Victory within reach, if they’ll grab for it

Written By: - Date published: 11:07 am, August 2nd, 2010 - 46 comments
Categories: election 2011, polls - Tags:

When even the Herald is admitting this is a crappy government, less than two years after being part of National’s campaign propaganda, it’s safe to say Key is a disappointment to all. But where’s the opposition?

As the Herald’s editorial says:

“In truth, this increasingly looks like a Government driven by polls rather than principle. It shelved plans to lower the drink-driving limit for adults – despite official advice that such a move would save lives – because, as Key said, “we need to take people with us.”

It is a depressingly pallid response and an Opposition that had its wits about it would have made mincemeat of it.”

The polling numbers show that people are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Nats, and that’s happening not because of a concerted opposition campaign or a media that has gone feral on the government but organically, from people looking at the government’s record themselves and seeing it for what it is. But the numbers also show that Labour is failing to capitalise – its support is still lower than on election night last year. The net increases in support as National’s polling falls are going to the Greens – who always poll well in the Roy Morgans but are higher than ever – the Maori Party and New Zealand First – now at the brink of 5%.

Labour has, to date, failed to give the people who voted for it 3 of the last 4 elections a reason to come back. But that doesn’t mean all is lost. The Left is not just Labour. What matters is whether a left coalition can for, the numbers to govern after 2011. To put it another way, will the Maori Party be a true kingmaker?

Currently, Labour + Green equals 40.5% to National + ACT’s 51%. A 5% shift, the same scale as the shift that has already happened this past year, would be all it takes to get those numbers even and make the Maori Party – or maybe Winston – kingmaker. There would be tremendous pressure from the base for the Maori Party to return to its values and be part of the Left government.

But before that can happen the Labour + Green vote needs to go up and it is up to Labour to start pulling its weight, I can’t see the Greens pulling 15%.

Victory is within reach for the Left in 2011. the numbers are far closer than a simplistic Labour vs National comparison suggests. Will it happen? I think that has a lot to do with the Goffice and its will to win.

46 comments on “Victory within reach, if they’ll grab for it”

  1. Anthony C 1

    If they do want it they need to start acting like it and working hard in the electorates now. I’m in Auckland Central and have voted Labour and probably always will but Jacinda Ardern has been nearly invisible, I know nearly nothing about her Labour can’t just rely on votes like mine.

    It’s embarrassing having the delusional Nikki “equal opportunity but not equal outcome” Kaye as my electorate MP, but she’s out there and shows up in local papers/magazines and at local events and will get votes because of this.

    • just saying 1.1

      Kudos to Claire Curran who visibly works hard in her community and pushes issues that are important to her constituents.

      Also, the throw-away papers can be a very useful tool for getting the messages of the left out there. They tend to have useful local info, which means they’re often at least skimmed by locals.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Turnout is king and the way to beat key.
    I note they are working on disenfranchising all prisoners and the next way is to restrict enrolling periods ( like Australia ) and maybe even require voter id ( like Canada)

  3. Armchair Critic 3

    I think that has a lot to do with the Goffice and its will to win.
    Too true. If Labour can get its act together it has a very good chance of winning. If Labour carries on the way it has since it lost in 2008, it is toast (for Labour and NZ).

  4. loota 4

    Why haven’t Labour been making mincemeat out of National?

    Very concerning.

    There is keeping your powder dry, and then there is being walked all over by the Greens and the NATs at the same time.

  5. Nick C 5

    Where is the satire tag?

  6. tsmithfield 6

    Labour better not be putting too much hope in NZ First. Key can easily pull the rug out from under Labour’s feet in that respect. All he has to do is to refuse to deal with NZ First again on principle. Assuming that Labour does not take a similar stance there will be the following effects:

    1. Key will look principled while Labour will appear to be willing to grab power no matter how much they have to compromise.
    2. Voters minds will immediately be drawn back to the fiascoes that occurred when Labour was last in power with NZ First.
    3. Potential right-leaning NZ First voters will be faced with the likely prospect of a Labour-led government if they vote NZ First. This will likely motivate them not to vote for NZ First and likely return their vote to National. This could undermine NZ Firsts ability to reach the 5% threshold.

    Ruling out working with NZ First worked well for Key last time. I think the analysis above suggests it will work just as well again.

    • Pat 6.1

      Goff was on Radio Live with Willie and Hooten on Friday. He stated he could bring together a coalition of NZF, the Greens and the Maori Party.

      So there you have it. Goff has ruled NZF in. He has to, because his hopes rest on their return.

      I wonder how the Greens feel about the idea.

