Seymour becomes a star in the poll dance – but let’s see a spotlight on the hard policy ACT has choreographed

ACT  leader  David Seymour  seems  to  think  he is  dancing  with the  stars  once more. Whether  he’s  in  step  with the  music is somewhat uncertain.

At  any  rate, he’s boldly  putting  it  about:

“We can  win in 2023.”

Point  of  Order has  received from  him a  note  on  how the latest  polls   are  trending in  which he  asserts the gap between the Government and the Opposition is closing.

He  cites the  latest Taxpayers’ Union Curia poll,   in  which  ACT is steady on 16%, while Labour is down 6 points to 39%.

“In the last 12 months, National has regained its election night polling and we have doubled our support.Two months ago, the gap between the centre-left and centre-right was 19 points. It’s now just 6.

“In the most important barometer of the mood of the country, more New Zealanders now believe the country is heading in the wrong direction than the right direction”. Continue reading “Seymour becomes a star in the poll dance – but let’s see a spotlight on the hard policy ACT has choreographed”

MIQueue – bringing Kiwis together

Scattered across time zones, united in desperation, Jacinda’s team of 25,000 hunched over PCs and phones on Tuesday to secure one of the coveted 3,700 rooms (more or less) for returning New Zealanders.  The two hours or so it took to work down the electronic queue were an opportunity to catch up on international coverage of the government’s acknowledgement that Covid elimination was not going to work. 

Continue reading “MIQueue – bringing Kiwis together”

Graham Adams: The government is stumbling towards disaster over Three Waters

 

The Opposition parties must be watching with glee, writes Graham Adams, as councils reject Nanaia Mahuta’s plan for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater.

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Even Labour’s most one-eyed supporters must be aware by now that the Three Waters reform being pushed by Nanaia Mahuta is fast becoming a make-or-break issue for the government. The eight-week “engagement” period that ended on September 30 saw a swathe of councils across the nation objecting — sometimes angrily — to the proposed changes to the management of drinking water, storm water and wastewater.

Mahuta’s plan is for the 67 councils’ water services to be merged into four giant regional authorities that ratepayers will not directly own or control. As National’s Chris Luxon says, councils are rightly worried about “not having direct influence and no shareholding or formal stake in the new entity whatsoever”.

The roll call of disaffected councils includes those overseeing our two biggest cities. Between them, Auckland and Christchurch represent nearly two million inhabitants — or roughly 40 per cent of New Zealand’s population.

Furthermore, their mayors — Phil Goff and Lianne Dalziel — are former high-ranking Labour ministers, which makes dismissing their opposition difficult.

The rhetoric from Christchurch councillors, in particular, has been incendiary. One, James Gough, said the proposal showed disregard for democracy, and was nothing short of “blatant asset theft”. Continue reading “Graham Adams: The government is stumbling towards disaster over Three Waters”

Covid has camouflaged cracks in the Cabinet and hidden failures in the govt’s performance

Is  the  political  tide which  Labour  rode  in  triumph  to   victory  last  year    beginning  to  ebb?  The  September  Colmar  Brunton    poll pointed  at   least  to  it  being  on the  turn.

Not  that  political  pundits    saw  it  that  way.  They  were  too  heavily  focused  on  how  National’s  leader  Judith  Collins  had  crashed to  a  new  low  point and canvassing  how  soon  the  caucus  dissidents   would  coalesce   to  overthrow  her.

Those  experts  hardly   noticed  that  Prime  Minister  Jacinda  Ardern’s  once  stellar popularity   has  moved  off  its  peak  and  is  now  down  at  44% — even  though  the  communication  skills  which  propelled  her  to  the   heights   have  been  in  daily  evidence  during  the  latest  Covid  Delta  outbreak.

The  other   curious  feature   of  the  mainstream  media’s  analysis  of  the  Colmar  Brunton sampling was  the almost  universal  view  that   the ACT party  is    sucking  the  oxygen   out  of  National,  excluding  the  rather  different prospect   that  the  parties  of  the  right  are gaining  while  support  for  the  parties of  the  left  are   now  easing, admittedly  from    an  exceptional  high. Continue reading “Covid has camouflaged cracks in the Cabinet and hidden failures in the govt’s performance”

Graham Adams: Going where the media won’t

Behind the coverage of David Seymour’s rise in the polls and Maori Language Week lurk inconvenient truths. Graham Adams argues journalists need to be more even-handed to maintain their credibility.

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IN THE HULLABALOO that followed Curia’s poll results last week, the media focused mainly on the startling fact that National’s support had collapsed to 21.3 per cent — with all its dire implications for Judith Collins continuing as the party’s leader.

Predictably, the dismal figures spawned a flurry of articles predicting a palace coup — with the rider that the mutiny could not be immediate because Level 4 lockdown prevented the party’s Auckland MPs flying to Wellington en masse to disembowel their leader in person. A coup conducted over Zoom would have been unseemly and presumably unsatisfying to those consumed with blood lust.

The fact that Act reached its highest number in any poll — at 14.9 per cent — was also widely covered, partly because it was seen as a fresh humiliation for Collins, with the party described as “hot on National’s heels”.

While the media was keen to dissect the causes for Collins’ poor showing, however, it didn’t seem nearly as interested in analysing possible reasons for David Seymour’s ascension — including the role played by his tweet revealing the confidential code prioritising access to vaccinations for Māori.

Seymour posted the tweet at 9.49am on September 6. The poll of 1000 respondents was conducted between September 5 and September 9, with the median responses on September 7.

