Martyn Bradbury

Poll of Polls update – 31 July 2014

Roy Morgan has just released their latest poll, and finally there’s some relatively good news for the Left! It certainly didn’t take long for Micky Savage at the Standard to have a quick half-gloat… Or Martyn Bradbury at the Daily Blog (especially since Roy Morgan calls cellphones and is thus the only poll worth following, don’t ya know!)…

National slumps significantly, down 5% to 46%, it’s worst poll result from any of the major pollsters since the mid-May Roy Morgan, where National registered at 45.5%.

Labour climbs to 30%, up 6.5%. 30% may not be an amazing result, but given that Labour has had a run of ten major polls in a row placing them under 30%, it’ll give the party something to finally smile about.

The Greens may have dropped 3%, but they’re still on a creditable 12%, leaving a combined Labour/Greens bloc 4% adrift of National.

For the remaining minor parties, there’s good news for Internet Mana, up 1% to 2.5%. NZ First is down 1%, but they still sit exactly on the 5% threshold. The Maori Party gains 0.5% to 1.5%, while the Conservative Party remains static on 1%, and ACT and United Future sit unchanged on 0.5%.

So here’s how the Poll of Polls looks now:

National: 50.1% (-0.3%)

Labour: 27.7% (+0.2%)

Greens: 11.9% (nc)

NZ First: 4.6% (nc)

Maori: 1.0% (nc)

United Future: 0.2% (+0.1%)

ACT: 0.5% (nc)

Internet Mana: 1.9% (+0.1%)

Conservative: 1.5% (nc)

Based on those percentages, the parties are predicted to win the following number of seats:

National: 64 (-1)

Labour: 36 (+1)

Greens: 15 (-1)

NZ First: 0 (nc)

Maori: 1 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Internet Mana: 3 (+1)

There’s some interesting movement, both in the poll result and seat allocations.

Poll result-wise, the big news is that United Future finally hit 0.2% again, having been marooned on 0.1% since late May!

National finally drops, but stays above 50%, while Labour finally stops dropping and rebounds slightly to 27.7%. In fact, just look at Labour’s last six major poll results – 23.5%, 24.9%, 26.5%, 26.7%, 28% and now 30%. There’s an upward trend there, for those on the Left looking for glimmers of hope!

Internet Mana continues its gradual climb, now up to 1.9%, and that’s just enough to get them a third seat, bringing in Annette Sykes. It’s at the cost of the Greens, who drop a seat, back down to 15 MPs, while National drops a seat to Labour.

That means that there’s a net gain of just one seat to the Left. Overall, the Right bloc is back to a total of 66 seats in total, compared to 54 for a Labour, Greens and Internet Mana alliance.


Waiting for the miracle – the sad case of Martyn Bradbury

So Kim Dotcom will reveal his “evidence” that John Key lied when he said he’d never heard of Dotcom before the infamous raid on the Dotcom mansion. Of course, whatever it is that Dotcom has up his sleeve was always going to be released during the election campaign. After all, as Cameron Slater discovered with the Len Brown sex scandal, publishing all of the details just after the election date doesn’t help with the actual election result.

The only interesting detail was that the “evidence” will be released at the Auckland Town Hall just five days out from the election. Five days? If that’s the case, the whole thing looks decidedly shifty, with Dotcom wanting to minimise the time in which the “evidence” can be scrutinised. If you’ve got a smoking gun, why not put it on display immediately?

Personally, I don’t believe Dotcom has anything much. Take this piece from Russell Brown:

On the face of it, Prime Minister John Key’s consistent claim that he had never heard of Kim Dotcom until the eve of the extraordinary armed raid on the Dotcom mansion on January 20 2012 seems unlikely and absurd.

How could he not have known of the flamboyant, controversial German occupying a huge property in his electorate? If three of his senior ministers and even his own electorate office staff were familiar with Dotcom and his issues, how could he not be?

But there has never been any evidence to prove otherwise.

“It doesn’t exist,” journalist David Fisher affirmed to the room at the last Wintec Press Club lunch. “I know. I’ve looked.”

