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Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, December 17th, 2007 - 91 comments
Categories: polls - Tags:

From The Dom:

A One News Colmar Brunton poll last night has National on 54 per cent, 19 points clear of Labour. A Three News TNS poll has National with a slimmer lead – 51 to 36 – but still well ahead.

Well I doubt they enjoy being behind but this can hardly be a surprise for Labour – with The Herald waging war over the EFB as well as continued fallout from a variety of issues. So National’s looking to govern alone but would anyone really want them to?

It seems to me that their leader, for all his style, is still a policy lightweight – having handed off all of the hard stuff stuff to Bill. Key’s job of late has seemed to consist mainly of tours around the country smiling for photo-ops, shaking hands, and kissing babies, broken up only by the demands of a staring role in a Hollywood-style promotional video, short on substance and unanimously panned by the media.

I suppose he’s thinking ‘stick with what you’re good at’ but I’m not sure the electorate will fall for it forever – particularly as scrutiny is brought to bear as the election approaches.

Whenever the Nats have released policy this year it’s been a fiasco and the public has been left with the uneasy feeling that there may be more going on behind closed doors than Key is letting on. English has mused about cuts to super, Ryall accidently let the cat out of the bag on uncapping GPs’ fees, and Key has been evasive over his policy on asset sales.

Given National’s sustained series of policy gaffes so far I’m betting that Labour’s not writing off its chances just yet.

TNS 450

colmar brunton

91 comments on “Polls”

  1. Billy 1


    Shall we recap:

    1. Other left wing blogs have been fulsome in their praise of the many and wonderful acheivements of this government.

    2. The Standard has exposed the National party as evil…users of songs similar to ‘Clocks’.

    And yet still, the ungrateful people are flocking away from the Labour party in their droves. How can this be?

    We have thoroughly explored the possibility that the polls are all rogue, but that is getting a little untenable now.

    So all we are left with is that the people are ungrateful and stupid, I suppose. That, or the acheivements aren’t as great as the left-wing commentators think, and Clocks isn’t as big a deal as the Standard thinks.

  2. all_your_base 2

    I don’t think the electorate is ungrateful and stupid at all Billy.

    Quite the opposite in fact – which is why I suspect that it’s a bit early to call this election.

  3. lemsip 3

    “So National’s looking to govern alone but would anyone really want them to?”

    Umm it would seem over 50% of the New Zealand electorate would…

  4. Billy 4

    Quite right, lemsip. Damn and blast that democracy. It must be stopped at all costs.

  5. Tane 5

    Lemsip, I think you’re on shaky ground when you say 50% of NZers want National to govern, let alone govern alone. Voters are still not really aware of what John Key’s National Party actually stands for – so far the party’s poll gains have been based on little more than PR and as such the support is soft and could collapse very quickly. See for example what NZPA political editor Peter Wilson had to say in his latest column [subscriber only]:

    For National, it is going to be the year when it puts its cards on the table. Policies have to be finalised and presented, it has to show the voters what they are going to get if they change the Government.

    It has not yet done this, to the considerable frustration of the Government.

    There hasn’t been anything to attack, there haven’t really been any comparisons to be drawn between the two main parties. National has been soaking up gains presented to it by ministerial and departmental blunders rather than by persuading voters it has a better plan for New Zealand.

    When it has floated policy ideas, they have gone down badly. The partial sale of state assets was a loser, so was the notion that private enterprise could build and run schools.

    Yes, the ball is firmly in National’s court, but the game is far from over. 2008 is going to be very interesting.

  6. lemsip 6

    Tane you are the master of hyperbolic assertion. My conclusion is much closer to the raw data than your “context” analysis and yet you suggest it is I that is on “shaky ground”. How about you just accept the fact the data suggest that on current policy and media relations NAtional are winning the confidence of the public. What may happen in the future is anyone’s guess. But it doesn’t look good for Labour

  7. Tane 7

    Lemsip: Yeah, I agree National are winning the media war. That was kind of my point. Labour has appalling PR and they’re paying for it now. Seriously, their press releases make me cry, whereas the Nats have managed to get themselves a set of powerful key messages that they just hammer home relentlessly.

    As for policy, I don’t think you can say National is winning the war on that. The Nats know policy is their weakness and are trying to get by on spin, scandal and inoculation. Whether they can get through 2008 without getting unstuck is the big question.

  8. Policy Parrot 8

    Run a few campaign commercial – heirs to Brash sorta stuff, and the Nats will be shut out in the cold for another three years.

    It doesn’t seem to matter how may heads are chopped off the National Party hydra, either by voters or each other – it remains a formidable beast to slay and a threat to values of tolerance, reasonable standards of living, and the concept of triple bottom lines.

    Our Hercules is in for the fight of her life.

  9. lemsip 9

    Tane National have released policy and you and your brethren have attacked it. They haven’t released all their policy – why would they? Would you in the same strategic position i.e. an opposition party 10 months out from an election? But if these polls are anything to go by (and they are the only quantifiable measure we have) the policy they have released has not shaken the confidence of the NZ public despite the best efforts of the left to discredit them… Enough said.

