National unlocks key tactic as NZ First reality keeps biting
National ups the ante on messaging about post-election stability as new poll yet again shows they will need NZ First, and a cup of tea raises an eyebrow
Mōrena, and welcome to The Bulletin for Thursday, October 5 by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: reports Wellington council planning to buy land under Reading Cinema; over 1.4m Easy Vote cards yet to arrive; a long awaited win at the Silver Scrolls; but first, guess who’s back as National tries to woo voters away from NZ First
So goes the OCR and the latest poll
A day of few surprises yesterday, with the OCR and 1News Verian poll matching each other’s energy with almost no change. The OCR remains at 5.5%, with the Reserve Bank’s tone described as less “hawkish” than expected. Last night’s poll revealed no change for Labour, National, the Greens, NZ First and Te Pāti Māori. Act, however, is down 2% on last week’s poll. That continues the party’s decline after hitting 13% in mid-August. National is also down from its high in this poll of 39% in mid-September.
In the preferred prime minister stakes, Christopher Luxon is on 26% (up three), ahead of Chris Hipkins, who is on 25% (up two). Winston Peters was unchanged on 4% and David Seymour dropped two points to 3%.
The minors are a major factor in this year’s election
As with the trends seen in previous polls, a solid chunk of those polled (38%) are indicating they’re voting for the parties we call minor or are undecided. Combined support for the traditional main parties in last night’s poll was at 62%. As with last week's poll, that’s the lowest it's been in this poll since November 2011. If these results bore out in this year’s election results, it would only be rivalled by two elections of the MMP era. In our first MMP election in 1996, the combined party vote for Labour and National was 62.06%. In 2002 Labour and National captured a combined 62.19% of the party vote. Tonight's minor party leaders’ debate on TV1 and next week’s Press debate, which is also now a minor party debate, only serve to remind us that the minors are a major factor in this year’s election.
Key rolled out in new National party video
Following last night’s poll, National’s campaign chair Chris Bishop sent supporters an email appealing for donations and warning that the poll “showed we do not yet have the numbers to form a stable coalition with Act.” Toby Manhire reports the full details of the email, but it does not explicitly mention NZ First or Winston Peters. NZ First and Peters are also not mentioned in a new video rolled out by National this morning featuring former prime minister Sir John Key. Key notes the potential “uncertainty” in the coming election result. Another former prominent leadership figure within the National party made an appearance yesterday, but it was perhaps not as welcome as the return of Key. Paula Bennett, credited with raising $1.8m in donations for the party, met for a cup of tea with Act deputy leader Brooke van Velden. National’s deputy leader Nicola Willis said the meeting “certainly wasn’t helpful”. A poll on Tuesday night shows van Velden neck in neck with National’s candidate Simon O’Connor in the Auckland seat of Tamaki.
Are we ‘valence voters’?
This morning on The Spinoff Max Rashbrooke has tried to unpick why people might be finding this election fatiguing and confusing. “The stakes seem extra high, and the debates extra ugly, yet the space for meaningful political reform is as small as ever. Feeling confused?” he writes. He notes that while we’ve heard the term “mood for change” ad nauseam, it’s not necessarily applicable to the traditional main ideological positions of “left” and “right”. Rashbrooke introduces us to the term “valence voting”, where people voters emphasise qualities like honesty, consistency and accountability over more classically ideological values such as liberty or solidarity. “Post-Covid everything feels a bit broken. It would hardly be surprising if New Zealanders simply wanted someone who could – to paraphrase Wayne Brown – get things fixed,” he writes. Great read, recommend.
Reports Wellington council planning to buy land under Reading Cinema
As The Post’s Erin Gourley reports, the purchase of land under the Reading Cinema building was the subject of a closed council meeting in Wellington yesterday afternoon. The council voted 10 to 5 to exclude the public from the meeting. It’s understood the council plans to purchase the land to fund the required seismic strengthening work and encourage the complex to reopen, with councillors voting to proceed with due diligence on the purchase. Information about the meeting was leaked, prompting Mayor Tory Whanau to say it was “getting really boring” that some councillors were talking to the media about confidential meetings.