If David Fisher hasn’t yet found the smoking gun, I’d be very surprised if hard evidence exists. Most likely, there’ll be proof of a meeting between John Key and someone American, just prior to the raid, with the insinuation that Dotcom must have been discussed. An insinuation simply won’t cut the mustard though. As many other commentators have pointed out, Dotcom has built this thing up to the point that anything less than rock solid, incontrovertible evidence that Key has lied, will simply seem like a damp squib.

The pathetic part of this though is watching sections of the Left bank everything on Kim Dotcom’s announcement. Just look at Martyn Bradbury’s post at the Daily Blog, entitled “Why the polls, policy & smears now don’t matter until after 7pm September 15th 2014“:

“Couple of polls out today, Roy Morgan and the Polls – and they don’t matter.

John Key could announce tax cuts from a live press conference in Hawaii, and it wouldn’t matter.

David Cunliffe could be mocked on ZB by Mike Hosking for 10 hours straight. And it wouldn’t matter.

All that matters now is 7pm Monday 15th at the Auckland Town Hall.”

If, in Mr Bradbury’s mind, the sole hope for a change in government rests with Kim Dotcom and his “evidence”, then God help Bradbury and his cohorts.


Terrible news – Nate Silver predicts the Netherlands are doomed

I enjoy soccer (or football, or whatever one wishes to call it). And the sport’s four-yearly World Cup often makes for great viewing – especially watching England lose.

I also have a great deal of fondness for the Netherlands, having lived there for a year during my attempt at career-avoidance. Which means that, given New Zealand didn’t make the World Cup this time round, the Netherlands is my team.

This afternoon, I checked out Nate Silver (he who predicted the outcome of the last US presidential election so accurately) and his interactive World Cup Predictions. To my horror, he predicts that the Netherlands will fail to advance out of Group B, having fallen to Spain and Chile.

Now, I have a great deal of respect for Mr Silver’s political prediction model, and his views on “foxes” and “hedgehogs” (loosely summed up as a fox knows a lot of small things, while hedgehogs know one big thing – the point being that foxes adapt their predictions based on the data they receive, while hedgehogs don’t). However, on this occasion, I am going to be a hedgehog. I cannot believe, no matter how much data may have informed Mr Silver’s prediction model, that the Netherlands won’t make the quarter-finals.

Like Martyn Bradbury, with his belief in the “Missing Million”, I shall trust my instincts, safe in the assumed knowledge that the Netherlands will crush both Chile and Australia, and may even pull a draw with Spain (oh, who am I trying to fool – they’ll kick Spain’s ass!).

A jump to the left – the madness of Martyn Bradbury

The Green Party’s recent carbon tax announcement has been greeted with very little negative commentary. Some experts aren’t convinced that it won’t be as effective as the Greens expect, and others are concerned that the policy doesn’t include incremental increase in the carbon tax over time to allow for industry adjustment. However, on the whole, the policy seems to have gone down fairly well. The consensus is that the current Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a dog, and almost anything would have to be better.

The only opposition seems to be from National (who hitched their wagon to the current ETS long ago) and ACT (who don’t believe in climate change to begin with). At least, until today. After three days of closed door ponderings, Labour has this morning announced that it opposes the Greens plan, and would prefer to fix the ETS. That’s fine – a comprehensive “cap and trade” scheme may well work better than a simple carbon tax (see my previous blog post on the issue) – although I would have thought that the carbon tax issue was a prime opportunity for Labour to show common policy ground with the Greens.

Leaving aside Labour’s policy position (and the time it took for Labour to come to it), one of the more amusing results of the Greens’ policy was Martyn Bradbury’s advice to Labour on political positioning. Over at the Daily Blog, Mr Bradbury wrote:

If the Greens are raiding to the Right by using their clever Carbon Tax to woo urban blue-greens, it would be stupid for Labour to double up on that. Better they focus on the missing million with a strong Labour brand than compete again with where the Greens are moving.

