Te Tai Hauauru

The minor parties – some thoughts & questions

The Greens

They ran a blinder of a campaign. Their polling numbers were looking great, as they closed on 15% in some polls. Then they got just 10.02% on the night (although their vote share is likely to rise by at least a small amount once the special votes are counted – Graeme Edgeler estimates to 10.5% if they got the same proportion of specials as they did in 2011).

What happened? Is it a voter turnout issue? Did the Greens actually slump abruptly in the final days of the campaign? Or do the polls have a bias towards the Greens?

Going forward, the Greens have some big decisions to make. They’ve loudly declared on many an occasion that they want to supplant Labour as the major party of the Left. So do they try for a more centrist approach to grow their vote? There were elements of such an approach in their policy of personal tax cuts to offset the effects of their planned carbon tax. If they want to supplant Labour, that’s what they’ve got to do, but will their membership allow it?

For much of the last term, the Greens were the de facto opposition in Parliament, with Labour failing to fire. Yet in the build-up to the campaign, the Greens offered to campaign together with Labour. The offer had a dual purpose: to show a Government-in-waiting, and to try to reduce the relevance of Winston Peters. Do the Greens go hammer and tongs for Labour’s vote share, or do the two parties attempt to work together to present a united front of opposition?

NZ First

Winston Peters is getting old. For most of last term, he was an embarrassment, lurching from one badly contrived attack to another, each one failing to fire; a collection of not-so-smoking guns. The campaign itself seemed to have rejuvenated him. He certainly saw off the young pretender, Colin Craig, and raised the NZ First vote in the process.

Is he good for another election campaign or will this have been his swan-song? If this is his final term, he’ll be leaving after a comeback of six years without baubles. Winston likes baubles, no matter what he might publicly say, so does he try again in 2017 in the hope of one final Ministerial stint?

The other thing Winston wants is for NZ First to continue on after he’s gone. It’s always been Winston First – no succession plan, no contrary views allowed. He’d like nothing better than to prove wrong all of those critics who for twenty-one years have said that once Winston goes, so too will NZ First.

Ron Mark is back and is being touted as a possible successor. However, if Andrew Williams’ allegations about deputy-leader Tracey Martin are correct, then woe betide anyone who sees themselves as competition to her right of succession! Life in NZ First could get interesting…

The Conservatives

Colin Craig got played by John Key, strung along for just long enough, before being thrown under the bus. Nonetheless, right up until the final few days, Craig and his party ran a remarkably focussed, relatively gaffe-free campaign. Despite being out-manouevered on occasion by Winston Peters, the Conservatives grew their vote share to just over 4%.

It wasn’t enough to get them in to Parliament, but it wasn’t a bad result on a night when National made over 48%. If Craig can keep his core team together, then they’ll have a good shot at breaking 5% in 2017.

The Maori Party

The critics said they were finished in 2014. With Turia and Sharples retiring, Mana were going to wipe out Te Ururoa Flavell, and the Maori Party would perish. Well, Flavell’s still there, with a relatively comfortable majority, and Mana is no more. And, assuming the special votes don’t do something odd, Flavell’s brought in Marama Fox with him, so it won’t be an entirely lonely three years.

If Flavell wants it, National would probably give him the Maori Affairs portfolio. Key doesn’t need to in order to govern, but he’ll be looking to keep Flavell on-side through to 2017. It’ll give the Maori Party some policy gains and keep Flavell’s profile up, and the party will look to remain competitive in seats like Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru.

Internet Mana

And that took care of that then…

The Internet Party was nothing more than a vehicle for Kim Dotcom’s ego and vengeance, and with Dotcom admitting that his personal brand poisoned the combined Internet Mana vehicle, the Internet Party will soon be no more. Dotcom certainly won’t be pouring his money into it, and there’s no real reason for anyone to stick around. Laila Harre’s pay cheque disappears, along with what’s left of her credibility.