  10. Billy 10

    As dramatic as it was pompous, PP. Well done. It’s just that sort of attitude which is turning voters off. Keep it up.

  11. Sam Dixon 11

    Key on National Radio this morning: ‘I’m sensing a real mood for a change, people are sick of labour’

    robinson: ‘maybe, but why should they vote for you’

    Key: ‘um, labour is arrogant’ ‘um, labour is befret of new ideas’

  12. That is a rather depressing analysis for a Labour Party activist, AYB. It does sound like you’re giving up.

    Less than a month ago, Tane said: “To my mind the fact that this result is so far out of whack with other recent polls suggests it’s a rogue, but we’ll have to wait for the next few polls to see if this is the case. Either way, it will certainly give Labour pause for thought and will give NZ First a welcome glimmer of hope.”

    I guess Labour did pause its thinking for a whole month, in order to pass the EFB. The “glimmer of hope” for NZ First is now the electoral train approaching at rapid speed through the tunnel. And the polls do dismiss Tane’s proposition that the poll last month was rogue.

    Or how about this howler from Tane on November 9, following a Roy Morgan poll: “The media will no doubt focus on the two-horse race between National and Labour, but on these numbers it’s a clear left majority.”

    Or Sam Dixon, on October 30, trying to explain away a bad news poll for Labour: “Strange poll though. We’re going to have to wait for more polls but the trend had been National down, Labour up – even Colmar Brunton was showing National peaking in May-July and slipping…” (this, apparently, ignoring the universal public outrage at the EFB).

    It also undermines Labour’s claim of being the only party to have coalition partner options. You arrogance has come back to bite you. Your favoured coalition partners–Winston Peters and the Greens–are now unlikely to be returned to Parliament.

  13. Tane 13

    ‘sip, the policy that the Nats have released has gone down like a cup of cold sick. It would seem that’s not where the public are focused at the moment, but they will be during the campaign.

    Of all the ordinary people I’ve talked to who are thinking of voting National not one of them has been able to tell me what John Key actually stands for. When I tell them about his policies (privatisation, scrapping GP caps, attacks on work rights) they’re genuinely shocked as it’s so out of whack with the image they’ve been sold of him.

    Labour’s job is to make people aware of what’s really at stake this election. It’s doable, but they need to seriously lift their game in the media, lock Trevor Mallard in the basement and run a much tighter ship internally to avoid any election year scandals.

  14. TomS 14

    It is hard to say Labour is losing a PR war when the leading print media have abandoned all pretence of objectivity and are waging a vitriolic anti-Labour (and anti-Green) campaign. When a hostile media seizes every opportunity to highlight “gaffes” and “problems” and “scandals” in a deliberate attempt to destroy a government it is hard to focus on National and front foot policy.

    Given that criticising the media is a hiding to nothing, I believe that Helen Clark’s (mild) criticism to media bosses the other day was an extraordinary indication that the government has become exasperated with the likes of the Herald and opinionated political editors persuing anti-government agendas.

    So the biggest problem for Labour in 2008 has to be how to combat a now virulently anti-Labour media. Dealing with a violently reactionary media is not an unfamiliar problem for Labour governments – Savage set up the NZBS and National Film Unit partially as antidotes to the reactionary right wing print media in the 1930’s – but in today’s hysterically anti-labour media climate the fight is going to be hard for all party activists. It is not an impossible task to win in 2008 though. Polling shows National’s support falls away whenever it is subject to any media scrutiny on policy issues. The job for Labour activists is get the focus firmly on National’s scary policy agenda and keep it there.

  15. Tane,

    I see you have been running the line for some time that National’s support is “soft”. It is a curious claim.

    Was Labour’s support in 1999 “soft”? Did National take comfort and refuge from the fact that Labour received just 28% of the vote in 1996?

    The answer is, yes, National probably did arrogantly believe that Labour’s support was soft in 1999. Soft or not, Labour still held together. National railed against Labour’s silence on policies, and ministers went along to the House every week to be pilloried by the opposition.

    Take a moment to listen to what you’re saying, Tane. Your naive optimism is understandable, but it isn’t based on reality. This is a tired, torrid government caught up in its own arrogance, and which now exists solely to perpetuate its own ends. People are sick of it.

    But good on you, Tane, for holding your head up and ignoring all the evidence that this government is on its way out. That shows courage.

  16. Billy 16

    TomS, why do you think it is now that the media has turned against Labour. Presumably, they have always been evil foreign-owned corporates out to wage class war on the weak.

    Yet they choose to attack the government now.

    What possible reason could they have?

  17. Billy 17

    Could it be, perhaps, that the media genuinely believe that the EFB was a sordid attempt to tilt the electoral playing field to Labour’s advantage. A belief reinforced by the (at best) extremely shoddy process and drafting of the bill.

