twigged that she was talking to an opposing candidate.

      I also know that the Brethren push polled in our electorate in 2005. One of my activists had that experience.

  10. Captain Rehab 10

    Dudes, check out the doco about the 1996 Wellington central election “Campaign”. There’s a scene in it where we actually see this kind of polling taking place with the candidate hovering over the shoulder of the caller. I can’t remember if it’s Labour or National doing it but back then it was hard to tell the difference anyway.

  11. snoozy 11

    what’s this with another bill passed under urgency- this time breaks? Dude we want our democracy back!

    when was the last time we had a general strike? Or the last time if ever the government resorted to urgency to ram this amount of stuff through? Roger Douglas blitzreig tactics. Needs to badly be checked.

  12. I thought you lot had moved on from the ” I know we did but so did they” defense after the electoral thumping last year.

    The real story is the fact that labour is broke and the fact that Barkers immediate response was to lie through his teeth. Another trait that I thought would have been given up on after last year.

    It appears nothing has been absorbed, which is a bit of a pity really because while these feeble attack lines are being hatched you lot have failed (miserably) to do anything for the telecom techs.

    • “They did it too!” has been nearly exclusively the cry of embarrassed kiwibloggers reeling from Key repeating at times almost identically the same things that Farrar has beaten well out of proportion and used to personally attack Clark in a 3 (going on 4) year delusional tanty, starting around the time of Nationals 2005 election loss.

    • Eddie 12.2

      Barnsley, read the post. I’m not defending Barker, I’m asking National to abide by the same standards they’re demanding of Labour.

  13. we know that under Bill English’s leadership National told volunteers to say they were from ‘Gallagher Research’ (which appears to have never existed as a registered company) and use fake names as they conducted public polling.

    1. Wellington City New World isn’t a registered company. So what? That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Maybe it was a partnership. A sole trader. A trading name for the National Party. Something else? The companies register is evidence of company registration and little more.

    2. I can confirm the Gallagher Research story. I polled for National while a student. Paid pretty well. But we weren’t told to use fake names.

  14. RedLogix 14

    Still a total non-story.

    There is nothing wrong with using pseudonyms in a public setting. We do it on blogs all the time.

    There is nothing wrong with using a front name to obscure who is doing the poll, in order to gain a less biased result; this would appear to be almost universal practise. Professional pollers such as Curia or UMR never explain who is really paying them for their work.

    No-one is being materially disadvantaged, there is nothing to criticise or apologise for.

  15. TightyRighty 15

    with respect to redlogix above. I think there is something to apologise for. Eddie has made this up. if he can’t reveal any new information or proof, then this post and the other post are total BS. apologise to the people eddie. show us your standards and you ethics.

  16. TightyRighty 16

    no, but his version differs from “the classic liberals” and eddies, did you read the last line of his comment? it seems that was the crux of eddies and the bs artists posts, that national did exactly the same. I never said national don’t conduct polling under a company name, i see no problem with that, but they never used fake names, and they paid their staff. where is labour on the minimum wages of their “volunteers”?

    The standard has all the info, so just release it.

    edit: just saw that the dom post has an editorial on this issue, not a single mention of accusations of National “doing it too”, they must pay their staff and use real names or, possibly, it would be reported

    • Eddie 16.1

      You’re a bit oversensitive there Tighty. Clearly we can’t reveal our sources, but we wouldn’t have put this out there unless we have reason to believe it is genuine.

      It is not The Standard‘s policy to reveal our sources.

      Graeme has confirmed the polling under the front company Gallagher research occured, but in his case he wasn’t told to use a pseudonym.

      Like I said, this could easily be cleared up with a denial from National.

      • Pascal's bookie 16.1.1

        Dompost also reports that National used the name “Access Market Research” in ’96.

      • TightyRighty 16.1.2

        pathetic. your full of it. you said you had new information. don’t reveal your source, reveal that. but you can’t can you? so i call BS

  17. Selwyn Pellett 17

    It was wrong of Labour to do what they did. I understand why, but dont do it a again.

    The new polictics of this country going forward, I hope will be about genuine integrity. It’s okay to make a mistake but front up on it. We all make mistakes and thats typically not the issue, covering it up is.

    National has almost certainly done the same thing but so what? It was wrong, man up and move on.

    As to the issues facing the country, this must rank as number 780,000,000,001 in order of importance.

    Lets focus on how we can build a better country as we have some serious work ahead of us on that score.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago