Tuesday, September 19, 2017


OK, prediction time.   Yes, I'm a National Party activist but I think I know enough about politics to be able to edit out my subjective bias from these predictions.   Anyway (and acknowledging five days in politics is a long, long time) this is how I read it.

The polls are up and down like the proverbial 'whores drawers' and from that I adduce the two main parties are probably within spitting distance of each other.   Two weeks ago I would have said the momentum was with Labour; that momentum appears to have stalled with confusion around their tax policy and especially their water tax policy.    The other thing I take from the polls is that the Greens are trending up while Winston First is trending down.    I see these as important factors in making my predictions.

Two other points to consider in making these predictions.   I assess the 'wasted vote' (ToP plus rats and mice) to be in the order of 3-4%.   Given that you can effectively add 1.5% to both the National and Labour Party Vote.   That 1.5% could be crucial.    Second, I see the Maori Party as being edited out of the conversation.     Looking at National's options and Winston has made it clear his distaste for the Maori Party as race based while, for the socialists, any accommodation with the Maori Party could come back to bite in the Maori seats held by Labour.

Having said all that and my predictions (in order of probability) are  #1 ... a Labour/Greens coalition and #2 ... a National/ACT/NZ First coalition and #3 ...  a Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition.

Looking at each of these in a turn and to my good friend Psycho Milt yes, you can buy me a beer anytime.     A Labour/Greens coalition became more likely once Me Tu resigned.    Her anarchist tendencies would have created huge tensions around the cabinet table and one senses the Greens are reverting to a more environmental focus with her departure.   That Labour can handle.   But there will be tensions.   Ztev is Labour's bovver boy blogger.   On Kiwiblog he said (with a hint of malice) the best the Greens could hope for would be a ministerial position outside of cabinet.   So is Labour  going to play hardball?   Gonna be interesting to see whether the Greens, forever the spurned bridesmaid, are prepared to allow themselves to be 'poodled' in their desire to be part of government. 

A National/ACT/NZ First coalition would see National paying a price ... swallowing a dead rat(s) as Ron Mark eloquently put it.    The price might be too big.   Peters hates English with a passion remembering that English was a prime mover in having him expelled from National.   There is also the matter of Peters long standing feud with Speaker Carter.    Were Peters to demand their heads as the price for support then the deal would very much a moot.   But this is Peters last chance to exit Parliament on a high and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister (and a 'K' at the end of it) along with two ministers inside cabinet and another outside might just be enough.   Whatever and be very clear ... it will be Winston and not his Party that makes the call.

Should Labour and the Greens fall short on the numbers then a Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition comes into play.   Everyone would be swallowing dead rats aplenty especially Winston who is on record in saying he would never serve in a government alongside Green Party ministers.   Nevertheless, necessity is the mother of compromise.   At best it would be a toxic coalition that would provide the opposition with much ammunition.

The election will be determined on the Party Vote.    However winning an electorate gives the Party status and there are a number of electorate contests that I will be following closely on the night.

Northland ... Paddy Gower has been on the Kool-Aid (again).   At the time of the by-election his prediction was that National would hold the seat.   This time round and he's picking Winston.   Leaving aside the Herald poll which suggested that Winston was running third behind National and Labour (I take that with a grain of salt) and I'm aware of other polls that show Matt King well in front and enjoying substantial name recognition (nipping at the heels of Winston).   A major factor is Labour.   Their candidate is well regarded and has run a full on campaign and looks to be picking up the 6,000 votes(and more) she shed to Winston at the time of the by-election in a nudge, nudge, wink, wink campaign and remembering too that Winston's majority is just 5,000..     Winston has run a less than energetic campaign supported by a very patchy electorate organisation and hamstrung by promises he made at the by-election ... free ferry travel for seniors; that he would fix the Mangawai sewage scheme debacle ... result nowt.    He perennially cries 'poor Northland' but the reality is the regional economy is booming with huge investment in infrastructure taking place.   Prediction ... Matt King to win.