  18. Tane 18

    Because, Prick, I don’t see any evidence that people fundamentally disagree with the Government’s record or its policy direction like they did in ’99, nor that they really understand let alone agree with where National wants to take us.

    National is riding on PR and little else, and all I’m saying is that’s not a firm basis with which to go into an election year. You also have to question the credibility of a party that’s terrified of people finding out what it actually stands for.

    I think democracy should be about ideas rather than flashy PR tricks, but obviously your crew beg to differ.

  19. Billy 19

    So Tane, you’re going with the “the people are stupid and ungrateful” line?

    “Vote for us, you stupid and ungrateful people!” has aring as a slogan.

  20. Tane 20

    Billy, you’re wasting your time with that line. No one’s saying people are stupid, just that they make decisions based on the information that is available to them. If people aren’t aware of what a change of government would mean then it’s Labour’s job to do something about it.

  21. r0b 21

    Another day, another poll. Good news for the Right, who are understandably excited, and eager to put the boot into hapless Lefties on The Standard. (Even IP has showed up, and he only likes to bet on a sure thing!).

    All well and good, and we shouldn’t begrudge the Right their excitement. It’s been a long hard 8 years for them.

    But before you guys start measuring the Beehive for drapes, please remember that polling is a very messy business. I’m not at all denying that National are way ahead in the polls at the moment, I’m just reminding you that polls are messy. There’s a good discussion of some issues here (with various random extracts below):


    That’s not easy in an indecisive, diverse and sometimes reticent nation, where up to 70 per cent of people refuse to take part in polls and at least 20 per cent change their minds from one week to the next.

    “That sort of mistake trivialises minor parties,” Hoek says. “It is little wonder that the public have become cynical about poll results and more reluctant to participate in surveys.”

    The tendency of New Zealanders to switch allegiance is growing every year, says Vowles, whose research on the 2002 election showed 48 per cent voted differently from 1999, and a huge 61 per cent made up their mind during the campaign.

    He believes the real explanation is increasing reluctance to take part – meaning the participants are self-selecting. “People are just more annoyed with strangers calling them up on the phone and asking them to do things,” Vowles says.

  22. Billy 22


    surely ony a stupid person would be taken in by “flashy PR tricks”?

  23. Tane,

    Given that the Labour Government is spending $100 million of taxpayers’ money on advertising this year, up 40% on last year, and up by 300% on 1999, it’s a bit rich for you to claim that Labour isn’t interested in “flashy PR tricks”.

    You cannot listen to a radio show for more than five minutes without having a government message pumped at you. People are seeing the spin, and are sick of being told what to do by a government that is out of touch with reality.

    Tane, I would have thought that since Labour hasn’t released a single policy document since 2005, you might have given up the calls for National to release policy. You were saying exactly the same thing a few months ago about National’s tax policy. You conveniently stopped making that call when Michael Cullen flip-flopped on tax cuts, but said he wouldn’t make any announcement until his last budget.

    National has released tonnes of policy since the 2005 election. It’s all available online at http://www.national.org.nz . Compare that to Labour’s 2008 election plank of sustainability–a single link to a US university ranking survey. Yes, folks. Labour’s “sustainability” policy so far is a single website link to a US university.

  24. TomS 24

    Billy – my view is the media largely looks like, reflects and represents the white middle class. Large portions of that white middle class deserted Labour in droves for the Brashite bribes in 2005 and the media reflects that that middle class voter base hasn’t forgiven Labour for squeaking home on the South Auckland working class vote. Combine that with the disturbing growth of American-style front organisations like Maxim, Family First, Sensible Sentencing etc who use dog whistling false populism to pursue a deeply anti-progressive agenda and media has contained a heavily orchestrated anti-government theme. Indeed, its my view the real point of the EFB has been to nobble the deeply anti-democratic methods and agenda of these organisations.

    On top of that inbuilt cultural and class bias the media exists these days largely to sell papers and to sell space to advertisers. Eight years of the same faces makes for boring same old same old, and boring doesn’t sell papers. the media therefore has a vital commercial vested interest in creating a change narrative, and an atmosphere of crisis that will sell copy and space. And just BTW – thats not me speaking, thats the view of a very senior T.V. news person of my acquaintance.

    i am not saying that there not “real” reasons for some erosion of Labour’s support. The shocking cultural cringe, cargo cultism and defeatism of the media (and the Herald in particular) obsession with Australia has in my view eroded the countries morale and created a sense of unease that is being exploited by the right. The mortgage belt, now hurting under interest rates rises, always demands the unfettered right to privatise its speculative property gains and socialise the costs of its greed (TAX CUT NOW!) and that blame shifting will always affect any government that is in power.

  25. The Double Standard 25

    Tane – “When I tell them about his policies (privatisation, scrapping GP caps, attacks on work rights)

    Well come on Tane, with your spinning skills, ability to cherry pick stats, and willfully misinterpret the truth you could probably convince most people that Key eats babies for breakfast too.