In short, nearly all the polling occurred in the days immediately after Seymour’s message appeared, which also saw his defence of his actions published prominently in the NZ Herald on September 8.

It is clear that despite the widespread condemnation he received in the media — ranging from the Māori Party describing the tweet as a “lowlife move” to the extraordinary response of Newshub’s political editor, Tova O’Brien, calling him a “cockwomble” — his popularity hit new highs. Continue reading “Graham Adams: Going where the media won’t”

Holding the govt to account takes a curious toll – Nats sink in the polls and Collins rethinks her 2018 views on quitting

The hounds of the parliamentary press gallery are smelling Nat blood.

More particularly, they are smelling the blood of National Party leader Judith Collins, who is reported to be shrugging off talk of a leadership challenge.

Poor polls – she contends – are due to her party holding the Government to account.

Really?

Holding the Government to account explains why a recent opinion poll shows the party’s popularity sinking to just 21 per cent?

We wonder if something might be missing from that analysis and that inadequately holding the government to account might be a factor in the Nats’ poor poll showing and the rise (comparatively) of  ACT and David Seymour. Continue reading “Holding the govt to account takes a curious toll – Nats sink in the polls and Collins rethinks her 2018 views on quitting”

Three Waters – Mahuta seems curiously bemused by the numbers of mayors who aren’t buying into her reform plan

When the rising tide of dissatisfaction about a key reform programme has reached a minister’s neck, it seems smart to consider turning off a tap, if not pulling the plug.      

But not Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.  She is reported to be defending the Three Waters reform amid mounting criticism of the sort that was described like this in an Otago Daily Times editorial late last week:

“Opposition to the Government’s ambitious Three Waters plan is substantial, and for good reasons.”

The Three Waters are storm, drinking and wastewater.  

But although too much is unknown and/or uncertain about the government’s reform, the ODT noted, submissions from councils are to close at the end of the month.

Southern mayors have asked the Government to slow down the process and allow time for meaningful public engagement.

“This is the very least that should happen.”

Opposition to Mahuta’s grand design has been recorded throughout the country. 

Curiously, the Minister says she is “curious” about why she isn’t riding a winner – a remark that suggests she hasn’t bothered finding out. Continue reading “Three Waters – Mahuta seems curiously bemused by the numbers of mayors who aren’t buying into her reform plan”

Henare is grilled over NZDF’s evacuation mission but the numbers left in Afghanistan are still being counted

Defence  Minister  Peeni  Henare in  Parliament  yesterday stoutly  defended the  government’s actions  in Afghanistan — even though an  estimated 375 people were left behind when evacuation flights  were   halted.

Critics  contend that if Cabinet hadn’t taken the weekend off, many of those 375 might  have  been  airlifted  out.

Henare  brushed  aside  questions about why  the Immigration  Department  had  turned  down  resettlement applications  in  July.   

He  did  claim, however,  there had been “an exceptionally fast response”  on August 19 when  he  and a ministerial colleague approved the deployment of an NZDF C-130 Hercules aircraft and up to 80 NZDF personnel, some to operate on the ground at the Kabul airport and the remainder to be based out of an airbase in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Continue reading “Henare is grilled over NZDF’s evacuation mission but the numbers left in Afghanistan are still being counted”

Robertson relishes the patsy questions – when the Opposition quiz him, he is not quite so ebullient

Finance   Minister  Grant  Robertson  can’t  resist  seeing  the  sunny side of  the  economy.  When Parliament  resumed  this  week, he  was   first  up  at  question  time  to  tell  New Zealanders that –  thanks to a strong  export  performance – the economic  recovery  is  going  well.

But  Robertson  didn’t  sound  quite   so  ebullient  when later  he  faced  some  harder  questions  from the  Opposition   benches.

Clearly  the party’s  internal  polling  has  shown rising  dissatisfaction on issues  outside  the Covid  realm, a trend reflected in  polls  like  those  of  Newshub  Reid Research,  which indicated  support  for  Labour had  fallen  nearly  10 points  from  the previous  sampling.

Even  inside Labour there  have  been  rumblings, as  indicated  by its elder  statesman Sir Michael  Cullen contending  the  $15bn  Auckland light  rail  project could be a disastrous waste of taxpayer  money.  And it has been  followed by suggestions the  government itself  is  backpedalling  on the proposed  $700m  Auckland bridge for  cyclists  and  walkers. Continue reading “Robertson relishes the patsy questions – when the Opposition quiz him, he is not quite so ebullient”

Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)

We weren’t surprised, at Point of Order, to see the scant media attention paid to a statement issued yesterday by ACT leader David Seymour.  

Headed  Government’s questionable media funding, the statement notes how the Government

“… is extending its tentacles into nearly every area of media with an offer too good to refuse for each outlet, and it has rapidly reached absurdity with taxpayer money spent on journalism to check on Government expenditure of taxpayer money”.

The statement was triggered by the announcement of the first tranche of the government’s $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund.

As RNZ’s Mediawatch reported,  Māori journalism projects and a new training initiative are the major beneficiaries of the first $10m, but some of the money goes to things already funded from the public purse.

Mediawatch further noted

“… this is the biggest single public investment in journalism for decades and takes the total annual spend on media to over $300m. (There’s another $20m up his sleeve if Cabinet thinks the media need that too.)  

“Media companies big and small, local and national, public and private alike can all apply to the fund – including those which have never had public money before.”

Oh – but let’s not forget the need for recipients of this lolly to push a highly political ideological barrow:

Guidelines issued in April also said the fund ‘must actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.”  Continue reading “Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)”