Likewise, with no party leader funding for Hone Harawira, and precious few alternate sources of income, the Mana Movement is dead. Harawira took a gamble, sick of being a one man band in Parliament, and it all turned to custard. Annette Sykes did her best in Waiariki, but still came up well short, despite having a full three year campaign and Dotcom’s cash. It’s over.

ACT

Duncan Garner summed it up best when he described David Seymour as being like a five year old about to start High School. Despite winning Epsom (and by all accounts, Seymour put in the hard yards door-knocking to do so), it’s going to be an awkward and ineffectual three years for ACT. Jamie Whyte remains the leader outside of Parliament (for how long though remains to be seen), with Seymour the fresh-faced novice being the voice inside Parliament. Who do the media go to for comment? No one knows…

How do they rebuild? Lord only knows. Their natural constituency is minuscule, and they hold a seat on National’s whim. It’s not a great basis for growth.

United Future

The writing’s on the wall for Peter Dunne. Despite running against new candidates from both Labour and National, and despite having John Key’s personal blessing, Dunne’s majority is just 930. The only MPs with smaller majorities are Nikki Kaye in Auckland Central (648) and Trevor Mallard in Hutt South (378).

The glory days of United Future are long gone. Once upon a time, the worm turned at Captain Sensible’s whim. Now, the Dunne brand is that of a strange political vampire living out some political half-life.

Rebuilding United Future is a laughable proposition. The only question is whether Dunne goes out on his own terms or waits for the inevitable stake through the heart from the good people of Ohariu.

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Labour candidates’ destiny out of their hands

Consider the Super 15 (or whatever name the competition is currently going by), as the final round of the regular season arrives. Most teams don’t have a chance at qualifying top of their conference, but there’s still a chance of getting through in one of the remaining spots. But various results have to go their way. Team X must lose to Team Y by 23 points. Team M must draw with Team Q. Their destiny is no longer in their own hands.

Come Election Night, there’s a few sitting Labour MPs who might well be in a similar position. This site’s Poll of Polls currently has Labour on 26.0%, with 33 MPs. Let’s assume that Labour gets 33 MPs on Saturday, and look at who might be in or out.

First, some assumptions. Carmel Sepuloni will win Kelston, and Jenny Salesa will win Manukau East. One’s in a new seat, and the other’s a new candidate, but they should romp home.

There are some relatively marginal seats, but it’s likely than not that Damien O’Connor will win West Coast Tasman, Iain Lees-Galloway will hold Palmsterson North, Trevor Mallard will win Hutt South, Stuart Nash will win back Napier, and Tony Milne will win back Christchurch Central.

If those are the only marginal results that go Labour’s way, then Raymond Huo would be the cut-off point on Labour’s effective list. Carol Beaumont will be gone, as would Ruth Dyson (who isn’t on the list, and is dependent on winning Port Hills in the face of unfavourable boundary changes).

But what happens if a few more close races go in Labour’s favour, with Adrian Rurawhe winning Te Tai Hauauru and Peeni Henare winning Tamaki Makaurau? Well, Kelvin Davis and Raymond Huo won’t be returning. And if Ruth Dyson wins Port Hills? Then it’s sayonara to Moana Mackey.

Attempted new entrants Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Tamati Coffey must have initially thought their respective list positions of 23 and 30 were pretty good. With Labour’s current polling though, Ms Radhakrishnan is certainly no shoe in, and even if Trevor Mallard was to lose Hutt South, Adrian Rurawhe and Peeni Henare were to lose their Maori seat campaigns, and Stuart Nash was to fail in Napier, Tamati Coffey would still only be the next cab off the rank.

List MPs such as Sue Moroney, Andrew Little, Maryan Street and Moana Mackey will be hoping that the Conservatives get 4.9%, therefore bumping up the effective Labour Party vote share.

Quite a few on-the-cusp Labour MPs may be spending their Saturday night hoping that their colleagues fail in their electorate challenges…

Meanwhile, in Te Tai Tokerau…

On Monday evening, while Kim Dotcom was busy throwing his credibility under a bus, Maori Television was delivering his party further bad news, in the form of their poll of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. That poll showed Hone Harawira just one point ahead of Labour’s Kelvin Davis – 38% to 37%. The Maori Party’s Te Hira Paenga was well behind, on just 9%.