  26. Tane 26

    Billy, marketing isn’t about rational argument, it’s about pushing buttons in the subconscious, and it works. That’s why advertising and PR are such huge industries. That doesn’t make people stupid, it makes them human beings.

    Prick, I’ve got better things to do than argue with you all day, but a couple of points:

    * Govt advertising is not Labour Party advertising. There’s a huge difference between “Don’t drink and drive” and “Vote Labour”.

    * Your claim that Labour hasn’t released policy since 2005 is rather strange. KiwiSaver, anyone? As for the idea that there’s no policy on sustainability, what do you call the Emissions Trading Scheme?

    National’s policy in key areas such as health, education, work rights, superannuation, WFF and privatisation is still unclear and deliberately so, and they’ve admitted as much by saying they won’t release policy in case Labour ‘steals it’.

  27. Billy 27

    Should have known it was a class thing.

  28. Amateur Scrabbler 28

    I am vagualy shocked at the Herald’s clearly ‘pro-Australia, anti-NZ’ stance it has taken of late.

    I wonder if the famed ‘Kiwi insecurity’ has been deliberately fed/encouraged by some elements of the media for quite a few years (decades even?).

    On the subject of polls, no it doesn’t look brilliant for Labour right now, but with so many months left… who can say?

    I’ll stand by my earlier claim that this election, like all other MMP ones, will be – by and large – decided by the smaller parties (with their individual proclivities to compromise), and the most astute ‘cat-herder’ (coalition builder).

  29. unaha-closp 29

    So National’s looking to govern alone but would anyone really want them to?

    No one will care. This is a 4th term election, this will be decided on incumbant government economic performance and incumbant government arrogance and if anything the personal appeal of the opposition. Kicking off the campaign period with a self-inflicted 20 point deficit due to a bill of apalling arrogance coupled to a bout of blame the media bashing is not a good thing to do. Add in that the world economy is 50/50 on going into recession or slowing to a crawl and that John Key is a personally appealing character. This election looks damn near impossible.

    the EFB as well as continued fallout from a variety of issues.

    The EFB is Labours gift to National that will keep on giving. It has already produced a 10% swing in polling and it has not even come into effect yet. The law is going to be a core election year issue, third party campaigns will be mounted against this (if National are smart) and for “freedom of speech”. It is like Labour have sat down and thought “how can we best provide a unniversally approved vehicle for National to get elected with?”.

  30. Tillerman 30

    Thanks to r0b for the extract from Vowles, which puts some important context around the polls. People are sick of being badgered by telephone surveys, street-side marketers/collectors, on-line campaigners and the like. It’s hardly surprising that a huge number refuse to participate when the pollsters call up. In such a climate you’ll always get a strong “anti” bias – people who are agitated about an issue, pissed off with the government etc. They’ll take the time to vent their spleen to the pollsters. Next year is a whole new ballgame. Kiwis will start thinking about who can deliver credible and competent government. The venality and shallowness of National will start to erode its artifically high vote. Roll on 2008.

  31. DS 31

    These numbers are worrying, yes. It’d be stupid to claim otherwise. On the other hand, there’s nothing really toxic that’s going to be hanging over Labour during the next year (unlike, say, Howard in Australia, whose government was brought down by his union-busting Industrial Relations policies). Labour’s still got time (and the 2008 Budget) to regain momentum, especially with the Nats being forced to presenta policy platform a bit more substantive than “all you like about Labour plus tax cuts!” as the election draws closer.

  32. unaha-closp 32

    The absolute best thing Labour could do right now is drop the bill and make the election about core competencies, not something so universally despised as regulations on freedom of speech. It will cost some political capital, but when you get this deep in the hole the secret is to stop digging.

    Of course that won’t happen.

  33. r0b 33

    unaha, I’d expect a better standard of reasoning out of an advanced AI such as yourself.

    The EFB is Labours gift to National that will keep on giving. It has already produced a 10% swing in polling and it has not even come into effect yet.

    There is no way that you can establish cause and effect there. I could just as easily argue than Key’s exciting new DVD produced whatever swing in polling that has occurred.

    The EFB is supported by an overwhelming majority of parties in parliament. And for very good reason – the power of covert money to buy elections is the greatest threat to democracy that this country has ever seen.

  34. Tane 34

    The Electoral Finance Bill does not restrict speech, it restricts spending.

  35. insider 35

    Opinion polls are not elections

    National would be fools to conflate the two so far out from an election

    The last election showed the numbers can change quite dramatically as pressure goes on

  36. DS 36

    “The EFB is Labours gift to National that will keep on giving. It has already produced a 10% swing in polling and it has not even come into effect yet. The law is going to be a core election year issue, third party campaigns will be mounted against this (if National are smart) and for “freedom of speech”.”

