11.00pm: Here’s our guide to the election night coverage. It has links, even.
9.10pm: Missed the closing broadcasts? Me, too. I’ve put the ones I can find – National, Labour and Greens – on a page here, though.
8.10pm: EVENING BULLETINS
For the last time, here we go. On Checkpoint at 5pm, the confession in the Carmen Thomas case leads. Next is charges being laid against Watercare over the Onehunga gas explosion. Then we’re into the election, and aboard the buses. Phil Goff is apparently going to campaign right up until midnight tonight. Then to John Key, who hilariously accidentally crashed a wedding, and oddly was accused of getting special treatment from Air New Zealand.
A similar story on One News. The Carmen Thomas confession is first, gas explosion case second. Then Key on his bus and the thing about the plane. And Goff on his bus and he’s staying up late. So is John Banks. The Conservatives and Colin Craig are on a late charge – and New Zealand First is, well, around. Next is an election-day FAQ sort of thing, and later in the bulletin, completing a scrupulously fair run around the minor parties, we see what Mana, Maori, United Future and the Greens have been up to today. Finally, the electorate road trip heads to Northland.
On 3 News, it’s the Carmen Thomas case, followed by a murdered security guard. Then the Watercare prosecution. Next is John Key, his bus, all that, will a bit of New Zealand First bolted on. Then the Goffmobile heading to Auckland, this time with some Greens appended. Next Duncan Garner looks at how the numbers might fall, followed by a look at the Conservatives and finally a bloke called Bill Woods who has stood unsuccessfully for parliament since 1975.
Not a lot to shout about in the 7pm servings. Close Up has a “light-hearted look” at the election, which is five minutes I won’t get back. On Campbell Live, Mihi Forbes finally gets an interview with Pita Sharples, Lachlan Forsyth asks his grandmother who elections were in the Old Days, and Richard Langston cruelly splutters about 200 haircut-related puns while he watches Peter Dunne go the barber.
We’ll publish later this evening our guide to coverage for tomorrow night. From 7pm tomorrow this blog will spark back into life, with contributions from Jane Clifton, Diana Wichtel, Chris Slane and goodness knows who else. Philip and I will be wired into the grid, following the TV, radio and online coverage and sharing some of it with you, minute by blessed minute. We’d love to have your company.
5.15pm: Our forecaster says there’s unlikely to be any weather-related excuse not to vote tomorrow.
4.55pm: Antony Green, the election guru at ABC Australia, has a handy primer on election day in New Zealand here.
By the way, we’ll be spitting out a comprehensive guide to election coverage in an hour or two. Or three.
4.40pm: A quarter of a million people have voted in advance, an 18% increase on last time round, Stuff reports.
4.20pm: John Key is in the warm embrace of an interview with Paul Henry on Radio Live. How will you finally judge your achievements? Key answers like he’s been thrown one of those “what is your biggest weakness” questions in a job interview. “People criticise me for being too upbeat, too optimistic for this job,” he says. All he wants is to make New Zealand “wealthier, more prosperous, but also more confident”.
Still “nothing ever lasts for ever,” he says.
They say their goodbyes. “John Key. Prime minister,” Henry intones. “But for how much longer? His future is in your hands.”
2.40pm: Winston Peters has angrily dismissed suggestions (see 12.20pm) that his candidacy is illegal as “dirty tricks” and “absolute unadulterated nonsense”. More at 3News.co.nz.
2.15pm: Ladies and gentlemen, we present: The Listener Live Election Night Sweepstake. We’re publishing it now rather than tomorrow, when it would be illegal to publish before 7pm. Print it early and print it often!
1.35pm: Who says Don Brash is getting a good press. He gets quoted at length and positively in this piece. From Fiji.
1.15pm: Media law experts Dean Knight and Graeme Edgeler have both commented on the Kiwiblog thread that questions the legality of Winston Peters’ candidacy. They don’t think there’s a problem. See here and here (thanks Lyndon H). (updated to correct media-lawyer-blogger muddle – not Steven Price, Graeme E)
Legal blogger John Edwards is troubled by the chief ombudsman’s refusal to release the asset-sales documents.
Brian Edwards, who has been advising Phil Goff on his media efforts, writes at his Brian Edwards Media blog:
Looking for words to describe him, I come up with: warm, generous, kind, caring, loyal, principled, hard-working, intelligent, passionate – a decent man … the outcome of tomorrow’s election, Phil Goff can stay or walk away with his head held high.
Gordon Campbell has been one of the most vigoruous and forensic bloggers through the campaign. From his final pre-election post at Scoop:
In the end, the watch-dog agencies (the courts, the media, the Ombudsmen’s office) were caught flat-footed. Thanks to them, voters will be casting their votes tomorrow in a deliberately induced state of ignorance about their current leaders, and their intentions.
Danyl Mclauchlan’s election wrap-up at the Dim-Post is full of quotable lines, but you’ll have to go and read it for yourself.
At Pundit, Rob Salmond presents his final poll of polls. Among his predictions: Winston Peters won’t make it.
