Election Forecast updated – more bad news for the Greens

I’ve updated my NZ election forecast with the results of tonight’s Newshub/Reid Research Poll. On current numbers either National or Labour could form a government, but both would need the support of NZ First, and Labour would also need the Māori Party.

More bad news for the Greens with their predicted party vote result dropping to 2.5%. Ouch.

Election Forecast – the end of the Greens?

I’ve updated my Election Forecast with the latest round of polling. Jacindamania is well and truly happening – Labour have made huge gains at the expense of every party.

There is one massive change in this update – the Greens are forecast to only get 4.7% of the party vote, which would mean they would fail to get back into Parliament.

While only one poll has shown the Greens below 5%, my model adjusts for known house biases – this is essentially replicating the phenomnea whereby the Greens perform worse on election day than in polls.

There would only be five political parties in Parliament and the landscape would be significantly different. Both Labour and National could potentially form governments, with the two options for forming a government would be National + NZ First (plus potentially Act and/or the Maori Party), or Labour + NZ First + Maori Party.

Can the Greens lift their game and get back over the line? Quite possibly – my forecast is only showing them 0.3% off the mark.

The next three weeks are going to be fascinating.

A party in disarray

The 2014 election was truly extraordinary, and aside from John Key and a handful of Labour candidates in marginal seats, there are far more losers than there are winners.

At only managing 10% of the party vote the Greens have done far worse than anyone expected. They have fallen far short of their target of 15% of the party vote, which many people thought was a fairly conservative goal. Not only that, but they are only marginally ahead of NZ First (party that has an MP so secret no one knows what he did before parliament) as the third largest party in parliament.

To top that off, their conservative party list process has resulted in them only getting one new MP – and they have not made any progress on gender equality or cultural diversity (they still have no Pasifika MPs on a night where Labour put two into safe seats). They had many many talented candidates who are not going to make it.

It will be really interesting to see if any of their longer-standing MPs (Kennedy Graham and Catherine Delahunty in particular) voluntarily retire so the Greens have some fresh blood.

Following the election, Russel Norman & Metiria Turei announced the following achievement of their campaign:

  • Over 6000 of you volunteered your time and energy to the campaign.
  • We door knocked and phoned 60,000 New Zealanders to talk about our visions.
  • We put up 6,500 billboards, delivered 1.8 million leaflets and attended hundreds of community events.
  • And 8,800 of you made a donation to help us run our largest campaign ever.

These metrics look pretty decent. If you take a stab in the dark and assume their average donor gave $20 (I suspect it’s actually considerably higher), they made $176,000 online, which certainly isn’t shabby.

I have no idea what these numbers look like for any of the other parties, but it would certainly be an interesting yard stick for Labour to use in the review of their campaign.

But if these numbers look healthy, why did the Greens do so poorly?

Was it because, as Green cheerleader Danyl McLauchlan has said “their billboards were really fucking weird”?

Did they put too much focus into getting money off people and not enough into getting votes?

Did their message just not resonate with the voting public?

Did Laila Harré’s last minute defection to the Internet Party cause massive damage?

Are the Greens even relevant when they try to sell themselves as a party of government while polling at 12%?

No doubt the Greens have considerable soul searching to do. Has the Norman/Turei experiment failed?

One thing is for sure, lots of tweets and celebrity endorsements doesn’t translate into party votes.

The Greens’ new caucus

Despite goals of 15% and 20 MPs, the Greens only managed to just scrape over 10%, with their only new MP being James Shaw, with Steffan Browning missing out on getting back into Parliament. The Greens traditionally pick up an extra seat off special votes, if they do it will be very interesting to see if Steffan accepts it or takes one for the team so the Greens can at least pretend they have revitalised…

MP Seat
Metiria Turei List
Russel Norman List
Kevin Hague List
Eugenie Sage List
Gareth Hughes List
Catherine Delahunty List
Kennedy Graham List
Julie Anne Genter List
Mojo Mathers List
Jan Logie List
Dave Clendon List
James Shaw List
Denise Roche List

The Māori seats

One of the pecularities of MMP is that because of the proportional representation provided by the party vote, there is virtually no electoral benefit to winning electorate seats (there are other political benefits, which I’ve touched on previously). So even though it looks like a few seats like Napier and Christchurch Central might come down to the wire, the outcome isn’t going to change who forms government.

