New Zealand’s first Covid community case in many months struck just as the country has been fretting over how the government might frame its re-opening to the world after the pandemic.
The government’s response – another Alert Level Four lockdown – was announced (eventually) during a prime ministerial press conference, televised live, which dominated 6pm news programmes.
Whether this will provoke a fresh bout of Jacindamania, like that New Zealand experienced before the last election, is far from certain.
The mood of the nation has been shifting in recent months, showing the signs of tetchiness that should put any government on high alert.
Coincidentally, a new poll by UMR has pointed to Labour’s support sliding from 48% in July to 43% this month, with the Greens on 7%, down one.
On the other side of the political fence, National has risen 4 points to 28% and ACT to 13%, up 2%, but that still leaves a big gap to be closed by the centre-right parties. Continue reading “PM’s announcement of a Covid lockdown might trigger more Jacindamania – but Govt gaffes have triggered a slide in support” →
Labour MPs are a happy bunch of campers. Party polling is solid, their leader has gained recognition round the world that few other NZ prime ministers have enjoyed, and their opponents are in disarray.
The government has steered the country through the Covid-19 pandemic with little of the strife that has ravaged other populations.
What’s more the economy is in good shape, despite the damage suffered by key sectors like tourism, aviation and international education.
The Labour camp is confident Grant Robertson will maintain the political momentum when he delivers the budget next month. After all, he did not hesitate to spend up large to sustain incomes when the economy looked as it would nosedive during lockdowns. Overall, the economy kept a surprising equilibrium despite the pandemic’s buffeting, and slippage in GDP in the final quarter last year.
Not that satisfying the range of demands for higher spending will be easy. Problems like child poverty, housing shortages, and inequality have intensified since Labour took office.
Failing infrastructure has underlined the need for all those “shovel-ready” projects promised in the run-up to last year’s election, but yet to be launched. Fortunately for ministers, they have escaped the obloquy heaped on predecessors when they trot out the familiar banality beloved of Beehive staffers (“work is going on in that space”, Cabinet is seeking advice on that”, “I have called for a report”). Continue reading “Polls show Labour on a high and the economy is in good nick as Robertson polishes Budget 2021” →
Jacinda Ardern and her government have won global admiration for vanquishing the coronavirus. At home their ratings have soared. Polls show more than 80% of those sampled support the way the government handled the pandemic crisis.
New Zealanders accept without a blink the virus is universal and ubiquitous, a threat to all humankind. They celebrate how as part of a team of 5 million led by Ardern (and Ashley Bloomfield – whoever thought a public servants would become such a cult figure?) they repulsed Covid-19.
There is adulation of the kindness and compassion displayed by the Prime Minister.
Other governments, by comparison, have been condemned for their bungling and incompetence, the failures of their public health systems, and death tolls criticised as needless.
Foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall in The Guardian says a new age of revolution is dawning — but just what kind of revolution it may be will rest on how the pandemic’s shock waves and after-effects are directed and shaped. Continue reading “Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government” →
How voters react to the headlines generated by NZ First’s latest financial shenanigans may (or may not) determine the outcome on September 19.
The most recent Colmar Brunton poll had NZ First down at 3%, so some commentators are already writing off the party’s chances of survival.
But the real question, as some authorities see it, is whether Labour will suffer collateral damage from the fallout, if the Serious Fraud Office probe into the operations of the NZ First Foundation ends up in court action. It could be uncomfortable all round for the coalition if the SFO’s investigation leads to charges which a court ultimately finds proven. Continue reading “Pundits peddle opposing views on how PM should deal with Peters – but voters perhaps have other concerns” →
What to make of the latest opinion polls? Because they diverge so far from each other, experts say one must be wrong.
Perhaps some of those pollsters who got the mood of the Australian electorate so badly out of kilter with the actual election result have been imported to carry out one or other of the two samples. Or, maybe, because the polling done by each organisation covered different periods, there was a dramatic revision in the political mood almost overnight.
Even given the divergence, the pundits were virtually unanimous: Simon Bridges is gone—if not by lunchtime, then some time soon.
That’s, of course, what they said at the time of the last set of polls.
National’s leadership preoccupies these commentators much more than the actual performance of the government. Continue reading “Polls apart – but what are we to make of political surveys when the results are so divergent?” →