Related to yesterday’s topic, The Post’s Andrea Vance has an interview with Christopher Luxon about the relationship between local and central government. Luxon is promising to shake up the relationship between local and central government. He cites a model used in England and Australia where control of decisions is shifted away from central government after agreeing priorities and a “growth benchmark”. Overseas, the model returns a share of the windfall tax from the additional economic growth to local communities. But says he’s not Luxon in favour of giving regions a slice of their GDP.
Over 1.4m Easy Vote cards yet to arrive but you do not need them to vote
To think we were complaining about a lack of “I voted” stickers earlier in the week. Yesterday both Chris Hipkins and Christopher Luxon expressed disappointment that an estimated 1.4m people are yet to receive their Easy Vote cards. Chief Electoral Officer Karl Le Quesne says that “it is not unusual for easy vote packs to arrive after voting starts.” I can not state this strongly enough, but you do not need an Easy Vote card to vote. It’s a persistent myth that can cause confusion, which explains why Hipkins and Luxon are cheesed off about it. You do need to be enrolled, but you can do that when you go to vote. The card and enrolling beforehand saves time, but if you’re in New Zealand, turn up at a polling station and know your name, you can vote. If you’re out of your electorate or not enrolled, it just means you have to cast a special vote which involves a form that staff at polling station can help with. That’s it. If you or anyone else you know has questions, read and share Shanti Mathias’s excellent explainer on how to vote.
Chris Hipkins is relentlessly positive
The Labour leader has Covid-19, which means a campaign rejig and a protracted squabble with Christopher Luxon about who is quitting the Press debate and who isn’t. Meanwhile, Winston Peters has gone into bombastic overdrive, parts of the campaign have gotten ugly, and a clutch of new polls indicate tight races in Auckland Central, Tāmaki, and Hauraki Waikato. Toby Manhire, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas take the pulse in the latest episode of Gone by Lunchtime.
Click and Collect
A long-awaited Silver Scroll win for The Beths last night
September was the warmest September on record
Canterbury’s largest foodbank threatens to close its doors in stoush over funding and service fee
Just months after Massey University opened an innovation complex at its Albany campus, a restructure proposal could see more than 100 roles in the Natural Sciences and Food and Advanced Technology schools cut
Click and Elect
Sam Brooks reports from the only arts policy debate of the campaign that wasn’t a debate at all
Co-governance and Te Tiriti o Waitangi policies in two minutes
“We were serenaded to “One Love” by a half naked gentleman – who was surprisingly in tune” — Ginny Andersen shares her doorknocking stories
Henrietta Bollinger explains why she’s voting for climate as a disabled person.
If you’d like some reassurance that there is still room for good-natured debate and talking with candidates, this account (paywalled) of the last candidates' debate in Northland from the Herald’s David Fisher is worth a read
Joel MacManus profiles the Hutt South seat as Ginny Andersen and Chris Bishop try to convince voters to give them another go. Stewart Sowman-Lund profiles Suze Redmayne, the part-time farmer and former Green voter who is the frontrunner to retain the safe National seat of Rangitīkei. Gabi Lardies unlocks the secrets of Brooke van Velden’s bright pink coat. Author Matt Elliott expounds on the art of the ‘book doze’ for The Spinoff Books Confessional. Tara Ward recaps a tense week on Celebrity Treasure Island: Te Waipounamu.
Wood chopping legend Jason Wynyard died yesterday morning, aged 49
A brief history of trophy desecration in New Zealand sport
A Hawke’s Bay rugby team has created history twice in two days, and it’s not the one that broke the Shield
A guide to the Cricket World Cup which starts tonight
A belated Sunday recommendation on a Thursday
With analysis out this morning from TVNZ’s Corazon Miller on how Immigration NZ makes decisions about allowing the parents of young Afghan evacuees to come to New Zealand, I want to commend Miller’s Sunday story about Arezo Nazari to you. Nazari arrived here on her own at age 15 after fleeing Kabul when the Taliban arrived in the city in August 2021. Her parents and younger brother are now in Europe, and her appeals to the associate minister for immigration to bring them here are repeatedly rejected.
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