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NZ First is in trouble in Northland

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, August 9th, 2020 - 70 comments
Categories: election 2020, nz first, Shane Jones, uncategorized - Tags: ,

More bad news for NZ First.  It looks like their hope that Northland could provide a get out of jail free card is misplaced.

The special Colmar Brunton poll result this morning had National’s Matt King on 46% and Shane Jones a distant third on 15% well behind Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime.

I am not surprised.  I always thought Jones to be terribly overrated, particularly by himself.  In comparison Prime is a very effective and determined MP who has done her time in local Government.  She is part of Labour’s future senior leadership.

This will increase the pressure on NZ First.  All the polls, even the normally sympathetic Roy Morgan poll, have them well short of the 5% threshold.  And with the Greens openly attacking them and Ardern telegraphing a lack of support they may not get back in.

Which to be frank would be a good thing for the country.

70 comments on “NZ First is in trouble in Northland ”

  1. James Thrace 1

    NZ1st have focused on the wrong person.

    They should be focusing on Tracey Martin, winning Ohariu, and making Tracey the next NZ1st leader.

    The focus on Jones is misplaced as he's a lazybones. He's not well liked in the Far North, and my whanau links up there would rather vote for ABJ – Anyone But Jones.

    You're right though. Jones has an overblown sense of his own importance and believes that everyone else thinks he's as important as he himself thinks he is.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      They should be focusing on Tracey Martin, winning Ohariu, and making Tracey the next NZ1st leader.

      /agreed

      I really have NFI why anybody thought that Jones was a good candidate as either the leader or even just being a politician.

    • weka 1.2

      "They should be focusing on Tracey Martin, winning Ohariu, and making Tracey the next NZ1st leader."

      Yes, but that would have required valuing women, which I don't think is NZF's forte. Also, she's good at what she does and it's mindboggling they don't seem to value that.

      • James Thrace 1.2.1

        NZ first has a high churn of members and MPs. The only consistent MP in NZ1st that's been there since it began has been WP.

        That's part of NZ1st problem. Winston seems to not let any NZ1st MP hang around longer than 2 terms at the most, so there's never any opportunity for any of them to build up their competence recognition.

        Tracey's been the only one that seems to have broken that mould.

        It'll be sad to see NZ1 out of parliament. Without them, we would never have ended up with PM Ardern. A lot of people gleefully cheering on the demise of NZ1 would do well to remember that.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          whatever might have been in the past, this is an opportunity to have a leftward moving government, something NZ hasn't experienced in a long time.

        • Brigid 1.2.1.2

          "Without them, we would never have ended up with PM Ardern."

          Without the Greens, we would never have ended up with PM Ardern, is just as valid an argument.

          • Johnr 1.2.1.2.1

            Too true Brigid

            However Shane Jones with a bit of training could possibly make a reasonable living as a raconteur.

            But, would you want him in control of your destiny ??

            That is if you didn't own a fishing fleet or a few pine trees.

            • RosieLee 1.2.1.2.1.1

              He's a supercilious prick.

            • peter sim 1.2.1.2.1.2

              'raconteur" The zb radio network already has more than enough ignorant , loudmouth, bullying, playground show offs.

              "raconteur " means well informed literate narrator/ reporter.

              Shane Jones???

    • mary_a 1.3

      100% correct James Thrace (1) re Tracey Martin.

      Peters and Jones are nothing but a couple of arrogant, egotistic blowhards, full of their own hot air and BS, much to the detriment of a very good MP such as Tracey! No wonder people are deserting NZF in their droves.

  2. observer 2

    In the party vote poll, ACT make (barely credible) huge gains at National's expense. The Greens – as usual – retain their core support. Labour surge.

    I think King will retain Northland, but he could be one of several electorate MPs sweating on left-leaning special votes, so there's some extra "Schadenfreude" there.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Labour should go hard on a “Win with Willow” campaign. There has to be some strategy to try and deny ex cop boofhead King another term.

  4. Treetop 4

    I think this is a rogue poll for NZF electorate candidate (a bit low) and I think the party vote is too low for Labour and would be close to 50%.

    I want to know the percentage of people who have a landline in Northland. As well a sample of 503 is not enough.

  5. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the disintegration of NZ First.

    My read at this stage is that positioning themselves as the opposition within Government has been a major mistake. Clearly, NZ don't like people who stand against the PM.

    A week or so ago twitter user @RobdaverobDave suggested that Labour should offer a lifeline to NZ First's only progressive MP Tracey Martin by gifting her a winnable position on the Labour list.

    If it's not too late to make changes to the list it's an idea worth considering 😉

  6. lprent 6

    I commented on this on a old openmike (mistake) – copied here.