Of course, as Harawira said, he’s been in that position before, and won. In 2011, the sole poll of Te Tai Tokerau electorate showed a neck and neck race, before Harawira went on win with a relatively comfortable 6% majority.

If Harawira loses Te Tai Tokerau, the Internet Mana Party is toast. Which meant that the Maori TV poll provides the Maori Party with the perfect excuse to call for some utu-exacting strategic voting, by telling its supporters to vote for Kelvin Davis. After all, Harawira hasn’t exactly been silent about his intention to destroy the Maori Party this election.

At the outset of the election campaign, the Maori Party couldn’t risk a declaration of war against Harawira. If they’d openly declared an intention to not field a candidate, or to tell their supporters to vote for the Labour candidate, they risked the possibility that Labour and Internet Mana might engage in strategic reprisals in Waiariki, Te Tai Hauauru and Tamaki Makaurau. Now, however, it’s far too late for such shenanigans from Internet Mana and Labour (not to mention that the Maori TV poll of Waiariki showed Flavell on 50%).

So will the Maori Party declare open war, and call for strategic voting? Hone Harawira certainly seems to think it’s on the cards. At a meeting in Omanaia, he reportedly told the crowd:

“Things have just got real tough for me. I’ve heard that the Maori Party is considering standing their man down and giving their votes to Labour’s [Mr Davis] as well.

“So the fight for this seat has just become the kind I really like, which is us against the rest. I’m upset about it, because it’s tough enough in Parliament on your own. I take it also as a bit of a compliment.”

The Maori Party don’t seem to know exactly what they want to happen. Te Ururoa Flavell stated:

“[Strategic voting has] been a part of our strategy meetings for a while, but the official line is that Te Hira Paenga is standing as the candidate. We’ve endorsed him.”

However, that endorsement wasn’t categorical, with Flavell refraining from confirming that he actually wanted his supporters to vote for the Maori Party candidate: “Everyone in the Tai Tokerau can make their own decisions.”

If the Maori Party want to make an unequivocal declaration of war against Hone Harawira and Internet Mana, they’ve got one day to do so. In the meantime, Harawira is playing the sympathy card…

UPDATE:

And just to complicate matters, Winston Peters has thrown his weight behind Kelvin Davis, describing him as “by far the best person for the seat”. At a meeting in Paihia, the NZ Herald reports Peters as saying:

“I’m from up north. I see the need for some consistently strong Northland voice that is speaking for the interests of this province, that has been largely Cinderella-ised, marginalised and forgotten. And that voice cannot be contaminated with an arrangement by a crooked German that’s been here for five minutes.

“I’ve got no doubt that NZF voters on that [Tai Tokerau] roll are going to be voting for Kelvin Davis.”

Te Tai Tokerau will definitely be one to watch on Saturday night!

UPDATE 2:

Things keep moving at speed up North! Maori TV’s Maiki Sherman has just tweeted that the Maori Party executive have asked their candidate, Te Hira Paenga, to stand down, but that he’s refused.

#MaoriParty in damage control. There is a rift over #TeTaiTokerau. Executive wanted Te Hira Paenga to stand down – he refused.

There’ll be more on Maori TV’s Te Kaea programme at 5.30pm.

Tamaki Makaurau race wide open

Maori TV yesterday released their poll results for the seat of Tamaki Makaurau, and the race is far too close to call. This is Pita Sharples’ seat, with his retirement forcing the Maori Party to put up a new candidate, Rangi McLean. Despite the interminable difficulty Labour had in finding a candidate, the pundits have long said that  the seat was still Labour’s to lose. Not so, according to Maori TV.

