Home > The Body Politic > National and ? – some thoughts

National and ? – some thoughts




I’ve been thinking…




That National is higher in the opinion polls than Labour is undeniable.  Even the Horizon Poll – which has supposedly more accurate methodology than the other polling companies – has National at 36.8% and Labour at 25.7%. (Source)

Other polls have National at an unfeasibly high 56% – unheard of in an MMP environment, where up till now the highest Party Vote was National’s 44.9% in 2008.

If National is anywhere near 50%-51% of the Party Vote – enabling it to barely form a government – then it will have made history in MMP elections.

Assuming that National’s vote on 26 November will be somewhere in the high 40s – it will not have sufficient seats in the House to govern alone. It will need a coalition partner.

Which is where things start to get interesting…





It is apparent to all but the but die-hard fan of ACT that Don Brash’s coup d’état in April  has not achieved a single desired outcome for that Party. Brash’s toppling of Rogney Hide was done on the premise that Brash would re-focus ACT on economic matters and change it’s “brand” from a “chapter” of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, to it’s more traditional role of a neo-liberal party, espousing free market ‘reforms’; user-pays; asset sales; minimalist government; and the Cult of the Individual.

Brash has achieved none of those policy-goals.

ACT is polling well under the 5% MMP threshold (5%). It’s 1% – 3% poll rating rating is not sufficient to win seats in Parliament. It must therefore rely on winning an Electorate Seat, at which point the 5% threshold is set aside.

John Banks’ candidacy in Epsom has also seemingly failed to ‘fire’. Banks is trailing well behind the National Party’s candidate, Paul Goldsmith. Banks’ position is not helped by John Key stating publicly,

I’m going to vote for Goldsmith. I am the National Party leader and I am going to vote for the National Party candidate and give my party vote to National.” – John Key

Which makes a mockery of the unspoken “arrangement” between National and ACT, and seems to be an insult to Epsom voters that whilst they are expected to give their vote to John Banks – the Prime Minister refuses to lead by example. Charming.

If, as seems likely, John Banks does not win in Epsom then, like Winston Peters losing Tauranga, ACT is out of Parliament.

Strike 1 for National.


Peter Dunne?


Since the height of United Future’s popularity in  2002,  their electoral support has declined to margin-of-error polling,




United Future, as a political entity, is all but dead except in name. Peter Dunne is essentially now a one-person band – and even in his electorate of Ohariu-Belmont,   is experiencing waning support with each election,


Peter Dunne, Electorate Votes 1996 – 2008



1999 – 20,240

2002 – 19,355

2005 – 16,844

2008 – 12,303


In 2008, Dunne’s electorate majority over his nearest opponant, Charles Chauvel (L), was a bare 1,006 votes. At the rate that Dunne has been losing electoral  support, and if even half the Green electorate vote shifts to Chauvel, then Peter Dunne will lose his seat in Parliament.

Strike 2 for National.


Maori Party?


National’s only remaining life-line; the Maori Party. Polls indicate that Maori Party co-leader, Pita Sharples, will most likely win his seat, Tamaki Makaurau. Whether he is join by other successful candidates from the Maori Party is anyone’s guess, and with their low overall ranking in the polls, the Maori Party is unlikely to approach the 5% threshold, much less cross over it.

In 2008, the Maori Party won five out of the seven Maori Seats.  With the advent of the Mana Party, formed by  breakaway MP Hone Harawira, and supported by many disaffected Maori Party members/activists, these seats are now contested in a three-way battle; Mana, Maori, and Labour.

As an indicator, Hone Harawira won his seat Te Tai Tokerau in a by-election, earlier this year,




If  the Maori Party beat Mana’s challenge and  win sufficient seats; and if  they enter into coalition with National, then John Key is faced with the real prospect of having no counter-balancing Party on the Right. Unlike the 2008 election result which gave him ACT and Peter Dunne on the right, National will be governing at the “pleasure” of just one coalition partner.

Considering that the Maori Party has stated it’s opposition to asset sales (albeit lukewarm opposition), the partial-privatisation agenda may not go ahead as John Key and Bill English anticipated. (*whew!* The ‘family silver’ is saved till another day!)

John Key recently stated,

I think it is important to understand if the Greens hold the balance of power it would be a Phil Goff Labour-led government and I think they would be quite upfront about that.”  Source

The same could be said of the Maori Party. National’s re-election prospects now depend solely on the success of their Coalition partner.

National’s strike 3?  We will have to wait till 26 November for the final result.



  1. 8 November 2011 at 7:42 pm

    You are right – no ACT Party and no National Government, because Peter Dunne in Ohariu- belmont is on line to be beaten by Charles Chauvel of Labour, and the Maori Party are not expected to win more than three seats. So if National can not win more than 45% they are in the poo ! National could also lose a couple of South Island seats as well, especially the seat that encompasses the West Coast. No, Billie Bunter will retain his Christchurch seat of Ilam, but there are some very unhappy voters in Christchurch who believe they are being sold down the river, so to speak – the Avon? It is actually quite interesting. The Greens could get up to 12 seats., and Mana one seat. Winston Peters has cut his political throat by rejecting Labour as well as National. Some voters may have considered voting NZ First, but not crossing the line to Labour. Who do they have now on the right of Labour? But still, two weeks on Saturday until the elections. Two weeks is a hell of a long time in politics.

    • 8 November 2011 at 9:36 pm

      Peter, I think you’re onto it. This election is still wide open, and judging by some of the responses from National’s quarter – I think their internal polling is showing the same thing.

      No wonder Key hasn’t endorsed John Banks. With ACT’s low polling, there’s be no point as Banks would end up the onbly ACT MP in the House. So the Nats might as well let Goldsmith win.

      If the Horizon polling is closer to the truth than the other polling companies, then it looks as if National will be Goneburger by lunchtime, November 27.

      I think yo’re right about Peters; he’s committed slow political suicide by declaring he will sit outside any government. In effect that makes him irrelevant.

  2. Red
    10 November 2011 at 12:45 pm

    My dad lives in Oharui and sez he wont be voting for Dunne again. He’s giving his vote to the National lady.

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