Pollies, pots and polls
NZ Herald reporting a "poll shock":
The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows [NZ First] party on 4.9 per cent support, just short of the 5 per cent threshold required to have MPs in Parliament without winning an electorate seat.
The 1.2 percentage-point jump gives the party its highest rating this election campaign.
National on 49.89 per cent (up 0.4), Labour 29.1 (up 0.4), Greens 12.6 (no change), [NZ First 4.9 (up 1.2)], Act 1.7 (up 0.2), Maori Party 0.7 (up 0.2), Conservatives 0.6 (down 0.4), Mana Party 0.4 (down 0.4), and United Future 0.1 (down 0.6).
Shock to them that Winston's party is 4.9% by their opinion polling, but this is an indicator of what I forecast - last month, before the lists were even out, October 31st:
5.0% NZ First
1.0% United Future
1.5% All others
NZ First are capable of getting 5.5% or 4.5%, or possibly right on 5%. If the Nats hadn't promoted privatisation of state assets and if Labour hadn't promoted raising the retirement age then Winston would be looking at maybe only 3 - 4%, but the two issues he does have the most credibility on is retaining state assets and doing right by pensioners and he ought to be able to gain quite a bit of traction from that as his point of difference and a viable reason for backing him this time around. The circumstances of the Owen Glenn donation and his slush funds that shaved a percent of his numbers last time and put him below the threshold are gone and his penance in the wilderness should be enough for the doubters to forgive him. But it will be very tight. Because he isn't targeting an electorate it all depends on getting to the magic 5%.
The NZ Herald's poll shows momentum is with Winston and so that 4.9% may be higher at this end of the week than when the poll was conducted. People are now talking seriously about the potential for a Labour-led government for the first time in the election campaign as John Key reveals his jack-booted feet of clay over calling in the police to grab a recording of what was supposed to be the most publicised and public meeting of the whole election campaign - and using privacy as the reason! It has been an extraordinary week in politics.
Why the increasingly desperate John Banks keeps going on about Winston getting back in as if that were somehow supposed to be frightening is just another woeful tactical blunder by Act. Giving attention to Winston is how Winston wins - and seeing as how he will 100% never sell any govt. asset (indeed he walked out of Cabinet and almost collapsed the Shipley National government of the '90s on the issue of asset sales) Winston looks like a pretty safe bet for a conservative or floating voter skeptical and cynical towards National and Act's plan to hock off the family silver. The Nats shouldn't attack Winston either as that would give him even more oxygen, so they are in a bind now the media have declared Winston a viable opposition figure.
And as for the 'teapot tape' saga and what light that has shed on the true character of John Key - it is a priceless insight - one that has turned off some, perhaps enough, to stop National getting back into power.
My belief is that the 'tape' has already done its damage, and that if the Herald on Sunday doesn't run with it on Sunday then there isn't any tape and that Mr Ambrose has played the bluff brilliantly. Everyone has assumed there is a tape and most importantly Key and Banks have too - and there is nothing they can do about remedying their own self-inflicted damage.
I watched a movie once where a man could see the future and could intervene to change it. He saw a bad politician go on to be President and cause a nuclear war so he attempted to assassinate him, but was tumbled at the last moment. However just as he was foiled the politician saw the gunman when he was on stage and instinctively grabbed a child (or woman I can't remember which) and thrust them into his firing line. In the last seconds before the would-be assassin was himself killed by police gunfire he saw the future: the TV cameras and press and audience had seen the politican's cowardice and he wasn't elected President and the nuclear war averted.
I recall the scene from that movie at this point because right now - one week out from the election - it doesn't actually matter what was said on the recording (if there is one) the instinctive reactions from the people involved have demonstrated what sort of people they really are: fibbing, fumbling bullies. John Key has panicked, shown fear and over-reacted - flustered and quite un-Prime Ministerial - he is at his weakest point at a most crucial time.
When there's only one or two percent in it there isn't any room for this sort of error. Key's reaction in particular reeks of all the Nixonian paranoia that epitomised the worst side of Helen Clark's style of leadership. Is this a taste of what a second term of the Nats will be like? Why vote for that? It has all the hallmarks of unpopularity and demise.
That 46% I credited the Nats with is looking unsustainably, unjustifiably generous. And talking of nuclear options and fortune telling - the withdrawal of the National candidate, Paul Goldsmith, in Epsom so that Banks will be guaranteed the win must also be on the cards. That's why Banks is flailing madly and raising the spectre of Winston - they know that if Winston gets back in then the Nats will definitely need Banks and the one or two (maybe three) MPs he will bring with him in order to stay in power.
As for the MMP vote my guess is that MMP will get about 60% and 40% for change +/- 2%.