Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either

Latest  opinion  polling  has   created  a  stir  among  the  political cognoscenti.  On   one  side, ACT’s  rise is being seen as  a  big  problem   for  National. From  another,  Labour’s   fall  by 9.7 points   from the  previous poll points to  sharp  disillusion  with the Ardern government.

TV3’s  AM Show  told viewers ACT’s  four-point  rise  to 11 % constitutes “soaring popularity”.  Well,  not  quite.

Then there seemed to be  a  general  judgement  that Judith Collins’ fall below  ACT  leader David  Seymour’s rating  signalled  her imminent  demise  as  National  leader.

In  reality,  the  Newshub Reid  Research poll’s  findings,  while  recording sharp shifts  from  its  previous  sampling,  weren’t  much  different   from  the   Colmar  Brunton  post-Budget poll  which  recorded  Labour  down  to  46%  from  its  previous highs   in the  fifties.

Labour  together  with  the  Greens   are  still  comfortably   ahead   of  their  opponents combined.

Now  that  Labour  strategists are certain  the electorate   is  convinced  Jacinda  Ardern  can  do  no wrong, the government  will stick  to  its programme.  Criticism is brushed  aside: who pays  attention to  Sir Michael  Cullen,  Labour’s   onetime  guru?

Sir Michael has  warned  them  (twice  in the  NZ  Herald)   of  the risks  of  proceeding with  the  very  expensive  Light  Rail project  in  Auckland.

ACT,   which   is  finding  fresh  support, believes  Labour  has  lost   its  way,   but  as  Point of  Order  sees  it,  Labour  ministers,  freed  from  the  shackles  of  NZ  First,  are   now  feeling  their  oats  and  pursuing  the reforms   they  believe  the  country has urgently  needed  as  an array of issues  emerged  in the  era  since  the Clark  government   held office.

For  example, Andrew  Little  will  not  be  diverted  from  his  health  reforms which –   he   insists  to  colleagues – must  be implemented at  top speed, even  though  it  is  already  clear  the  system  is  under enormous  stress.

The   health-sector reforms  are  also  bringing  into focus   the  trend  to  Big Government  always  favoured  by  Labour,  with power  exercised   from the centre.

It   takes  a   while  after  Labour takes office   for    this  trend  to    become   fully  visible,  and  even  longer   for  its  effects   to  fully  penetrate  to the   grass roots  level.  The   real  problem stems from the  quality   of  the bureaucrats  available to run a  reformed    system.

Meanwhile    the  government’s  solutions  to  the  housing  crisis,  to   child  poverty, and to  inequality   have   been  slow  to  appear.

Radical changes   involving a return to a  national pay agreements system may  satisfy  union  leaders  but  could   compound  the economic  problems that  already  are rising  to  the  surface  as  inflation  takes  hold,  and  shortages  of  essential  goods,  as  well  as  labour  for  key industries,    become  acute.

Looming   up  for  the  government  are   the  hard  decisions  it  must take on how  to  combat  global  warming.  Almost  certainly  these  will  not  satisfy  green  lobby  groups  like  Greenpeace  and  Forest  and  Bird, let  alone  all  of the  Green MPs.

That’s  where   the  support for Labour from the  Green  Party  will  be  put  to  the  test  and  where  the  comfortable  relationship which Greens  co-leader James  Shaw  enjoys  with  Jacinda  Ardern may  lose  some of  its  cosiness.

In  the  latest  poll  the  Greens  were  up  1.4 points  to  8.5%.

Shaw said this showed the 2020 election result – enabling Labour to form the first majority government in the MMP era – was an outlier.

“I think that what the poll shows is more of a reversion to normality. We’d be very pleased to be able to form a government with Labour after the next election.”

ACT leader David Seymour is confident ACT   and  National    are  closing  the gap  with  their opponents.

“I think it’s very clear that with both ACT and National increasing in this poll, it’s not an ‘either or’ it’s an ‘and and’ and the net result is a serious proposition for the voters not only to have a change of government but with ACT, a change of direction.”

The Reid-Research poll has Seymour in second place for preferred prime minister – up 3 points to 8.6%,with Judith Collins at 8.2%.

Collins said she was not concerned.

“No, it makes no difference at all. The fact is is that the National Party’s around three times the size of ACT, that’s the way it normally works. That’s just silly stuff coming out of Newshub. I also well remember the days when Winston Peters was significantly more popular as prime minister than Jim Bolger. It just doesn’t work like that.”

So   what  does  NZ First leader Winston Peters  think  about   the  trends  I n the  poll?

He  told  RNZ  he  did not care to know his party had got 3.4% in the poll.

2 thoughts on “Poll results won’t deter Labour from its reform programme – but they shouldn’t unnerve the Nats, either

  1. Why is John Key included in the preferred PM poll but not Helen Clark? Surely that unfairly impacts Collins’ rating? A drop of nearly 10 percent for Labour in two months is precipitous. People are waking up to Labour’s “co-governance” agenda that was not revealed during the election. The proposed 3 waters reforms, which would mean every New Zealander’s access to fresh water is in the hands of iwi, make the implications of this subversion of New Zealand’s constitution very real for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To Reform make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.
    Your headline is clearly a misnomer the government policies will do the opposite at best.

    Like

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