The “raid to the Right” is presumably the Greens’ policy of cutting taxes using the proceeds from the carbon tax, to ensure that the average household isn’t worse off as a result of the flow on effects. Given that the Greens expect the average household to be better off by only $319 per year, it’s hardly a tax bribe aimed at the centre-Right swing voter. Quite how Bradbury comes to the conclusion that the Greens are tracking right – on the basis of one policy announcement, which is offset by numerous other far more left wing policies – is unexplained.

Nonetheless, Bradbury sees the Greens as “raiding to the Right”. And his response? Labour should track left. Quite how the Greens’ carbon tax policy is going to snare the Greens 5% of National’s soft vote and eradicate the 10% gap between Labour & the Greens v National is another unexplained phenomenon. Also unexplained is how Labour will pick up support (and not lose its current level of support) by abandoning the centre and attempting to outflank the Greens to the left.

Mr Bradbury, as a devoted Internet Mana supporter, is still grasping at the idea of the so-called “Missing Million”. If Labour would only go far enough to the left, a quarter of the enrolled voting population would suddenly leap from the woodwork, fawning at the altar of Karl Marx or some such…

Mr Bradbury evidently does not believe in bell curves.

Will Internet Mana actually bring votes to the Left bloc?

In my post yesterday, I asked where the Internet Mana Party’s votes were going to come from? Is the party likely to attract those who have not previously voted, or will it simply take votes from the other parties on the left?

A lot depends on how Laila Harre positions the Internet Party. After all, let’s face it, Hone Harawira’s appeal is to a fairly select demographic – he’s joined forces with Kim Dotcom because he knows that the Mana brand is a tough sell outside of the Maori electorates; it was Dotcom’s money and celebrity that was being counted on to bring in the additional votes that would provide extra MPs.

So far at least, in her maiden speech as Internet Party leader, Ms Harre was more about social justice than internet rights. But will that help change the government? Despite being the wet dream of activists like Martyn Bradbury, Ms Harre surely holds little influence over the so-called “Missing Million”. She’s been a party leader before, 2002 – and her party at the time, the Alliance, got 1.27%. The left may respect her credentials, but she wasn’t exactly a ballot box drawcard in 2002. Twelve years later, has anything changed?

Many on the Left are praising her maiden speech’s focus on social justice, but is that actually going to increase the Left’s share of the vote? Will those who stayed home in 2008 and 2011 suddenly flock to the ballot box because a new social justice party has appeared? Ms Harre may be effective at snaring a chunk of Labour and the Greens’ vote, but that won’t threaten National if there’s simply a reallocation of Left bloc seats.

I doubt many who downloaded the Internet Party’s app and joined the party thought that they’d wind up being part of a new Alliance (as in Ms Harre’s old party, rather than a small-a alliance). Ms Harre therefore walks a fine line between satisfying those who see Mr Dotcom as some sort of fun anti-hero, and those who expect her to promote Marxist social justice policies.

Together, since the Internet Party first appeared in a major poll, the Internet and Mana parties have polled between a big flat zero and 2.5%. Together, they currently sit at combined 1.2% in this site’s Poll of Polls, just below the point where they might bring in a second MP. If they can get up around that 2.5% mark, and some of it comes from National or from those who haven’t previously considered voting, then National may be in trouble. Otherwise, Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto will simply be replacing Labour or Green MPs.

David Cunliffe is the “unifier of the left”?

Following the Green Party’s passive-aggressive attack on Labour via its proposal to form a “Labour/Greens” campaign coalition, one of the more bizarre attempts at spinning Labour’s point blank refusal came from Martyn Bradbury over at the Daily Blog. Mr Bradbury’s post is so curious that it deserves a paragraph by paragraph commentary:

One of the great ironies of this campaign could be Cunliffe using a unifier of the left strategy. An irony because so many in his own caucus aren’t unified under him.

Maybe because of that, Cunliffe has had to become an MMP Jedi Master. By walking away from the ‘Labour-Green Government’ language, as breathlessly reported by Audrey, and opting for ‘Labour led Government’, Cunliffe has expanded the opposition base from which his Government can source a parliamentary majority.