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        The prospect of that abomination is sure to inspire people to vote Labour. 🙂

  7. joe bloggs 7

    This post is great – more revisionism from the loony left!

    I particularly loved the math lesson – hilarous:

    Currently, Labour + Green equals 40.5% to National + ACT’s 51%. A 5% shift, the same scale as the shift that has already happened this past year, would be all it takes to get those numbers even …

    Marty what you really mean is you need a 5 point shift – which is a growth rate of just over 12.3% on a base of 40.5% – good luck!

    • lprent 7.1

      Evidently as well as being “a blustering loudmouth who is also a irresponsible idiot“, you also don’t appear to be able to do basic maths. A movement up also means a movement down on the other side.

      You are as thick as two short planks aren’t you? You really are a total waste of bandwidth…

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Actually he is correct. Marty used the wrong words: 5 percentages points is the correct term, not 5 percent.

        It is basically pointless pedantry because Marty’s meaning is clear.

        captcha: means

        • lprent

          Agreed. But I don’t think that bloggs would be capable of understanding that distinction either…

          • Rob

            Yes exactly, basic maths ability does seem to be missing on this site. Just as people have been going about GST about 2.5% rise. Its is actually a 20% rise ie 2.5 / 12.5.

        • joe bloggs

          Thanks Lanth… so much for being as thick as two short planks – yet more muck flying from the left – as well as a lamentable lack of mathematical ability.

          Labour + Green equals 40.5% to National + ACT’s 51%

          That’s a 10.5 percentage point gap or near as damn it a 26 percent difference off of a base of 40.5%

          So assuming that the gain from the left would be balanced by an equal decline from the right then the left needs to increase its franchise with the electors by 13% to achieve the 5.3 percentage point gain that closes the gap.

          Basic math really… I thought that of all the people posting to this site you’d be a little more clued up than that, Lynds. Blustering loudmouth indeed – hoist on your own petard, huh?

          … oh and as for the pointless pedantry? the whole post from Marty is an exercise in pointless pedantry – because it isn’t going to happen. There’s the real waste of bandwidth.

        • Rob

          Actually it is critical and an important understanding in how much support and churn you need to create. A 5% increase in support of voters is a massive difference from a 12.5% increase in support, well over double.

  8. prism 8

    I notice the same thing Anthony C where I live in the South Island. The Nat candidate is very good at getting his mug before the public and publishes a diary of his doings, and has a dedicated nest of wasps writing to the paper etc stinging anybody that questions him and making the right wing line frequently.

    It seems to me that Labour could win if it works out policies to offer that attract voters as dealing to problems with a few for prevention of future ones. Then it can go for the goal of revitatilisation of its image and re-election in a determined way behind whatever leader they respect. But I don’t want more of the centre-right let’s put the lid on everything (except the back-door for deliveries to special people) stuff, the left making some improvements for all is what’s needed after the recovery from the right wing neo-liberal aristocrats. It’s time for the rise of the commons again!

    This quote from Robert Peston, BBC reporter (about Brit finance) underlines our future if Labour doesn’t GIAIG.
    In the book I mention some research done by Grant Thornton accountants. They analysed the tax paid in the UK by some 50 billionaires who were based here. They worked out that they paid only a few million pounds between them. I calculated that this meant they were paying tax at a rate of 0.2 per cent, compared to middle-ranking policemen and school deputy heads who would pay 40 per cent. A few weeks later, the chap at the Grant Thornton got back to me to tell me he thought I had actually overstated what the billionaires pay.”<

    If Labour wants to swing voters then a positive policy approach that offers opportunities for a working life at reasonable wages (note a drop in salaries for middle managers at the new Auckland CC), vision for achievable projects in NZ, (not airy fairy talk of Oz wages) and noticeable confidence and determination to make pragmatic improvements for all would help. They have advanced social relations and fairness for gays, prostitutes, intellectually handicapped but other endemic problems have been by-passed such as encouragement of NZ manufacturing, small business, innovation and R&D, reducing crime trends, revision of laws relating to drugs, family welfare etc need close attention.

  9. wyndham 9

    @ Anthony C.

    Absolutely right. Were you to ask almost anyone in the Hawke’s Bay area who their Labour Party member was, most would express complete bafflement. Another way of putting it would be to say ‘Who’s Rick Barker?” He’s been missing since the last election. Any good cause, community meeting, weekend sporting event or anything else you reasonably care to mention, you will find a turnout by messrs. Tremain and Foss. They are hard workers for the Nats and even I, a Labour supporter since knee pants, am becoming a grudging admirer of their superb Party machine. They are quite capable of turning two traditional Labour seats into National strongholds. C’mon Labour – – – GET OUT THERE !

