web analytics

Of polls and elections

Written By: - Date published: 11:07 am, May 26th, 2014 - 116 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, john key, labour, national - Tags: ,

Last night’s dual Colmar Brunton Reid Research poll releases have some on the right suggesting that the election is a formality and all that National needs to do to win is turn up. They should rethink their optimism.  Because the election is incredibly close and anything can happen.

Before anyone accuses me of blind optimism I note that this is also the view of John Key.  They should also think about the following:

  1.  I am convinced there is an inbuilt right bias in polls.  There were too many “National will rule alone” poll results before the last election which did not reconcile with the actual result.  Rob Salmond and Danyl McLaughlan have analysed the situation for a while with more expertise than I have.  I will state with some confidence that National will poll under 50% at the next election.
  2.  The poll results include the budget week bounce that Governments generally enjoy.  Last year the Colmar Brunton poll for the same period showed an impressive 6% bounce in support for the Government.  Budget week should be the Government’s week.  And National’s attempt to make itself look like Labour has obviously had a beneficial effect on its support.  The Colmar Brunton poll data was collected from May 17 to 21, immediately after the budget had been delivered and away from the time of the Judith Collins troubles.  The Reid Research poll from last year did not show the same bounce but my impression of Reid Research polls are that they are erratic.

Having said this the biggest threat for Labour for the election is the sense of optimism there is concerning the economy.  The right track wrong track trend is suggesting that overall people are happy with the way the economy is going.  They have reason to be happy in that there is growth and unemployment is declining albeit slowly.  Of course this recovery is built on a foundation of sand and is dependent on the need to rebuild our second largest city and large scale borrowing only possible because Helen Clark and Michael Cullen had effectively paid off the Crown’s debt in 2008.

National’s approach to economic management is a temporary solution only.  One day the country will have to wake up and start paying the debt back.

Voters should not confuse borrow and spend with a sound economic policy.  Currently sufficient of them are prepared to give National an economic credibility it frankly does not deserve.

And David Cunliffe has acknowledged that he needs to convey to the population what sort of person he is.  He has worked hard on the policy aspect of the job but people do need to have a sense of who he is if they are going to vote for him.  Soft media will be vital.  John Campbell’s recent visit to David’s home is the sort of thing he will need more of.

We now are 117 days from the next election.  Decent recent setbacks the polls are in a better position for the left than they were three years ago.  My sense is that this election will go down to the wire.


116 comments on “Of polls and elections”

  1. George 1

    Yeah, but Labour doesn’t have a convincing way to explain the twenty point gap.

    They were offered one.

    • Clemgeopin 1.1

      It is no longer a FPP system of election or Government! It is MMP. Duh! You got to look at it in terms of the right block and the left block

    • Paul 1.2

      There isn’t a 20 percent gap.

      • George 1.2.1

        There is a twenty point gap.

        If Labour can’t communicate to the average voter how they’re going to form the next government.

        The Greens offered them a way to do that (far short of a formal coalition – a non-aggression pact). It’s harder to do that without this solid connection.

        • poem

          There isn’t a twenty point gap. Labour has made their position quite clear, that the Greens will, no doubt, be part of a labour led government. That’s enough. Let the voters have their say first. No deals should be done before then. National and NZ First are also refusing to be drawn om coalition deals.

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    Micky – Not many on the right are suggesting this is a formality. It you have followed the rhetoric of Key and English in the past fortnight to their support base, the key message is lets not complacent.

    They are firing up their war machine now with a bucket load of resources. The PR spin and Crosby Textor influenced marketing will hit us hard soon.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      The Right aren’t suggesting this is a formality because it’s not, their internal polling says so, and these guys can certainly count. HOWEVER, the Right do definitely think they could still pull this one out of the fire and win. We’ll see. (They will definitely need Winston’s help).

      • lprent 2.1.1

        That Winston support is really going to really really gut that large faction of the National party and support base that they managed to demonise NZFirst to over the last decade or two.

        My sadistic streak almost wishes that it would happen. It’d be like a moving trainwreck for both National and NZ First.

        • The Real Matthew

          You’re presuming Winston gets over the 5% threshold.

          Like the overall result I’m expecting this to be much closer than expected.

          • Tracey

            isnt there likely to be some in the middle who wontvote labour but want national gone, thats winston territory… 5% is not even all the undecided in the latest poll.