Whangarei ... Peters has made much of his desire to turn Whangarei from Blue to Black/White thereby creating a NZ First power base in the greater Northland.   To do that he parachuted Shane Jones into the seat over the well regarded resident List MP Pita Paraone.   Then, to cap that he relegated Paraone to an unlikely position on the NZ First List.   Clearly loyalty to Winston is a one-way street.   The knee capping of Paraone has led to a spilt in the NZ First electorate organisation.    Clearly Winston sees Jones as his successor having worked out that his wannabee SAS current Deputy Leader is an electoral lightweight (except when it comes to rolling his predecessor).    Jones has repayed Winston's favor by being his usual lazy self expecting the electorate to be handed to him on a plate.   It won't happen.   Prediction ... Dr Shane Reti to win and win well.

Maungakiekie ... by any measure Maungakiekie is a 'bell weather' electorate encompassing both 'Blue' and 'Red' segments in approximate equal measure.   In any seismic shift to Labour the electorate is vulnerable following the retirement of the incumbent National MP, Sam Lotu tinga,   This time it's high profile Auckland Councillor Denise Lee who defeated long time Labour MP and sitting Councillor Dr Richard Northey to take the seat (increasing her majority last year by over 500%) vs Labour's trade unionist and apparatchik candidate.   Lee has run a high energy campaign and her networks allow her to stretch across the political divide so much so that there is evidence in the Panmure Basin (staunch Labour territory) that Labour voters are splitting their vote in her favor.  Prediction ... Denise Lee to win.

Papakura ... interesting (for other reasons).   This south Auckland seat should be vulnerable to Labour.   It ain't.   Judith Collins has a iron grip on it as a well regarded local MP.   Last time round and at the time of her 'troubles' her majority shrank to a tad over 4,000 down from just under 10,000 in 2011.  My picking is that she will increase it come election night against her no-name Labour candidate.   That's important.   Should National lose there will be a leadership contest.   Collins represents the National Party centre-right.   She is a 'no prisoners' politician.   She would be a very effective leader of the Opposition.   Prediction ... Judith Collins by a country mile.

Tukituki ... National is defending a 6,500 majority and with the retirement of Craig Foss they chose the long time Hastings Mayor, Lawrence Yule, as their candidate.   So far so good and then came the Havelock North water contamination crisis with the fault laid squarely at local and regional government.     Labour re-selected their 2014 candidate who, while lacking in substance, is both  telegenic and energetic.  If nothing else changed it was points to Labour but then, among came the 7th Cavalry to the rescue in the form of Labour's water tax policy which has gone down like a lead balloon in an electorate where irrigation is a major issue.   Prediction ... Lawrence Yule to win.

Te Tai Hauauru ... I am happy to admit that the more I know about Maori politics, the less I know. 
Nevertheless I will be watching this result with interest which pits the high profile Maori Party candidate Howie Tamati, CEO of Sport Taranaki and former Rugby League International and President of the New Zealand Rugby League and long time New Plymouth District Councillor  against Labour's almost invisible Adrian Rurawhe who won the seat off the Maori Party following the retirement of Tariana Turia.   Polls in the Maori seats must always be treated with caution but I am aware that a number of them show Tamati in front.   Prediction ... too close to call.

Hutt South ... National's Chris Bishop has been working this seat hard for the past six years so much so that the incumbent MP, Labour's Trevor Mallard, decided to cut and run for the safety of Labour's List.    They chose a carpetbagger in preference to a local and, word on the ground, is that she has failed to make much of an impact.    Last time round it was only Mallard's personal following that got him over the line while National won the Party vote by over 6,000.    Prediction ... Chris Bishop to win.

Ohariru ... National haven't won Ohariru since 1981 (on quite different boundaries).   Since 1994 it has been held by Peter Dunne in various guises.    Dunne bailed early on in the campaign when his own polling saw him losing to Labour.   In 2014 National won the Party vote by some 10,000 over Labour.   Despite this I suspect their candidate, List MP Brett Hudson, has a long road to hoe against a high profile Labour candidate made just a bit easier by the volte face by the Greens to run a candidate after earlier agreeing to stand aside to give Labour a clear run.   Prediction ... Labour to win.    United Future to sink without trace.

