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Race for 2011 wide open

Written By: - Date published: 6:48 am, January 10th, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: election 2011, polls - Tags:

Campbell has a good post on the problem of voters’ emotional reactions to Key and Goff as exemplified by the Sunday-Star Times Horizon poll (the striking thing is how little emotional response they elicit). I’ll look at the party numbers.

I don’t look at every poll in detail, usually just the Roy Morgans because they’re the only ones that are regular enough to give a good trend, but the Horizon poll is interesting because they ask the undecideds to decide. The aim is to get a better idea of how an election held today would actually turn out, although its inevitably very changeable because undecideds are quite likely to change their minds week to week.

The numbers are:

National: 40.4%
Labour: 28.3%
Greens: 8.9%
New Zealand First: 8.9%
ACT: 2%
Maori Party:1.7%
Progressives: 1.3%
United Future: 1.2%
Other/don’t know: 7.2%

On those numbers, (and assuming current electorates are held, except Wigram goes to Labour) the seats are:

National: 52
Labour: 37
Greens: 12
New Zealand First: 12
Maori Party: 5
ACT: 3
United Future: 2

It’s a 123 seat Parliament.

Majorities include:

National+NZF= 64 (1996-98 redux).
Nat+ACT+Maori Party+UF=62 (ie. same parties as now completely at Hone’s ransom).
Lab+Greens+NZF+UF=63 (essentially, 2005-2008 again but more powerful Greens and NZF)
National+ Labour = 89 (Matthew Hooton’s bizarre fantasy)

Now, I don’t expect National or Labour to actually poll that low or NZF, Progressives, United Future to get so high (I’m hopeful for the Greens). But the key point of the poll is clear – Key’s popularity is not enough for National to sleepwalk to victory. They’re not going to get a majority themselves, so ACT winning Epsom becomes crucial for National.

If National polls in that mid-40s danger zone then they won’t be able to make a majority with ACT and UF, they’ll need the Maori Party or NZF. That means, whereas Key can currently play ACT and the Maori Party off against each other, he would be reliant on the support of Hide and Harawira or Peters for every law he wants to push through. That’s a hell of an ask. And if those numbers work then there’s probably a Labour-led option with the same number or fewer parties that can also make a majority.

This clearly has National worried. The spin from Matthew Hooton is that it would be a travesty of MMP if Labour led a government on the numbers in the Horizon poll, for example. Hooton says such a result would “show that fringe parties with no public support, rather than the voters, get to choose the prime minister”. That’s rubbish, of course – the PM would have the support of a coalition of parties that a plurality/majority of voters voted for. That’s a more democratic situation than existed under FPP when a party could win fewer votes yet more seat and govern alone (1978, 1981), or win just 35% of the vote but govern alone (1993).

Hooton et al claim that Labour would have no mandate to govern if it didn’t get more votes than National. But the actual point is that it is the coalition of parties that has the mandate, and the support of the most people. It doesn’t matter whether or not the largest party is in the government. The government just needs to the confidence of parties that were given a majority of the seats by the voters.

One interesting thing that Horizon does is compare people’s current voting intention to their vote in 2008 (I assume this is one measure they use for weighting their results to get rid of bias). Here’s the table of results for vote in 2008 vs voting intention in 2011. The figure in bold in each column is the percentage of a party’s supporters in 2008 who intend to vote for them again, the one in red is the party they’ve lost most support to.

ACT is obviously in big trouble, shedding all but its very core support. The Maori Party, too, has shed a hell of a lot of its previous voters – mostly to National and New Zealand First. Greens voters are loyal as you would expect. National voters are highly loyal so far too although there is obviously quite a bit of disenchantment because they’ve lost far more supporters than they’ve picked up. Labour is picking up the the largest share of people who stayed away from the polls last election but is failing to attract this large group dissatisfied with National, or even retain own voters. That’s a failure of the leadership to supply a vision, which Campbell talks more about. Instead, the dissatisfied are increasingly looking to Peters and New Zealand First.

PS. Interesting to see Bill English’s advice to Labour in the Herald today: “It should have gone to the beach, acquired a reputation for being lazy but remorseful [the Nats think politics is all about benig lazy]. The punters would have accepted that. They would have said you know you are irrelevant and you’ve figured out why I chucked you out. Then Labour could “come back all fresh and keen in election year, bounce up to 35 per cent and they are away”. [So, English sees Labour at 35% as the danger zone, that’s where they are in the Roy Morgans]

68 comments on “Race for 2011 wide open ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Firstly, its good for National to be confronted with some concerning poll results. Likely to be a kick in the pants that stops them from becoming complacent.

