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The Colmar Brunton poll

Written By: - Date published: 5:55 pm, May 21st, 2020 - 213 comments
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This is probably the most anticipated poll in the history of New Zealand politics.  If National is under 30% Bridges must be gone tomorrow, too many MPs will lose their jobs to put up with his leadership.

If it is over 34% he can probably breathe a sigh of relief.

If it is in the middle then tomorrow will be interesting …

Results will be posted as soon as they are through.


The results are:

Labour 59

National 29

Greens 4.7

NZ First 3


Simon is in trouble …


213 comments on “The Colmar Brunton poll”

  1. Te Reo Putake 1

    Party support:

    Labour Party – 59% (up 18 percentage points)
    National Party – 29% (down 17 percentage points)
    Green Party – 4.7%
    New Zealand First – 2.9%
    ACT – 2.2%
    Māori Party – 1.2%
    Don’t Know/Refused – 16%  

    Parliamentary seat entitlement:

    – Labour Party 79
    – National Party 38
    – ACT Party 3

  2. Kevin 2

    Not very often we get to see a National Party knife fight out in the open. Time to put the popcorn on standby. 

  3. mickysavage 3

    Mark Mitchell is now apparently going to throw his hat into the ring.

    Absolute freaking chaos …

  4. Muttonbird 4

    It's the trend that is important, right?

  5. David Mac 5

    When John Key was surfing the crest of the poll wave the suggestion that a Labour leader would be riding a wave 5 metres higher within a few years would of been roundly ridiculed.

  6. Andre 6

    Somebody shoulda slipped a backhander to someone in Colmar Brunton to fudge the Nat numbers up a bit so Simon had at least a fighting chance.

  7. ScottGN 7

    Colmar Brunton is usually a bit more favourable to National than Newshub. CB was in the field this week, up until last evening. So that 29% probably reflects some of the public’s disgust at the way the Party went mongrel after the Newshub poll.

  8. Muttonbird 8

    Reckon David Parker and Labour should go hard for Epsom. Could be up for grabs!

    • Peter 8.1


      Coates (Green)  2,785

      Parker 7,067

      Goldsmith 10,986

      Seymour 16,505

      Goldsmith might have to try this time. He could be dog tucker.

  9. Tactical vote Green by Labour voters will get rid of even more Nats and Act.

    • Sacha 9.1

      And vice-versa in some electorates.

      Epsom righties will just shift their votes if they see any threat to the anointed outcome.

      • Bearded Git 9.1.1

        No Sacha-it is the party vote that counts in MMP.

        • Sacha

          Mostly, sure. Not in a tactical electorate like Epsom.

        • observer

          Even at 2% ACT would have 3 MPs on this poll.

          If it's Seymour alone then there's a case for National taking back Epsom. But they're never going to throw away several bonus seats.

          And the "lefties vote National in Epsom" line has been around since 2005. It doesn't work, because voters aren't a military division to be moved around on the battlefield by an armchair general. They don't vote National, because they don't want to.

          • Sacha

            They can count.

          • woodart

            epsom could go three different ways. nat voters say all is lost and vote act back in. nat voters say, every vote is crucial and act is out and goldsmith is m.p. or  nat and act split vote that parker is in. fun times.

          • mickysavage

            Two whanau members live in Epsom.  I urged them to vote Goldsmith for the electorate.  They said they went into the voting booth, had the pen in their hands, and … just couldn't do it …

            • Herodotus

              For a 1 man band David Seymour has been an over achiever – Look at the Euthanasia bill that he has managed to get to where it currently is.

              Too much Labour success will see NZ parliament reduce into 3 parties. Then NZ becomes FFP by default.

              • Andre

                No it won't be FPP by default.

                MMP won't deliver a situation like the last two Muldoon governments where Labour candidates got more votes countrywide, but National got the majority of the seats and therefore got to be the government. Nor will MMP ever shaft a substantial third party the way Social Credit got shafted in the Muldoon years.

                • Herodotus

                  So should the situation ever arise that there are 2 parties (for ease of my argument all others are gone) How would a 3rd party establish themselves ? Chances of them gaining an electorate or 5%would be mim at best.
                  And my reference re FPP was that NZ then has only 2 options vote Labour or National, and the loss of alternative ideas from other parties that would not find favour by Lab or Nat.


          • Andre

            Looking at the split voting stats for Epsom, ya gotta wonder what a lot of voters were thinking. Or not, as the case may be.


          • mikesh

            Some are saying that National could finish with an overhang at this year's election. This would mean that they would have no list MPs. Woodhouse would therefor lose his seat if he does not win in Epsom. So … … bye bye ACT?

  10. Dennis Frank 10

    Nobody expected CB to register an even greater margin than RR!  Amazing.  I wonder how long that 30% differential will last.  I recall impulse theory in physics suggesting a long decay tail, so it will shrink slowly, but I doubt even changing the Nat leader will make more than a few points difference.

    Takeaway from this must be that the Jacinda effect has returned.  Centrists have abandoned National: 15% of the electorate.  That hasn't happened in my lifetime as far as I can recall.  The question is now one of whether anything will reverse that switch.

    • Kat 10.1

      Dennis, Jacinda Ardern can be PM as long as she wishes to stand. In my time the only other Labour PM that had that potential was Norm Kirk but the grim reaper had other ideas. Helen came close but never had the impetus that Jacinda Ardern has.

      Long live Jacinda Ardern.

      • Muttonbird 10.1.1

        That communications degree and her upbringing in Morrinsville has created a superb leader for NZ.

      • observer 10.1.2

        Please don't.

        Complacency is a one-way ticket to defeat. Sure, it looks good for 2020, but we have no idea what the world will be like in 2023. History is full of rapid reversals and revivals.

      • Stunned Mullet 10.1.3

        😆 This is as delusional as people who thought Ket would be PM as long as he wanted to stand.