“Who am I voting for?” teases Cameron Slater in a headline. And would you believe it? He’s going for Mana. (He isn’t.)
The full cast of lefty bloggers at the Standard reveal who they’ll be voting for.
Morgan Godfery’s roundup of the week in Maori politics hasn’t posted yet, but he’s promised it will be posted here later today.
John Pagani says National’s opening broadcast was rubbish, but their closing effort is even rubbisher.
The Ohariu-based blogger at Big News explains why s/he’ll be voting for Peter Dunne and for the Greens.
At No Minister, The Veteran makes his election-day predictions, including – and it “hurts me to say this” – an Act loss in Epsom.
Martyn Bradbury of Tumeke says go out and vote tomorrow.
And as mentioned earlier, Kiwiblog’s DPF has a scoop on Winston Peters.
One other thing: we’re dusting off the bunting for a big election night blog tomorrow night, and there will probably be a bit more in the days following while horses are traded and mortems posted. But thereafter, as we sneak under the duvet, the best place to go for a roundup of all the writing about politics is Bryce Edwards’ hugely valuable daily post, NZ Politics Daily, at his Liberation blog. You probably knew it already, but if you didn’t you do now.
12.30pm: Midday Report leads the RNZ news at noon (or midday, whatever) with an item that reports “several specialist lawyers” have doubts about the government’s ability to limit the sale of shares in assets to domestic buyers, owing to international trade agreements. Here’s the version of the story on their site.
12.20pm: Kiwiblogger David Farrar has been poring over the Incorporated Societies Act 1908, as you do, and reckons that it renders the candidacy of Winston Peters, leader of NZ First – itself an incorporated society – illegal.
11.30am: Election night sweepstake, viewing/listening/clicking guide and more coming this afternoon.
11.00am: You don’t need a PhD in ACT party fast-food kremlinology to appreciate the import of the message that John Banks has just sent via Facebook:
McDonald’s, indeed. As we all know, Don Brash prefers Burger King. Could there be a clearer signal from Banks of his distaste for the man he reportedly called “a strange fellow”?
10.40am: Report cards for the parties’ campaigns are being issued in parts of the media today. The most damning, perhaps, is this line from Pattrick Smellie in the Dominion Post business pages:
As the end of the worst-executed election campaign in living memory by a governing party comes to a close, Key’s best hope is just to get to the end of the week without another gaffe.
10.30am: A reminder of the challenge facing any opposition taking on a party after its first term came in a recent Listener editorial (which was arguing for a four-year term):
Since 1935 there have been only two single-term governments. The second Labour Government (1957-60) was hammered for its infamous Black Budget, and the third Labour Government (1972-75) had the misfortune of leader Norman Kirk dying in office and being replaced by the less popular Bill Rowling.
10.20am: Last night’s Media 7 is now watch-on-demand-able. It features the Edward Murrow of Maori TV, Julian Wilcox, the man who made the child poverty documentary, Bryan Bruce, and a courageous investigation into the Hipsters for Goldsmith subculture,
10.10am: The diverted Air New Zealand flight (see 9.20am) is leading the 10am news on both RadioLive and Newstalk ZB, and runs second on National Radio. (I listened to three at the same time; practising for tomorrow night. Years of therapy beckon.) The remarks by the air-hostess have been described as “light-hearted jokes”.
More from the PM’s office via Cheng on Twitter:
PM did not say “vote National” but was joking with the stewardess to vote for him while she was on the plane’s PA system
9.45am: Derek Cheng of the Herald has been a star within the Twitterati this campaign – and he is first to send the official response to the claims made in Sue Bradford’s press release (see 9.20am). He writes:
PM’s office says flights were cancelled and it’s standard practice to divert flights to collect stranded passengers … PM did not request the flight, and they weren’t the only passengers that got collected.
9.20am: A quite astonishing press release from the Mana party arrives. The headline: Power crazy Key diverts plane, tells passengers to vote Nats. Hearsay (airsay?), perhaps, but this is Sue Bradford’s testimony:
At 7am this morning I was contacted by a friend in Golden Bay. Last night she received a call from an irate Lee Heller, who had been a passenger on direct flight Air NZ 8388 from Nelson to Auckland. Out of the blue, passengers on that flight were advised that the plane was to be diverted to New Plymouth for “operational” reasons.
Little did they realise that “operational” meant their flight was diverted simply to pick up the Prime Minister. The whole flight was over half an hour late as a result.
On top of that, while in the air the stewardess announced that passengers should vote National, apparently at the request of John Key.
8.30am: Steven “slip cordon” Joyce and Grant “potential future leader” Robertson have been arching their backs at one another on Morning Report. Robertson, the Labour campaign spokesman, seems to be doing more media this campaign than Trevor Mallard, nominally the campaign manager. Joyce, who is unmistakeably the National campaign manager – indeed I sometimes imagine him running the whole thing from a shed out the back with a joystick, or maybe on Ninendo Wii, in his boardshorts – says Labour’s problem is they’ve been “overegging everything”; the public simply don’t believe their exaggerated claims about asset sales.