    Secondly, not sure how much can be read into intended polling by undecideds. In respect to the Greens for instance, they regularly disappoint with respect to turn-out in comparison to poll results amongst decided voters let alone undecided ones (I suspect a lot of their voters are too mellowed out on weed to bother getting out and voting :smile:). Also, given the demographic NZ First appeals to, a lot of their voters will be dead or demented by the next election! Also, people may state intentions at this time-frame, and then revert to the tried and true by election day. For instance, I have toyed with voting Act during some election cycles but end up voting National.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      – So you think not much can be read into ‘intended voting’ by undecideds?. Sounds a lot better to go with that then what other polling companies had been doing which was just to decide for them ( ie allocate undecided votes in line with the rest of the results).
      Certainly brings Nationals numbers back to earth to around 40% which is in line with reality based on previous elections

    • Hooton et al claim that Labour would have no mandate to govern if it didn’t get more votes than National.

      I assume Hooton etc.’s comments would apply in all Australian Federal Elections as well. Therefore if the ALP has more votes than the Liberal Party, then ALP has the right to form a government, even if Coalition has a majority?

      Go back and do some POLS103 with Therese Arsenau Matt.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Firstly, its good for National to be confronted with some concerning poll results. Likely to be a kick in the pants that stops them from becoming complacent.

    Not exactly sure how “concerning poll results” are going to assist Bill and John to come up with an economic plan for New Zealand, help them raise workers’ wages, or reduce youth unemployment.

    Ahhh. It’s not, is it.

    But sure, at the end of the day this is just another poll, one of a score before election day, not something to be taken too seriously.

  3. eszett 3

    Hmm, Labour retaining only 67.8% of it’s support from 2008. Hardly a number to be proud about.

    Interesting is also the Maori Party with a huge shift towards National and NZ First. You would have thought that Labour would pick up most of those voters if they shift away.

  4. The right’s response to this poll is interesting to say the least. Could it be that they prefer to sleepwalk to victory in the cozy glow that is John Key’s leadership? Do they rely on the landline dominated polls to create an air of invincibility that all that smile and wave has to do to win is precisely that?

    And are they afraid about such things as a real debate on what state our country is in and where we are going wrong with the fear that this is a debate that they will lose?

    I am sure that the poll margins will tighten and when they do the Nats’ response will be interesting.

    All that I can say about Double Dipton’s Herald comment is that he tried this in 1999 and it clearly did not work then.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    The table at the end is quite odd for Progressives. 11.4% and 5.60% going to Act and National, and only 9.9% going to Labour? Seems out of place.

    Other interesting points are 15.1% for Green ‘chose not to vote’ and 41.6% for National ‘not eligible to vote’. Why are so many kids voting National when it’s not in their best interest (see youth unemployment)?

    • higherstandard 5.1

      “Why are so many kids voting National when it’s not in their best interest (see youth unemployment)?”

      Possibly because you register for the panel put shit answers into the survey and go into the draw to win an ipad.

      • Blighty 5.1.1

        you can lie in answer to any survey. why do you think this one is particularly vulnerable?

        • higherstandard

          I don’t – I treat all surveys with a degree of scepticism.

          Apart from the political tragics and the meeeeedia most people wait until election night/day after the election before commenting on the validity or otherwise of the various poolsters

          • Blighty

            It’s just I haven’t seen you dismissing all polls on the basis that the participants probably lied.

            Anyway, if some do lie they’re unlikely to lie in a particular pattern but, rather, largely cancel each other out while adding a little more noise to the sample.

            • higherstandard

              OK have it your way, this poll’s clearly brilliant Winston will get back in and be kingmaker along with the greens and lots of kids want to vote for National. All polls are brilliant and we must live our lives by them.

              • Blighty

                Christ, you’re childish. Either you have a serious objection to this poll’s methodology compared to others or you don’t.

                Having a cry when the flaw in your objection is pointed out does little to recommend you.