        At present the PM and Labour are enjoying a disorganised opposition with a fairly ordinary leader and a general public both relieved that NZ has been relatively unscathed by Covid 19 from a health viewpoint and blissfully unaware of the financial shambles that we have to look forward to over the next 24 months and beyond.

        For clarity I don't believe any political party in NZ (or groupings thereof) has a coherent plan that would avoid the financial shambles.

        Labour will walk this election but I doubt they'll get over 50% of the vote and I suspect as the economy sours over the next 18 months so will the poll results.

        The only real interest at this election will be how low can National go and where will the Greens, Winston first and ACT end up.

        • Kat

          And Key proved those "delusional" people right as he stood as long as he wanted, until he resigned.

          • Muttonbird

            And he pulled ponytails to show his power over a waiter in a cafe.

            That was his undoing.

        • Barfly

          Who is this "Ket" bloke?

        • patricia

          Most Kiwis know that the world has changed and have begun valuing skills,  so they will adapt and think outside the square.

          New Zealanders generally like collaborating,  and helping others,  and supporting Kiwi businesses and each other to get back on their feet.

          We are going ahead with home improvements,  as that puts money into the local community,  paying tradies buying paint paper and doors. 

          We believe if those who can spend a little for trades work or local produce,  is a positive.  We shouldn't retract into our shells.  This is going to be huge and impact many lives,  but what we do matters.

          In fact "Doing unto others as you would have them do to you "  has never been more important.  As Jacinda said "Be a good human Be kind" 

          We will get through this by giving a mandate for necessary change.

          • Stunned Mullet

            I'm considerably more cynical than you Patricia and would suggest for all our positive traits that given the right circumstance most Kiwis are just as fickle and self interested as the rest of the world.

            Given the economic shambles that is rapidly approaching many will be searching for a convenient target to blame and governments tend to reap the rewards jsp as easily as becoming the targets of the public's ire for things that are completely out of their control.

    • Sacha 10.2

      Takeaway from this must be that the Jacinda effect has returned.

      Takeaway from this is that our govt has handled a once in a century global crisis brilliantly. Normal assumptions do not apply.

      • Dennis Frank 10.2.1

        True, but factor in that Winston is getting no credit for his support role in making that happen.  And the key minister in the crisis dropped the ball (health).

        So I see Jacinda's leadership as the x factor in producing this outcome.  Working like a magic wand almost.  Making people believe in the Labour brand again.  An outcome I didn't expect to happen.

        • Muttonbird


          All he could do was troll the NZ public with a picture of him fishing and a horse on his beachfront property. This, while everyone else in government was doing the mahi.

          Watch for Peters to cosy up to Muller if Muller wins the race tomorrow.

          Peter's doesn't do support. Peters is the main act.

          • Sacha

            Peters did a lot of negotiating internationally with MFAT, to be fair. He does seem to be good at that stuff.

          • Dennis Frank

            In a coalition govt, cabinet decisions get made by those in cabinet.  What part of this do you not understand??

      • patricia 10.2.2

        Thanks Sacha,  you said it succinctly.  Cheers.

      • patricia 10.2.3

        "The Jacinda affect"  Just what is that?

        I believe it is a reflection of our better selves.  What we would like ourselves and others to be.  Jacinda is one of those rare people who make others confident that helping each other is the "Kiwi way"

        We lost that community spirit under Key.  In fact he treated that as weak and needy.

        While we were struggling under the yoke of austerity after 2009,  we forgot our community strength.  Oh a few were beacons to remind us there was another way,  but they were derided and made the "joke"

        We were told "small government"  "PPP"s" and  "individual effort" would pave our streets with opportunity.  It did!! For those with money to buy cheaply all our community assets,  taking even more of our power away.

        When she appeared and said "Let's do this"  we answered,  a bit shakily at first and berated by the "My way or the Highway" mob.  (She's a pretty little communist)"

        We have "Done this"  and worked together as a community to overcome fruit fly,  micoplasma bovis,  the terrible shootings,  white island erupting,  and now covid-19.

        It is the sense of being a member of a "Team of five million" that empowers us.

        We should keep the simple but powerful rule "Be kind, be a good human". 

        This will see us through the tough times ahead,  because together we make a difference. Jacinda is a leader and a facilitator.   We will innovate our way through.  

        We are already doing this.

    • Anne 10.3

      When a 'blue rinse' lady tells the TV reporter she wishes Jacinda Ardern was the leader of the National Party then you know they are in deep trouble.

      Think I might pay one of my rare trips to Kiwiblog for a bit of entertainment.

      • ScottGN 10.3.1

        Be sure and let us know how you get on.

        • Anne

          Oh, I don't comment. But one poor fella has pretty much lost it:

          If the future of New Zealand is going to be decided by these sort of polls then the people who respond to the polls should be identified: their names and addresses, their employment status, their obligations to the current government as far as benefits are concerned, their declared political views, their citizenship/residency status, their IRD obligations, their criminal history in NZ and overseas , etc.

          As someone pointed out:

          Hitler would be proud. 

      • RedBaronCV 10.3.2

        I wondered if now is the time to colonise Kiwiblog. Turn it into a well commented left wing blog. Reclaim the space!!

      • Kevin 10.3.3

        Ardern Derangement Syndrome in full swing.

    • Gabby 10.4

      They're just torn at the moment between self preservation and greed. As soon as the virus goes away they'll have the blue rosettes out again.

    • swordfish 10.5

      Nobody expected CB to register an even greater margin than RR!  Amazing

      Striking contrast with the Poll overlap a year ago:

      June 2019


      Reid Research 50.8%

      Colmar Brunton 42.0%

      Lab 8.8 points lower in CB (vs RR)


      Reid Research 37.4%

      Colmar Brunton 44.0%

      Nat 6.6 points higher in CB (vs RR)

      (Leaked UMR around same time recorded results broadly in line with RR)

      CB now has Labour higher … not only vis-a-vis RR but also, amazingly, UMR. That's as rare as hens' teeth.

