Home > The Body Politic > The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister continues

The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister continues

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Continued from:  The slow dismantling of a populist prime minister

Amidst the latest scandal swirling around this increasingly desperate National government, the chaos at Serco-run Mt Eden prison is just the latest in a long line of ministerial botch-ups.

Lost in the growing shocking stories of violence, drug-taking, and even prisoner deaths – the latest 3News/Reid Research Poll paints a strikingly clear picture of a third-term government fast losing public support.

As was reported previously, the personal popularity of our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key, has been in slow free-fall since 2009;

Oct/Nov 08: 36.4%

(Source)

Feb 2009: 52.1%

April 2009: 51.1%

Aug 2009: 51.6%

Oct 2009: 55.8%

Feb 2010: 49.4%

April 2010: 49.0%

June 2010: 49.6%

Jul/Aug 2010: 48.7%

Sept/Oct 2010: 50.6%

Nov/Dec 2010: 54.1%

Feb 2011: 49.1%

April 2011: 52.4%

May 2011: 48.2%

Jun/Jul 2011: 50.5%

Aug 2011: 53.3%

Sept 2011: 54.5%

Oct 2011: 52.7%

1-8 Nov 2011: 50.0%

9-16 Nov 2011: 49.4%

16-23 Nov 2011: 48.9%

Feb 2012: 45.8%

April 2012: 44.2%

May/Jun 2012: 40.5%

July: 43.2%

(Source)

Feb 2013: 41.0%

April 2013: 38.0%

May 2013: 41.0%

Jul 2013: 42.0%

Nov 2013: 40.9%

Jan 2014: 38.9%

Mar 2014: 42.6%

May 2014: 43.1%

Jun 2014: 46.7%

Jul 2014: 43.8%

5-3 Aug 2014: 44.1%

19-25 Aug 2014: 41.4%

26 Aug-1 Sept 2014: 45.1%

2-8 Sept 2014: 45.3%

9-15 Sept 2014: 44.1%

Jan 2015: 44.0%

May 2015: 39.4%

(Source)

The most recent 3News/Reid Research Poll is no better for John Key. His PPM ranking has slipped again;

July 2015: 38.3%

From the rarified-atmosphere heights of 55.8% (2009), Key has dropped 17.5 percentage points in the Preferred Prime Minister rankings by July of this year.

The artificial construct of the  relaxed, “blokey”, apolitical, public persona of John Key worked well for the first two terms. But scandal after scandal; a sense that National lacks any firm economic direction (except for asset sales and more roads); and a growing perception amongst New Zealanders that the most basic of Kiwi Dreams – owning your own home – is slipping from our grasp, has put National precisely where it was in the later 1990s, under Jenny Shipley’s stewardship.

People are looking for answers and they are not finding it from Key’s  easy-going approach, nor  National’s message of the Big Aspirational Dream. Both are wearing thin. And irritating to more and more people who, once-upon-a-time, voted for him.

Especially if you happen to be a young person looking to buy  their first home in Auckland.

The fact that the housing bubble is occurring in Auckland is significant for a critical reason;  it is often said that when it comes to general elections, where Auckland goes, the rest of the country follows.

Key has done nothing to address the Auckland housing bubble and the perception/reality that foreign investors are snapping up properties will continue to  gnaw away on his remaining popularity.

When Key utters sentiments such as;

“But the point here is simply this – I don’t want to ban foreigners from buying residential property.”

– most New Zealanders hearing that will be wondering to themselves if their elected Prime Minister is more concerned with the interests  of foreign  investors  speculating on our houses, pushing up prices and locking out young New Zealanders from home-ownership – then he is with the aspirations of those same young New Zealanders.

If New Zealanders, en masse,  begin to believe that multi-millionaire John Key is no longer empathetic to their needs, and instead prefers to justify the rights and interests of wealthy foreign speculators, then their support for him will decline further. The perception that John Key, living the life of a millionaire, in a multi-million-dollar mansion, expressing sympathy for other millionaires to buy houses that we see as rightfully our heritage, will be a toxic one.

Make no mistake; this is an ideological viewpoint from our esteemed Prime Minister, and most New Zealanders will see it as being divorced from their daily realities of living, working, paying bills, trying to get ahead, etc.

Also ideological, is Key’s commitment to Serco. Despite Key’s assurance that “all hell will break loose” if Serco does not improve it’s performance at Mt Eden Prison, there is no possibility – either in Hell or Heaven – that it will loose it’s contract. None whatsoever.

Quite simply, if National were to cancel the contract and dump Serco, it would be a massive admission of failure  that privatisation of social services is fraught with risk and no guarantee that “private is better”. It would set the right wing agenda, to out-source government activities, back by a decade.

It would also highlight to the voting public that National was engaged in risky experiments to push it’s privatisation/neo-liberal agenda. And funded by our taxes, to boot.

The housing crisis in Auckland will be a major test for National. Especially when the next bit of bad news hits the headlines;

Auckland house prices could hit $1 million within 18 months if interest rates continue falling, experts predict.

Geoff Barnett, national manager of real estate agency chain Century 21, said sales price growth patterns gave a strong indication that the magic million could be hit soon.

“If you look at the growth in the last 18 months of over $200,000, and if we had the same amount of growth over the next 18 months, we could get to $1 million in Auckland. If interest rates keep coming down, we could easily get there,” Barnett said.

The  3News/Reid Research Poll also asked respondents what their views were on foreign investors buying up properties. The results were predictable;

Should the Government should ban “foreign buyers”, people who are not residents or citizens, from buying houses?

Yes – 61%
No – 35%
Don’t Know – 4%

More critical for Key, even the majority of National voters supported a ban;

National voters

Yes – 54%
No – 43%
Don’t know – 3%

When the Prime Minister is so out-of-touch with the majority of his own supporters, and is more concerned with endorsing and maintaining a free market  ideology that supports foreigners’ interests rather than New Zealanders’ aspirations – then it is Game Over.

Unless Key does a complete 180 degree back-flip, and bans foreign investors from buying houses, this will be his last term.

National – the party of aspiration – undone and defeated when it could not meet that most basic aspiration of New Zealanders: owning your own Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise.

Addendum1

From Radio NZ;

Combined support for Labour and the Greens has overtaken National in the latest four-poll average, covering polls taken during July. And Labour has crept back up to 32.4 %, its highest since March 2014.

[…]

National is down to 44.5%. That is its lowest since October 2013. Still, it remains far ahead of all other parties and not far below its election score of 47.0%.

But Labour’s trend seems to be up and National’s down (for now). And Labour and the Greens combined lead National by 0.9% for the first time since February 2014. Around budget time National led by 8.8%.

Winston Peters’ New Zealand First would decide which of the two sides would lead a government.

Source: Poll of Polls, Radio NZ

 

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References

TV3:  Poll – 61pct want to ban foreign buyers

Scoop media: TVNZ Q+A Transcript – PM – I don’t want to ban foreign buyers from buying

TV3: The Nation – Interview – Prime Minister John Key

NZ Herald: When will Auckland break $1m median?

 

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9. John Key Tenants in our own country

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 July 2015.

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