    Problem is that the EFB does not affect the lives of ordinary people (you know, genuine middle New Zealand, not the Remuera Rent-A-Mob that consititutes the major opposition to the bill). Very few people have the resources to chuck $12,000 at a political party. Once the media hysteria dies down, the EFB will be seen as yesterday’s issue.

  37. The Double Standard 37

    DS – There may not be all that many individuals that could spend more than the threshold, but there are plenty of groups or organisations that do, and that the people of ‘middle New Zealand’ respect.

    e.g. Sensible Sentencing Trust, IMVDA, Invercargill City Council for a small sample.

    You and Tane can witter on all you like about how “free speech is not affected” but I think that practice, arrests, and court cases will prove you wrong. NZ’ers are not idiots, and have obviously not fallen for the ‘evil EB’ tornado spin effort from Teh Party.

    Rob – overwhelming majority of parties? Have they redefined overwhelming lately? Perhaps you could instead report on the votes for/against the EFB in parliament instead? After all the MP’s are the representatives, not the parties.

  38. r0b 38

    Have they redefined overwhelming lately?


  39. deemac 39

    the polls don’t look good for Labour but the sample size was so small it’s hard to see beyond general trends – I just do not believe the Greens will really poll below 5% come a real election, for example

  40. The Double Standard 40


    “¢ verb 1 submerge beneath a huge mass. 2 defeat completely; overpower. 3 have a strong emotional effect on.

    So, which were you going for?

    Ayes 65
    New Zealand Labour 49
    New Zealand First 7
    Green Party 6
    United Future 2
    Progressive 1.

    Noes 56
    New Zealand National 48
    Māori Party 4
    ACT New Zealand 2
    Independents: Copeland, Field

    Overwhelming? Yeah Right.

  41. r0b 41


    5 parties in favour, 2 parties opposed, 1 party (Maori) undecided (in favour of the principle, some issues with this particular drafting). 5 vs 2 is an overwhelming majority of parties, which was exactly what I said.

  42. Billy 42

    Yes ROb, well done. You have devised a method of counting which gives Gordon Copeland the same value as the Labour Party. Well done, very clever.

  43. r0b 43

    Yes ROb, well done. You have devised a method of counting which gives Gordon Copeland the same value as the Labour Party. Well done, very clever.

    Billy, I think you’ll find that this way of counting was “devised” by The Herald, and doesn’t feature Copeland anywhere.

  44. The Double Standard 44

    Ha ha rob – in your universe perhaps.

    The results that I quoted (from Hansard) shows Maori voting with the Nats, so thats 5-3. Progressives is just Jimbo – so by the same logic the two independents could count as 2 parties, so thats 5-5. Draw.

    Anyway, the number you need to categorise is 65-56. Since when do we decide legislation on a party count? rying to focus on party support is mere sophistry.

    Trying to spin this nasty legislation as having a cloak of widespread consensus isn’t to going to work.

  45. Billy 45

    You really are determined to be shown to be technically but pointlessly correct about this, aren’t you R0b. My bad. Substitute “Jim Anderton’s Prgressive Party” or “Act New Zealand” for “Gordon Copeland” then. The point is the same: a system of counting that places the same weight on one MP as it does on 49 is really not very helpful for determining the support on an issue.

  46. r0b 46

    The results that I quoted (from Hansard) shows Maori voting with the Nats, so thats 5-3.

    Fine, count Maori with the “no”, I don’t mind (though their piece in The Herald shows that they support the principle of the EFB).

    Progressives is just Jimbo

    And Act is Just Rodney and Heather – so?

    so by the same logic the two independents could count

    Sorry no, I didn’t chose the party leaders, The Herald did. Even counting Maori as “no”, it is 5 v 3, and overwhelming majority of parties in favour of the EFB, which is exactly what I said.

  47. r0b 47

    “You really are determined to be shown to be technically but pointlessly correct about this, aren’t you R0b.”

    Billy – say rather that you are determined to show me wrong but can’t. As to whether or not it’s pointless – well if its pointless why are you arguing with me?

  48. Billy 48

    I accept you are right. I just think the fact you have given does nothing to prove the point you have made. As such, it is without point. Pointless.

    I often argue poinltess points. I am quite small minded like that.

  49. unaha-closp 49

    DS –

    “Problem is that the EFB does not affect the lives of ordinary people (you know, genuine middle New Zealand, not the Remuera Rent-A-Mob that consititutes the major opposition to the bill). Very few people have the resources to chuck $12,000 at a political party. Once the media hysteria dies down, the EFB will be seen as yesterday’s issue.”

    Alot of people drink beer, stubbies cost $15 a dozen. If ordinary people can afford the price of a dozen Lion Red stubbies this law can affect them.

    Maybe 10,000 people could be got together on this EFB thing. Imagine how it would look to have a Labour government persecuting them for deciding to spend less than the cost of one dozen stubbies advocating against this law. Even the Sensible Sentencing Trust with 4000 (?) members each having the discretion to spend the equivalent of 2 dozen each – does not qualify them as Remuera’s elite. Breaking the law, could cost ordinary people practically nothing.