            • Colonial Viper

              Winston will clear 5% easy. The biggest problem with NZF is though is that it remains the Winston Peters party. Without him, they will poll at the margin of error.

              • Tracey

                part of me wishes the nats would go into coalition with nzf, watch the shitfight and attend the fresh election one year later…

                • Colonial Viper

                  If there was a cinema or computer simulation version I’d be all for it, unfortunately putting the entire nation through it for real is just too cruel…

                • Tracey


                  • The Real Matthew

                    CV & Tracey I’m not so convinced on Winston this time around.

                    The conventional wisdom with Winston is not to write him off but I feel he has lost some of his majic. His claims under parliamentary priviledge get more and more fanciful and he is scoring less hits than in previous terms.

                    I agree there is a constituency there for the Winston vote but The Conservatives will eat into it and with NZ First non-committal about co-alition partners the anti-Key vote may find another box to tick.

        • geoff

          Farrar will be shitting himself.

          • Tracey

            regular colonics for his health, one with each poll?

            • geoff

              Let’s just say that if National has to have a coalition with Winston then it could well mean the end of the gravy train for the penguin.

        • Gosman

          Unless they move to support ACT, in which case what does it matter to National?

          • Tracey

            epsom is act if the beloved leader hints it. But i doubt one seat will do it for the coalition of the right and the wierdoes this time.

            • Gosman

              It provides a bolt hole for any disenchanted National party supporters who are against any deal with Winston.

              • Tracey

                How many times have ACT got over 5% and in what circumstances?

                • Gosman

                  Once as far as I am aware but so what considering it is irrelevant about the 5% threshold if they retain Epsom.

                  • Tracey

                    once is right but you suggest national is popular so no drift from nats to act. of course act gets epsom… but not above 2% party vote no matter how much you love the hard right tail that has wagged the tail.

      • Enough is Enough 2.1.2

        I am not so sure about that.

        We seem to be under this belief that the polls favour the right on the basis that the last election result had National poll well below what the media polls were telling us in the week leading up to the election.

        There were also 800,000 odd people who didn’t vote last time and we are again under the belief that they would have voted left if they had got out of bed.

        Is there no correlation between the 2011 media polls, National’s lower election result, and the missing 800,000 voters.

        I am worried. Very worried. Yet everyone here seems to have the attitude of she’ll be right. Business as usual. It is a very worrying attitude to have when our leader is so unpopular so close to the election..

        • mickysavage

          My own belief is that there is an inbuilt bias in the polls. I do not see how the sampling can work to correct for landline based polls. I have many, many clients out west who do not have a landline and rely only on cellphone for communication.

          At the same time lefty supporters are over all less likely to vote. Being marginalised and/or young means that you are less likely to exercise your democratic rights. Turnout is crucial.

          David’s preferred PM polling is no different to Helen’s was at the start of her reign as leader of the opposition. He enjoys campaigns and I am sure that support for him will rise as more people get to meet him.

          • Enough is Enough

            I like your optimism Greg, but I have not seen any hard evidence in respect of what you claim. I haven’t even seen any soft evidence. It seem to be only anecdotes about our left leaning mates not having landlines.

            I am not saying my proposition above is correct but it has as much credibility at this stage as the lefties don’t have landlines argument.

            Helen was not this unpopular 4 months before the first election that she won, or even the two that she lost.

          • The Lone Haranguer

            I am sure that the Labour vote will grow when Cunliffe et al turn up on the TV on a regular basis during the election campaign. What I am unsure of is whether the Labour vote will come from a soft Nat base or from the Greens and Winston. Face it, neither side can trust Winston but both sides are likely to need him to form a Government.

            Certainly the swinging votes for Labour wont come from Act or the Conservatives.

            Im picking the election result will come down to a 51/49 split from right to left on election night. Or maybe 51/49 from left to right. Its nothing like a foregone conclusion that some may claim.

            • Colonial Viper

              The problem is that a Labour led coalition with a razor thin 2-3 seat majority will likely only last one term.

          • Gosman

            What was Helen Clark’s prefered PM polling in 1999 though?

