This will probably make more sense if you scroll down and read from the bottom up. No promises, though.
9.00pm: EVENING TELLY
One News leads on the deconsecration of ChristChurch, followed by the diminution of Silvio Berlusconi, and the deterioration of Greece. Then crime. Then the deformation of the Manawatu Gorge road. Love that road. Then the demolition of state houses. Then the asteroid near-miss. Then the De-Kanye-isation of the Big Day Out.
Again it’s not till 20 minutes in that the Election 2011 logo leaps into action, with coverage of the measurement of waterway condition and the irrigation funding. And that’s it. Maybe Guyon Espiner is using up lieu days. Don’t know. But they appear to be getting bored by the election at One News.
Over on 3 News, the lead is local, with the standoff in Dunedin over the Occupy protesters. Next is the latest on the Cup of Tea. Is someone going to start a Twitter account for The Cup of Tea, by the way, or do I have to do everything? “The message is, keep your biscuit ready”, says Mike McRoberts. And here’s Duncan Garner’s scoop: “Top National party sources have told 3 News, Key has decided to have that cup of tea with Banks, like he did with Rodney Hide in 2008.”
Then Phil Goff in Hawke’s Bay, and an elaborate metaphor from the irrepressible Patrick Gower based around the Labour leader reading Little Red Riding Hood, which ends up in a discussion of Labour’s potential coalition partners.
More election on 3 News next – what are they, obsessed? – with a line on Key’s accidental oversight of a minute’s silence (see 1.45pm) and the climate change policy launch.
Campbell Live leads on deep-sea oil drilling, with the first part of two heading to the East Cape to look at groups opposed to the plans (whence the same protesters interrupted Key’s visit last Thursday). It avoids going headlong into election territory, but is relevant and fascinating. I can’t really understand why Campbell Live doesn’t rate higher than it does.
Campbell Live winds up with the tried and true formula of “who is this”, pushing a politician’s photo in front of Joe or Joanna Public. Mana’s John Minto says Manukau East MP Ross Robertson has done nothing in 21 years. Do they recognise his picture on the street? All but one have no idea. A few think the Labour MP is John Key, One says: “Carlos Spencer?”
Close Up continues its examinations of Kiwis over the ditch with the Mozzies – Maori Aussies. Interesting piece, too. Then John Key is on set. He says the wage gap has narrowed between the transtasman neighbours – if you look at it after tax. He says the emigration was greater under Labour than under his National government. He’s well prepped here, stats and facts and different ways of looking at things all at his fingertips.
You have not delivered, says Mike Hosking. “I totally disagree with that,” says Key, and grabs the impetus, pointing to the cost of living in the big Australian cities. A good performance, on an issue where he should be vulnerable – and not because Hosking is poor, he’s not, he’s tough.
Hosking asks the PM to rate his own performance on the issue out of 10. Key wisely dodges it. Hosking says, I give you four out of 10; Key bats him off again, and then, just for good measure, he corrects him on a tax detail from an earlier programme. Once an accountant, etc. Hats off.
Back Benches begins soon. But that’s enough of me for tonight.
5.05pm: The first politics story on RNZ’s Checkpoint news at 5pm is National’s funding for irrigation from asset sales (see 2.50pm) and their climate change policy. Next up, the Dental Association say they’re keen on an independent inquiry into fluoride – but nothing more on Labour’s health policy, which hasn’t made a great impression in the media today.
I’ll be back in a while with a roundup of the evening’s television, at least as far as election coverage is concerned. John Key is booked, apparently, to appear on Close Up, where he’ll face questions over the number of New Zealanders upping sticks and heading to Australia.
4.55pm: Keep polishing your tea set, Mr Banks: according to this report on Stuff, “John Key has taken another baby step towards an explicit endorsement of ACT’s John Banks”, by saying he would be “not unhappy” were Banks to win in Epsom.
4.50pm: Andrew Little, Labour’s man in New Plymouth, writes on his Facebook page:
National Party must be getting edgy as they’ve started putting it about that I’m campaigning for Rongotai in 2014. Huh? They wish. They should concentrate on saving their New plymouth candidate in 2011.
4.20pm: Antony Green has blogged for Australia’s ABC on the referendum on the voting system that accompanies the general election on November 26. He writes:
There are two Australian options, preferential voting and the single transferrable vote, or Hare-Clark as we tend to call it. Neither is expected to poll well.
Green, the ABC’s election and polling expert, is coming to New Zealand for the final week of the campaign.