The poll places the Maori Party’s Rangi McLean ahead, but by just 1%. The results are:

  • Maori Party (Rangi McLean) – 28%
  • Labour (Peeni Henare) – 27%
  • Mana (Kereama Pene) – 14%
  • Greens (Marama Davidson) – 7%

Of course, with 14% undecided, the race could easily go either way. Nonetheless, the Maori Party will be more than happy to have their nose ahead in a race they wasn’t supposed to be winnable.

In the party vote, Labour are, unsurprisingly, clearly ahead:

  • Labour – 37%
  • Maori Party – 17%
  • National – 13%
  • Internet Mana – 12%
  • NZ First – 11%
  • Greens – 9%

With the Maori TV polls showing Te Ururoa Flavell streets ahead in Waiariki, and the Maori Party candidates holding slim leads in Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru, the Maori Party have been handed a series of motivation boosters. Despite being written off in two of those seats, and with questions having been raised about whether Flavell could hold Waiariki, the Maori Party are still well and truly alive in the race. If that doesn’t provide a campaign incentive to the troops, I don’t know what would.

Poll of Polls update – 31 August 2014

The latest One News Colmar Brunton poll has just been released, and there’s some interesting results there.

National drop 2%, down to 48%. That’s on top of the 2% they dropped in the mid-August Colmar Brunton poll.

On the left, Labour increased 2% to 28%, while the Greens went up 1% to 12%. That’s a 5% narrowing of the gap by a Labour/Greens alliance. Given the continued floundering by National in the wake of Dirty Politics, and the confident performance by David Cunliffe in the first televised leaders’ debate (which wasn’t covered by the polling window), Labour might be in line for a continued lift in subsequent polling.

For the minor parties, NZ First is up 1% to 6%, providing a clear buffer above the 5% threshold. And there’s a good results for the Conservatives, up 0.8% to 3.2%, although it’s still nowhere near the threshold.

Internet Mana slumps badly, down 2.3% to just 1.6%. Given their headlines have largely consisted of the fallout from the Pam Corkery / campaign launch debacle, the slump is not perhaps surprising.

For the remaining minor parties, the Maori Party drops 0.3% to 0.6%, United Future flatlines on a big round zero, and ACT are down 0.2% to 0.4%.

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

National: 49.0% (-0.1%)

Labour: 26.8% (nc)

Greens: 12.2% (nc)

NZ First: 5.2% (+0.2%)

Maori: 0.9% (nc)

United Future: 0.2% (nc)

ACT: 0.4% (nc)

Internet Mana: 2.2% (-0.1%)

Conservative: 2.4% (+0.1%)

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

National: 61 (nc)

Labour: 33 (nc)

Greens: 15 (nc)

NZ First: 6 (nc)

Maori: 2 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Internet Mana: 3 (nc)

There’s very little change in the various parties’ percentages. National drops slightly again, but only slightly, while Labour ceases to slide, but doesn’t climb.

NZ First hit 5.2%, giving them a little breathing space above the 5% threshold. They briefly reached 5.2% back at the end of May, before sliding quickly down to 4.5%, so they’ll be pleased to be back at their highest point with a few weeks of the campaign still to run.

The Internet Mana momentum is arrested, although there’s no great fall for them. Meanwhile the Conservatives’ incremental increase continues, although they’re not yet at the level they reached at the last election.

With no change in the allocation of seats, the Right has a total of 63 seats, compared to 51 for a Labour, Greens and Internet Mana alliance. With both United Future and the Maori Party providing overhang seats, National’s 61 seats means they can’t quite govern alone, but the Right bloc would still have enough seats seats to not require NZ First.

If the Maori Party fail to hold Te Tai Hauauru, National governs alone.

With all of the weekend excitement over the political demise of Judith Collins, John Key will be hoping that the heat goes off his government and National’s poll ratings can be sustained. However, with summons’s issued for an 11 September inquiry into Cameron Slater’s OIA request to the SIS, who knows what twists and turns lie in wait ahead.