            • You_Fool

              About the same as Cunliffe’s will be in 2017, after we have suffered through a government formed and run similar to the train-wreck of a 96-99 National government. National will poll somewhere around the lows 10’s as well…. Not that there will be much left for us to govern after they have wrecked it all…

          • mpledger

            When I was involved in land-line surveys, we used to take mobile phones out to non-landline households. Finding the non-landline household is a bit of a pain though. And it’s not cheap.

          • Melb

            And plenty of my National-voting mates and I don’t have landlines either. It’s all anecdata.

            David’s preferred PM polling is no different to Helen’s was at the start of her reign as leader of the opposition.

            Oh good. So John Key to win in 2017 as well?

    • mickysavage 2.2

      If you read latest posts on Kiwiblog and Whaleoil the tenor is quite clear. And comments here and on those sites suggest some think that a National win is inevitable.

      • Clemgeopin 2.2.1

        The undecided in the TV1 was 7.2% I think. Not sure if I am correct. Also, I do not know what the undecided % was in the TV3 poll. Do any of you know?

        • Puddleglum

          The ‘Refused’ or ‘Don’t Know’ in the latest Colmar Brunton poll was 17%.

          Only 755 people answered that question with the name of a party – which was considerably lower than most of their other polls apart from the immediately preceding one, which had 767 people answer. The earlier polls had 862, 840, 820 and 834 people answer that question positively (with the name of a party). I’m not sure why there was a slump in their response rate for this question in the latest two polls.

          I don’t know the TV3 poll equivalent statistic.

          • Clemgeopin

            Thanks very much. It is irritating not knowing how many are still undecided. That is an important information. I think it must be made mandatory in their code for poll companies to report that piece of information, because otherwise we don’t easily know if 0% or 2% or 20% or 60% are still undecided!

            • Colonial Viper

              political poll minimum standards and regulations – good idea. Including no polling activity to be conducted in the 10 days before election day, giving the electorate a clear week to consider the issues, not polling number nonsense.

      • lprent 2.2.2

        Lets hope that they carry on thinking so. Last election the National-led coalition scraped in with a single seat and with a hydra of four parties in the coalition. This time around there is a good probability that two or possibly even three of those partners will not be in parliament after the election.

        Last time around National was polling 55% or more on the TV polls in the months approaching the election, and they got 47%. That was with a pretty lacklustre Labour campaign.

        This time at best they peaking at 51%. I and anyone with any brains thinks that they will get well less than 45%. They it looks like Labour is getting a lot better at putting the campaign together. I can see why National would really like to trigger a disruptive leadership debate inside Labour at present and why we are seeing the usual attempts.

        Boring – seen this crap many times before.

        The way it is looking at present, I don’t think that even bribing Winston onboard can save the Nats from opposition periods

        • Anne

          I can see why National would really like to trigger a disruptive leadership debate inside Labour at present and why we are seeing the usual attempts.

          Worth having a listen to today’s RNZ political spot. Hooton’s attempt to paint Cunliffe as the evil coup perpetrator, and Shearer the innocent victim was quite an act. Ryan resignedly interrupted in the end because she’s heard it all before. She might just as well have said it aloud… oh God here we go again!

          • Kat

            And on Morning Retort Key said its ‘actually’ the centre right bloc against the far left bloc. Pretty rich from someone who has just announced free doctors visits for under 13yrs and extended paid parental leave. This is the blatant nonsense that goes unchallenged by the MSM.

      • Enough is Enough 2.2.3

        I would be happy if the Nats were that complacent Micky, I don’t think they are though.

        I am more concerned with the general attitude from the left on this site whereby no one seems too concerned with these poll results.

        Lets for a second assume the polls are an accurate portrayal of how the public vote. I am afraid some around here lack the urgency and motivation required to take these Tories on. If we made that assumption they might become a bit more urgent and stop being so relaxed about one of the most important elections in a generation.

        A Labour party polling below 35% is a fucking disaster and we need to reverse now. At the moment we are well below even that level of support.

        • Colonial Viper

          There are many significant disconnects between the Labour Party as it exists today, and the electorate. This is evidenced by 6 years of Tory rule, huge youth unemployment and child poverty, economic stagnation and highly unpopular asset sales, and in the last few months a tonne of scandals…and Labour still sits on the low 30’s.

          But its too late to solve those fundamental problems now, now is simply the time to get out there, campaign and maximise turnout.