    When a law says it is illegal if for thousands of people to forgoe a few beers and advocate for their ideas that law is an ass.

    r0b – you got the pseudonym 🙂

  50. r0b 50

    Unaha – “When a law says it is illegal if for thousands of people to forgoe a few beers and advocate for their ideas that law is an ass.”

    Notice how contorted you have to get to invent a situation where this effects ordinary people? If you could assemble 10,000 people into one organisation you’d have one of the largest political parties in the country!

    r0b – you got the pseudonym

    I’m an Iain Banks fan – Consider Phlebas is one of my faves.

  51. The Double Standard 51

    you got the pseudonym

    I suppose you would say the book is worth reading? How would you describe it? (I’ve never read anything by Banks)

  52. Dean 52


    “The Electoral Finance Bill does not restrict speech, it restricts spending.”

    The intent of the law may be to restrict spending rather than speech, but the limits it puts on some people are quite frankly absurd. It’s absurd that a lobbt group would overspend by sending one nationwide letter to every household, and to pretend otherwise is either just party hackery or else a deep and distinct nonchalance towards democracy.

    “National’s policy in key areas such as health, education, work rights, superannuation, WFF and privatisation is still unclear and deliberately so, and they’ve admitted as much by saying they won’t release policy in case Labour ‘steals it’.”

    Well, it wouldn’t exactly be the first time Labour has done so, would it?

  53. Sam 53

    DS says: ” Very few people have the resources to chuck $12,000 at a political party.”

    Hmm, as a left voter (please do not confuse me with a Labour/Greens supporter though – they give us left-wingers a bad name) and as someone in the lower middle class, this affects a campaign that I and others in an incorporation that I am a member of, from undertaking a public education campaign next year on an election issue. the campaign would have pointed toward labour policies incidentally. The hassles of compliance are such that it is no longer a viable programme – “common sense” says that we should give up on our exercise of free speech…

  54. r0b 54

    Pesky tags:

    r0b – you got the pseudonym

    I’m an Iain Banks fan – Consider Phlebas is one of my faves.

  55. r0b 55

    Dean – “it’s absurd that a lobbt group would overspend by sending one nationwide letter to every household”

    Dean, can you recall any time in any election ever that a lobby group sent a letter to every household in NZ? Genuine inquiry – I want to know – I don’t remember it happening…

    Sam – The hassles of compliance are such that it is no longer a viable programme

    You were going to undertake a large public education campaign, but it’s too much hassle to register? That seems – odd. Or, perhaps there are compliance costs that I don’t know about – what are the compliance costs?

  56. Billy 56

    I read that ‘Wasp Factory’. A very disturbing little read.

  57. r0b 57

    “I read that ‘Wasp Factory’. A very disturbing little read.”

    No disagreement there. Banks can be a very unsettling author.

  58. Sam 58

    Legal fees to determine “common Sense”, also, auditors, a finacial agents’ time spent on compliance trails, etc. You have to realise that these things affect the smaller people that struggle to make themselves heard at all on a National level without making it even more difficult… Also, funding would have relied on commercial sponsorship from related industries, for the materials used. We just would not have had the time resources, and expertise to deal with the compliance side… and then, there is the small matter of who exactly is going to take the risk if we get something wrong…

  59. r0b 59

    Sam, some of that list seems plausible, and some does not. If you’re spending over $12,000 you need to register with the Electoral Commission (not difficult), and you need to keep your spending below $120,000. Keeping your own accounts in order and knowing what you’re spending is something I assume that you would be doing anyway.

    I admit that I’m not an expert at this, since I have never attempted anything similar, but it seems to me that much of what you list is either stuff you would be doing anyway, or based on an alarmist interpretation of the EFB (‘Legal fees to determine “common Sense”’ ?).

  60. Nick C 60

    “So National’s looking to govern alone but would anyone really want them to?”

    What a dumb queston, have you seen the poll results mate?

  61. Tane 61

    What a dumb queston, have you seen the poll results mate?

    Nick, before accusing people of being dumb you should probably look further up the thread and you’ll see this issue’s already been discussed in detail.

  62. Billy 62

    It’s a bit quiet here tonight. You lefties all crying in your chardonnay?

  63. Mike Porton 63

    Billy – it’s running up to xmas, bro.

  64. burt 64

    Great poll result.

  65. The Double Standard 65

    Hey Billy – yeah its drinking to excess and socialising season! I’m only taking it easy tonight coz Sunday was a bit of a long day.

    Hopefully after tomorrow and the EFB suicide pact we will all be able to relax and take it easy for a few weeks. There probably won’t be any ‘John Key Sux’ posts here for a while so maybe we can all sing Kumbaya or something?

    Or post links to random funny youtube videos or something.

    Even partisan bloggers (of all types) need to take a break sometime eh?

