Waiariki

Internet Mana : the divorce

So the Internet Mana Party is no more. As 3News reports, a letter has been sent to the Electoral Commission to confirm that the relationship has been terminated.

It’s hardly surprising. Given Kim Dotcom’s post-election acceptance that he’d poisoned the public mood against Internet Mana, it was only a matter of time before the Mana Movement and the Internet Party parted ways.

Admittedly, just before I headed to Melbourne last weekend, disappearing off the social media grid and ignoring the existence of news from the homeland, there were strange reports of the Internet Mana Party intending to soldier on through in unity to 2017, of Dotcom intending to continue his role as Internet Party puppet master, and of Dotcom preparing to export his failed Internet Party experiment to the United States.

Nonetheless, Dotcom had previously been bewailing his supposed technical insolvency. Given that the lure of the Internet Party for Hone Harawira had essentially been Dotcom’s money and public profile, a Dotcom who is broke and poisonously unpopular is a Dotcom with nothing of value to offer Mana.

In the wash-up, Dotcom was a cancer to everything he touched, politically. His Moment of Truth, rather than finishing John Key, almost resulted in National governing alone.

Laila Harre went from being a principled doyen of the Left to just another hypocritical sellout. And her theft of the Greens’ intellectual copyright as she left to follow the money means that no other party will be touching her for the foreseeable future.

In Waiariki, Mana’s Annette Sykes was supposed to take out Te Ururoa Flavell, finishing the Maori Party for good. She came third. Meanwhile, Flavell romped home, bringing with him Marama Fox.

And of course Hone Harawira lost his seat of Te Tai Tokerau. With no Parliamentary budget, no Dotcom gravy train, and a much-reduced public platform to keep him in the headlines, Harawira will struggle to re-take his old seat. If Kelvin Davis is smart, he’ll be spending the next three years touring every square metre of his electorate (with his travel funded by Parliament, of course), ensuring that Harawira doesn’t get a look-in in 2017.

Harawira staked everything on Dotcom, and the gamble proved disastrous. With the Internet Mana split now confirmed, the two component parties can now fade off into political oblivion.

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.

Internet Mana losing its mojo

Internet Mana had been the minor party with momentum. As the Party Party / Internet Mana Roadshow worked its way around the country, the coverage was positive – crowds of hundreds flocking at each venue to see Dotcom, Harre, Harawira and the local candidates; mixtures of young, middle-aged and old; the anti-authority message hitting the headlines on a regular basis. Since mid-July, Internet Mana was consistently hitting at least 2% in the polls, even hitting the heady heights of 3.9% in the mid-August 3News Reid Research poll.

And then the wheels seemed to fall off. The “Fuck John Key” saga may not have had an immediate effect, but it hinted at a nasty, darker side to the party’s leadership. And although the party may not have had anything to do with the effigy burning and Kill the PM song that followed, it seems that Internet Mana had become, in the public consciousness, tied to that fundamentally negative side of left wing politics.

Things weren’t helped by Pam Corkery and Kim Dotcom turning the campaign launch into a farce, with Corkery’s “Puffed up little shit” soundbite and Dotcom’s run from journalists leading the headlines. In fact, since the launch, television media coverage of Internet Mana has almost inevitably involved a replay or two of Corkery’s least finest hour. Unfortunately for Internet Mana, Pam Corkery swearing at journalists doesn’t look badass or anti-authoritarian; it simply looks like a mad woman who lost control. Nobody likes supporting an embarrassment…

And of course the latest debacle was Mana Party candidate Georgina Beyer lambasting Kim Dotcom and his motives:

”I just have a sense that he’s using his power and position to seek retribution on people who have done him wrong. Should our political system really be manipulated in this way? The most telling thing was spending three hours on the ferry crossing with him. Really, I found him to be a distant person who was always utterly consumed in his iPad.”

In terms of the most recent polls, there’s been a sudden slump. None of the last three major polls had Internet Mana above 2%: 1.6% in the Colmar Brunton, 1% in yesterday’s Roy Morgan, and 1.7% in last night’s Reid Research.