    Stuff looking at the Northland seat "Shane Jones a distant third in Northland poll, meaning NZ First could leave Parliament".

    But a new Q+A/Colmar Brunton poll suggests Jones is coming in a distant-third behind the incumbent National MP Matt King and Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime.

    The poll has King on 46 per cent support for the seat vote, Prime on 31 per cent, and Jones at 15 per cent.

    Labour was ahead in the party vote within the electorate at 41 per cent, with National not far behind at 38 per cent, ACT next at 8 per cent, and NZ First at 7 per cent.

    At the last election in Northland the party vote was convincingly won by National, with 46 per cent support to Labour’s 30 per cent.

    The poll was conducted between July 29 and August 4, with 503 eligible voters polled over landlines and online.

    Basically, there isn't that much of a difference from the last election. Matt King appears to be a good solid local MP without the personal baggage that Mike Sabin carried with him. About the only thing that has been notable about him is that he is a dangerously naive scientific illiterate fool. But hey, we put up with all kinds of idiots running on faith in NZ. If he is stupid but isn't actively dangerous to others, then we tend to give them a free pass.

    It makes it hard for Willow Jean Prime to overtake with the peculiar social strata of Northland – the place that time forgot in NZ.

    But I have to say that this kind of result is exactly what I have come to expect from Shane Jones over the last few decades. Great promise. Poor delivery. And also idiotic screw ups on the way. For instance, I suspect that this one will be one of those.

    "Auditor-general takes Provincial Growth Fund's 'fund within a fund' to task"

    The Government’s Provincial Growth Fund has been savaged by the auditor-general for a lack of transparency, lacklustre conflict management and operating a “fund within a fund”.

    The auditor-general, Parliament’s financial watchdog, was specifically critical of a $30 million spend, authorised by Cabinet for “manifesto commitments to the regions”.

    That funding was approved soon after the fund was established and soon grew to $85m. The auditor-general queried why certain projects were funded from this specific pot of money.

    “It was not always clear from the documentation why certain projects were considered for funding from this part of the fund,” they said.

    The report went on to say “it was difficult to find evidence of how projects had fully met the normal criteria for the fund” and that, in effect, the “manifesto commitments” pot was “operating as a fund within a fund”.

    • weka 6.1

      is the problem with the fund within the fund that no-one can see what is going on?

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Partially but the main concern seems to be that its operating as a personal fund that Jones gives out to whomever he pleases without any real justification.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        Not really. The fund would have been fully accounted for. Auditors or their ministers of departments tend to call in the police pretty rapidly if it isn't.

        The audit department's job is to make sure that there is always a clear and largely transparent process for the use of government funds. Specifically that the process produced what I'd describe as probative value showing how and why the decision to provide funds for a project was made. That is specifically what the AG was pointing out as being the problem with this fund.

        There wasn't a trail showing the decision making process and the reasons for preferring one project over another that could be laid in front of a judging audience to show that the process for making a decision was clear and above board.

        They were also asking why that payments were being made out of this fund rather than one that was more suited to the proposal – but which presumably had clearer process.

        Transparency isn't part of their brief. A lot of funds go to projects that are commercially sensitive (even things like school office supplies) or that are classified (think military or intelligence).

        However the audit office gets access to everything directly or indirectly to look at the process by which decisions are made as well as the accounting. This is to prevent any part or person of the government structure from treating pools of funding as being a slush fund and being used for corrupt purposes.

        • weka 6.1.2.1

          I think that's what I meant. Not that it was all transparent to the public, but that in the system the relevant people could see what was being spent where and why. Presumably they can see what was spent and where, just not why?

          • lprent 6.1.2.1.1

            Yep – and the why has to be clear and justifiable to prevent corrupt practices at a personal level. Policy corruption of course is a wholly different issue – also far more difficult to deal with. But that is why we have a largely democratic system.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.2

      Yes, “the land that time forgot” is why some of us live in the Far North…but old torys running the place is way past useby. The element of lawlessness and lack of political sophistication is a drag. Last FNDC Mayoral election should have seen a Labour friendly woman, supported by Willow Jean Prime, unseat John Carter, but,9 other candidates soon shot that theory down.

      Northland with its extensive post colonial fall out legacy is the last electorate that should be returning National MPs. Reactionary farmers and SMEs, and East Coast retirees, in denial about the stolen land they are all sitting on is one reason.

      It could be argued that the Māori Electorate Te Tai Tokerau, actually works against Northland Māori sometimes, if they were on the general roll, Northland would likely have ditched National many years ago.