  11. Sacha 11

    +76 vs -40. Safe to say that is the biggest difference in net favourable ratings we will ever see between a PM and opposition 'leader'.

    • Cinny 11.1

      Wow !!!!!!! heart yes

      • Sacha 11.1.1

        Had to read it twice. Wonder if that has ever happened in the whole history of NZ politics.

        • Cinny

          One News said it was the highest number any political party had ever reached on their poll including national under dirty john. 

          Absolutely incredible 🙂


      • patricia 11.1.2

        I am enjoying this!!   She is doing this!!  Well and truly.!!   I wan't the Greens there and I am sure they will be.  Happy days indeed.

    • Barfly 11.2

      JFC !! cheeky

    • swordfish 11.3

      So Simon Bridges is, in fact, on the way up … 4.5% Preferred PM in the Reid Research but literally skyrocketing up to 5% the following week in Colmar Brunton. Truth is his numbers are heading entirely in the right direction, he's riding high, he's looking cool, he's looking confident …  but don't EVER expect Lefties to acknowledge it. It's the cold, hard truth, but they can't handle the truth !

  12. xanthe 12

    well here is my prediction for you to all pull apart

    most likely..    Simon survives..   why?   because judith and mark put their supporters behind bridges to improve their position when they take over after the election

    second most likely..   Mark and Judith emerge as winners tomorrow afternoon.  They decide they can "do a jacinda" and pull the rabbit out of the hat..( they cant)

    unlikely ..   Todd and nicky…..  who?

    • The Al1en 12.1

      Or, Mark or Judith think that with Bridges gone, they can can claim a pyrrhic victory at the election if they reduce the totality of defeat, and with a much reduced but thankful caucus, halt the push to impose Luxon as leader.

    • woodart 12.2

      yes, reasonable prediction, but think there will be a bit of  panic after tonights result. 

    • observer 12.3

      I'll pull it apart for you!

      Not many MPs will want to take the kind of risk you suggest. Sticking with Bridges means ending dozens of careers. Better to let Todd Who save some seats.

      They can't make plans for the distant future if they're out of Parliament in that future.

      • AB 12.3.1

        Tend to agree. The safe approach for Mitchell and Collins is to let Muller take a likely defeat, and then if polls don't improve enough by barbecue season 2022, then make a play.

        The main problem with this safe approach is that it's a time-limited strategy – because Luxon is heir apparent. Leave it too long and Luxon rides in over them to replace Muller. And if Muller turns out to actually be quite good and popular – and only gets replaced if he loses a second time in 2023, then Luxon is a shoo-in  with 3 years of experience under his belt.

        It seems that Mitchell has been panicked enough to throw his hat into the ring next week. Will Collins follow? Would the public rather have a beer with Muller, a hemlock with Collins or a prayer-meeting with Luxon? Fascinating stuff.


    • Muttonbird 12.4

      Simon will probably survive because all the others are gutless apart from Muller and Kaye who have stuck their necks out.

      The rest, particularly Judith Collins, are devoid of any spine whatsoever. I really hope she gets crushed this election so New Zealand can be done with that poison once and forever.

  13. observer 13

    That's it then. National MPs would be complete fools to keep Bridges now. Fortunately, some are.

    Looking ahead, National will get a decent bounce under a new leader (any new leader, any Not-Bridges). This is a fun peak for Labour and Ardern, but keep fantasies in check. 61 MPs would be a great election result, 79 will never happen.

    Despite everything, the Greens are not in freefall. Sure, they're under 5% in this one but no need to panic. There's no way Labour will hold on to all those "left" votes come election day.

    • In Vino 13.1


    • Barfly 13.2

      last election I (a natural Labour voter) voted Green to help pull Labour left and because the perception that the Greens needed help I am so happy for the help that the COL government has given to the most vulnerable almost regretably I will vote Green again to help them survive

    • pat 13.3

      "There's no way Labour will hold on to all those "left" votes come election day."

      Unless they present a truely transformational manifesto pre election….then all bets are off

  14. Robert Guyton 14

    Wheeeeeeeeere's Paula!!

    She's planning to lead the party.


    • ianmac 14.1

      Paula did appear briefly on TV1 tonight looking very trim and sporting new flash haircut.

      Would she still be the Election organiser if not Deputy PM?

      Would she still have  seat as a List MP if the poll held strong?

      • Barfly 14.1.1

        I have no idea – it is a fault that I wish her ill –  I am a flawed person with many ghosts but the hatred I have for National Party MP's runs very deep – I believe honestly that their collective actions are deserving of damnation.

        • patricia

          Hey Barfly,  When Simon called her "Paula Benefit" I cracked up.  She was so awful to those women, when she exposed their details. I can not stand her.

        • Dean Reynolds

          Right back at you, Barfly – National are a despicable rabble & deserve their fate

      • mikesh 14.1.2

        I would have thought that her seat, Upper Harbour, would be a fairly safe National seat.

    • The Al1en 15.1

      She couldn't win against Bridges. No way she'll beat the Key anointed Luxon.

      • Muttonbird 15.1.1

        Does Luxton just hand around outside the door of this caucus meeting tomorrow, with a cup to his ear?

        • In Vino

          I think there is a certain inexplicable x factor which none of us understand – some people just have it. Sometimes it makes someone an outstanding teacher, sometimes an outstanding politician. Muldoon, horrible as I found him, had it until he lost it at the end.

          As much as I despised John Key for talking cacklemush and mangling the English language, he had that factor, and that made him popular.

          Luckily for us, Jacinda has that factor too, and talks more sense.

          The big risk for National is whether Luxon will prove to have that factor. He may well lack it.  Here's hoping. Poor old Simon never had it.

          • James Thrace

            Luxon does not have that x factor

            He was almost universally loathed at Air NZ. I had a friend who worked there who had the unfortunate experience of having a meeting with Luxon.

            She inadvertently called him "Chris"

            "IT'S CHRISTOPHER" was the barked response at her, from him.