The one exception to that is of course parties that use the “coat-tailing” rule – that is, they get less than 5% of the party vote but still get an electorate MP and possibly some list MPs due to winning an electorate seat.

Given the survival of the Māori and Internet Mana parties both rely on winning a Māori electorate seat (as they are both polling consistently below 5%), these seven seats can actually have a very important impact on the makeup of Parliament.

One of the other unique things about the Maori seats is that they are the only electorate seats that regularly get polled. Māori TV have commissioned a series of polls from Reid Research (and TVNZ’s Marae used to also poll). I’ve compiled this years poll results, plus the results from the 2011 election and the 2011 poll results (where I can find them – if anyone has any of the missing numbers please send them through!).

It’s worth taking these results with a grain of salt – the sample sizes are very small (normally 400) and that, combined with poor turnout in the Māori seats make for lots of inaccuracies.

That said, today’s Te Tai Tokerau poll is the tightest yet – with Hone Harawira polling only one point ahead of Labour’s Kelvin Davis. If Kelvin manages to win the seat (and a good turnout operation could certainly help close that gap), then the Hone Harawira/Kim Dotcom farce is over.

Interesting times indeed.

Note: All numbers are candidate, not party vote.

Electorate Candidate 2011 poll 2011 result 2014 poll
Te Tai Tokerau Labour 35 35 37
Māori Party 20 16 9
Mana 42 41 38
Greens
Tāmaki Makaurau Labour 23 35 27
Māori Party 58 40 28
Mana 14 16 14
Greens 3 8 7
Waiariki Labour 22 25 17
Māori Party 56 43 50
Mana 22 32 21
Greens 2
Hauraki-Waikato Labour ? 54 57
Māori Party ? 16 14
Mana ? 21 10.4
Greens
Ikaroa Rāwhiti Labour ? 41 37
Māori Party ? 20 18
Mana ? 26 21
Greens ? 11 6
Te Tai Hauāuru Labour ? 30 29
Māori Party ? 48 32
Mana ? 9 10
Greens ? 11 11
Te Tai Tonga Labour 35 41 48
Māori Party 46 32 17
Mana 9 8 9
Greens 10 15 9

NZ Greens – quick on the photocopiers

Environment Victoria have got a rather clever print campaign going in support of renewable energy. This went to print in The Age yesterday… [via Twitter]

environment_vic_large

 

It didn’t take the NZ Greens long to get their solar powered photocopier up and running…

nz_greens

 

Imitation really is the best form of flattery 🙂

Greens fail to rejuvenate

browning

The Greens are the first party in New Zealand to release their party list for 2014. You can read it here. Given all of their MPs will be elected as list MPs, it’s advantageous for them to get this out of the way asap.

It is a very conservative list – they’ve opted to upset as few people as possible with it. None of their existing MPs have decided (or been forced) to retire and while there has been some minor rearrangements in the order of their 14 MPs, only one new candidate has been slotted in above sitting MPs.

Their press release puts some lovely spin on it though. You see, given they’re aiming to get 15% of the party vote, which would equate to about 20 seats. It’s nice and aspirational, but they obviously don’t put much belief in it, given with only one exception, their new candidates are all ranked above 15.

The Polity poll-of-polls shows the Greens currently hovering at 11.8% – marginally above where they polled in 2011. This would get them roughly 15 MPs, and their only new MP would be a white middle class male.

So nice work on the spin Greens, but this really is the most conservative list you’ve produced in years.