                • higherstandard

                  Not at all I just got fed up with debating a poll which for all effective purposes is irrelevant and out of kilter with others – anyhoo who really gives a toss what the polls are saying before the election is announced and campaigning gets underway.

                  [lprent: Fixed your e-mail typo. ]

    • ZeeBop 5.2

      Youth seek change, National preached change, Obama was preaching change. So
      last election Labour were see as old, not young. So surely young people voted for
      change, for young looking Key? Now Key looks tired, boring and not very good at
      the job of change. It would be interesting to see how Auckland Council election
      extrapolates to a general election.

  6. alfa 6

    I await yet another post celebrating this poll as a victory for the left, set against tirades of silence for the actually scientific random sample polls that show the true story.

  7. Fisiani 7

    The consensus over the summer barbecues is that National have made a very good start and deserve another term. They inherited the worst recession in living memory yet avoided huge cuts in public spending and they stopped unemployment reaching double digits. They have actually INCREASED spending in early childhood education. They have brought in easy to understand school reports and increased places in tertiary education. They have transferred investment from housing to exporting. They have brought in the 90 day chance to prove yourself law to give workers a fair go.
    A discredited online panel poll (different from every other poll) makes another shock pronouncement . No one believes it.
    A more accurate poll now and in November would be approximately Nat 50% Labour 34% Green 6% Act 2.5% Winston <2% Maori Party 2.5%

    • Blighty 7.1

      those solo barbies must get lonely, Fisi. But at least you have first dibs on the sausages.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Which country are you talking about here Fis? Its not one I’m familiar with.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      More outright lies from Fisi as he defends his psychopathic heroes, the National Party.

      They have actually INCREASED spending in early childhood education.

      Nope, they’ve cut it by about $300m

      • Fisiani 7.3.1

        Keep up with the play Draco, ECE spending has INCREASED

        • Blighty

          funding to parts of ECE increased (mostly Maori providers if memory serves), funded by cutting funding to most ECE providers.

          Or do you think that half of ECE providers are wrong when they say that funding cus are forcing them to increase charges? http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4192635/Funding-cuts-push-kids-out-of-daycare

          • Fisiani

            National is spending more government money on ECE in 2011 than in 2010. FACT.

            • Lanthanide

              Yeah, lets not bother with the details like where the money is actually going. All that matters is that funding has increased, nothing else.

            • Colonial Viper

              Apparently Fis your facts are on the list right next to “you are better paid under National” and “we are closing the gap with Australia”.

              Let’s see what the electorate thinks of that later this year.

            • Roger

              Does it not concern you that incentives have changed from providers having qualified staff in all centres to throwing money around to ensure that lower socioeconomic areas effectively have glorified babysitters to provide childcare?

              Sorry the incentive now is for all ECE providers to run as babysitting centres.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 7.4

      What!! shrinking GDP and $15bill govt deficit was part of the plan?

      Its not like they didn’t know what was facing them before they went on holiday in 2008.

  8. burt 8

    The race is wide open eh… what a pity that Labour can’t spend over $800,000 of stolen tax payers money on illegal election advertising then just validate it after they win the election like they did when the race was wide open in 2005. But hey if National do the same as Labour did in 2005 I can hardly wait for the supporters of self serving corruption to defend them and tell us all to move on.

    Trotter might even pen a piece telling us how excellent it is that National broke to law to win power in the best interests of the party machine,….

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Hey Burt, tell us more about English’s surprise $4.8M for PEDA, an organisation hardly anyone had heard of before.

      • burt 8.1.1

        It was about 10% of the corrupt dealings that went on with the HB-DHB and the special Hausmann/King employ a husband scheme… Is that the starter you were after ?

        • The Voice of Reason

          Get over it, Burt. Isn’t it time you stopped banging on about stuff which is both irrelevent now and, in retrospective, not an issue in the past either. If you have evidence of corruption, call the cops.

          If not, just focus on why Farrar et al are shitting themselves this over this poll. The reason is that it indicates the likely outcome at the one poll that counts. Which, as I have said before, is far more likely to be in Autumn than Spring. On these numbers, which presumably match the Nat’s own polling (hence the panic), Key will have to go early if he doesn’t want to go down in history the way most gamblers ultimately do; as a loser.

          • gingercrush

            You are fucking stupid. Repeat Voice of Reason. You are fucking stupid.