  10. jbanks 10


    Great plan. Keep repeating it ad nauseum & you might finally convince yourselves.

    Meanwhile back in reality, hard working kiwi’s don’t want to vote for the traveling circus that is labour anytime soon.

    • comedy 10.1

      I’d be willing to wager that a majority of hard working (and not so hard working) Kiwis think both sides of the house are a pack of arses.

  11. loota 11

    wyndham, good points. You’ve got to admire the NAT MPs who get into their communities, get involved and get visible.

    We’re pretty spoilt here in Dunedin with Clare Curran and Pete Hodgson; sounds like Labour MPs up and down the country could be doing more for their own visibility in their local communities.

    2011 is not going to be won in Bowen House.

    • just saying 11.1

      Odd bit of synchronicity here, with me saying virtually the same thing further up the page at almost the same time.

      I should have mentioned Metiria Turei as another good example, despite the extra demands that come with being a party leader.

      It does go to show that some left candidates could learn a thing or two from Otago’s examples.

  12. sean14 12

    I note Marty that you failed to include these paragraphs in your post:

    Even Goff himself, when asked on Newstalk ZB whether his leadership was safe, said that he had been unanimously elected by the caucus – a politician’s answer that would have done a lawyer proud.

    He has looked decisive enough in dealing with Carter’s excesses but he has never looked even faintly like Prime Minister material. If his caucus doesn’t know that he can’t lead Labour to victory next year, they are missing something that is very plain to everyone else in the country. The even worse news for Labour is that there is no more promising replacement waiting in the wings.

  13. randal 13

    phil goff will win.
    he has transformational powers and charisma that will see him become one of new zealands greatest premiers.

  14. gingercrush 14

    To get that extra 5% percentage points. Labour needs to do what it did in 2005 and re-capture Auckland while having the larger vote in the provincial electorates of New Plymouth, Nelson, West-Coast Tasman, Invercargill and Palmerston North and increase their share of the vote in Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin. The problem is going to be those provinces where Labour will struggle. They also need to see NZ First over-the-line and they too will need to do well in the provinces to reach that 5%. Meanwhile, the Greens have to keep and increase their votes in the inner-city electorates of Auckland and grab more votes in traditionally-rich Wellington and increase their votes in Christchurch, Dunedin and provincial green rich electorates such as Nelson.

    That all needs to be done and to lift the turn-out rate which I suggest will be lower than both 2005 and 2008 but higher than 2002.

    If they the left do that, victory will be theirs. But that is one hell of a big ask and personally I find it impossible. For one I don’t believe NZ First somehow jumped 1.5 percentage points in the last Roy Morgan poll and it won’t surprise me if Roy Morgan does what it typically has done and show a 2-4% reversal in favour of the right-wing parties. NZ First will see that 1.5% shaved off and I expect personally you won’t see it at 4% for the rest of the 2008-2011 cycle.

    NZ First will also be worse off when the TVNZ and TV 3 polls come out. Meanwhile, without the media exposure one gets being a party inside parliament. NZ First will struggle. And while Peters is a media darling and a possible pairing with Michael Laws will give them exposure. I’m not sure doing well in Wanganui by itself will lift NZ First over-the-line and I don’t consider Peters to be a factor in 2011 period.

    Likewise, I struggle to imagine Labour reversing its fortunes in any provincial electorate. Sure Andrew Little has a very good chance to pick-up New Plymouth but I don’t expect a substantial party-vote shift towards Labour. National has a very good grip on the provincial and rural electorates in this country and Labour won’t have the resources necessary to improve their chances there.

    Wellington and Dunedin are always good for the left and so one imagines they could legitimately add to their totals from 2008. But as they already have most of that vote there isn’t that much pick-up left.

    In Auckland the Super City could see the left’s fortunes shine but once again the low turn-out of South Auckland will lessen the impact. And while on the electoral vote Labour could pick up 1-3 electorates (Auckland Central, Waitakere, Maungakiekie). That by itself isn’t going to be enough. Where I imagine the left could pick-up votes is Christchurch. With the Progressives gone and the issue concerning the Regional council. Labour and the left will lift its vote. But Christchurch as with Dunedin and Wellington has always been good for Labour and the left.

    In regards to the Maori Party. They’ll keep their electorates, Labour will keep their remaining two electorates and we’re likely to see Labour Party have a slightly higher party vote from those electorates. All that does is add to the overhang which both helps but hurts Labour’s chance of regaining the government benches.