3.50pm: No prizes for guessing what the Greens make of National’s climate change policy (see 12.30pm). “National won’t make a real commitment to protect our environment and isn’t prepared to make the hard calls to secure a clean, green future,” says co-leader Russel with-one-L Norman. “National has already watered down our Emissions Trading Scheme so much it will have virtually no impact on greenhouse emissions, and now National is further delaying its phased implementation.”
In a statement, Norman welcomes the new plans for measuring waterway pollution, but chides the party for failing to take action to halt the pollution in the first place.
3.40pm: David Farrar tweets our attention to an unkind new sale posted at TradeMe by a National fan:
Did someone say smug?
Despite the big poll lead (see 7.25am), it’s “not as good as it looks for National”, says Jane Clifton, aka the “party pooper”. She explains through the miracle of the spoken voice below, with a word on the reception for the prime minister on campaign trail. “People are just about throwing their knickers at him at the moment.”
If you listen carefully, you might just hear Jane’s dog interjecting.
2.50pm: Here’s the National announcement on irrigation and water storage, as addressed by No Right Turn (see 2.40pm).
In “Some Labour quotes on the recovery”, David Farrar of Kiwiblog scours Google to counter Cunliffe’s top-15 list (see 2.15pm).
ACT-supporting blogger Cactus Kate acclaims John Banks for producing “an absolute media masterclass under a huge amount of pressure” in his appearance on Campbell Live last night (see my summary here). Kate says he succeeded by “staying on message; owning the angle; telling the story; never deviating from what he wants to say; producing the message about tactical voting and 2014; hugging Brand Key ; giggling through jibes about Hide and Brash”.
Gordon Campbell addresses at Scoop the only foreign policy issue to emerge this campaign: Afghanistan. Though it’s only barely emerged.
Anthony Robins writes at the Standard on the ideological divide over welfare and poverty.
David Winter writes at the Atavism about the way the campaign is being reflected in graphics.
Pundit blogger and Man of Remuera Tim Watkin invites questions for Epsom candidates to be deployed at a candidate meeting he ‘s hosting this evening; he also asks whether the Greens can break the double-digit barrier on November 26.
2.15pm: Speaking of potential successors to Goff, David Cunliffe has followed his leader’s top 10 list from yesterday with a list of the top 15 quotes by John Key and Bill English in which they overstated economic recovery. Expect David Parker to produce a top 20 something-or-other tomorrow.
2.05pm: One of the last subjects Phil Goff wants to be answering questions about in this campaign is who might next lead the Labour party. But he’s been forced to face such questions from journalists following Kelvin Davis’s endorsement of Shane Jones in a Herald online chat yesterday. Goff has just told Radio New Zealand: “I’m not pre-empting who might be a good leader.” He goes on to say there would be a lot of good candidates.
1.45pm: According to this story on the TV3 news site, John Key has caused upset by talking through a minute’s silence at the Addington Raceway yesterday. (Update, 2.45pm, Key has apologised for any offence caused, saying he wasn’t aware there was a minute’s silence under way. You’d have to be a pretty determined conspiracist to doubt that.)
1.25pm: Trevor Mallard has taken personal responsibility for Goff’s unpreparedness on fiscal details at last week’s Press debate, which led to all the “Show me the money” stuff. From the Labour MP and campaign manager’s online Herald chat:
Here’s Phil Pinner’s summary of the remainder of the chat (which you can relive in its full glory here):
Mallard fielded a large number of questions about the drain to Australia and predictably the economy, especially increasing the minimum wage.
He dismissed any chance of Winston or Hone being a part of the next government and had a pop at a small business owner for berating his employee. Asked why voters should back Labour over the Greens he said they offered a more coherent policy and experience in implementing it.
Probed on a Labour-Green coalition he said: “I think any centre-left government will inevitably involve a Labour-Green coalition but it’s the stuff one should talk about on the day after the election”. And when asked about the Greens’ KiwiSaver proposal linked to the Cullen fund he agreed it was a good idea.
He also deflected a couple of leadership questions saying he was concentrating on the 26th… Do you have aspirations to be the next labour leader? “Sh*t No.”
Asked about the one social problem he would like to cure NZ of he replied bluntly “Killing Kids”
In the penultimate question about Labour’s chances Mallard replied that he believed Labour was still in a position to lead the next Government but finished with: “I accept it’s a long shot.”