Meanwhile, there was further bad news in the Waiariki electorate. After so much talk about Annette Sykes level-pegging with Te Ururoa Flavell and being in a strong position to win, Monday’s Maori TV poll of the electorate showed Flavell holding a 29% lead, with Flavell on 50%, Sykes on just 21% and the Labour candidate Rawiri Waititi not far behind on 17%.

With just 16 days to the election, it’s a bad time for the mojo to be lost…

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.

No surprises in Te Tai Tonga poll

Native Affairs promised, prior to the election campaign, that they’d be polling all seven Maori seats this election. On Monday they released their results for the Te Tai Tonga electorate, currently held by Labour’s Rino Tirikatene. Unsurprisingly, Labour has a healthy lead in both the party and electorate vote.

In the party vote, the results were:

  • Labour – 43%
  • National – 17%
  • Maori Party – 16%
  • Greens – 10%
  • NZ First – 8%
  • Internet Mana – 6%

Meanwhile, the electorate vote results were:

  • Labour (Rino Tirikatene) – 48%
  • Maori Party (Ngaire Button) – 17%
  • Greens (Dora Langsbury) – 9%
  • Mana (Georgina Beyer) – 9%

In terms of the electorate vote, that’s a large swing against the Maori Party candidate (15%), but last election the Maori Party had gone into the campaign holding the seat, giving the party the benefit of incumbency. With a new candidate, the Maori Party has now well and truly lost their grip on the seat.

I’m surprised that Internet Mana wasn’t higher in the party vote, although I’d imagine their results would be significantly higher in Te Tai Tokerau, Waiariki and Ikaroa Rawhiti. Certainly, here in Gisborne, which falls into Ikaroa Rawhiti, there are Mana signs everywhere and a great deal of positive coverage of the Mana candidate, Te Hamua Nikora.

Returning to the Te Tai Tonga poll, I can’t seem to find any indication of the sample size. Polling of the Maori seats has traditionally been remarkably haphazard due to relatively small samples, so it would be interesting to see whether Native Affairs have upped the ante and gone for a sample of at least 500.

Like Maori ninjas operating in stealth mode

Best line of the election thus far has to go to Te Ururoa Flavell:

“The Maori Party is not going anywhere. We have been planning, and building like Maori ninjas operating in stealth mode.”

The stealth quotient must indeed have been high, for at present this planning and building remains nigh on invisible… If the Maori Party want to take all seven Maori seats this election, as party president Naida Glavish declared, then the party had best cease the ninja impression and unveil its grand plan.

In terms of winning all seven seats, the Maori Party is in fantasy land, which they presumably know. Every party has to sound upbeat about their electoral prospects, but Ms Glavish is taking upbeat just a tad too far, especially given that a fair few pundits are predicting the complete demise of the Maori Party from Parliament this election.

It’s not all as bad as it seems though. Mr Flavell would have to be considered the favourite to hold Waiariki. Although his majority over Annette Sykes is rather less than he’d undoubtedly prefer, he’s now the Maori Party leader, and will benefit from the additional exposure that role provides.

And in the party vote, this site’s Poll of Polls has had the Maori Party resolutely stuck between 1.1% and 1.3% (with one outlier in mid-March, where they dropped to 1.0%), generally holding enough support to just bring in a second MP if NZ First doesn’t make it back. So… if Mr Flavell can hold his seat and either hold the party vote at its current level or raise it by a few fractions of a per cent, and NZ First doesn’t make 5%, Mr Flavell probably won’t be alone!

It may not be a glorious clean sweep of the Maori seats, a la NZ First circa 1996, but when you’re the Maori Party and you’re staring down the barrel of losing two of your three electorate seats, getting a second seat from the list surely can’t be sneezed at?

Poll of Polls update – 19 June 2014

As if David Cunliffe wasn’t already under enough pressure, the latest Fairfax Ipsos poll was released this morning, and it’s awful for Labour. Labour falls 6.3% to a horrible 23.2%, while National gains a massive 8.9% to 56.6%, well and truly governing alone.