            She left soon after.

            Luxon's first move when he took over as CEO of Air NZ was to end the annual Mardi Gras flight that Rob Fyfe established that went from Auckland to Sydney every March.

            So, homophobic, egoistic, and misogynistic.

            All excellent qualities for a National Party leader looking to attract voters. 

            [Second time you use the same slur aimed at Luxon. This time you even suggest that this would appeal to National voters so you’re insulting a large number of Kiwis whom you don’t know from a bar of soap. So, I’ll ask you again, please back up your assertions that Luxon is homophobic and misogynistic. Thanks in advance – Incognito]

            • Incognito

              See my Moderation note @ 9:32 PM.

            • Muttonbird

              Surprised he bothers with the -OPHER.

            • James Thrace

              The fact that the Mardi Gras flight was the first thing he cancelled when he started as CEO, and the first thing reinstated after he left would suggest an element of homophobia on his part, no? It's certainly not a long bow to draw an inference from.


              As for the misogynistic viewpoint, I'll just take the word of my friend who worked at Air NZ. Somewhat telling that under Fyfe there were several women in senior leadership positions. Under Luxon, there were none except in the last year of his reign. All compelling circumstantial evidence. 


              I'm guessing the sarcasm in my last sentence re attracting voters needed a /sarc tag.

              [When you start making slanderous comments about somebody, you’d better make sure you’re on solid ground. Despite your ‘assurances’ the support for your views is below the threshold of acceptable and a long way off being “compelling”. Your last sentence was ambiguous and could be read too easily as offending and divisive. This site does not need to become a mirror of RW political blog sites where the tone and content of comments is appalling and no genuine debate is possible. Please lift your game, thanks – Incognito]

  15. Anker 16

    I think thanks to Jacinda and her team and Ashleigh Blomfield (who was appointed by labour).  NZ has dodged a very real bullet with Covid19. This is well illustrated by comparing our outcome with just about any other country in the world.  

    i read recently about a prediction that NZ would have needed 20 to 30 thousand body bags and dead homeless people being stored in freezers until they can be identified.  I would hate to be living in NZ now if there was community transmission……even worse for vulnerable people.  I have a relative in the UK with cancer who lives alone and hasn’t been able to leave the house for weeks.

    I don’t for one minute think that National would have gone so hard it early as labour did. Economy too important to them. Most people know this about National

    • Sacha 16.1

      We are incredibly fortunate to have Ashley Bloomfield in that role but it has little to do with party politics.

    • James Thrace 16.2

      Bloomfield was not appointed.

      He was interviewed for the role after the useless tit Chua was effectively fired.

      Bloomfield was interviewed by a panel.


      On that panel was none other than Kim Hill.

      • weka 16.2.1

        What was she doing there?

        • Matiri

          Part of the interview process – those short-listed faced an interview panel of four, and an hour on the end of a Kim Hill inquisition, with psychologists looking on.


          • weka

            Is that normal for her to have that kind of job? I got that she was part of the interview process, I was wondering why.

            • pat

              Curious…I have no problem with Kim Hill being there (indeed it likely a huge positive) but it is surprising if true

      • Anker 16.2.2

        Ok thought it was a govt appointment, but  my mistake.


        thank goodness we didn’t have Chua at the helm

        • Sacha

          Bullet dodged.

        • Craig H

          The State Services Commissioner has to find the candidates and interview them but the appointment of chief executives of Public Service departments is made by the Governor-General in Council following a recommendation by the State Services Commissioner, noting that the Governor-General is not required to appoint the recommendation.

      • Craig H 16.2.3

        Bloomfield was appointed by the Governor-General following the interview process – while it would be unusual not to appoint the recommendation of the State Services Commissioner, the Governor-General can appoint anyone.

  16. ianmac 17

    I am a bit sad that I didn't get asked by the pollsters so that I could have voted for National to give Simon longer tenure. Damn.

  17. Ad 18

    On this poll Labour has no support partners to form government. 

    If the Greens want to get back in they need to work harder than this.

    After Bridges is rolled, the next poll shows National nearer 40%, and Labour in the mid-40%.

    This poll is a stupid heroin high and won't ever be repeated.

    Let's get ahold of ourselves and burn off the glee.

    If we want to be back in government, and the Greens struggle to make 5%, it time for deals in Auckland Central and Nelson.

    • Muttonbird 18.1


    • Dennis Frank 18.2

      Re Greens, I disagree.  Voters don't like them trying to out-flank Labour on the left, so working harder at that will just alienate more centrists.  Everyone knows there are few votes to be had on the extreme left.  It's been proven time & time again.  The only dimwits thick enough to fail to learn the lesson are those who determine the political positioning of the Green Party.

      Last election the Greens candidate in Nelson was a popular councillor.  Dunno why he's not standing this time.  Alienated by the leftist thing, I suspect.

      These poll results show that centrists are impressed by govt performance.  That govt is center-left.  People like how the combo is doing.  No evidence they want anything more leftist than that.  Those who believe they do are delusional!  🙄

      • Ad 18.2.1

        I really don't care about where the Greens go to on any spectrum. 

        They just need to do better than this if they want to come back next time.

        It's not the government performance the polls are judging either. It's the performance of Labour.

        • Dennis Frank

          It's not the government performance the polls are judging either. It's the performance of Labour.

          You're wrong.  The 90% rating consistency proves that.  It was produced by govt administration of the crisis.  Labour deserves much credit due to proportionality in the govt, but it was mainly achieved by Jacinda's leadership (with Winston's support) and the public servant in charge of the process.

          • Ad

            That's a different poll.

            This one is evaluating parties.

            It's pretty evident the public are evaluating the parties that make up the government, I'd agree with that.

      • weka 18.2.2

        The GP is hardly extreme left.

        • Dennis Frank

          I know.  My criticism has always been that the positioning fails to reflect the reality.  Been a problem since Jeanette & Rod allowed to embed in the late '90s…

          • Ad

            On this poll Labour forms the government by itself.