            [lprent: That is abuse without a point. I’d suggest you curb writing this type of comment in the future. It is stupid to attract my attention when I’m moderating. ]

          • Colonial Viper

            An Autumn election – you can’t be serious, can you TVoR? That would be a totally Captain Panic Pants kind of move.

            Oh I see you got gc on your case, which means maybe you have a point.

            • The Voice of Reason

              Yep, validation via mindless abuse always puts a smile on my dial. The reason I think it’ll be early is that Key’s expertise is in getting out on top. Money traders make their money on timing; predicting when currencies will rise, fall or stabilise.

              Key will go when he thinks the Nats have peaked in popularity or at the point at which they are clearly starting to slide. If its the first, then he’ll be looking for a massive win, if it’s the second, then a more modest win, but a win none the less. There is nothing in the economic indicators that suggest that things will be rosy by Spring, so I reckon he’ll find an excuse to go in April/May. Maybe seek a mandate to privatise or if he loses a corrupt minister or two more, or ACT implode, say it’s time to refresh the Government. Whatever excuse he needs to make the decision look reasonable, he’ll go with.

              I don’t think the Botany by-election (as mentioned by Lanthanide elsewhere) will worry him in the least. If NZ isn’t bothered by the Blinglish/Wong/Worth rorts, why would wasting a couple hundred grand more make a difference?

              Anyhoo, the point I’m making is that we need to start preparing for the election now. If we don’t and he pulls a swifty, we risk being stuck with the insect eyed git for another 3 years. So gird your loins people. Ring or email your preferred party and get yourself on the activist list. There’s pamphlets that need delivering now, fundraising that needs doing yesterday.

              Oh, and one more reson I think it won’t be in November. John Key says it will be. That’s good enough evidence for me.

              • Jim Nald

                “Oh, and one more reson I think it won’t be in November. John Key says it will be.”

                uh huh. the aspirational ass is bluffing.
                if he says it will be in nov, folks should be prepared for an earlier election.

          • Lanthanide

            Remember the Botany by-election is in March or April, right? If they call the election for soon after that, it opens them up to attack for wasting public money on a by-election that wasn’t necessary.

            • Colonial Viper

              Yep, if it was going to be called earlier we are looking at the depths of winter, maybe Aug.

              Bill and John are desperately hanging on for a cyclical up turn to the economy which they can then take credit for. But sorry lads – times have changed. Peak oil is here and the financial barons are ripping too much capital out of the system for the real economy to recover from.

              And if you think the NZ economy is rough now – take into account that we are already surfing on a wave of high commodity export prices. If those falter there will be some real trouble.

    • Armchair Critic 8.2

      Have National paid the GST on their advertising from that election yet, burt?

      • burt 8.2.1

        I don’t think they have, such a pity the self serving Labour govt put a lid on on 14 years of corrupt election spending so that dear leader wouldn’t need to stand in court. The unintended consequences of looking after the red team and allowing them to buy the election gave National a free pass as well.

        Shameful episode, we should have declared the 2005 election null and void and held it again – do you agree ?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Such a pity that you can’t seem to learn and keep spouting the same BS no matter how often reality is pointed out to you.

          • burt

            Sorry Draco, I forgot we were told to move on and that corruption is courageous when the red team do it.

          • The Baron

            Maybe he needs to call the reality hotline for a chance to be put straight Draco? What’s the number again?

  9. nadis 9

    The most interesting question which the Horizon poll doesn’t seem to answer (correct me if wrong) is to get some metrics around “Will you vote?” I would guess many undecideds are also in the “cant be bothered voting” camp, and do not do so. Whats our typical national poll turnout – around 70%?

    Also, when undecided voters are pressed to give an opinion I would imagine there are two responses, either a) who they last voted for, or b) the party from the most recent headline or news story they saw. If voters are undecided, then they are probably also unengaged in the whole political debate.

    To me two things are obvious. This type of poll gives little information but lots of headlines. Whoever governs – most likely National – will need a coalition.

    And Winston Peters in cabinet or close to it – for either National or Labour – will cause me to never ever vote for that party again. Most politicians are bad but he is the worst of a bad bunch. Peters as Treasurer (yes under National) was an absolute disgrace that fucked up the countries finances needlessly.