It’s difficult to know quite where to start with this. “[E]xpanded the opposition base”? What utter rubbish. Since David Cunliffe took over the leadership of the Labour party, the polls have repeatedly shown a Labour/Greens power bloc as being short of being able to govern; often, well short. In every poll, the very minimum coalition needed has been every Parliamentary party on the left (Labour + Greens + Mana), in addition to the Maori party transferring support to Labour, and NZ First getting back over the 5% line and siding with the left. By ruling out the Greens’ proposal, all Cunliffe has done is maintained the status quo – Labour is going to need everyone.

Cunliffe was elected as Leader with a huge mandate from the Left of the Party. Watching David build a unified Left would appeal to those who helped him get elected and keep faith with them at the same time. 

That’s all very well, but Cunliffe isn’t even remotely trying to “build a unified Left”. His language has been about Labour building its share of the vote – and whether that’s at the expense of the parties to the left of Labour, then so be it. (Hell, his leadership of Labour depends on him growing Labour’s share of the vote.) Let’s be clear: there is no unified left. Labour doesn’t trust the Greens. The Greens want to supplant Labour as the dominant party of the left. And everyone finds Mana to be a minor annoyance – an annoyance that once had principles, but has now sunk to the level of everybody else.

(Focussing on Labour v Mana, Kelvin Davis is of course standing again for Labour against Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. If Cunliffe’s going to be building “a unified Left”, then no one told Mr Davis’ campaign manager, Kaye Taylor:

 “Look at Hone’s history. He’s had the visit to the great leader Nelson Mandela’s funeral and walked with Aborigines in Australia. But that’s not who votes him in. In past elections we played the nice opposition and haven’t said anything about his past record. Now enough is enough. We need someone who can do the hard yards.”)

Back to Martyn Bradbury:

Currently we have a coalition of the less than thrilling comprised of National, ACT, United Future and the Maori Party. Labour led would be Labour, Green, NZ First with a support arrangement from MANA. Key can’t operate a multi-headed arrangement and then damn Cunliffe for doing the same.

The problem is that we still haven’t had a poll this year showing the apparently more thrilling coalition of Labour, the Greens, NZ First and Mana actually being able to govern. They’ve always still needed the Maori Party, although I will accept that it only takes a small swing in the polls for Bradbury’s coalition to make it over the line.

The issue I have is that of voter perception of stability. Labour needs to persuade swing voters that they should abandon National and its current coalition, which has been remarkably stable for almost six years (despite the occasional minor hiccup, such as Peter Dunne being temporarily removed as a minister). Against that, voters are looking at a left wing grouping of parties that seem determined to rip each other to pieces, with the the most recent example being (of course) the Greens’ leaking of their failed proposal to Labour, and Cunliffe’s fairly contemptuous public responses to the Greens.

By unifying the opposition, Cunliffe generates the momentum and energy of a collective of volunteers and members and with Matt McCarten’s strong relationship with the other parties maintaing open lines of communication, this strategy could be the best opportunity at removing National from office.

To generate momentum and energy among the left’s activists, the unification of the left has to come before the election. It’s a wee bit too late afterwards. And currently, Labour and the Greens seem to have declared a war for the left-wing vote…

How the Greens react to what they see as a reducing of their relationship is the issue now. What is most absurd about the msm headlines that are screaming Labour have walked away from the Greens is that by insisting on Labour led Government as the language to use rather than Labour Green Government, Labour are showing they have a real means of becoming Government because they are including NZ First and MANA into that language for the first time. This is great news for those who want to kick John Key out of office. 

The likely culprit for the leaking of the Greens’ “campaign coalition” proposal to the media is the Greens. Let’s face it, the Greens are doing what they need to do in order to maximise the number of MPs they get come election day – they’re getting as much publicity as they can and trying to present themselves as an opposition party on a par with Labour. They’re trying to steal Labour voters.