Colin and Russel crash land on planet fluoride

It seems that New Zealand Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is the candidate who just keeps on giving. He is “undecided” if planes are flying overhead and spraying mind control chemicals (chemtrails for those of you oblivious to the New World Order), “not sure” whether NASA have landed on the moon, and thinks fluoridation is dangerous and mass medication. He has been ridiculed relentlessly by tweeters and the media. The left will no doubt make an issue of Craig’s more alternative perspectives in 2014, but for some issues it could be an issue of pots calling the kettle black, or Green.

In April the Green Party adopted their new health policy, which includes the following:

[Source: https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/health-policy]

The Greens want Councils to enable residents to “opt-out” of having fluoride, and seem supportive of the Anti-Fluoride Brigade arguments of dental fluorosis and mass medication. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with whitening strips, we received a few confused emails about this.

Historically the Greens have supported local referenda to decide the issue  an idea sure to be popular with binding referendum fan Colin Craig. While Labour has recently shown how a policy process driven by members can be very positive (see the Policy Platform), the Greens are showing their policy, like that of the Conservatives, is developed by a party of conspiracy theorists.

Perhaps the Conservative Party and the Greens have more in common than expected and we could see an anti-science coalition. While David Cunliffe was quick to rule out working with Colin Craig after yesterday morning’s moon landing fiasco, if he’s in a bind come 2014, it would seem the Greens and the Conservatives might have more in common than he might expect…

Green-spill

Having endured many gibes from Green Party members about internal democracy over the years, I have to admit that I did enjoy more than a moment of schadenfreude this morning when I saw the reaction to David Hay’s perfectly legitimate leadership challenge to co-leader Russel Norman.

Regardless of what you think of Hay, he is exercising a democratic right that the Green Party have long-held in very high regard – to the best of my knowledge though, this is the first time anyone has actually challenged a sitting leader.

No doubt the Green leadership will be annoyed – just when they are starting to get traction on offshore oil drilling, this distraction comes along. I know that is how many of the members feel.

I do think it seems odd that a sitting co-leader can be challenged from outside of Parliament, but I figure that it’s an important principle for a minor party to adhere to, given how shallow the talent pool in their caucus can be at times, particularly given their gender quota for leadership (for example, just before the last election the Greens only had three female MPs, one of whom was already a co-leader and one had already announced her retirement).

So here is a handy suggestion for the Greens to help them preserved their much vaunted internal democracy, while still being able to exude stability: a  petition. Institute a rule whereby anyone who wants to challenge a sitting co-leader is required to first get the signatures of a number of Green members. I don’t know what their membership numbers are like, but I’d suggest a threshold of 50 or so members seems sensible.

Being able to challenge an under performing leader is important. But so to is not letting one egomaniac destabilise the entire party.

Fracking Gareth Hughes

Green MP Gareth Hughes has just published a blog post congratulating Labour for restating their pre-election policy of a demand for an immediate inquiry into the mineral extraction technique known as fracking.There has been fracking in New Zealand since 1993, and given current international concerns, there are calls to ban or limit its use.

The main point of Gareth’s blog post is to call on Labour to change its position to push for an outright ban on fracking…

Considering Labour’s concerns, they should commit to backing the call for an immediate moratorium, the only way we can safeguard our rights to clean water and air and a safe environment.

Which is a logically reasonable position, but not one I’m going to get into today.

My issue with Gareth’s post is that he is essentially calling on Labour to adopt a Green Party policy. The problem for Labour is if we do this, we will inevitably be slammed by the Greens for ‘stealing’ their policy, as has happened all too often recently.

David Shearer has been quite explicate in his desire to see Labour focus on building a greener, more sustainable economy. His appointment of his number two, Grant Robertson, to the environment portfolio shows that Labour are taking the environment just as seriously as the Greens. This is undoubtably going to cause further tensions in the future.

I’m look forward to the day when New Zealand politics can move past petty partisan bickering so that we can really start addressing some of the massive issues that our country faces.