          • Enough is Enough

            That is what I cannot get my head around. National is so popular notwithstanding the list of issues with the country that you have noted and the unpopular policies like asset sales that they have rolled out.

            In spite of all that Labour is as close to the Green as they are to National.

            • Clemgeopin

              I think there are several reasons for this: (Broadly speaking),

              *Key has managed to be very affable in his public dealings and TV appearances.
              *He has kept a tight rein on his caucus.
              *National’s spin machine is efficient no matter what the real truth is.
              *MSM in NZ by and large is lazy, superficial, un-investigative, in its journalism, news and commentary.
              * Voters have a short memory generally, in spite of record opposition to asset sales, GCSB affairs, Communication snooping, political corruption scandals etc
              * Many people are barely interested in politics, daily news or issues that matter.
              * By copying or stealing left social policies, National is trying to hide its real right agenda.
              * When people earn good income, they tend to get selfish and scared of socialist policies.
              * People do not discern the long term harm to society from the evils of uncontrolled capitalism, scant protection of environment etc
              * The left vote is divided between Labour, Greens, Maori and Mana. National has no competition, except the hardly registering, non performing ACT, UF and CONS.
              * Labour is yet to announce many policies and sweeteners, obviously closer to the election to get better traction and publicity. Otherwise, people forget. I am sure many have vague memories of some of the already announced policies such as, for example,
              Best Start for all Kiwi kids, NZ Power, Forestry, KiwiAssure, Affordable and Healthy Homes, Job creation, Education initiatives, Health measures etc.

        • Clemgeopin

          How do you expect the posters here to help change the polls? What do you propose we do?

          I think the onus is on the Labour party organisation and hierarchy to bring out strong appealing, sensible, fair, exciting policies and get plenty of exposure and publcity (if MSM give that!). Bold policies that will make people sit up and take notice. Apart from that, volunteer party/election work on the streets. I am hoping those things will follow. Four months is actually a long time in politics.

          Tell us your solution.

        • Kat

          What more can you expect from polls taken largely in areas such as Remuera and Epsom. The big poll is September 20th, if the turnout is high Labour has a chance. Until then poll bias will continue to favour National.

    • Tiger Mountain 2.3

      Yep the tory shit sprayer is about to employ turbo boost and nitrous. Guyon E’Spinner and the rest of the media toadies have fresh suppositories in place and are raring to go.

      The thing with the polls is that they consistently ignore or misrepresent undecideds and under MMP it will be very close whatever National is allegedly polling. Is every second car I see really filled with unpleasant dark kiwis or imbeciles?

  3. Gosman 3

    On the question in inbuilt bias on poll results do you not think the polling companies have a commercial incentive to remove this as a large anount of the credibility is based on how accurate they are?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The polling companies are doing a job, and that job is not necessarily providing accurate polling on the state of the nation.

    • lprent 3.2

      ….do you not think the polling companies have a commercial incentive to remove this as a large anount of the credibility is based on how accurate they are?

      The political polls are a tiny proportion of their main business, most of which is about finding out what products are going down well with consumers. The political polls appear to primarily be done as a form of publicity, and are clearly done with a very limited degree of accuracy. They’d use larger sample sizes otherwise.

      Why would you think that they have a commercial incentive to make a publicity device more accurate? It isn’t exactly a feature of advertising for any company

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        They would have a greater incentive to be more accurate if this was the case as the political polls are like the advertisements for the rest of their business. They would be losing credibility with potential purchasers of their services if they were wildly inaccurate. That is not to state there isn’t any bias mind you just that the polling companies should be interested in removing it if it was a large as some would like to believe.

        • lprent

          They aren’t wildly inaccurate. Why would you say that? Micky didn’t, nor did I.

          The polls are merely inaccurate, and the accuracy can be improved easily with technique and the application of more money than the networks are willing to supply for a low cost advertising poll (that gets them a news story).

          Under normal circumstances, this kind of inaccuracy in a political poll doesn’t matter. But this election like the last two is going to be close between the right and left blocs.

          …just that the polling companies should be interested in removing it if it was a large as some would like to believe.

          So who exactly is saying that it is “large” for all of the polls. I see in the post that one polling company, the Reid ones, were identified as having results that appear to be outside the margins of error.

          Why are you smearing the other polls who merely seem to have a systematic bias within the bounds of the margins of error?