    • Peter 6.3

      Northland – the place that time forgot in NZ? Northland the place that National and its long line of MPs took for granted and forgot. The 'born to rule' attitude is deeply entrenched in the area. Now there's been a little pat on the head the rump can go back to knowing that the only people who know how to run the country are National.

      I've said for months that Northland was the chance for NZF.

      The only chance Jones had was for his often referred to 'cuzzies' getting out and supporting him and to have a team assiduously working to capitalise on what he sees as his input to the region. The missing element was not knowing whether he had personal support on the ground. The cuzzies are likely to be on the Te Tai Tokerau roll and the missing element is now known – he doesn't have the support.

      Given the place Peters had got to in a head to head, a good position has been squandered. More than a few will say that's down to Jones being all piss and wind. He may have tried to make the car sound flash and having some grunt but when it's got a sewing machine motor driving it ain't going up the slightest rise.

      The best thing obviously is for Jones' voters to give their vote to Willow-Jean and have the s-a King miss out.

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    to be frank would be a good thing for the country

    I've had a lifetime of experience doing it & I concur! 😇

    Unless there's a late surge, NZF is indeed likely to pass into history. Voters no longer subscribe to the hand-brake theory. Why that is so is the interesting question!

  8. weka 8

    I'm almost starting to hope.

    • lprent 8.1

      I wouldn't. After watching NZF and Winston for a lot of decades, I've seen this happen before. 1.5% 8 weeks before an election. Over the line on election day.

      Shane Jones might be a dead weight for them. But NZF is virtually always behind in polls compared to what they get on election night. They have only missed once not getting into parliament and that was in 2008, and even then by less by a minuscule amount. I spent the end of 2008 and 2009 telling everyone that they'd be back (to widespread derision), and then they were.

      After you talk to a few NZF voters you realise why. They wouldn't tell a pollster the time of day. They tend towards being very cranky and extremely private about their intentions. They'd chortle as they slam the phone down on the pollster thinking about what a shock that stupid child on the phone would get on election day.

      The real issue is if the Greens actually manage to turn out their voters this time. Because a coalition partner is made up mostly by how many reliable votes in the house that a party can present to the coalition. The Greens have been getting better about their party discipline in the house after the chaos in 2017 that made them look a lot more risky than NZF after the 2017 election as a coalition partner.

      But ultimately that one extra seat that NZF got meant that they led the coalition talks. Without them a coalition wasn't happening.

      • weka 8.1.1

        Normally I wouldn't for the same reasons. This year has a different flavour to it, but it's definitely only an almost starting to hope.

        Are you saying that if the GP had 9 MPs and NZF 8 that the Greens would have led the talks? Doesn't NZF get to do that because they're willing to work with either Labour or National? Or was the rift between NZF and Nat sufficient to mean that it just came down to MP numbers in 2017?

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          Or was the rift between NZF and Nat sufficient to mean that it just came down to MP numbers in 2017?

          In my view – yes.

          The leak of Winston Peter’s superannuation over payment was pretty clearly a political and personal hit job. It targeted his partner as well. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone from a political party who’d done that. That is well outside the bounds of political behaviour, and just about everything in politics coalitions is based in a large part on trust between the people running it.

          Winston was clearly sure immediately after the coalition talks that it was someone in National who’d leaked because of the way that he launched the court case. He was probably sure beforehand as well. NZF was either going into coalition with Labour or they would have stood outside a minority government. They wouldn’t have wound up in any arrangement with National because it would have bound NZF from being in opposition to their behaviour.

          In my view it’d have taken a coup inside NZF to change the outcome of those coalition talks.

          But given the need to have a 3 way arrangement and two smaller parties, then the extra seat makes all of the difference.

      • Sacha 8.1.2

        Be interesting to see the impact of the SFO investigation into Winston First on their immediate electoral fortunes.

  9. Roy cartland 9

    Ardern telegraphing a lack of support

    Anyone got a link for this? (Yes I'm pretty, but the s.freud is too tempting.)

    • Roy cartland 9.1

      *petty

    • lprent 9.2

      She isn't really. The Labour message has consistently been for a century that they will contest every electorate seat if they can find a candidate. It isn't the National party with their electorate deals both in places like Epsom, Ohuria-Belmont, and for that matter that they don't even put candidates up in the Maori seats.

      The only time that may not have happened was in 1999, when arguably Helen Clark provided an opportunity for the Greens to win in Coromandel when she pointed out that the National candidate could win the seat if there was a electorate vote split between the Labour and Green candidate. Which was more of recognition of how tight the seat was than an endorsement.

      There is a pretty description of what happened over at Scoop (and for other seats at the time).