    If Labour’s vote grows from its 2008 level, it will be the Greens that hurt. Meaning, the left actually won’t lift its vote. Yes a lift in Labour’s vote will also come from National but as they Labour potentially lift their numbers in polls, you will see the Green vote become lower and then you have to factor in that the Greens always over perform on polls and never deliver. In other words whenever the Roy Morgan poll has the Greens on eight or nine points, that one to two percentage points doesn’t actually exist.

    Primarily, I just think there is too many fundamentals not in Labour’s favour at the moment. That Goff by himself is irrelevant. Because Labour still has problems with the vote in Provincial New Zealand and are battling a likely low voter turnout and if they themselves lift their vote it’ll hurt the Greens and if NZ First increase their vote some of that too will come from Labour. Too much has to work in Labour and the lefts favour that it simply won’t.

    Personally, I’m predicting National will increase its vote by one to three percentage votes. Act will decrease slightly. NZ First will fall below 3.5%. The Greens will reach eight percent and Labour will get 32%.

    Because fundamentally I believe the left continue to underestimate John Key and still believe that eventually voters will wake up and realise they were wrong to trust National and will flood back to Labour where their lives will be so much better. Its basically what all three articles by Mike Smith, Blue and now this one by Marty G all basically say. It’ll be your undoing.

    • Lanthanide 14.1

      gc: I don’t think the Progressives’ vote will count for much, ’cause they got under 0.83% at the last election anyway. Also it’s quite possible that Jim will anoint a successor who could win Wigram as well as their share of the party votes, but actually this works out better for Labour as it is an effective overhang – 1 MP for less than 0.83% of the party vote, and if they happen to creep over that margin and get 2 in, so much the better.

  15. Rex Widerstrom 15

    A 5% shift, the same scale as the shift that has already happened this past year, would be all it takes to get those numbers even and make the Maori Party or maybe Winston kingmaker.

    Oh yay… a party which is happy to count amongst its ranks someone who says he’d be appalled if one of his kids brought home a white partner, or a party which counts among its ranks several people who make that guy look like a reasoned intellectual.

    That’s the plan?

    Don’t get your s**t together and make yourselves worth the trust and confidence of the majority of voters (perhaps with support from the Greens) in your own right, just lay back and rely on some of the ugliest characters ever to surface in NZ politics to get you across the line.

    Truly inspiring. I know where I’ll be putting my tick.

  16. johnbrash 16

    I live in a small rural town. John Key in his rich flash house doesn’t get common folk like us. He drinks his latees and drives his BMWs but he doesn’t know what it is like to have a toyota corolla

  17. Lats 17

    Because fundamentally I believe the left continue to underestimate John Key and still believe that eventually voters will wake up and realise they were wrong to trust National and will flood back to Labour where their lives will be so much better. Its basically what all three articles by Mike Smith, Blue and now this one by Marty G all basically say. It’ll be your undoing.

    Sadly I couldn’t agree more. I hope you’re wrong, but I doubt it.

  18. Deb 18

    So you’re saying that a Winston and Michael pairing(no “h” for my town) would be on the coalition table for Labour, and/or that the “last cab off the rank”,” haters and wreckers” labels and bad blood with Maori party be glossed over ?

    All very well and good in theory..but flawed in reality

  19. SHG 19

    Suspended Labour MP Chris Carter has asked for two months leave from Parliament from Speaker Lockwood Smith because he is unwell.

    Labour president Andrew Little said today Mr Carter was seeking appropriate treatment, but his leave application meant any decision on his membership of the Labour Party was unlikely to be made this week.

    “The Labour Party has been advised that Chris Carter is unwell, that he is getting appropriate help, and that he will be on leave from Parliament for approximately two months,” Mr Little said.

    ”The Party is pleased that he is getting the help he needs. Our rules state that Chris Carter needs the opportunity to be heard before any disciplinary action is taken. He will not be able to do that on Saturday because he is unwell.”


    • Pat 19.1

      “He will not be able to do that on Saturday because he is unwell.’

      And in Rarotonga.

    • vto 19.2

      I think r0b did another post on this sort of stuff today… you know, lies spun into spin.

      Lies just like Key and his stats. Can we call this lies too? Or is that only reserved for the other end of the spectrum?

      • comedy 19.2.1

        I want a job where you can behave like a complete cunt and then claim stress, take two months off and then even if you don’t some back to work only be docked $10 per day………. and alternatively if I can’t have one of those I’d like all politicians to be converted into food for my tomatoes.

