The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister – downward slide continues
Continued from: The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister continues
The gradual slide of John Key’s popularity continues with the latest TV3 Reid Research poll further evidence that Key’s once-impenetrable teflon coating has been blasted away by successive scandals; ineptitude from his Ministers; and worsening socio-economic indicators on almost every front..
Since Key’s ascension to Prime Ministership, his poll ratings – as recorded by TV3-Reid Research have tracked from 36.4% in October/November 2008, to a high of 55.8% in October 2009;
Oct/Nov 2008: 36.4%
Feb 2009: 52.1%
April 2009: 51.1%
Aug 2009: 51.6%
Oct 2009: 55.8%
After 2009, Key’s popularity began to experience “speed wobbles”, with fluctuation from low 50s, to high 40s;
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%
From early 2012, Key’s popularity dived;
Feb 2012: 45.8%
April 2012: 44.2%
May/Jun 2012: 40.5%
Feb 2013: 41.0%
And from early 2013, for the first time, his popularity as preferred PM broke the “40% barrier” into the 30s;
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%
From mid-2015, as scandal after scandal; growing reports of income/wealth inequality; and falling housing affordability began to impact on New Zealanders’ collective psyche, his support dropped from the 40s into the 30s;
May 2015: 39.4%
15-22 July 2015: 38.3%
8-16 Sept 2015: 39.5%
22 Nov 2015: 38.3%
The most recent poll, released on Tuesday 24 May shows Key’s popularity now in the mid-30s. This represents a 19.1 percentage-point drop in Key’s personal popularity amongst voters;
24 May 2016: 36.7%
The Panama Papers may not have been a “king hit” on the government as some on the Right maintain – but public perception of National’s inaction over tax havens, tax evasion, secret foreign trusts, etc, all created an image that the Nats were friendly to those “rich pricks” who rorted the tax system.
But the worst of National’s problems lay much closer to home than the Panama tax haven.
The housing crisis has become a Force 10 political storm in this country, and National has been seen to be sitting on their hands whilst people are crowded into garages; living in cars; and even the scion on the Middle Class bourgeois are becoming more and more locked out of the housing market.
As Labour’s former President, Mike Williams stated on Radio NZ’s Nine To Noon political panel on Monday, 23 May;
“I think there’s a bit of schizophrenia going on in Middle New Zealand which is showing up in the UMR numbers. If you own a house you are feeling pretty good because the value of your asset has been going through the roof. However, if you’ve got kids, you’re worried about their schooling; you’re worried about will they get a house; and you’re worried about will they get a job that pays enough to pay for a house. So I think, that, yes, home-owning New Zealanders [are] feeling ok, but parents are not.”
So unsurprisingly, the same TV3 Reid Research poll showed in no uncertain terms where the public stood on National’s hands-off policy on housing;
Even National Party supporters have been unable to stomach the worsening housing crisis and the sight of fellow New Zealanders sleeping in cars.
National now finds itself trapped by it’s own free-market dogma. Historically, only Labour governments have built housing, whilst National busied itself selling off state houses; implementing market rentals for Housing NZ tenants (in the past); and otherwise leaving it to the free market to meet demand.
That “free market” has failed dismally, and attempts to blame the Auckland Council, RMA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly no longer wash with an increasing grumpy electorate.
$26 million wasted on a failed flag referendum also helped cement public opinion that National was out-of-touch; engaged in pointless exercises; and avoiding tough problems faced by many New Zealanders.
The last time this blogger saw the public show such dissatisfaction with a National government was in the late 1990s, when Jenny Shipley was PM. That did not end well for her.
Whatever plans National attempts to pull out of the Budget Hat will be too little and too late. Unlike pumping extra cash into Vote Health, Vote Education, Vote Police, or Vote Conservation, the housing sector is a behemoth much akin to a huge oil-tanker. It is simply too large to be turned around in a short time-period.
If three Ministers (English, Smith, and Bennett) devoted to housing could not address this country’s ballooning housing crisis, then National has failed miserably.
Short of a miracle, this will be Key’s last term in office, and this country will finally be rid of the Teflon Man;
TV3 News: Government gets thumbs down on housing
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 May 2016.
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