      Clark has said while she will not instruct Labour supporters in the seat to vote for Fitzsimons she acknowledges the seat is a two way race between Fitzsimons and McLean and that voters should be aware of that. Clark knows Labour has nothing to lose and everything to gain through assisting a Green victory in the Coromandel and these initial noises may be only be the first.

      Jeanette Fizsimons beat the incumbent National MP by 250 votes because voters on the left/greens strongly vote split

      Personally I never viewed it as a deal. But if I'd been in the electorate I'd have voted for a Green electorate candidate rather than let a National seat warmer get through. As a person who usually votes Labour and is a member of the Labour party, having someone telling me what to do would have aroused my contrarian instincts

  10. Stuart Munro 10

    NZF is a curious beast, and though I'm rather annoyed by some of its efforts in government this term, the idea of an expressly nationalist party occupying the ground abandoned by the globalist major parties seems to me to have a legitimate place as representatives of a demographic those parties have chosen to ignore.

    It is the other head of the pushmi-pullyu that has rendered it unelectable however, the Winston First bit. The old fox appears to have miscalculated the strategic cost of his usual iconoclasm exerted during a major crisis against a PM that is handling it rather well. In normal circumstances he'd've made out like a bandit, but these are not normal circumstances.

    Tracey Martin has shown a work ethic and maturity worthy of a senior minister, and Ron Mark has proven a sound choice for his portfolio. Shane Jones has struggled to capitalize, in terms of popularity, on being the guy with the chequebook. Those familiar with some of the decisions at Sealord (the water knife and the Aoraki purchase) might recognize the pattern.

    If National are smart (and they could become so after the election), they may try to pick up Martin. They, even more than other parties, would benefit from an impression of balanced pragmatic centrism.

    • AB 10.1

      yes. Celebrating NZF's demise without considering the nature of it's appeal historically. seems like a recipe for losing many of its supporters to the Nats. If we are lucky, Labour's Covid response will itself contain elements of the economic nationalism that attracted people to NZF over a long period.

      • Sacha 10.1.1

        Which 'we' is that lucky for?

        • AB 10.1.1.1

          Sorry- I meant everyone to the left of NZF. I’m happy to see NZF gone, but less happy if their supporters end up with the Nats.

          • Sacha 10.1.1.1.1

            Personally, I'd rather not see Labour dragged further to the right by hosting Winnie-lovers. Nats are welcome to em.

          • ScottGN 10.1.1.1.2

            By all accounts there aren’t that many NZFirst supporters left to go anywhere. And certainly not anything like enough to make a dent in the 400k odd voters who’ve switched from National to Labour this year.

    • Austringer 10.2

      Other possible and not yet over the election, after the election Peters, relinquishes his position as Leader with a gallant retirement with affirmation, for both Marks AND Martin, aka Martin AND Marks, as co-leaders.

      • Sacha 10.2.1

        Aren't there competing party factions at play including Martin's mother?

      • Stuart Munro 10.2.2

        It might be promising strategy – but I'm not sure the leading personalities would go for it.

        Nor do I think NZF is especially stridently rightwing – that's more ACT territory. They are merely accustomed to a bit of drama as a vote-winning strategy.

        In this case I think they might have done better to rest on their laurels – they can claim to have picked a team fit to manage covid, and being able to point to border restrictions as an inevitable reassertion of national integrity. Jones did hand out plenty of largesse, perhaps without conspicuous grace. They would still have picked up disgruntled Gnats for whom Labour might be a step too far.

  11. Rosemary McDonald 11

    I'll be interested to see the effect the ongoing saga of Oranga Tamariki's illegal activity will have on the vote up here in the FFN.

    Succinctly described by Aaron Smale. https://www.newsroom.co.nz/failures-without-consequences

    So, to paraphrase – a government agency doesn’t understand a crucial part of the legislation that it operates under. This part of the legislation was not some obscure clause, but was being used regularly to remove children without any warning and without giving the parents a chance to respond to the allegations against them. If you want a layman’s term for that, here’s one – kidnapping. The state does NOT have an absolute right to do anything its incompetent staff think they can get away with. It’s called the rule of law.

    The latest response from both Moss and Martin – after they stopped attacking the messenger – is that they are making progress and the ministry has only been running for a couple of years and so needs time to bed in. Which is absolute bollocks, just like their attacks on Melanie Reid’s reporting were bollocks. They’re only making these changes because they were busted and exposed. If they’re not going to resign, the least they could do is apologise…

    This wound continues to fester, and Maori leaders are singularly unimpressed by Martin's performance on this particular issue.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/oranga-tamariki-report-something-is-rotten-in-that-organisation

  12. solkta 12

    The problem that Jones has in Northland is that lots of people know him.