The question for Labour is whether it tries to fight the Greens on the left or whether it goes for National on the right. Bradbury wants it both ways. He wants Labour to be moving left (which will definitely trigger a battle with the Greens), but he wants (and indeed needs) swing voters to move from National to Labour (which won’t happen if Labour moves left). Unless he’s running with the “missing millions” strategy, in which case, good luck to him

Now is not the time for the Greens to get angry. Now is the time for them to do what they claim to be best at, building relationships. Met, Russel and Andrew should be meeting David, Matt, Hone and Winston far more often than they currently are. 

Cunliffe can only become PM by unifying the opposition and the Greens are a major part of that opposition and right now they need to be working out how best to approach Winston so that they can uphold their side of the responsibilities of being such a major part of that opposition.

The Greens meeting with Winston Peters? Hmm, good luck with that. Peters doesn’t trust the Greens and more than the Greens trust Peters. Neither will meet for the simple reason that they won’t trust the other not to leak the contents of any meeting to the media for personal gain.

When the Greens proposed to Labour that they work out a strategy together for dealing with NZ First, it was because Peters scares the hell out of the Greens. They know he despises them and would love to shut them out of ministerial roles, just as he’s done in the past. There will be no dialogue between them…

There is a Government in waiting, Cunliffe has identified it, now the leaders of the opposition have to lead and forge dialogue between one another or John Key gets a third term and we all end up sitting on our hands for another 3 years.

Sorry, Mr Bradbury, there isn’t a government in waiting. A government in waiting needs cohesion, and I doubt many voters see much  of that from the left at present. The possibility of the parties of the left reaching some sort of pre-election day accommodation is certainly not the same thing as an accommodation actually existing in the now.

However, Bradbury is entirely correct that the leaders of the opposition have to “forge dialogue” or face three more years in opposition. Note his language though – not “Leader of the opposition”, but “Leaders of the opposition”. If David Cunliffe is the prospective unifier of the left, there can be only one leader of the opposition…

The Left has to ask itself, do we want to Govern or do we want to just fight?


Could the Internet Party realistically add votes to the Mana Party base?

An additional issue to my previous post on the proposed Mana Party / Internet Party alliance is what percentage of the vote such an alliance could possibly muster. What sort of vote would each party be looking at on its own, and could the whole of such an alliance be greater than the sum of its parts?

Let’s firstly look at the current situation:

The Internet Party? Well, they haven’t rated high enough in any poll to even warrant a notice in any pollster’s dispatches. Kim Dotcom is at zero. Flatlining. For all of the publicity around him and his proposed party, no one has told a single pollster that they’d vote for his party. That’s not a great start, especially when there’s less than six months to election day.

The Mana Party? Not so much better, although you’d never know it from Martyn Bradbury’s excited rhetoric at the Daily Blog, where he states, “MANA can gain 3 MP’s on their own, so the first three spaces of the Party List should go to MANA.” All I can say is that I would love to see the polling figures Bradbury’s working from there. There’s not been a single poll this year that puts Mana at the point of even getting two MPs from their party vote. Of the 9 major polls released this year, 7 of those polls show them at between 0% and 0.5%. Two polls had them at a high of 1%. They currently sit at just 0.4% in my Poll of Polls.

So what about extra electorate seats, to get to that mythical three seat mark? As much as Mana publicly rates the chances of Annette Sykes taking Waiariki from the Maori party, I’d be surprised if it occurred. Flavell is now the Maori party co-leader, giving him more gravitas and profile – unless some electorate polling comes to light that says otherwise, I’m expecting him to hold Waiariki. Beyond Waiariki, there are no other electorate seats that Mana could realistically expect to get even close in – Labour seems a shoe-in for the remaining Maori seats, and Mana don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking a general electorate seat.

As a combined total, Internet + Mana don’t appear to be an attractive proposition. On a Poll of Polls basis, that’s a total of 0.4%, while on a best case scenario (picking the best poll result from all polls this year) there’s a combined total of 1%. That’s enough to avoid an overhang, assuming Hone Harawira keeps his seat, but it’s still not enough to get an additional MP.

Of course, once the Internet Party is actually launched, and members can join, and candidates are revealed, the party might finally feature in the polls. There’s undoubtedly a small constituency of pro-tech, anti-spy twenty-somethings who would consider voting for Dotcom’s party on those issues alone, but whether they’ll actually vote is debatable.