          • Gosman

            If they are not wildly inaccurate then what are we worried about here? Unless you think the polls should show the election is a shoe in for the left when it is showing instead that it is very tight indeed and could go either way. If Labour was confident that was the case then it surely should just continue to do what it is doing as it is on track for forming the next government quite easily.

            • Colonial Viper

              The polls are just part of the PR/marketing spin for the Right. They are effective in that regard eg. in fulfilling their aims of suppressing voter turnout for the Left.

              • Gosman

                How does this control by the right over the polls actually work? Are people belonging to these polling companies being told by some right leaning person in power to ignore proper techniques in generating a poll and just get results that are favourable to the right? If so how would you explain the times when the left led in the same polls in the past (e.g. in the early to mid 2000’s)?

                • Tracey

                  have you been called by a polling company? We get a few calls every election year. The media dont report all questions asked.

                  I assume you are being deliberately obtuse regarding polling techniques and so point you to this to assist.


                • How does this control by the right over the polls actually work?

                  How it works is less important than that it exists. Danyl’s bias-adjusted tracking poll (not ‘his’ exactly, but he publishes it) is based on several elections’ worth of evidence that most polls over-estimate National’s support and underestimate Winston First’s support. Whatever the reasons for its existence, the bias exists.

                  • Phil

                    is based on several elections’ worth of evidence that most polls over-estimate National’s support and underestimate Winston First’s support.

                    Unfortunately, the narrative people have used to explain the over-estimate for National runs completely contrary to everything we know about NZF supporters. Namely: Old white people disproportionately respond to polling.

                    My gut feeling is that in 2011 the Nats lost support to NZF in the last few days of the election, as Winston ramped up the tea-tapes rhetoric. The polling companies, who generally poll over a week or two, wouldn’t have seen the full impact because it was happening so quickly, os late in the game.

                    • That might explain 2011, but the original of Danyl’s bias-adjusted graph shows the same effect in the 2008 election and to a lesser extent in 2005. I’ve no idea what mechanism might account for it – as you say, Bomber’s favourite (yoofs and the poor don’t have landlines) certainly wouldn’t result in NZF being underrepresented – but it’s definitely there.

                    • Phil

                      2005 looks roughly right for the four major parties. The clustering of polling before the election isn’t wildly out of whack with the final result. You could certainly build a narrative that the EB fiasco in the last week(s) of the campaign damaged National and their election result suffered relative to the late polling data (just like 2011 and the tea-tapes).

                      2008 looks worse on the chart than I suspect was the true polling situation. You can see that National’s polling results did suffer in the last couple of months and, as I’ve noted at the Dim-Post a couple of times the trend line might implicitly hold on to old poll data for a little bit too long when it’s calculating the true level of support.
                      Another way of putting it is this: if you get rid of the trend line (because it’s a visual anchor that our brains subconsciously focus on) and just look at a series of dots, the National result looks less markedly out of whack – still overstated, but less than implied in the chart.

                      There may also be a kind of reverse ‘Bradley effect’ as well, where people are too embarrassed to say they support NZF and instead say they support National . I have no basis for this, but it’s a possibility.

              • Skinny

                Maybe some ‘shock into voting treatment is in order’

                Like a YouTube video, a mock up scene of get out to vote door knockers dragging some young punk non voters out of their house and flogging them for being so slack.

                I wonder if that will work?

          • Melb

            So any whispers of what Labour’s internal polling is showing? Surely they’d be paying the money to get this greater accuracy.

    • mpledger 3.3

      But you can’t tell how accurate they are until the election date. And even then the pollsters have an out – too many people didn’t vote, the undecideds made a difference.

      One firm in the US would purposefully over sample Republicans and then as the election got near it would even out the sampling so it would look like what they were doing was correct. The point of their polling wasn’t to find the truth but to reinforce positive Republican sentiment.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    And David Cunliffe has acknowledged that he needs to convey to the population what sort of person he is. He has worked hard on the policy aspect of the job but people do need to have a sense of who he is if they are going to vote for him. Soft media will be vital.

    The month after Conference in Christchurch last year was when the soft media machine should have gone into top gear and simply stayed there for months until hard nosed electioneering season hit.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      Exactly. It is fucking incredible that we are still noting these things 9 months after he was appointed and only weeks before the election.

  5. Clemgeopin 5

    Good and fair analysis there.