        • loota

          What about a job where you can behave like a complete cunt, and then take off on 5 weeks leave to do international post grad work on tour?

          And forget about being docked pay, get full frakking pay on the tax payer’s tab?

    • RobertM 19.3

      It’s to avoid embarassment for Goff who dosen’t have the power to roll Carter in Te Atu, given the power of the Manning- Kaiser faction, and for the party which dosen’t yet have the power to roll Goff. So its a compromise all round. Poor Phil he can’t even expell a lightweight has been.
      Wimp out of the century for the cabin boy in the Basset-Douglas-Lange gang. Richard Prebble will sneer.
      In some ways it breaks by heart to have to support Deborah Manning and the likes of Sandra Coney, but on some issues they might even be right. Islamic immigration is my greatest disagreement with the Manning- Cole grouping so am I probably a bet noir to most standard readers.The greater good is to ensure that Goff dosen’t get to be PM and Deborah and her mates are of passable appearance and therefore forgiveable.

  20. ndk 20

    Generational change. That is the issue Labour needs to tackle. I think that the rapidly deteriorating
    economy will produce increasing pressure to do that. But whether it will be in time to
    influence this election is another matter.

  21. Adrian 21

    Labour doesn’t need much more than 36-7%. The above scenarios all have Act getting back, not taking 4% ( if they’re lucky) off the right. Talk to people in Epsom, particularly after they get their rates bill, and you can see why the Nats aren’t putting up a candidate, because if they did they would win and lose 4% support. Remember it’s the percentage that counts. But don’t count on NZF with 6%, Laws is only showing interest because he wants to get into coalition with National and extract some sort of revenge and cause trouble, this guy believes everybody has slighted him. I’d love to see him form his own party and waste a few percent of the deluded vote, which is generally the lock-em up, hang-em, ban-em, castrate-em right leaning demographic. Ignore Winnie at your peril, he is working really hard at the moment, turning up all over the place, just don’t rely on him.

  22. Adrian 22

    As I wrote, Winnie was in the RSA in Rangiora, lining up the “75% overseas owned” rest home operators who ration the number of showers inmtes can take, so they can “export more money”. He’s on a roll and taking the initiative off Labour. As I’ve said before he’s the only who’s got a teflon overcoat when it comes to Crosby-Textor.

  23. Mac1 23

    I had a look at the polling numbers linked in Marty G’s post. Can anyone expound on what the high (8%) number who did not specify a party actually could mean?

    Are these Labour voters who can’t commit just yet? Nats who are choking on what their party has done? It seems that this is a notably high number, according to Roy Morgan.

    Could the 5 percentage points shift talked about as making the change in Government lie significantly in that group?

    • lprent 23.1

      If it isn’t a statistical variance (I’d like to see another poll or two from Morgan), then it would usually indicate that more people than usual are in the process of making their mind about who they support. With the drop in National support also heading largely into the minor parties, it suggests that voters are very much in the plague on both your houses mode at present.

      The government has been clearly on the backfoot over the last month or so with backdowns, weaseling around previous ironclad statements of intent, and the economic sparsity of their ideas become more and more apparent. People are starting to look at the reality of rising prices and inflation without rising wages. They’re seeing their relatives or themselves dealing with a overworked WINZ.

      Somehow the clueless smile and wave is less attractive then it was back in 2008. It is a pity that Chris Carter has been doing his best to make it harder for Labour to pursue this shift.

      • Mac1 23.1.1

        Thanks for that reply, Lprent. The chickens are starting to hatch and return home.

      • Olwyn 23.1.2

        I have so far avoided commenting on this subject, but I think that Chris Carter has forced open a conversation that Labour needs to have it is to gain any real traction. While he focused on the leader, it is not so much about the leader as it is about where we stand as a party, our adherence to core Labour values and how this is cashed out in terms of policy and action.

  24. Anne 24

    I don’t know whether you were able to watch Question Time on Tuesday Olwyn, but Labour did a fantastic job holding the government to account. They were well prepared, forceful and relentless with their probing. More than one minister – including Key – was feeling the heat. Why it has taken so long for them to step up to this level I don’t know, but it certainly gave me hope that all is not lost in 2011. Add to that a (full) return to core values and victory is well within reach.

    Wouldn’t be wonderful to be able to thumb our noses (to put it nicely) at the MSM after the election!

  25. liberty4nz 25

    If Mr. Goff wants to win the next election all he has to do is withdraw Labour’s support for the apalling search and surveillance bill. That simple. Mr. Goff – Poll that question. Why do you think the greens are gaining ground and National is losing ground?

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