    And in terms of extrapolating the Auckland City poll into the national poll I think that is a bit of a leap. Despite typically voting right in recent elections I think what the Auckland city result showed was very rational – a reaction to bad press about the super city and misgivings about the pace of change. Change is happening so at least lets vote in a way which provides maximum counterweight to the perceived risks. We didn’t see a swing – national precincts continued to vote right wing candidates, left precincts voted Len Brown. If Len Brown recognises that he’s been given a mandate to provide efficient council services and no rate increase surprises then I can see him as a long term mayor. But if he gives the right something to mobilise against then each election becomes a real fight.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      I agree. Polling undecideds (pressing them for a preference) this far out isn’t useful because undecideds are the most likely to be swayed by campaign advertising which hasn’t started yet.

      An acquittance I knew told me how he had just gone out and joined the electoral finance act protest because it “was anti-democratic, taking our rights away”. The next time I saw him was election day 2008, so I asked him who he voted for – no one, because he didn’t see the government as affecting his life and didn’t care.

  10. gingercrush 10

    The horizon poll is producing perverse results for NZ First and the Greens. The idea NZ First can be under 5% on every other poll and somehow be 8.9% on this poll is really pathetic. Also many undecideds actually don’t vote. Turnout is likely to be about the same as 1998 if not slightly lower. Under that scenario Labour and the Greens will be hurt. And NZ First getting 5% is just laughable.

    The race for 2011 isn’t wide open. It has never been wide open. Its possible Labour can govern, but its entirely unlikely.

    And can someone tell Johansson just shut up already. The guy is a joke.

    • Blighty 10.1

      ah, the famous 1998 election.

      If you don’t like the Horizon poll look at the Roy Morgan: Nat + ACT = 50%

      All we need is a drop of 2-3% more and NACT can’t govern without the Maori Party, and there’s probalby a Labour-led option to govern too.

      If you’re saying that the race is decided already, you’re saying that National’s support is not going to continue to gradually fall as it has for the last year and a half.

  11. randal 11

    the gnats are getting really skanky now.
    john key has had his turn and he has really had enough of being the big fish.
    he wants to go but the meatheads know they are nothing without him.
    great days.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      To paraphrase Tony Hayward, former BP CEO who was seen as bungling the handling of the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico: Key would like his life back now thank you very much.

  12. burt 12

    Wow, who would have guessed… the editor of the Sunday-Socialist Times likes Phil Goff …


    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Who would have guessed that burt doesn’t understand social media?

      • burt 12.1.1

        Should I read all the other comments you have made in this thread like I do this one ? You really need to focus on the message rather than the messenger – hard for somebody who defends corrupt self serving govt but you really should try every now and then to look at what is being said rather than who said it.

        • Mickysavage

          You really need to focus on the message rather than the messenger – hard for somebody who defends corrupt self serving govt but you really should try every now and then to look at what is being said rather than who said it.

          Good advice Burt which you should also follow.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’ll give you a clue. He’s editor of a newspaper and generally needs to keep abreast of things. To help him do this he will follow politicians on social media whether he likes them or not.

          BTW, I did address your “message” in pointing out that you didn’t have one.

  13. Afewknowthetruth 13

    Why would anyone vote for any of them?

    It must be the ‘soma’ that most people are ingesting -as per Huxley’s Brave New World- that makes people believe the clowns and saboteurs that constitute all mainstream parties will deliver something other than the continuos falure we have witnessed over the past 30 years.

    Delusions are free (for the moment).

  14. The Baron 14

    Oh look who cares? Either way, this poll is 6-9 months out from the election. You all can play at amateur political sleuths regarding all the permutations and combinations (emphasis on amateur) all you like – but it is just a goddamn poll, not some preordained pronouncement from on high.

    • Blondie 14.1

      So true. If National start turning things around in the next 6 months, then there’s no reason that they can’t have the landslide victory they’re hoping for.

      On the other hand, if things continue to go from bad to worse, voters will express their dissatisfaction in the polling booths.

  15. MrSmith 15

    Key will go late, you can bet on that he’s is a gambler after all and has stated he won’t hang around if he loses, an allblack win should do it for him otherwise it’s off to Hawaii .

  16. So New Zealand First is loosing most of its base to the Progressives (who are about to implode) and the Maori Party, not National from whence they were assumed, in the main, to have come.

    Showing that there’s a market for a “plague on all their houses” party in the style of the original (pre-Lhaws) NZ First and the Australian Democrats under Don “Keep the bastards honest” Chipp.