1.10pm: The Pigeon, a satirical news site, underlines the strength of John Key’s position in a piece that begins: “John Key’s latest faux pas, an infant-murdering spree in central Auckland, has done little to shake National’s firm grip on the upcoming election.” Here’s the link – not for the easily offended. (h/t @Tarquin_Death)
12.50pm: The Greens are again showing their online savvy by launching their copyright policy online. It’s at 1pm at Reddit. It looks like Gareth Hughes will be announcing a private member’s bill to provide a parody and satire exception to copyright legislation. Which, if you’ll forgive a small burst of outright self-interested editorialisation, is a bloody good idea.
The National party’s climate change policy, which is being released today in Nelson by the prime minister, has appeared. The important bit is this, from Key’s statement: “We intend to slow the phasing in of the emissions trading scheme from 2013 to 2015, at which point we will look to align our scheme with that adopted by Australia. Any change to our emissions trading scheme will be fiscally neutral.”
Fiscally neutral, maybe, but not environmentally neutral. The door to a teal deal creaks closer to shutting.
There is also a pledge to introduce a new Environmental Reporting Act, “so there is greater transparency in how we match up to New Zealand’s clean, green brand”. On a sliding purity percentage scale, perhaps?
Here’s the policy in PDF.
12.20pm: According to Midday Report on RNZ, National have released their climate change policy, which includes a slowdown in implementation of the emissions trading scheme for some sectors. More later.
12.00pm: Phil Goff has tweeted a picture from the campaign trail in Napier. Any caption suggestions?
11.35am: A couple of live chats to choose from in the next hour. At the Herald site, Tervor Mallard - never short of a juicy point of view – is taking questions from 11.45am, while the Ohariu candidates, fresh from Sean Plunket’s embrace (see 10.50am), are at Stuff from noon.
11.20am: It would be churlish and cheap to point out the missing apostrophe in the new National campaign ad, which promises to “focus on victims rights”, particularly given the frequency of typos in this blog.
11.10am: Public service announcement: if you’re a New Zealand citizen reading this from foreign shores, I hope you’re having a nice time. Bring us something nice back. And you can still vote – maybe. All the details are here.
11.00am: John Banks’ chances in Epsom are better than polls currently suggest, if iPredict is to believed. The election betting site currently puts the ACT candidate as a 68.7% chance of winning the seat, reports Matt Nippert in the NBR.
10.50am: A lively debate under way on Newstalk ZB (Wellington) among four of the candidates for Ohariu - all of them sitting MPs: Peter Dunne of Progressive Future, Charles Chauvel of Labour, Katrina Shanks of National and Gareth Hughes of the Greens. If you’re not lucky enough to be in Wellington, you can listen online here.
It’s one of the 10 most marginal seats in the country, and also one of the weirdest: two of the candidates – Hughes and Shanks – aren’t even campaigning for the electorate vote, only for the party tick.
10.40am: “For a campaign that portended less a sleepwalk than a zombie shuffle to a seemingly inevitable result in the post-Rugby World Cup daze, this one is going off its medication in a most welcome fashion.” Jane Clifton’s politics column is now online at the Listener.
10.30am: The big story of the morning is the miserable poll result for Labour (see today’s liveblog), and it’s on the front page of the Dominion Post, which leads with Nats heading for historic outright win … READ MORE in Philip Pinner’s morning paper roundup. Sorry about the tardiness on the papers. Not Phil’s fault. My fault.
10.05am: David Cunliffe and Bill English have been on Radio Live, talking to Michael Laws – all three contemporaries at university, as Laws is keen to point out. I caught the end of their debate on finance, and as far as I can tell it’s the same territory being covered that you had on, say, Q+A on Sunday. Cunliffe conjures up another maritime metaphor, saying that Labour will rebuild the economy “without leaving half the crew off the side of the boat”.
English counters with a suggestion that National will not be rocking the boat (he didn’t actually use those words) with a “straightforward plan” for the economy that would “maintain the public services that are so important to New Zealanders”.
8.45am: Metiria Turei has been on Breakfast, promoting a couple of new Green online initatives. One is Hey Kiwi, a site designed to encourage young and overseas New Zealanders to vote – with the carrot of a free download of music by New Zealand acts including the Clean and Phoenix Foundation. The other, Aroha NZ, is described by the Green co-leader as a site “where you can upload photos of your favourite places in New Zealand” – though she fails to mention that in essence it’s a fundraising site.
