Young candidates debate as poll sets stage for return of 'Matua Winston'
Juxtaposition aplenty as candidates front for young voters’ debate and new polling proves you can never write Winston Peters off
Mōrena, and welcome to The Bulletin for Tuesday, September 26 by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: change of direction for source of cryptosporidium outbreak; car companies spending big on advertising large, gas-guzzling vehicles; why the state of Australian rugby doesn't bode well for New Zealand rugby; but first, poll results shift coalition of chaos focus as three-party arrangement looks increasingly likely for right block
Young voters’ debate provides juxtaposition to poll news
If you’re looking for some juxtaposition in your campaign diet, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better “shot, chaser” example than watching last night’s young voters’ debate after the Newshub Reid Research poll results. Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke is standing for Te Pāti Māori (TPM) in the Haurkai/Waikato seat and repped the party at the debate last night. At 21 years old, Maipi-Clarke would be the youngest MP to enter parliament since 1853. That now depends on TPM lifting its party vote above last night’s poll results and an electorate seat win for the party. Maipi-Clarke is the grand niece of Hana Te Hemara, who was among the group that led the Māori language petition to parliament. Despite English being the de facto official language of New Zealand, potential kingmaker, Winston Peters wants to enshrine and protect it by making it an official language.
Poll sees return of the king (maker)
Last night’s Newshub Reid Research poll has NZ First above the threshold on 5.2%. National are on 39.1%, down 1.8, while Act have fallen to 8.8%. Based on this polling, National and Act would only gain 60 seats. NZ First’s polling would give them six seats in parliament and with 61 needed to govern, National and Act would require the support of NZ First. Return of the king (maker) indeed. If poll results bear out, Peters would be one of the oldest candidates (maybe the oldest?) to enter parliament at the time of election. Despite big ideological differences, there’s a reason both Marama Davidson and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer referred to him as “Matua Winson” at last week’s Newshub powerbrokers debate. All participants at that debate also whakapapa Māori and I guess we can say that this election campaign has done wonders for killing off the concept of Māori as some kind of homogenous, singular group. It’s also illuminating some vast generational divides at a time when some candidates are smashing “youngest ever” records, and a large, older generational cohort is regularly debunking the myth that getting older equates to a compulsory shuffling off to a quiet retirement. Older age groups are also raring to go on voting as these stats from the Electoral Commission show.
Luxon ‘looks slow and expedient’
Back to last night’s poll, which confirmed the inevitably of National leader Christopher Luxon needing to call Peters on election night. There’s broad consensus among political media that the call is not part of a game of three-dimensional chess but because he’s been backed into a corner. Toby Manhire writes that “Luxon missed the opportunity to look decisive and leaderly. Instead, he looks slow and expedient.” The Herald's Audrey Young (paywalled) writes that “Luxon has decided the risks in inflating NZ First’s vote by articulating the obvious coalition position are less than the risks of him continuing to sideline himself from one of the big issues this campaign: coalitions.” As BusinessDesk’s Pattrick Smellie observes (paywalled), “Luxon can at least take heart from one thing: the endless pressure on him either to rule Peters in or out will stop.”
The second coming of the coalition of chaos?
Last night's poll also tested a perception about coalition stability, asking “do you think a three-party National, ACT, New Zealand First Government would be a stable or a chaotic Government?” 63% said chaotic, while just 26.4% said stable. As both Young and Smellie note, Luxon will be hoping that his message about calling Peters “if absolutely necessary” and the preference for a two-party coalition between Act and National lands. After floating a confidence-only partnership just a few weeks ago, Act released a statement yesterday titled “Act and National a coalition for change” which, as the Herald’s Thomas Coughlan writes, “seemed to mark a new era of bonhomie between the two parties.” Bonhomie aside, perceptions of chaos won’t be helped by yet another story this morning about dodgy social media activity from yet another Act candidate. A number of former prospective candidates have also expressed concerns about the party’s selection process. The candidate in question, Simon Angelo, is ranked 39 on ACT’s list, and doesn’t have a hope in hell of getting to parliament but it’ll prove to be yet another unwelcome distraction as the shape of the next government looms ever closer in voters’ minds.
The ‘community of care’ improving the wellbeing of Sāmoan teachers
In a sector challenged by staff shortages and an aging workforce, a grassroots initiative seeks to build connections and improve outcomes for Sāmoan teachers and children in Auckland – with ambitions to expand nationwide. Sela Jane Hopgood met some of the faiaoga and facilitators behind the Tāfesilafa’i programme, finding out how it works and what it wants to deliver for aiga and tamaiti. Read the full story now on The Spinoff (sponsored).
Change of direction for source of cryptosporidium outbreak
As Stuff’s Debbie Jamieson reports, efforts to hunt out the source of Queenstown’s cryptosporidium outbreak are moving away from the water supply toward businesses in the central town. Yesterday, the council received negative results from water supply samples taken last week and Public Health South has confirmed it is looking for alternative sources. There are currently 31 confirmed cases of cryptosporidium, seven probable cases, and eight under investigation. Staying with Queenstown, Newsroom’s David Williams reports on the council’s decision to leave slash in a steeply sloped forest above the town’s cemetery. The cemetery was inundated with mud, logs and debris after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours last week.
Car companies spending big on advertising large, gas-guzzling vehicles
As RNZ’s Kirsty Johnston reports this morning, advertising figures from Nielsen show that while the spend on electric vehicles and hybrids is increasing, the vehicles “with the most advertising grunt behind them are utes and SUVs.” Johnston’s analysis finds that car companies are spending almost four times more advertising large vehicles like utes and SUVs than small cars, despite publicly pledging to combat climate change. Toyota spent the most of any company selling a single vehicle. According to Nielsen, it paid $7.6m over the three years to 2022 on its signature double cab ute, the Hilux. As Johnston writes, this is despite Toyota's stated aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and its public promise to "shape a better tomorrow, together".
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