            And there are only 2 parties in parliament. 

            So that's probably a bigger immediate problem than the history of Jeanette and Rod.

            Naturally as Labour supporter, it's not a problem at all.

          • weka

            "the positioning fails to reflect the reality"

            What does that mean?

            • Sacha

              Dennis has a problem with his positioning not reflecting reality. 🙂

              • Dennis Frank

                No I don't.  My positioning has always derived from the standard Green line:  neither left nor right but in front.  The global Green movement is only partially represented by Green parties that use leftist positioning.  That reality has been persisting a very long time now.

                The problem is simply one of politicos allowing their idealism to defeat their realism.  The resulting disconnect with their natural support base will eventually force them to get real.  If they don't make it over the threshold they will need to finally face that reality.  And get a grip.

                • solkta

                  It is the Charter that determines Green policy not some throw away line from the seventies.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Yeah.  I've no problem with the policy mix – don't recall the Greens ever adopting a policy I disagreed with.  It's all about how you frame that mix to the media & public.

                    And it wasn't a throwaway line from the '70s – it was the radical leading edge option, that became standard in the '80s.  You need to read Green Politics by Capra (the physicist) to confirm the historical rationale behind all that…

                    • solkta

                      So you are saying that they should not promote some of those policies? If the Greens have policy to adequately look after the vulnerable and Labour do not, then of course talking about that policy will "position" the Greens to the left of Labour.

                    • weka

                      Did the NZ Greens use that phrase? It's now used by Tava's party, and TOP I think.

                      I prefer Lprent's framing of the Greens being orthogonal to the left right political spectrum.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      To Weka:  they did, but our history got complicated by sojourn in the Alliance.  Remember there was a three-way split in the polls due to so many hating both National & Labour.

                      Anderton wanted the Alliance to follow New Labour.  As soon as I saw that the leftist Greens in the GP were likely to get traction (collaborating with the NLP) I just stayed with leading the rules & constitution process until completion then pulled out.  So when we won the fight for MMP I was glad J & R pulled the Greens out of the Alliance – which promptly tanked due to leftism – but wasn't impressed with their subsequent pitch to the electorate.  Then their strategy seemed to become stealing Labour votes (not clever).

                      Thing is, I had initiated the leftist alignment due to necessity and direct personal intervention, so I had to own the problem to that extent.  I just saw the others as unsophisticated players of the game.  Rod did mature remarkably well as co-leader, and became very effective in parliament despite the positioning liability.  I suspect Jeanette came from the leftist side of the Values schism rather than the progressive/radical side. 

                      Since the VP never seemed a credible representation of the Green movement, I can't provide a personal view from the inside but Christine Dann tells the story in her doctoral thesis.  The VP progressives & radicals did adopt the `neither left nor right, but in front' framing, apparently…

                    • Sacha

                      the leftist side of the Values schism rather than the progressive/radical side

                      Good example of the problems with how you discuss positioning here. Those words do not mean the same to you as they do to many other people.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    No, not suggesting the Greens ever censor themselves.  But you will have noticed that our parliamentarians already have been, right?  Green economic policy has always been a radical mix.  That's why they carefully avoid mentioning any of the radical elements.

                    It has always been possible for the Greens to acquaint media & public with radical moves required to enable the shift to a sustainable society, while simultaneously informing centrists how this can be done in a pragmatic, realistic way that they'll be comfortable with.

                    I don't see any inherent difficulty with being caring and centrist simultaneously in political positioning…

            • Dennis Frank

              Positioning is perception-driven.  Perception prevails over reality when the mass effect kicks in.  Social reality is co-created, remember.  Every political group co-creates a political culture, but the mass effect of that gets amplified by the media & public perceptions.  So when you have leaders that fail to control the narrative (or deliberately skew their party towards partisan stances) you get consequent positioning created in the minds of voters accordingly.

              • solkta

                Why do you talk of the Greens positioning themselves to the left of Labour but not Labour positioning themselves to the right of the Greens? It seems to me that the Greens are being true to their Charter and history, Labour not so much.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Probably due to my history of being in the thick of it for so long.  I accept that what you see is partially true.  The guts of it though is where the votes are.  The last two polls show that 13-15% of the electorate shifted across the line from center-right to center-left.

                  This flock of centrists all moved together, without even a bark from a sheepdog.  And the Greens keep ignoring them.

                  • solkta

                    The guts of it though is where the votes are. 

                    No, the guts of it is the policy that Green Party members create off the back of their Charter. There would be little point in being a member of a party that promoted policy that it's members did not support.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Only if they're happy to be a bunch of losers forever.  I have no desire to remain with them on that basis. And it is not policy that is the issue. The issue is connecting with where people are actually at. Don’t keep pretending you can make them think like you (not you personally).

                    • solkta

                      They are not a bunch of losers as they get their views represented in Parliament. You suggest that these people put in all that work to have other people's ideas represented instead. That would be idiotic.

                      It is obvious that you are not a good fit with the Greens. Why not just leave it there?

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Because after the 2014 election I rejoined the GP, attended the summer policy conference in 2015, was present when co-leader Russel Norman called a straw poll and the count of 65 present at that session split two to one in favour of those who thought the Greens were neither left nor right.  Seeing that the leftists were merely a minority of a third of attendees reassured me that the Greens hadn't really lost the plot.

                    • solkta

                      Was there a majority who said they thought the party was centrist?


                    • Dennis Frank

                      No.  The framing Russel used was the historical one I mentioned.  Centrist is normally used to mean non-aligned (in the context of the binary frame – originally created by French revolutionaries in the 1780s), but can also mean pragmatic rather than ideological.

                      Political framing is simplistic and the orthogonal option is worthwhile considering as a more sophisticated alternative, but I don't use it due to `when in Rome, do as the Romans do'.

        • Ad

          The Greens are by a reasonable measure the most leftist party in parliament. 

          Have been for about a decade.