Corin Dann then puts to Turei the question of “what’s being called the teal deal“. “Is that what it’s called?” laughs Turei. (Why, yes it is, Metiria – good to see you’re with us, Corin.) Turei restates the “highly unlikely” position on the Greens joining a National government. Would you consider being a minister outside cabinet, asks Dann. “Someone described it as the door is open but the chain is on … We’ll see what happens with that … We are the ones who can keep Labour honest … and if National does get in to government, then we can still get some good Green change even while we have a National government, likely in a memorandum-of-understanding type relationship.”
Got to go run an errand: paper review will be posted at 9.30am.
8.20am: Is that it, then, asks Geoff Robinson of Grant Robertson, following Tony Ryall’s lead (see 8.10am). “I think it’s a very comprehensive policy,” says the Labour health spokesman on Morning Report. He says new funding is required simply to keep up with demands of the system, so he won’t be making a range of new pledges, but pushes the expansion of dental health, with the “as funding allows” a crucial caveat. Robinson points out this morning’s poll. “There’s only one poll that counts,” says Robertson – and you know the rest.
• Health funding will keep up with inflation and growing population needs
• Extension of dental subsidies, “as resources allow”
• District health boards may directly employ more GPs in hard-to-staff areas
• 24/7 free primary care visits for children under 6
We already knew about the primary care for under-sixes, which was announced as part of the children’s policy, as was free dental care for pregnant women. As to funding, health spokesman Grant Robertson says Labour is “not putting a specific dollar figure on it because we need to sit down [in Government] and work out what the stand-still figure is”.
His counterpart Tony Ryall said: “Is that it? After three years of criticising everything we’ve done, all Labour can come up with is a copy of our free under-sixes after-hours policy and a promise to borrow more money.”
8.00am: Phil Goff has been on the television again, this time in the Firstline studio, to make the case for yesterday’s top-10 National failure list. He pushes the comparison with Australia again, which is probably a smart line of attack. Then the familiar defence of spending plans. And finally to round off an unremarkable chat, that characteristic “thanks, [interviewer's name]” thing he does with the forced smile and slight exhalation of relief. Nothing new here.
7.50am: At Kiwiblog, David Farrar looks at how this morning’s poll result would translate in the next Labour caucus.
On this poll Labour gets 33 seats. They could well win 24 electorates, which if so means only nine list MPs. This means they would lose Rajen Prasad, Raymond Huo, Carol Beaumont, Kelvin Davis, Carmel Sepuloni, Rick Barker, Stuart Nash and Steve Chadwick.
At that level of party vote, Labour would also have to worry about some of its marginal seats. If Phil Twyford does not win Te Atatu, or Chris Hipkins loses Rimutaka, or Iain Lees-Galloway loses Palmerston North, then they would not come back in on the list as they are ranked too low. Instead Rajen Prasad would get back in.
A result on this poll would be bad enough, but if Labour loses another 3%, then Shane Jones and Andrew Little miss out, as well as Darien Fenton and Moana Mackey.
“National is looking unstoppable on its way to a historic outright election win,” opens the Stuff.co.nz story introducing results of its Fairfax Media-Research International Poll. And it’s hard to argue with that. The top line is National steady at 52.5% with Labour down 5.4% to 25.9%.
This is devastating: of those asked for whom they’d vote in this poll, two said National for every one that said Labour. Such a result would given National nine more seats, Labour 10 fewer. The Greens are up to 12.6%, which would give them seven extra seats. Among the smaller parties, the numbers remain tiny, though NZ First have gone up 1.3% to 2.8%.
7.15am: Morning Report leads on RNZ at 7am with the release of Labour’s health policy, which focuses on community and preventative care and includes a boost in funding, followed by news of a Fairfax poll which shows Labour falling further behind. More on both of those soon.Third in line is John Banks’ insistence he can still win in Epsom.
On One’s Breakfast, Berlusconi and eurozone woes come first, followed by Australian mining companies’ recruitment push in New Zealand. Third is the Australian senate passing their carbon law at last. Next, ChristChurch cathedral is to be deconsecrated today. Then the Wellywood sign, in which residents are invited to vote for one of three cringe-making options. Flooding in Thailand follows. Then Joe Frazier. Then a volcano sparking into life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Honda’s new robots rounds of the bulletin. Election? No.
Berlusconi and Europe are top of the bulletin again on TV3′s Firstline. Then they go to the campaign, with Labour’s attack on National for allowing the underclass to grow. That’s followed by this morning’s poll, and the opening today of special polling booths.