  66. Mike Porton 66

    I don’t know if you’re taking the piss or not DS but if you’re not I agree (well maybe except the kumbaya bit…)

  67. Pascal's bookie 67

    Sounds a lot like you’re crying uncle there, TDS 😉

    Just sayin’.

    have a good one.

  68. Santi 68

    Even partisan bloggers (of all types) need to take a break sometime eh?

    TDS please speak for yourself. These left-wingers and Labour minions deserve to be hammered day after day without respite :-)))

  69. outofbed 69

    I loved the “wasp factory”

  70. Billy 70

    So Mike, has Robinsod been put out to pasture?

  71. Pascal's bookie 71

    I like chardonnay.

    and Whit.

    Don’t think much of kumbaya, but think that some ‘no hitting zone’ threads could be nice. Talk about funny video’s as TDS suggested, or books, movies and whiskey.

  72. burt 72

    Come on Billy, I last visited this site (for more than a cursory glance) about three days ago and you were banging on outing Robinsod.

    Do you love or hate the man?

  73. r0b 73

    “some ‘no hitting zone’ threads could be nice.”

    Nice idea.

    Do you love or hate the man?

    Are those the only choices? 😉 Be nice if we could just get along…

  74. Mike Porton 74

    Billy, the ‘Sod is too cool a creature to for me to retire it completely. Think how disappointed Redbaiter would be…

    Captcha is “Metropolitan hexes” – good think I’m leaving for the country soon…

  75. unaha-closp 75

    If you could assemble 10,000 people into one organisation you’d have one of the largest political parties in the country!

    No, you’d have a single issue lobby where a multitude of people agree on one thing and can easily disagree on everything else. Have to be something pretty big, crucial and to the core values of a lot of people, something perhaps like free speech or distrust of politicians or I don’t know…this.

    A political party is a different thing entirely, utilising people who agree with each other more than they disagree. Getting people to join a political party is alwaysd harder as it requires subsuming to some degree personal veiwpoint to the practicality of the party.

    Notice how contorted you have to get to invent a situation where this effects ordinary people?

    “Contorted” like Greenpeace or the WWF or the Cancer Society or the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

  76. deemac 76

    so the Cancer Society is going to say “vote Nat” or “change the government”? I doubt it

  77. unaha-closp 77

    Is the government about to drop the smoking age to 12? I doubt it too.

  78. unaha-closp 78

    “I read that ‘Wasp Factory’. A very disturbing little read.”

    No disagreement there. Banks can be a very unsettling author.

    Agree, have failed to finish “The Bridge” twice. Like the space opera more as it is faster paced, though still a bit disturbing.

  79. unaha-closp 79

    Actually that is:

    I agree his fiction is disturbing and have a preference for the space operas.

  80. outofbed 80

    We are still only talking about 4% -5 % here
    I would be worried if the tv3 poll results were the same in Aug 2008 . But I can’t see it.
    To win National need to keep Key in the back seat as long as possible and they (the NAts) must NOT talk policy for as long as possible if that strategy works, then hey thats what people want.

    To win labour needs to pull off something big that the public will love but the Nats would have to fight

    Like.cancel the announced Tax cuts , use up all the surplus and give Doctors , Nurses and Midwifes huge salary increases to combat the brain drain to other countries. A sure fire vote winner in my opinion. The Nats would hate it. The Public would be very supportive and it would not be that inflationary

  81. r0b 81

    “Contorted” like Greenpeace or the WWF or the Cancer Society or the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

    Unaha – if you want to run this kind of argument you should use the AA. I think it’s the largest organisation in NZ, with over 1.5 million members. Hence $120,000 works out at 8c per member! Never mind the price of a dozen beer, they don’t even make a coin that small!

    This shows the problem of costing political advocacy on a “per member” basis. To accommodate the AA the limit would need to be so high as to be utterly meaningless.

    Most democracies have legislation that sets limits on spending for political advocacy. We do too. Now you might want to argue that the limit of $120,000 is too low, and I might even agree with you, but you can’t argue on the basis of per member costs, without destroying the concept of meaningful limits utterly.

  82. AncientGeek 82

    IP – way back in the discussion you said…

    “You conveniently stopped making that call when Michael Cullen flip-flopped on tax cuts, but said he wouldn’t make any announcement until his last budget.”

    Basically that is crap… Cullen never ‘flip-flopped’. He has been signalling the conditions required for tax changes since he started at finance. Anyone with half a brain could have figured then out just by reading the budget on the balance sheet side.

    There have always been three obstacles to doing tax cuts.

    1. The enormous debt burden left over from Muldoon in the 70’s and 80’s. Guess what – we finally killed it this year. The goverment doesn’t have the debt burden that required at one stage 25% of the tax take to service the interest alone! Effectively I’ve been helping pay off bloody muldoons “think big” and “supplementary minimum payments” my whole working life.