The major flaw in the plan that I foresee is that the proposed alliance is essentially just another protest party, and that’s a crowded political space with not enough actual voters. Kim Dotcom may like to see himself as being able to attract a broad base of voters in his role of party founder, but I don’t think many people are in much doubt about his reasons for starting the party. He wants leverage in his fight to remain in New Zealand, and he’s prepared to spend a great deal of money to get that, including trying to get some tame voices into parliament to fight in his corner. The Internet Party is going to need to have some fairly new, innovative policies if it’s to have any chance of being more than a polling blip.

Frankly, I just don’t see an alliance of the two parties providing enough added value to bring in anyone beyond simply Hone Harawira. At most, Harawira might end up with one companion, and that companion almost certainly wouldn’t be from the Internet Party side of the list.


An Internet Party potpourri

“Potpourri” can be taken to mean “a combination of incongruous things”, which seemed an ideal term for a few disparate observations on the proposed Internet Party / Mana Party marriage.

So, it now appears as if Kim Dotcom’s proposal to Mana is less of a merger than an Alliance Party-style umbrella organisation. Essentially, both Mana and the Internet Party would retain their respective party names and identities, but neither party would submit a party list or contest the party vote. Instead, an umbrella entity would be registered, which would name both Mana and the Internet Party as component parties, and the umbrella entity would submit a list and go for the party vote.

Regardless, the open rebellion from some of Hone Harawira’s Mana supporters must surely have caused him to think long and hard about whether a “New Alliance Party” is really a good idea for Mana. Sue Bradford has already appeared on the news and given notice that if Dotcom is allowed into the tent, then she walks. There must be concern amongst the Mana Party executive about the possible loss in grassroots activists if Mana appears to have sold it. Dotcom’s money may be alluring, but funding only goes so far in an electorate battle. To win an electorate seat, it’s about boots on the ground, and if the activists begin to walk away then Mana can kiss goodbye to any hope of taking Waiariki from Te Ururoa Flavell.

The Alliance worked (for a brief period of time) because the small parties involved shared a broad ideological framework. There is no real ideological overlay between Dotcom and Harawira, apart from that neither likes being spied on. That’s not a great start to a marriage…

Over at the Daily Blog, Martyn Bradbury has been doing his best to stoke optimism in the alliance. Given Mr Bradbury’s direct involvement with both political parties in the past, this probably shouldn’t be surprising. Mr Bradbury has been shown to be nothing if not a political whore for hire…

Mr Bradbury lists six possible “bottom lines in a MANA Movement-Internet Party Alliance”:

1 – Replace the National Party led Government
2 – Feed the Kids rolled out to decile 1-4 schools
3 – 20 000 new state houses
4 – Repeal the GCSB & TICS legislation and refuse to sign the TPPA
5 – End digital divide with free internet at all schools, libraries and Marae
6 – Mass public investment into internet infrastructure including a second cable

All his list shows is how little the two parties share ideologically. For a start, Kim Dotcom has been trumpeting a broader small-party union as being able to hold the balance of power. Harawira simply wants John Key gone. That’s not to say that Dotcom wouldn’t relish National disappearing from power, but the point is that he’s already been talking up the roll of kingmaker, not change maker.

Then there’s Harawira’s flagship Feed the Kids programme, and this figure of 20,000 new state houses. When did you last hear Dotcom talk about social inequality? He’s a multi-millionaire businessman, whose sole interest in equality issues would be so that he can control at least a few MPs in parliament. That’s hardly going to engender confidence in Mana’s ideological integrity.

Repealing the GSBC and TICS legislation, and refuse to sign the TPPA? Sure, they might both be able to talk to that – there’s no love of spies on either side, but I would have thought Dotcom would support free trade.

And the final two “possible bottom lines”? They simply smack of being easy internet-friendly policies to spout that have been added to the list because the Internet Party doesn’t currently have any policies.

Everything’s all still conjecture, but if the basis for this New Alliance is anything like the current conjecture, I’d be surprised if it goes ahead…