New poll has National and Act on cusp of governing
If replicated at the election, a new poll out today has National and Act taking 60 seats and NZ First over the 5% threshold. 60 seats isn't enough to govern.
Mōrena and welcome to The Bulletin for Thursday, September 7, by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: government admits it mistakenly promised disabled public transport users half price fares; Sāmoan prime minister raises deep concerns about exodus of Pacific workers to Australia and New Zealand; Crown appeal not guilty verdicts of two men linked to NZ First’s fundraising foundation but first, new poll results show National and Act leading but in need of support
New poll has National and Act on the cusp and NZ First on 6%
A new The Post/Freshwater poll out this morning has Labour at its lowest poll result in six years. The poll has National on 36%, Labour on 26%, the Greens on 12%, ACT on 11%, and Te Pāti Māori on 3%. NZ First is on 6%, which I think is its highest poll result this year. The poll was conducted between August 28-30, meaning it doesn’t capture National releasing its tax policy or Labour releasing its dental policy. The margin of error is approximately +/ - 3%. As with all polls, it represents a snapshot in time. Toting up the seats each block would get if these results were replicated at the election, National and Act would have 60 seats with Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori would have 53. NZ First would have seven seats. As we know Labour leader Chris Hipkins ruled working with NZ First last month. As Andrea Vance notes, to ensure a comfortable majority and avoid NZ First blocking legislation from the cross benches, National would need to strike a deal with NZ First.
One in five voters are undecided
As Luke Malpass writes in The Post this morning, the race is far from over. Quoting Mike Turner, director of the polling company Freshwater, “Labour are down, but not out quite yet.” “The election result remains uncertain while almost 300,000 Ardern 2020 supporters continue to make up their mind,” he said. The poll found that Hipkins holds a small lead as preferred PM, at 45%. Luxon is on 43%. The poll also found around one in five voters are undecided or ‘’soft” in their voting intention. Hikpins leads over Luxon among “soft voters” as preferred prime minister, on 48%. As Newsroom’s Matthew Scott reports, former prime minister Helen Clark offered Labour some advice last night at the launch of Helen White’s campaign for the Mt Albert seat, saying “We’re just in a totally silly season, but in a silly season we have to keep our heads and we have to keep to our core messages.” There was also a dig at Chris Bishop’s mention of his own “inveterate” Twitter posting habits in a TV news story, with Clark suggesting “they show Chris Bishop on TV some more.”
National’s sloppiness this week
The Herald’s Thomas Coughlan thinks National has had a rough week (paywalled) and needs to “sharpen up” on discipline “lest National begin to be seen as the political wing of the country’s vested interests.” He cites the cosy email exchanges between health spokesperson Shane Reto and University of Waikato vice chancellor Neil Quigley. He also cites Bishop’s handling of issues around the Winton subdivision in South Auckland. Winton director-shareholders Chris and Michaela Meehan recently donated to National and Act. The third “not quite strike”, with Coughlan noting none of these incidents are “terminal”, is the apparent proximity of SkyCity to National’s policy to regulate and tax online gambling.
Luxon tested on Act policy
While this poll presents a scenario where negotiation with NZ first will be likely, Newshub’s Lloyd Burr put questions to Christopher Luxon yesterday about the National party’s position on around ten different Act policies. Burr notes that coalition negotiations between Act and National could get testy, suggesting a gulf is growing between the two on policy. David Seymour has been saying Act would reject the baubles of office rather than implement bad policy for a while now. Thankfully now that Policy.nz is up and running you can check out how potential coalition partner policies align for yourself.
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Government admits it mistakenly promised disabled public transport users half price fares
As Stuff’s Mildred Armah reports this morning, the government has admitted it mistakenly promised disabled public transport users half price fares. In May, after the Budget, the government announced cost of living measures aimed at reducing the cost of public transport. That included free fares for children under 13 and half price fares for people under 25. Total Mobility users were also said to be included in the provision of half price fares. The Total Mobility scheme assists eligible people, with long-term impairments to access appropriate transport. Stuff has spoken to those who use the scheme in Auckland who said their fares had not been subsidised and Auckland Transport confirmed they are not eligible for half-price fares on public transport.
Sāmoan prime minister says Pacific countries not 'outposts' to grow labourers
As the ABC reports, Sāmoan prime minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa has raised deep concerns about the exodus of Pacific workers to Australia and New Zealand, arguing that countries like hers should not be seen merely as “outposts” that “grow” labourers for developed nations. “You know, either to send them off as sportspeople, or to send them off as labour mobility teams and so forth, as though that's our lot in life,” she said. “I really don't like that.” A number of Pacific nations including Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa are anxious about their own workforces being depleted by programmes like New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and Australia’s Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme. Fijian prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka raised similar issues in June when he visited. Rabuka said there had been growing anxiety amongst some Pacific partners in both schemes around the loss of talent and skilled workers that were also needed domestically. The RSE scheme is still under review in New Zealand, with the ongoing issues well covered by Stuff’s Christine Rovoi recently.
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