    2. The Fiscal Responsibility Act that Ruth Richardson put in, specifically to prevent the type of fiscal antics muldoon did. It means that if the government has to account for future liabilities in the current budgets. So when people currently talk about a surplus, it is total crap – they’re taking that from the governments equivalent of the profit and loss rather than from a balance sheet. The balance sheet shows a large liability going out to about 2030 . About 30% is prepaid via the Cullen fund. Kiwisaver doesn’t help as it is tagged to individuals. Rest is either coming out of taxes or debt – which then gets paid back out of taxes.

    3. Taxcuts are almost inherently inflationary. Yeah everyone says they’ll save it or invest it. Howver the history of past taxcuts in a number of countries says that it goes straight into consumption – and therefore straight into the price/wage system. You put money into an economy when it is slowing down – not when it is running well. Otherwise it just starts to overheat. The economy has been running close to boil since the 99.

    So as I see it, this is the first year that tax cuts could even be looked at. It looks to me like we’re slowly moving into a slowing economy after probably our most sustained post-war boom. Parliament should have already done something about the fiscal drag on the tax brackets. A tax cut is appropriate now if only to correct that problem – but then the brackets should be indexed!. That is assuming a slowing economy in 2009 – and the usual 12 month lag between announcement and implementation to do the legislation and mod the payroll systems.

    However we can’t go into debt – the looming superannuation burden is too damn close, and we’ll have to go back into debt to cover it. After spending 30 years getting rid of my parents government debt (I wasn’t voting at the time), I bloody well don’t want to go back into it because some snot nosed idiot like Key has a problem reading a balance sheet (say wasn’t that part of his old job ??)

  83. Santi 83

    “..use up all the surplus and give Doctors , Nurses and Midwifes huge salary increases to combat the brain drain to other countries.”

    What brain drain? Are you talking about the same people Cullen said were economic illiterates and NZ would be better off without them? Sorry, but you cannot have your cake and eat it.

    What about the rest of society? The productive sector is crying for tax breaks, although Cullen has found excuse after excuse not to grant them.

    Do not be selective: return the money to its rightful owners!

  84. ragtag 84

    “Basically that is crap. Cullen never ‘flip-flopped’.”

    Oh so Cullen never cancelled proposed personal tax changes?

  85. TomS 85

    AncientGeek – one thing that astounds me is the complete lack of familiarity with sound, orthodox Keynesian economics the likes of IP seem to have. It is as if between sacrificing virgins to Ayn Rand and building an alter to Friedman they’ve somehow never heard of the 20th Century’s most important and successful economist.

    Journalists, to, appear to never heard of the orthodox pragmatism of Keynes. Its’ an astonishing example of the near-complete victory of the extreme-right economic brain washing our country has been subjected to since 1984.

    But anyone who HAS heard of Keynes – Michael Cullen certainly has – would recognise the classic Keynesian approach of Cullen. When the economy was hot, he invested. Now it is slowing, he will prime the pump. Simple, elegant and effective.

  86. unaha-closp 86

    This shows the problem of costing political advocacy on a “per member” basis. To accommodate the AA the limit would need to be so high as to be utterly meaningless…

    …Now you might want to argue that the limit of $120,000 is too low, and I might even agree with you, but you can’t argue on the basis of per member costs, without destroying the concept of meaningful limits utterly.

    I am not arguing. I am merely demonstrating how incredibly simple it is going to be for an opposition lobby to create a “Freedom of Speech Mission”, where ordinary New Zealanders can demonstrate their commitment against this bill. A lobby that will be “illegal” under the very law that they are challenging through the democratic process, all for the cost of one or two dozen Lion Red stubbies.

    Read the headlines circa August 2008 – “Government Orders NZers to Stop Spending $20 on Dissent”. I suggest that might be a bad look for the government.

  87. r0b 87

    “Read the headlines circa August 2008 – “Government Orders NZers to Stop Spending $20 on Dissent”. I suggest that might be a bad look for the government.”

    Equivalent beat-ups could have been conducted under the pre EFB legislation, and they never did. You can game any system. So?

    But you may be right, such things may happen, given the extraordinarily confrontational state of politics currently. Let’s hope that it will be seen as the beat-up that it is.

  88. unaha-closp 88

    Let’s hope that it will be seen as the beat-up that it is.

    I’m pretty sure it will.

  89. rod 89

    All political polls should come with a warning.

    BEWARE! Mindbenders at work——–

  90. The Double Standard 90

    Rob – look like you will have to spin even harder on “overwhelming” as it seems that Dunne has done the dirty on Teh Party at the last moment.

  91. r0b 91

    Why TDS – I was expecting you!

    My statement was true when I made it, and not many statements in politics remain true for ever. I guess I now have to go with “a majority of parties support the bill” or “an overwhelming majority of parties support the principles of the bill”.


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  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
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  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
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  • Further measures to support businesses
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  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
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  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
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  • Essential workers leave scheme established
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  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
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  • Advance payments to support contractors
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  • State of National Emergency extended
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  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
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  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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