          May not be to everyone's taste, clearly, but they're a strong left compared to anyone who will get in parliament this election.

          • weka

            True. That's different from being extreme left (put MANA in the picture to see what I mean). NZ doesn't vote in extreme left parties (I don't think MANA are even that extreme, and I see their leaving parliament as more about behaviour than policy).

        • xanthe

          The greens are not "left" at all!  identity politics is a child of neoliberalism

          • weka

            weird how they have a left wing income support policy then.

            • xanthe

              you do them a disservice describing their income support policy as "left"  It would perhaps get more traction if the more accurate description of rational and commonsense were applied.

              • arkie

                Reality does have a well-known left-wing bias

              • weka

                sure, because the GP aren't on the traditional left/right spectrum. But you can't have it both ways. If you want to criticise the Greens for not being left enough, it's very hard for that to have meaning when one looks at their policy.

                Hate on identity politics all you like, but the Greens are to the left of Labour by default, because of their policy and irrespective of how they or other people position them. 

                • xanthe

                  Not "criticiseing or hateing" just pointing out that the common meme of identity politics as "left" or for that matter social justice is both false and destructive to the green movement . Just be very clear identity politics is part of the neoliberal movement.

                  • weka

                    solidarity politics however is on the left. As are the Greens. Whatever their position on identity politics, they are still a left wing party not a neoliberal one because of their policies.

                    • xanthe

                      WTF is "solidarity politics"?

                    • weka

                      class politics beyond white male working class politics, that acknowledges that each class has its own struggle and that we all do better when we have solidarity across those classes. Ethnicity, sex, gender, disability and so on, but it's centred on class rather than identity.

                    • xanthe

                      You appear in this to just conflate class and identity so that does not move us forward. A truly left wing party would seek to make class not significant (in terms of fulfilling each persons potential) would it not?

                    • Incognito

                      It is obvious that labels are limited especially when trying to have a debate about progressive politics, social and economic reform, and a future that is not BAU. Language gets us to the gate but doesn’t open it to the unknown and might even hold us back from stepping through the gate, if you know what I’m saying. That’s why the unknown is often depicted as or symbolised by darkness where the eye cannot see and the mind cannot find the words and thus retreats in fear of the unseen/unknown and unspoken.

                    • weka

                      "You appear in this to just conflate class and identity so that does not move us forward. A truly left wing party would seek to make class not significant (in terms of fulfilling each persons potential) would it not?"

                      Lots of lw analysis would say that you have to have class analysis in order to ensure that people have the opportunity of fulfilling their potential. If we can't see and work with concepts of class, then we can't address the issues that affect that class. eg people with a disability need society to adjust around that so they're not unfairly disadvantaged, and that means there needs to be an understanding of disability at the class level not just the individual level.

                      Traditional concept of class as socioeconomic, one could say that the point is to remove economic disadvantage as well as social (eg white collar workers having more positions of power in society). But doesn't class still exist? There will still be people who do the kind of work that is considered working class, and they will still have their own needs and wants in regards to society that other people won't understand or represent.

                    • weka

                      @Incog. Are they labels? Or are they words representing concepts that have a distinct shared understanding? I guess both. The problem here is that xanthe asked for a definition of solidarity politics and I didn't give a particularly good one, so we probably are stumbling in the dark a bit, but teasing it out seems to help clarify both our understandings of the words.

                    • Incognito []

                      It was more general than specific to your comment, sorry.

                      It seems somewhat of a reoccurring theme here.

                      I guess what I was trying to say, but did so poorly, is that existing (‘old’) concepts are not necessarily helpful when trying to come up with new forward thinking and novel concepts. However, they are the tools available to us now from which we need to craft new concepts and ideas. For example, much of the discourse about progressive politics seems to be mired in old Left-Right concepts such as socialism and liberalism, et cetera. It makes it harder to lift off to new thinking – often it is choosing by exclusion: not this, not that, but then what?


      • Drowsy M. Kram 18.2.3

        Dennis, you're "alienated by the leftist thing, I suspect."

        Like you, I don't know why Matt Lawrey isn't standing again.  Hope Dr Aaron Stallard does at least as well for the Greens in the Nelson electorate this year.  Would be good to have a(nother?) scientist with a good grasp of climate change in parliament, but that's probably a change too far.


        • That_guy

          Genuine question, are you aware of any other scientists running or in parliament? There's Dr. Parmjeet Parmar.

          • Sacha

            The science of lollies. Very good.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            No, I was not, so thanks for bringing Dr Parmar to my attention.  Has she stated whether she thinks anthropogenic climate change is real; if so, does she agree with TIME's Person of the Year (2019) that it represents an existential threat to humanity, and what measures can NZ take to mitigate that threat?

            Same questions for the new leader of the National party – Todd Muller seems to accept the need for NZ to at least appear to be doing something about climate change.  Whether he continues in that vein, as regions of NZ face water shortages, will be interesting.

            "Muller has been placated with a massive promotion up the party list. Other MPs told Stuff last week that his ambitions were challenged in the Climate Change portfolio.

            National's agricultural base still wields real power in the party and would never allow a Climate Change spokesperson to rise to the leadership, no matter what concessions he managed to score them."


          • Incognito

            Genuine question, what makes a scientist? A degree, any degree? In what field? Economics, Political Sciences, Economics, Law?

    • Peter 18.3

      On this poll does National have support partners? It wasn't a poll of Epsom. If Goldsmith doesn't fight for Epsom, is only seeking to be a list MP and things go wrong (or right depending on how you look at it) and there aren't any or enough off the list, he's down the tubes.

      If Seymour gets in how many is he going to bring with him? Enough to make 'no support partners Labour' come second overall?

      • Ad 18.3.1

        Answering that kind of question tends to bring fate down on the odds; never wise in retrospect.


  18. Sacha 19

    Memories of a more innocent time ..