Christchurch Central ... there's something in the water in the socialist republic of Christchurch that designates them an ornery lot and yes, they've been through a pretty rough time.   But it seems that for them, everything the government does (and its government money that's paying for much of the rebuild) is wrong.   Then there was the Christchurch Cathedral debacle where it was less than edifying to see all political parties trying to outbid each other to restore a single church ... what about all the other churches that were destroyed?   That aside, Christchurch Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner has her work out out defending a 2,400 majority against a Labour candidate promising untold riches for the city should they win.   Prediction ... Labour to win.

So, there it is folks.    Don't get too het up if you disagree.   It's only me and one thing I'll guarantee ... no matter the result it will rain somewhere in New Zealand on Sunday.

Sheesh, this was a long post ... no apologies.

Updated 2.41 ... one final point in respect of the negotiations that will take place following the election.    Accepting that NZ First has more position bottom lines than the Kama Sutra but if they are determined there should be a referendum on the Maori seats then only National can agree to that.
Labour can't for obvious reasons.  


pdm said...

Tukituki (my electorate) should go to Yule.

An experienced politician he `has a bit about him' as they say. While I do not know him personally I have met him a few times over the last 15 years or so and he is personable and has a good work ethic - the Havelock North water problems should not be blamed on him as the Regional Council is equally as culpable as the Hastings District Council. Yule also has the advantage of Labour Candidate Anna Lorck being an unlikeable airhead and I have not spoken to anyone who has said they will vote for her.

Richard said...

Very good analysis. For National to win I believe they need either over 46% vote (unlikely), or over 43% and the Greens to get under 5% (possible, may depend on this weeks pols to be announced, if Greens 6% or under some Green votes may shift to Labour to avoid being wasted). A bonus would be NZ First under 5% also.

Paranormal said...

pdm, it seems that Labour supporters will be happy voting for Yule. The tool is behind some of the more dopey announcements from the local government conferences over the past few years.

Noel said...

Aw it always rains in south west corner.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... your point?

Psycho Milt said...

... to my good friend Psycho Milt yes, you can buy me a beer anytime.

Definitely my shout if your number one probability comes up! You might have to visit PN to collect though, from memory my last trip to Northland was in 1979...

I'm certainly hoping for a Labour/Green government, but wouldn't dare to put a probability on it - too hard to distinguish hard-headed analysis from wishful thinking.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

"too hard to distinguish hard-headed analysis from wishful thinking."

You're right Milt.

However I find a tinge of wishful thinking makes hard analysis more gratifying.

Anonymous said...

Just as an aside I believe that the regrettable Trump rhetoric at the UN ( a place he despises) will filter through to votes for labour....no one likes a loudmouth who stokes tensions to please his own power base and any party who distances themselves from this idiot is bound to be popular.

Lord Egbut


If I were the GNats, I would be tempted to offer Winston the biggest bauble of all, with a few pre-conditions.
Make him PM, but the post becomes effectively ceremonial.
Let him have the honour of being the country's first Maori PM.
But the effective management of the economy continues as now, with English as finance minister, a job he did so well.
Deputy PM could be Joyce or Collins.
There will need to be a few NZ Firsters somewhere but if the country is heading in the right direction, economically, why change? A few new faces to secure future successions and rejuvenation but leave it as that.
Of course, if Taxinda has the numbers, the GNats will need to lick their wounds and brace themselves for the bloodbath.

The Veteran said...

Fairfacts ... in Peters' dreams. That might have flown if NZF were polling at the 18% level as forecast by thjeir apologist Paul Scott but not when it's polling at 7% trending down. Nor would it happen with Labour having the numbers. Such a move would split the National Party. Were Peters to demand that then I suspect National would happily go to the Opposition benches and create merry mischief for the next three years.

Nick K said...


Nick K said...

Another one to watch closely is North Shore, where I am extremely confident the Act candidate will beat the Green Party candidate.