    It is a little amusing to see the National/ACT dudes today being as happy as clams and clowns after these latest polls. They might as well enjoy the exuberance to their heart’s content now just like the hapless Humpty Dumpty before the coming great fall on Sept 20!

    Voters seem to be thrilled at the National’s ‘extending paid parental leave and free doctor’s visits’! They will begin to realise that those are the policies that are inspired by the opposition parties, Labour, Greens, NZF and Mana! So actually, National has paid a tribute to the opposition by copying such policies. The voters are not all fools. They will begin to acknowledge and shift their support away from National in the coming weeks. Four months is a long time before the actual elections. More policies are yet to come from Labour and other parties. The present spike in National is simply the immediate reaction to the budget lollies. Won’t last.


    Based on the recent four polls and from past experience of the disparity between the pre-election polls and the actual election results, here is my estimate/calculation/prediction/gut feeling of the probable party vote for various parties, rounded to whole numbers:

    NZ FIRST…………..=7%

    • Gosman 5.1

      Excellent. We should just do away with professional pollsters and use your finger in the air method instead. Looks like the election is already in the bag for the left. No need to worry about anything then.

      • Clemgeopin 5.1.1

        No, but my prediction is based on the polls of the professional pollsters!

        • Gosman

          No, you prediction is based on your largely uneducated opinion about the polls of the professional pollsters

          • Clemgeopin

            You can’t prove your uneducated statement until Sept 20, though. Wait till that time before you pontificate.

            • Kimbo

              Not going to take you own advice, then?

              • Ben Adam

                I am confident of my projection. You can wait till Sept 20 to see if I am wrong.

                • Kimbo

                  Yeah, Nah.

                  Sorry – I’ve got better things to do with my time than file away and then diarise to check your oracles to see if you qualify as the Nostradamus of New Zealand politics. Nothing personal, but life is too short to waste…

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      I think Labour 32% to 35% represents the “95% confidence interval” of where the final result will fall. For the Greens this will be more like 11.0% to 13.5%.

      National final result will lie between 40% and 44% methinks.

      Winston 6% to 7% seems very likely too. If he stays consistent and keeps pushing, there is a reasonable chance that he will end up king maker.

      Question – will Labour have Hone in a coalition or will MANA be left out in the cold.

      • Skinny 5.2.1

        Hone is far too loose to have in Government, I really think Davis could unseat him and perhaps Annette Sykes wins against Favell to lead Mana.

    • Roy 5.3

      I wouldn’t count on voters noticing anything 🙁 A lot of them haven’t noticed yet that John Key is a liar.

  6. Ant 6

    They really just need to pull together as a team and just avoid the mistakes for a decent period of time which will include exercising a bit of discipline for once.

    It will always be a hard task for Labour to make headway because as the Taurima episode showed people who aren’t even candidates yet can cause crap stories about Labour to be run. There is still some dumb shit happening, like the woman who tweeted crap about Cunliffe becoming a candidate, but that is the downside of a democratic party I suppose.

    A party run like a business like the Nats will always have stricter comms most of the time, but really what’s the point of Labour if it is run like that?

    • Anne 6.1

      There is still some dumb shit happening, like the woman who tweeted crap about Cunliffe becoming a candidate,

      What was that all about Ant? I don’t do twitter.

  7. Jackal 7

    In this neck of the woods I’m finding it somewhat difficult to locate anybody who’s going to vote for a continuation of John Key’s government. Where are they?

    Perhaps National’s voters are just unwilling to say they support a regime that’s undermining New Zealand’s core values like home ownership, good jobs and a healthy environment. Like first division lotto winners, people who openly support National are few and far between.

    I guess most right-wingers don’t have much conviction in their beliefs, especially when challenged with some facts…and let’s face it; there really isn’t any good reason to give the neoliberal’s another term in power.

  8. red blooded 8

    Cunliffe’s media strategy is improving, but his team did not come as a packaged deal and have taken time to fit together and build momentum. This needed to be a stronger focus of his thinking and planning while campaigning for the leadership. I know that he put the media manager for Shearer on paid leave as soon as he took office and for quite a time made do without a manager. I guess this was partly a result of the muddle around the change of leader, but it also saw a communications black hole develop for too long after the change (& silly errors like the mismanaged announcement from the last conference).