  19. Corey Humm 20

    I'm rooting for the Greens. Not just because of the legacy of the party and not just because without minor parties mmp is pointless, but mostly because If the Greens don't get 5% all the woke rich white people who have spent years turning the party of Donald,Nandor and Bradford into an identity politics party will join Labour, the last thing we need is a bunch of rich kids screaming "Nazi" at voters. The left wing greenies andhand the environment greenies would be damn good assets but the woke members should join the nats (the party their parents vote)

  20. observer 21

    It's worth looking at the details which are now coming through on the TVNZ site:

    Only 28% of NATIONAL voters disapprove of Ardern's performance.

    And worse (for Nats) – that's only their core support, the 29% in this poll. Not even the ex-Nats who they want to attract back.

    It beggars belief that National MPs like Simeon Brown and Matt King and Stuart Smith and the rest actually believe it's a good idea to post nasty comments on social media about a PM who National voters like. Got rocks in their heads.

  21. I think this leadership contest gives the lie to all those Nat claims about this government's alleged incompetence.  

    If the Nats really believed this government was incompetent, they'd regard these poll results as just a reflection of Arden being on TV a lot with everyone complementing her and giving her credit for the success of Ashley Bloomfield, the public service and our health professionals, and would be happy to ride this temporary blip out until the government politicians' incompetence shows itself again.  

    But they're not doing that. They're acting as though these poll results reflect the actual performance of the government and they need to do something urgently to avoid being crushed in September. 

    Have to admit I'm enjoying watching it.

    • Incognito 22.1

      Jacinda Ardern gave credit to the team of five million. I think that is what is reflected in the recent polls. We’re all on a post-lockdown high but we will have a comedown.

      • Psycho Milt 22.1.1

        Oh sure, there's only one polling direction for both Labour and Ardern from here, but National are acting as though they aren't expecting the decline in the government's support to be very big. 

  22. Cinny 23

    Tories be like…. It’s due to C-19 & wall to wall coverage for Jacinda Ardern…

    I guess they are forgetting about the many live streams of the Epidemic Response Committee chaired by simon, and the resulting soundbites/stories from it that were published/aired by media. 

    national have probably had more media coverage during a crisis than any other opposition party in NZ's history.

    Crikey, maybe nationals low polling is partly because of their performance in the Epidemic Response Committee?  Hmmmmmm

  23. Muttonbird 24

    Sleep tight Simon, my front of mouth talking prince.

  24. Dean Reynolds 26

    The economic ground has moved underneath National but they're not aware of it. The 2020 budget represented the repudiation of neo liberal economics – balanced budgets, 'a bonfire of regulations', tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. As we move into a post covid world, Keynsian economics & quantative easing are the only economic policies which can rescue us from mass unemployment & deprivation.

    The Nats can change leaders as often as they like, but as long as they cling to 'free market' dogma, they will remain unelectable.

    • roblogic 26.1

      Austerity is a nasty word, especially in a time of deep recession. Tax cuts and capital gains are secondary considerations to actually having a regular job

  25. Fireblade 27

    I'm very pleased with the poll results. I voted Labour in the last election. If Labour are still polling strongly closer to this year's election, I would happily vote for the Greens to ensure a Labour Green government. 

    Strangely enough, I have voted for Act and NZF in the past when my life was completely different. Life kicked me in the arse and my self-centred ways have long gone.

    My belief is that the Covid pandemic has changed the NZ political environment and many voters have come to the realisation that people are more important than massive wealth accumulation for a selected few. Nationals self-serving money hungry ideology is less and less important in society. Fairness and kindness are more important.

    We all need money to survive, but money is less important when your dead or fighting for you life on a ventilator. Our PM has saved peoples lives and protected the country from a Covid disaster. If you don't believe me, just look at the rest of the worlds Covid cases and deaths. Jacinda Ardern's communication skills, clarity of thought and management is first class. Voters won't forget that.

    Yes, there are tough economic times ahead for NZ and the world, but the tired old National Party ideology is increasingly irrelevant. Times have changed and the Nats have been left floundering.

    Todd Muller appears to be a very sensible fellow, but he lacks charisma and is mind-numbingly boring. He's number 43 on National list FFS. A Muller/Kaye leadership will be weak and uninspiring in my view. The National Party infighting will only drag the Nats to new depths. It's crisis time and damage mitigation for National now, but they have little chance of recovering all of their lost support before the election. Unless they change their core ideology and find a charismatic leader, they will remain an unpopular stale party of the past.

    • Absolutely agree Fireblade. Hopefully, the time for Natz type policies is over.
      I did and will again party vote Green in the sure belief that they will get back into parliament. NZ needs the Greens!

  26. swordfish 28


    Popular First-Term Govt Poll Comparisons: 2020 VS 2002 & 2011

    Might be enlightening to compare the latest Colmar Brunton Poll ratings with the last two occasions when highly popular Govts were heading into an Election Campaign.

    I'll start with Ardern vs Clark..

    2020 vs 2002 Comparisons

    Colmar Brunton poll results (conducted 4 months out from each Election)



    2002 CB Poll 49.0%   … 2002 Election Result 41.3% (down 7.7)

    2020 CB Poll  59.0%

    Alliance (All+PC)

    2002 CB Poll  2.0%  … 2002 Election Result 3.0%  (up 1.0)


    2002 CB Poll 5.0%  … 2002 Election Result 7.0% (up 2.0)

    2020 CB Poll 4.7%


    2002 CB Poll 56.0%   … 2002 Election Result  51.3% (down 4.7)

    2020 CB Poll  63.7%


    2002 CB Poll 2.0%  … 2002 Election Result 10.4% (up 8.4)

    2020 CB Poll 2.9%

    Left + NZF

    2002 CB Poll  58.0%  … 2002 Election Result  61.7% (up 3.7)

    2020 CB Poll 66.6%


    2002 CB Poll 35.0%  … 2002 Election Result 20.9% (down 14.1)

    2020 CB Poll 29.0%


    2002 CB Poll  4.0%  … 2002 Election Result 7.1% (up 3.1)

    2020 CB Poll  2.2%

    Nat + ACT

    2002 CB Poll  39.0%  … 2002 Election Result  28.0% (down 11.0)

    2020 CB Poll  31.2%

    Upshot of it all: in CBs conducted at the same point (4 months out) from these respective General Elections, Ardern's Labour is currently 10 points higher than Clark's Labour, the 2020 Left are almost 8 points higher than their 2002 predecessors, the 2020 Left + NZF are 8.6 points higher … while the Bridges (or Muller ?)-led Nats are 6 points down on the English-led Nats of 2002, and the broader Right Bloc (Nat + ACT) find themselves almost 8 points shy of their 2002 predecessors.