Given all that’s already happened this election campaign, it’s hard to see how Kim Dotcom’s supposedly explosive revelations will be anything other than a fizzer…

Too close to call in Te Tai Hauauru

Maori TV yesterday released the results of their poll of the Te Tai Hauauru electorate, and it’s a close one, with the Maori Party’s Chris McKenzie just 3% ahead of Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe. Given that the pundits and iPredict have been expecting a relatively comfortable win for Labour, it’s an unexpected result.

Mr Rurawhe was certainly surprised:

“The results I have from our door-knocking led me to think that I should’ve been ahead and I’m not altogether convinced that I’m not.”

Of course, it’s just one poll of 500 voters, and it’s certainly a shakeup for Labour, but Mr Rurawhe might take some comfort from the fact that the punters at iPredict are still betting on a Labour victory in the seat.

The results for the electorate vote are as follows:

  • Maori Party (Chris McKenzie) – 32%
  • Labour (Adrian Rurawhe) – 29%
  • Greens (Jack McDonald) – 11%
  • Mana (Jordan Winiata) – 10%

In the party vote stakes, Labour has a comfortable lead:

  • Labour – 36%
  • Maori Party – 23%
  • National – 12%
  • Greens – 11%
  • Internet Mana – 11%
  • NZ First – 7%

 

Poll of Polls update – 28 August 2014

3News Reid Research released their latest poll last night, and it’s good news for almost everyone but the major parties.

National are down 2.5% to 45%. That’s the danger zone – if NZ First is over 5% and National is on just 45% or thereabouts, then the odds are that Winston Peters holds the balance of power.

Labour also fall, down 2.6% to 26.4%. It’s another poll result showing Labour getting less than their abysmal 2011 result, which will be scaring the hell out of a few list MPs.

With both National and Labour falling in this Reid Research poll and the last Herald Digipoll, you’d have to assume that Dirty Politics is having an effect, possibly tarring both major parties with the same brush and squeezing policy out of the debate.

The Greens rise 0.5% to 13.5% – a good result, but they’ll be disappointed they haven’t picked up more of the vote that has fled Labour.

Instead, the big winners are NZ First, up 1.7% to 6.3%, which would see them safely in Parliament, and the Conservatives, up 2.1% to 4.6%, a result that’s close enough to the 5% threshold for swing voters to feel a little confidence that a vote for Colin Craig might not be a wasted vote after all. Whether it’s a one off result for the Conservatives remains to be seen, but it’s a result they needed. Given ACT is going nowhere fast in any poll this year, John Key could perhaps be forgiven for hoping that Christine Rankin takes Epsom in an upset victory. Otherwise, that’s a large chunk of wasted centre-right vote.

Internet Mana gain slightly – up 0.1% to 2.1%. They’re regularly getting at least three MPs in the polls these days, so another poll confirming that will make them happy.

The only losers are the Maori Party (down 0.1% to 0.7%) and ACT (who remain steady on a paltry 0.3%). Nonetheless, Reid Research have just polled the Te Tai Hauauru electorate, which showed the Maori Party candidate winning the seat with a slim 3% majority over Labour, which would provide a second seat (presuming Te Ururoa Flavell holds Waiariki).

Given that there’s only one poll out in Te Tai Hauauru, and it shows a Maori Party victory, I’m adjusting my seat assumptions for the Poll of Polls to show the Maori Party winning two electorate seats.

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

National: 49.1% (-0.6%)

Labour: 27.0% (nc)

Greens: 12.2% (+0.2%)

NZ First: 5.1% (+0.2%)

Maori: 0.9% (-0.1%)

United Future: 0.2% (nc)

ACT: 0.4% (-0.1%)

Internet Mana: 2.2% (nc)

Conservative: 2.2% (+0.2%)

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

National: 61 (-3)

Labour: 33 (-2)

Greens: 15 (-1)

NZ First: 6 (+6)

Maori: 1 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Internet Mana: 3 (nc)

Having fallen below the 5% threshold in mid-June, NZ First are finally back in Parliament. Their six MPs come at the expense of National, Labour and the Greens, with the Left and Right blocs both losing three seats.