    Anyway, there is certainly a need for urgency but nobody’s interests are served by panic. Having said that, don’t let’s assume that Key is being honest when he says he’s not taking a 3rd term for granted. People here (rightly) suspect his motives on other matters yet seem very ready to swallow his line about this. He’s a strong tactician and he doesn’t want to look too arrogant. After all, he wants all his voters out on the day, not sitting complacently at home.

    • Skinny 8.1

      Cunliffe reminds me of a fox, it’s that squinty look, I suggest plastic surgery or a strong dose of Botox to freeze them roundish, temporarily till after the election.

  9. Ad 9

    Whether the polls are slightly biased or not is irrelevant. They are bloody depressing, and over too long.

    The Labour Party needs to hold its campaign launch sooner rather than later.
    I appreciate that there will be the usual launch event in Wellington.
    But it’s not enough. Cunliffe needs to act fast to turn around the sense that New Zealand needs to know him before they can like him. The little regional visits haven’t been effective, nor the soft media profile. We need regional launch events.

    The activists can’t go on getting relentless demands for more activism, doing more telephone polling and fundraising, without something fun and confident to celebrate. I have yet to figure out what Labour Central headquarters is doing – because there is no visible energy from the machine other than sorting out candidates.

    We need momentum and enthusiasm, in order to respond to the accelerating demands to come. Because at the moment it’s just bloody depressing.

    • Anne 9.1

      +1 Ad.

    • Will@Welly 9.2

      Whoever is behind David Cunliffe’s strategy needs shooting. You need to win the campaign, not come a distant second. Time to announce “Game on.” National did so back in December.

  10. rich the other 10

    The polls are spot on , here’s an example of why.
    The protest outside Key’s home , it’s helping Key and damaging the left .
    The current political judgement being shown by the left seems to be very poor .

    I suspect these people are playing into Nationals hands and will generate a good deal of sympathy for Key and his family .
    Keep this up and watch the Nat’s go even further ahead in the polls.

    • Naturesong 10.1

      Because involving New Zealand in the US extrajudicial assassination program is a vote winner?

      If that’s the case, we really are fucked – that’s we, New Zealand (politics is not a football game where my team is ahead of yours, it’s what dictates the direction of the nation)

      Killing innocent people as a by product of assassination without trial is how you create terrorism, not how you fight it.

      • Roflcopter 10.1.1

        You lost that message the minute you decided to sit outside the PM’s house… simple.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Are you such a moron that you can’t distinguish between John Minto and the wider left? Are you responsible for Kyle Chapman?

        • Ant

          I agree, most of the electorate find the personalisation of protesting to the extent where it is right outside someones house as distasteful. It just has the perception of being the activity of crazies.

          Also for better or for worse people don’t hate Key enough for it to go down well, if anything they’ll feel more empathy for him.

      • Jackal 10.1.2

        +1 @ Naturesong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with peaceful protest. In fact it is one of the best ways to effect change.

        • Kimbo

          Hmm. Not an opinion shared by Norman Kirk. He considered protests invariably alienated and angered those whose support they are meant to mobilise, and they are a self-indulgent waste of energy when more constructive and mature ways should be employed to effect change.

          But then what did Big Norm know?

          • Tracey

            or gandhi

            • Kimbo

              Gandhi campaigned in a situation where representative democracy didn’t exist, and so that it could.

              Kirk did.

              • Clemgeopin

                Protest works well everywhere, especially in a democracy, highlighting the issue garnering publicity and further support.
                It is much harder to do in authoritarian states. Sometimes, it works there too but at great cost, including lives, freedom and property.

                • Kimbo

                  Works well everywhere? So the possibility (read probability given that the Sue Bradfords, Hone Harawiras on John Mintos of this world are REJECTED by 99% of the electorate when they actually run for office) that protests and protestors can do more damage than good for their cause doesn’t enter into your plausibility structure?

                  Fair enough. Ya pays yer money and takes yer pick.

                  • Clemgeopin

                    That is not the fault of the protesters that have concern for certain issues, but the fault of any one or more characteristics of the docile, trusting, lazy, uncaring, selfish, unthinking, uninterested and/or complacent people.

                    • Kimbo

                      Ah, the humility, self-awareness and calm and measured perspective of the protest movement illustrated in one post.