For the minor parties, there’s nothing much to smile about either. The Greens lose 0.9% to a still creditable 11.9%, but with Labour dropping so dramatically, they would surely have expected to have hoovered up some of that support. NZ First drops 0.5% to 3.6% – the third major poll in a row to show the party falling back below the 5% threshold. The Maori Party are down 1.2% to 0.7%, leaving them with just a sole MP, assuming they hold Waiariki. ACT are down 0.2% to 0.7% – yet another poll to show the party’s leader failing to make it into Parliament. The Conservative Party are down 0.7% to 0.9%, making them barely worth bothering about for John Key, and United Future doesn’t even register. The only minor party that might look at the poll with any comfort is Internet Mana, which picks up a combined 2.1%, which would likely bring them a third MP, should Hone Harawira hold Te Tai Tokerau.

So how does the Poll of Polls look now?

National: 49.2% (+0.8%)

Labour: 29.6% (-0.7%)

Greens: 11.5% (+0.3%)

NZ First: 4.7% (-0.3%)

Maori: 1.1 (nc)

United Future: 0.1% (nc)

ACT: 0.7% (nc)

Internet Mana: 1.3% (+0.2%)

Conservative: 1.4% (-0.1%)

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

National: 63 (+4)

Labour: 38 (+1)

Greens: 15 (+1)

NZ First: 0 (-6)

Maori: 1 (nc)

United Future: 1 (nc)

ACT: 1 (nc)

Internet Mana: 2 (nc)

With NZ First falling back below the 5% threshold, National would receive 63 seats, governing alone for the first time in this Poll of Polls. Labour pick up an extra seat, despite dropping below 30% for the first time, but a Labour, Greens and Mana coalition would have just 55 seats.

If one takes 0.3% from National, giving it to NZ First and getting them over the line, Labour would instead drop to 36 seats, while National would have 60, needing just one of either ACT or United Future to govern.

What’s interesting is the change in language from David Cunliffe over the level he considers Labour’s support is actually at. Despite previous polls showing Labour bouncing around just above or below 30%, Cunliffe has held the line that Labour was actually at around 34%. This morning, he described the party’s support as being either late-twenties or early-thirties, an implicit acceptance that Labour’s own polling is occasionally putting the party at under 30%.

Internet Mana – chaos theory

Despite seeming to have dropped off the radar for a bit, the alliance between the Mana Party and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party has finally been confirmed. The new Internet Mana Party is primed and ready for action.

News of the confirmed alliance was closely followed by the leaking of the name of the Internet Party’s leader – stalwart of the left, Laila Harre. It’s an odd choice, and appears to have flummoxed the commentariat. No one can quite work out whether to write off Internet Mana as a bad joke or to view it as a possible electoral game-changer.

The questions are many.

Who will Internet Mana pull votes from? Laila Harre’s natural constituency isn’t exactly the young, tech-loving, non-voters that the Internet Party had previously appeared to have been targeting. Will Internet Mana really be able to bring non-voters to the ballot box or will they simply be pillaging from other parties on the left – the Greens being an obvious major target?

What will Labour do in Te Tai Tokerau? If Labour wants to minimise the Internet Mana vote, it should attack Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. If Kelvin Davis is allowed to run a strong electorate campaign there, it would force Harawira to concentrate his energies in the North, reducing his nation-wide visibility. Further, if there’s a significant risk that Harawira might lose his seat, prospective voters are less likely to switch their support from parties that are assured a place in Parliament (eg. Labour and the Greens). However, the NZ Herald reports that it understands Labour has considered “pulling its punches” in Te Tai Tokerau. Labour will be worried about what percentage of the left wing vote might be wasted if Harawira is tipped out of Parliament.

What will Mana do in Waiariki? They’ve been campaigning hard for Annette Sykes to unseat Te Ururoa Flavell and eradicate the Maori Party. However, that might not be in the Internet Party’s best interests. The Internet Mana list will begin with Hone Harawira in top spot, followed by Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto. If Internet Mana get enough votes to bring in one additional MP (between approximately 1.2% and 1.9%), and Sykes wins Waiariki, the Internet Party will have no Parliamentary representation.

Wherever Kim Dotcom treads, chaos follows. Just how much chaos he causes this election campaign remains to be seen.

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.