Also worth noting is the continued rise of the Conservatives. Back in mid-July they had fallen to 1.4%. Now, just over a month later, they’re on 2.2%. It’s still well below the 5% threshold, but they’ve got momentum.

Overall, the Right has a total of 63 seats, compared to 51 for a Labour, Greens and Internet Mana alliance. With both United Future and the Maori Party providing overhang seats, National’s 61 seats means they can’t quite govern alone, but the Right bloc would still have enough seats seats to not require NZ First.

Poll of Polls update – 14 May 2014

The new Fairfax Ipsos poll was released this morning, and it’s got some quite different news for National from the last Roy Morgan poll. The entirety of the Ipsos polling was done following Maurice Williamson’s resignation and the most recent allegations against Judith Collins (polling of 1,011 people occurred between 10 and 12 May), and although National has dipped by 1.8%, the party is still sitting on a comfortable 47.6%. That compares to the last Roy Morgan, which showed a 6% free fall to 42.5%.

The bad news for Labour is that they’ve dropped more than National, losing 2.3% and falling back below 30% to 29.5%. The run of recent polls must be horribly disheartening for Labour. Of the last ten major polls released, Labour have been below 30% in three polls, and in only one of those ten polls have they been above 32%.

The Greens are the big winners in this Ipsos, up 2.7% to 12.7%. It looks suspiciously like the Greens have siphoned off several per cent of Labour’s vote.

Of the other minor parties, NZ First is up slightly, but still below the 5% threshold at 3.7%, while ACT is up slightly to 0.9% (not nearly enough to get their leader, Jamie Whyte, in to Parliament). The Internet Party appears for the first time in an Ipsos poll, on 0.6%, while the Conservatives are going nowhere fast on 1.6%.

David Cunliffe’s preferred Prime Minister rating drops 3.9% to 13.4%, but he might take some comfort from the fact that at least he’s not in single figures. Of course, that still puts him 35.2 points behind John Key…

So how does the Poll of Polls look now?

National: 46.0% (-0.4%)

Labour: 31.3% (-0.1%)

Greens: 12.2% (+0.2%)

NZ First: 5.0% (+0.1%)

Maori: 1.3 (+0.1%)

United Future: 0.3% (nc)

ACT: 0.6% (nc)

Mana: 0.6% (nc)

Conservative: 1.7% (nc)

Internet Party: 0.5% (+0.1%)

Based on those percentages, the new seat predictions are:

National: 57 (-3)

Labour: 38 (-3)

Greens: 15 (nc)

NZ First: 6 (+6)

Maori: 2 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Mana: 1 (nc)

The big movement in National and Labour’s respective tally of seats is due to NZ First regaining that vital 0.1% to hit exactly 5.0% and scrape back into Parliament. NZ First’s six seats come at the expense of three each from the major parties.

With a one seat overhang, the centre-right bloc of National, United Future and ACT have a total of 59 seats, two short of the minimum required to govern. However, with the Maori Party’s two seats, they’d just get over the line.

For the centre-left, Labour, the Greens and Mana have 54 seats, well short of a governing majority, and they’d require both the Maori Party and NZ First.

Readers may look slightly askance at National’s drop to 46.0%, despite getting 47.6% in the Ipsos poll. Bear in mind that a significant -1.85 weighting is applied to National’s Ipsos results, given that the poll on places National an average 1.85 higher than the industry average.

It’s worth noting a change in methodology, in terms of electorate contests. To date, I’ve been assuming that the Maori Party would hold Waiariki and Tariana Turia’s former seat of Te Tai Hauauru, while losing Tamaki Makaurau. However, I’m going to side with the gamblers at iPredict, who are resolutely putting their money on a Labour win in Te Tai Hauauru, meaning the Maori Party would win just a sole electorate seat – Waiariki. Under their current Poll of Polls results though, they just manage to bring in an additional list MP, meaning that they currently still hold two seats in Parliament.