    Notice both Major Parties had plunged by Election Day 2002 … but esp the already down -on-their-luck Nats & the broader Neo-Liberal Right.

    [Note: Left = Lab + Green (2020) / L+G+ Alliance (2002)]


    Preferred PM


    Clark 47.0%

    English 12.0%

    PM Leads by 35 points



    Ardern 63.0%

    Bridges 5.0%

    PM Leads by 58 points


    • James Thrace 28.1

      IIRC the 2002 election was an early election and Labour were punished for going to the polls early, and in mid winter?

      • swordfish 28.1.1


        No, I don't think Clark's Labour were actually punished by voters for going early.

        There'd been considerable speculation in the media for some time that a Snap Election was on the cards & a Colmar Brunton Poll (weeks before Clark's announcement) certainly showed very strong public opposition to going early.

        But Labour (with the help of UMR) did a lot of qualitative focus group research & strategically softened public attitudes over subsequent weeks. By the middle of the election campaign, they'd been a dramatic turnaround in popular opinion – it virtually reversed, with a large majority comfortable with going early..

        Labour's sharp fall in support (according to academic analysts / psephologists at the time) was largely a corollary of the perceived arrogance of the Clark Govt & rekindled fears of future abuse of power, in relation to both:

        – It's overt campaign to seek a mandate to govern alone after the Election


        – the Paintergate & (esp) Corngate incidents during the campaign

        Labour's poll support (incl in its own Internal UMR polls) plunged almost overnight following both controversies (and, to a lesser extent, following the 'Worm Debate' that gave UF & NZF such hefty boosts in Poll support)..

        The New Zealand Election Study found big swings from 1999 Labour voters to both NZF & even more so into non-voting.

        Whereas Labour continued to ride high in the polls right up until these so-called Campaign Setbacks at the mid-point of the 2002 Election Campaign, the Nats' ratings had plunged much earlier (mainly over the 2001-02 New Year) & they simply flatlined during the Campaign itself.  Obviously most National supporters knew there was no prospect of victory, they could see English was diving in the Preferred PMs … so fragmentation of the Right was almost inevitable – some interesting polling from Colmar Brunton at the outset of the Campaign suggested a sizeable proportion of Nats were prepared to do the unthinkable and vote Labour to keep the Greens out of Govt. Others opted for NZF or UF for similar reasons or simply to provide a 'centrist' counterweight.

        Ultimately, less than half of National's 1999 voters remained loyal … so electoral collapse was inevitable.


  27. swordfish 29


    Ardern vs Key

    2020 vs 2011 Comparisons

    Colmar Brunton poll results (conducted 4 months out from each Election)

    Given we're dealing with Govts / Oppos of different political stripes, I'll use generic labels (Major Party of Govt & so on):


    Major Party of Govt

    (Lab 2020 / Nat 2011)

    2011 CB Poll (Nat) 53.0% … 2011 Election Result  47.3%  (down 5.7)

    2020 CB Poll (Lab) 59.0%


    Govt Bloc

    2011 CB Poll  59.4% … 2011 Election Result 50.4% (down 9.0)

    2020 CB Poll 66.6%


    Major Party of Oppo

    (Nat 2020 / Lab 2011)

    2011 CB Poll (Lab) 27.0% … 2011 Election Result 27.5% (up 0.5)

    2020 CB Poll (Nat) 29.0%


    Oppo Bloc

    2011 CB Poll 37.0%  … 2011 Election Result 38.5% (up 1.5)

    2020 CB Poll  31.2%


    Upshot of it all: in CBs conducted at the same point (4 months out) from these respective General Elections, the 2020 Major Party of Govt (Ardern Lab) is polling 6 points higher than its 2011 (Key Nat) predecessor, the 2020 (Lab-led) Govt Bloc is more than 7 points above its 2011 (Nat-led) predecessor, the 2020 Major Opposition Party (Nat) is doing slightly (2 points) better than its Goff-led 2011 predecessor, but the broader 2020 Opposition  (Nat + ACT) is currently polling almost 6 points down on the 2011 (Lab + Green) Oppo Bloc.


    Preferred PM


    Key  54.0%

    Goff  9.0%

    PM Leads by 45 points



    Ardern 63.0%

    Bridges 5.0%

    PM Leads by 58 points



    • observer 29.1

      Good work, thanks.

      The 2011 election should serve as a reminder to those who make easy assumptions, minus evidence. Pretty much every instant-reckon in 2011 said that a successful Rugby World Cup in NZ would deliver a landslide for Key. The competition was well hosted, the public supported it in good numbers and the All Blacks won. Hooray!

      This made no difference whatsoever to the political polls, and the election results. Almost as if the voters could separate two completely different things …

    • It's often forgotten that Goff very nearly became PM in 2011 despite those 54% versus 9% figures. A few votes falling in the right places and a tiny number of extra votes for Labour and he would have been there.

      • RedLogix 29.2.1

        Yes, when it comes down to it elections in modern democracies are rarely 'landslides' when you look at the actual votes. The default position for elections is for the left and right blocs to be more or less be within a few percent of each other, and while we are most definitely not in normal times, we should be mindful the electorate will slide back to the default over time.

        How much time is going to be the interesting question. Ardern is on track to be a three term PM all other things being equal.

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