    • Rosemary McDonald 12.1

      …. is that lots of people know him.

      It is indeed a problem for Jones…folks I've spoken with are well over that particular devil.

      I'd like to see him stand in Te Tai Tokerau.

      Snowball's chance.

      • Sacha 12.1.1

        Should make an honest man of himself and retire altogether. Too lazy for anything else.

  13. observer 13

    Bold new plan for NZF:

    Shane Jones announces he doesn't want candidate votes in Northland. Says people should vote for King instead. National voters around the country, already unhappy with their party but looking for options (as in 2002) get the message, re-assess NZF, decide to back them after all, push them over 5%. Party saved.

    Not with a whimper, but a bang …

  14. DS 14

    One thing that hasn't been picked up on: this is actually a very good result for National. If they are indeed behind by 20-30% nationwide, for them to be at 46% in a three-way in Northland suggests a fair amount of vote-splitting.

    • lprent 14.1

      See my comment further up. This is a good result for the incumbent MP. Not so good for National (or NZF).

      Labour was ahead in the party vote within the electorate at 41 per cent, with National not far behind at 38 per cent, ACT next at 8 per cent, and NZ First at 7 per cent.

      At the last election in Northland the party vote was convincingly won by National, with 46 per cent support to Labour’s 30 per cent.

      Since the last election. The party vote for National has dropped 8%. Labours up by 11%.

      • DS 14.1.1

        Nationwide, the Nats were ahead by 7 in 2017, so Northland voted 9% more Nat than the country.

        If Labour is ahead by 3 on the party vote now, the same reasoning would have Labour ahead by 12 on the party vote nationwide. On current polling, the Nats would take that.

    • Uncle Scrim 14.2

      Strange how Gerry B claimed this poll was evidence of National doing well (and NZF's imminent demise) when every other poll is 'rogue'. It is a good result for King, but if National are losing the party vote in seats like Northland that tells a story consistent with the general poll trend.

      New Zealanders have always done a reasonable amount of vote-splitting (apparently more so than happens in Germany under a similar MMP system, for example) – often backing established local MPs who are seen as doing a decent job but with the party vote reflecting the nationwide trend.

  15. lprent 15

    NZ Herald on Arden's restatements on deals. Covers Northland and Auckland Central. Should be outside the paywall.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12354866

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out a deal with NZ First in the critical Northland seat after a new poll that shows NZ First's Shane Jones coming a distant third.

    and

    Ardern reiterated that the no-deal stance also applied to the battle in Auckland Central, where the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick is up against Labour's Helen White, and a National candidate yet to be announced.

  16. Red 16

    Jonsey dressing like the Fat Train conductor or something straight out of the 1970s Kremlin with his silly hats and trench coat probably does not help his cause

    • Incognito 16.1

      Please leave the stupid comments about his appearance to those who’re actually funny and don’t have a ‘criminal record’ on this site, thanks.

  17. Ad 17

    With the number of PGF regional initiatives going on in Northland driven by New Zealand First, including the Kaikohe water storage dam, industrial park in Ngawha, new rail line going into Marsden Point, massive rail upgrade from Kumeu all the way to Whangarei, one would have expected New Zealand First to do a lot better than they are.

    That's a lot of latent gratitude for hundreds of millions of $$ projects many people have fought for, over many years.

    And this is where Shane Jones family lives.

    Also it's only a couple of terms ago that Winston Peters won the seat. This seat should have been possible.

    So this polling shows how low the voters regard Shane Jones.

    • Peter 17.1

      There's a touch of Muldoon about it. People were happy to be whipped by him. The thought of a strong man taking control turned them on.

      Northlanders loved being treated like crap by National and their politicians and they haven't come to terms with someone trying to do something for the region so Jones is history. It's something actually happening that floors them. They get excited about National promises, that's a sort of security blanket they've become used to.

  18. Ad 18

    If the Provincial Growth Fund has so little actual political dividend with voters, PGF probably won't last in the next government (unless NZF survives).

    I can see Labour repackaging it for regional response.

    The big following question is: if Labour lead the government and NZFirst are gone, who gets gifted political oversight of this utterly massive fund – much of next term joyously opening all the projects they started in 2017-20.

    That's a mighty political gift to bestow on a new Minister.

  19. PsyclingLeft.Always 19

    Wobbly Jones has the bombast of a 3rd rate Lange…and thats about it. His attacks on the Left..Greens especially, has created a strong dislike from many. I think he is a gone fishburger. Cmon Willow Jean ! : )

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