                      And they wonder why the “silent majority” holds them in mutual contempt.

          • Jackal

            Do you have a link to back up this assertion Kimbo? Norman Kirk dispatching a frigate to Mururoa to halt nuclear testing kind of shows he supported peaceful protest.

            • Kimbo

              A timely question given the recent publication of ‘The Mighty Totara’. One of the sources used by David Grant was “The Diary of the Kirk Years” by Kirk’s secretary, Margaret Hayward (published in 1981). In it she clearly outlined Kirk’s objection to loud, intrusive, undignified protest – as was typical of the anti-Springbok and Vietnam examples of the late 1960 and early 1970s, and which sum up succinctly the effort in Parnell last night that was the subject of my post.

              It wasn’t that Kirk didn’t sympathise with many of the causes that had become increasingly fashionable to protest about, often illegally, in that era. In many cases he did. But he was also sensitive to bringing people with him rather than alienating and antagonising. And I have little doubt what he would have thought of the targeting of a politician’s family home. Don’t believe me? Read Hayward’s book.

              Which is why, when Kirk did send the frigate to Mururoa in 1973, it was a restrained, creative, and dignified action. In contrast to the Fri, a CND yacht that led a flotilla of private protest vessels at the same time, Kirk ordered NO illegal or antagonistic entry by the Otago into French territorial waters. Indeed, when the Fri was boarded by the French for breaching international law, Kirk made very sure NO assistance or attempts to intervene were made, in order to differentiate the official New Zealand government action from others.

              Kirk would have also let the 1973 Springboks tour New Zealand IF the Vorster government had allowed for a merit-selected South African team and mixed race trials. He also had contempt for the illegal activity and threats of HART, particularly Trevor Richards, and the burning down of a Papakura club rugby grandstand in the lead-up to his decision to ask the NZRFU to cancel the tour. Indeed, given Big Norm’s firm stance on law-and-order, his decison was made ultimately not BECAUSE of HART, but IN SPITE of it.

              Plenty of lessons in Hayward’s book for the modern Labour Party if it was interested in knowing why floating voters are almost always repelled by loud and confrontational protest and political parties that do not cleraly differentiate themselves from it…


  11. captain hook 11

    the nats are crowd followers. at the moment they all running after a winner but the momentum will shift pretty soon. I see gooseman is back. The National Party obviously dont pay him overtime to hang round here in the weekends.

  12. dave 12

    as a voter national is offering me nothing . unafforble cost of living, no wage rises, an economy with permanent high unemployment, unpayable levels of debt and an uncerten future. thanks for the brighter future!!!!!!!!!!

    • infused 12.1

      Low unemployment… unplayable levels of debt? Please. Skill up and get yourself a wage wise. Does the govt have to wipe your ass too?

  13. “There is no presence of the American columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we killed most of them.”

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      “National can govern alone.”

      • poem 13.1.1

        How? Despite the vote rigging cup of tea with john banks, despite all the media hype, despite all the hype of polls, national couldn’t managed it last time, and they have done some pretty bad things to NZ and its people since then. You have underestimated the masses, AND MMP. And before you launched into a spiel on polls, who said the polls are true? they were wrong last time. john key and national did NOT get the level of support the polls were touting, and national did not govern alone either.

  14. Philj 14

    Polls are a bit like statistics, open to fiddling.
    Now that we are all experiencing the brighter future I can’t wait for what lies ahead. Hopefully Radio New Zealand National will improve, it can’t sink much lower. Guyon,Suzie,Jim and Kathryn. The tone of Mourning Report has morphed into some fake US style of hype ,sensationalism and increasingly, stupidity. I.e. Guyon ” Its really cold ? ” Farmer replies ” Its called winter Guyon.” Please save me from this rubbish!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • Freedom on the Seas – A gift from your friendly Government
    When the Government announced it would need to uphold public safety during the upcoming International Naval Review, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was talking about wearing life jackets. But actually, the Government is applying restrictions that stop people boating ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    16 hours ago
  • Time for Paula Bennett to front up on HNZ P Fiasco
      Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett needs to rein in Housing NZ and sort out the mess that’s been created by the organisation’s misuse of methamphetamine testing procedures, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    1 day ago
  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    3 days ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    6 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    1 week ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    1 week ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    1 week ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    1 week ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    2 weeks ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    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
    3 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