    As soon as both those parties forgot their roles as watchdogs and cosied up to the elites they set themselves on the path to electoral oblivion.

    Yet it’s a market that now remains untapped on both sides of the Tasman. Interesting…. Matt McCarten, are you listening?

    • The Voice of Reason 16.1

      I think NZF and the Prog’s both appeal to socially conservative voters, so that convergence doesn’t surprise me, Rex. BTW, bit rough on Jim to say that his lot are imploding. They’ve rather gracefully integrated themselves into Labour and are already proving to be real assets. Despite losing the mayoralty, the left in Chch did a pretty solid job of getting the vote out. The earthquake and the ‘earthquake’ meme gifted it to Parker anyway.

      The market you talk of definitely exists and it will propel Peters back into the house, but I don’t know if it will help any other party. Certainly, a left party wouldn’t get much support from there. Given that you know Winston, how well dya reckon he’d get on with Goff? Close enough in outlook to make a good double act?

      • Any relationship between Winston and Goff will depend (from WP’s perspective) on two things:

        1. The degree of deference shown him not just by Goff but by everyone under Goff’s purview. That’ll start with the bestowal of baubles during the coalition process but will continue during the term of government. Provided there’s enough forelock tugging, use of “the Rt Hon”, no contradiction of anything he says – in private, not just in public – they’ll get along just fine since, as you suggest, they’re close enough in outlook (unlike Winston and Clark, Bolger, or Shipley).

        2. Who’s advising him at the time. Winston is slow to trust but once he does he is almost blind in his loyalty. He gave me incredible leeway and trust and was a loyal and good friend and political colleague, which is why it still pains me to criticise him. Trouble is, that makes him susceptible to malign (some may say “more malign” 😀 ) influences like Lhaws. And given what I’ve said in point 1, I shoukd mention he’s far more open than that suggests to criticism from those in the “inner circle”… many’s the time I bluntly told him I thought he was wrong on a policy issue, in the way he handled a media question, and similar topics. But again, what is a good quality also makes him manipulable.

        • The Voice of Reason

          Cheers, Rex. It seems to me that they would a quite formidable duo. Goff would supply the gravitas, Peters the oily charm. I’m not sure how comfortable he’d be with the Greens as part of a Government, but he may have got over his previous refusal to work with them, if, as you point out, there’s bawbees to be had. It just looks so cleanly symmetrical and stable to me, even with a thin majority. The MP have shown themselves to be almost as mercenary, so presumably they could be bought off, too.

          That leaves the Nats with a serious problem, as I see it. Get Hide up in Epsom or get binned.

        • Martin

          Rex – “he gave me incredible leeway and trust and was a loyal an dgood friend and politial colleague, which is why it still pains me to criticise him”

          You two faced lier Rex. You destroyed your own career and while this man stood by you as long as he could you carry this vendetta onward.

          Get a life Rex and stop trying to destroy a man that in your own words was good to you – boy with friends like you who needs enemies.

          • Rex Widerstrom

            That’s odd. No one called Martin worked in the Parliamentary office at the time I was there, or held any significant office in the party. Care to tell us on what you base your supposed superior insight?

            It’s true I set off the chain of events that led to Winston and I becoming estranged, by taking it upon myself to go to Hawkes Bay and investigate reports that Michael Laws – whom Winston was insistent had to join NZF – was in serious trouble.

            It turned out he was (he was forced to resign from the council and, later, Parliament). My concern was to protect the party, and Winston personally, from the damage that association with Laws would do. History proved me right – Laws’ resignation embarrassed the party (and led, on Winston’s own admission, to his misleading the House by repeating what Laws had told him); and Laws’ hijacking of long-established NZF policies caused it to haemorrhage support from almost 30% to 13% by the 1996 election and 3% by the time it finally got rid of Laws.

            If not speaking to me for the six months after I visited Hawkes Bay in an attempt to protect him and the party he’d worked so hard to create, then calling to tell me to “fuck off” equates to “standing by me as long as he could”, you have a weird view of what constitutes loyalty, Martin. One not shared by Parliamentary Services, I might add, who gave me a large suitcase full of the taxpayers’ money to compensate me for the way I was treated over that six months (and to ensure I’m gagged from revealing more telling details).

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