What about those secret Treasury documents being kept from public view, says Robertson. Joyce: “That’s the least secret policy that New Zealand has ever seen.” They’ve been up front about it since April, he says. Robertson: “New Zealanders need all the information on the table so they can make their decision.”
Labour were wrong to imagine that asset sales are the defining issue, says the Slip Cordon. What is the defining issue? The economy, and “who’s got the best plan”. Asset sales are part of that, though? Yes, but it’s a wider issue.
Have Labour got a hope, Robertson is asked. It’s “all on for tomorrow”, he insists: under MMP it’s perfectly possible that they could lead a government.
8.15am: Nearly a quarter of a million eligible voters are not on the electoral roll. Today is the last day to enrol. If you haven’t, go here and do it or the police could come and get you, during their spare time.
8.10am: Some dork on the North Shore is offering on TradeMe to sell his or her vote to the highest bidder.
7.45am: Russel Norman and Bill English have given seperate interviews to Morning Report related to the ombudsman’s denial of the Green party’s last-gasp effort to force publication of documents (four of them remain, I think) related to asset sales. “So voters have got a right to see the calculations that lie behind that figure [of $5bn-$7bn for the partial sale in five assets],” says the Green co-leader. “And is it actually possible under our trade deals to restrict foreign ownership?” Does he think the chief ombudsman is taking a political stance? “I’m pretty shocked … previously the ombudsman stood up to the Labour party.”
The National finance spokesman rejects the suggestion of political motivation - it’s all about commercial sensitivity, he insists. “Everything in the public interest is out there,” he says. “The only information that’s being protected is in relation to commercial probity – there’s not that much public interest.” You can sense Steven Joyce, ear plug in aboard the bus, wincing at the sound of English saying “not that much public interest”. Surely, in an election campaign, any public interest is enough, he might be asked. But he isn’t.
English rejects out of hand any suggestion they may have asked for advice on any asset sales beyond those already proposed.
A superficial aside on Russel with one L Norman: While John Key is often giggled at for starting his sentences with some configuration of so-look-yip, Norman answers just about every question with so. Listen to him next time he’s on. Every time.
7.30am: MORNING BULLETINS
On Radio New Zealand, Morning Report leads its 7am bulletin with the Herald/DigiPoll (se 6.45am). That’s followed by the chief ombudsman’s refusal to release Treasury advice over asset sales (more soon). And then news of Key and Goff on their buses, with the blue bus warning against apathy and the red bus hammering away at the asset-sales theme.
On One Breakfast, the bust trips lead, then they repeat their own poll from last night. Then a fire in Hastings.
Firstline leads on the 3 News poll from last night, which segues into a roundup of the final furlongs of the debates. Second is the situation in Epsom. And then off to Egypt, where a rather more delicate election is scheduled for Monday.
The Roy Morgan poll, published overnight, also puts NZ First over the magic line. From its summary statement:
Today’s Special Election Eve New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows Prime Minister John Key’s National Party set to be re-elected tomorrow, but falling short of gaining a majority in its own right.
National has 49.5% (down 3.5%) of the party vote well ahead of second party Labour (23.5%, down 1%) and a surging Greens (14.5%, up 1.5%).Support for New Zealand First (6.5%, up 3.5%) has increased after Leader Winston Peters gained public attention when he revealed parts of the “Teapot Tape” Scandal to the public.
Support for the other minor parties shows ACT NZ 1.5% (unchanged) and United Future 0.5% (up 0.5%) unlikely to retain their seats in Parliament while the Maori Party 1% (down 2%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%) will closely contest the seven Maori seats.
New Zealand First sneak over the threshold in this morning’s Herald/Digipoll results. Winston Peters’ party, which has no show of winning an electorate seat, polls at 5.2%. The numbers:
National 50.9% (up 1)
Labour 28%, (down 1.1)
Greens 11.8%. (down 0.8)
NZ First 5.2% (up 0.3)
ACT 1.8% (up 0.1)
Conservatives 1.3% (up 0.7)
Maori Party 0.4% (down 0.3
Mana 0.3% (down 0.1)
United Future 0% (down 0.1)
Last night’s two polls are detailed in yesterday’s post, see 6.10pm.
6.30am: Hello, good morning, and a nice cup of tea.
It’s about 24 hours till the polls open. If Phil Goff were Jack Bauer, he’d have loads of time. But he isn’t Jack Bauer, he’s Phil Goff, and he’s way behind John Key’s National party.
On the John Key battlebus yesterday, they weren’t watching 24, but another boxset: The West Wing. There isn’t a lot of Aaorn Sorkin dialogue emerging from John Key, but it’s certainly a presidential-style campaign from him – and he’s as popular as Josiah Bartlet in his prime.
Goff needs a break today. Like, for instance, this page leaping back into bleeping life, spelling out in the Pacific Ocean, VOTE PHIL.
You never know.