Monday, February 22, 2016

What Does It Mean That Polls Have New Zealand First Growing At Expense Of Greens?

Over the weekend, the new Colmar-Brunton poll came out. It codified one truth, and revealed others:

Firstly, that New Zealand First is once again on the rise. This should not come as any serious surprise to politics-watchers, as the Party's solid performance both in the House and elsewhere continues to be transmogrified into sterling poll-results.

But perhaps more interesting is the fact that New Zealand First's bump in the polls appears to have come at the square expense of The Greens.

This serves to illustrate something that I have long maintained: however uncomfortable a truth it might represent for some members of both parties and their supporters.

That New Zealand First and The Green Party have considerably overlapping support-bases - both in terms of policy and philosophy, as well as the potential allegiances of their likely and actual voters.

The Green Party have long acknowledged this. In 2011, for instance, they made an appeal to NZF supporters for us to vote Green instead, on grounds that a vote for New Zealand First while we were out of Parliament represented a "wasted vote".

And while their rhetorical conclusion might have been manifestly fallacious ... the fundamental reasoning which underlay it - that a considerable number of NZ First supporters and Greens supporters have sufficiently interchangeable views and values to be occasionally induced to vote for one another's parties - remains sound.

This is, obviously, borne out in Sunday's Colmar Brunton. But it's not like it's an isolated blip. There's been a number of other polls - both Roy Morgan and Colmar Brunton - which have served to demonstrate this trend.

So what does this mean?

Well, it suggests that the received wisdom amongst some in NZ First - and elsewhere - that our 'natural' constituency of support is 'soft-right' or 'soft-National', is in error. Our rises are not coming at National's expense any more than Labour's. Instead, the new people we are attracting more appear to be emanating in our direction from the Green Party and other progressive sources.

Given the strong role of ex-Labour 'protest' and 'strategic' voters in securing our re-entry into Parliament in 2011, this ought to come as no surprise.

It may not be especially 'politically convenient' for a number of people to countenance, but that's who we apparently are. A Party of predominantly angry, anti-neoliberal and often curmudgeonly supporters who might indeed have had a Past amidst the Right's orbit - but whose future appears to have far more to do with the left and centre.

It is no secret that changing the government in 2017 requires New Zealand First (and other parties) hewing into National's support. But growing our support as a Party doesn't mean we have to go right-wing to make this happen.


  1. The public are lead along by the nose with selective information making it's way through the media gate keepers. Take this Treasury paper 14-10 on the prospects of population growth improving our economic performance (life style considerations aside).
    2.3 Changing policy expectations
    While useful, models do not capture all the effects policymakers expect from immigration.
    When New Zealand moved to increase the numbers and skills of immigrants in the 1980s
    and 1990s, policymakers appear to have considered that these changes had the potential
    to have major beneficial impacts on the New Zealand economy, reinforcing the gains from
    the other liberalising and deregulating economic reforms undertaken during that period.
    At that time, it was considered that skills-focused inward migration could: improve growth
    by bringing in better quality human capital and addressing skills shortages; improve
    international connections and boost trade; help mitigate the effects of population ageing;
    and have beneficial effects on fiscal balance. As well as “replacing” departing
    New Zealanders and providing particular help with staffing public services (for example,
    medical professionals), it was believed that migration flows could be managed so as to
    avoid possible detrimental effects (such as congestion or poorer economic prospects) for
    existing New Zealanders.

    Since then, New Zealand has had substantial gross and net immigration, which has been
    relatively skill-focused by international standards. However, New Zealand’s economic
    performance has not been transformed. Growth in GDP per capita has been relatively
    lacklustre, with no progress in closing income gaps with the rest of the advanced world,
    and productivity performance has been poor. It may be that initial expectations about the
    potential positive net benefits of immigration were too high.

    Based on a large body of new research evidence and practical experience, the consensus
    among policymakers now is that other factors are more important for per capita growth
    and productivity than migration and population growth. CGE modelling exercises for Australia and New Zealand have been influential in reshaping expectations.
    Migration and Macroeconomic
    Performance in New Zealand:
    Theory and Evidence
    Julie Fry
    New Zealand Treasury Working Paper 14/10

  2. I think support for NZ First is coming from those on the ground seeing super migration and questioning who is benefiting. This is especially so in tourism and hospitality ("every job new job in tourism makes us poorer as a nation" -Rob Oram). Then there is the half-gallon quater acre pavlova paradise. Last election Jan Logie assured us immigration didn't push up house prices; there is plenty of evidence that it does.

  3. The left-wing social scientists have become masters of manipulation.
    Take "super diversity " research. MBIE has given $m5.4 to Massey and Waikato.
    The net result will be that the media is filled with migrant stories at the expense of the costs to ordinary New Zealanders. The research isn't neutral. To cap it off they come with all the financial support of the players benefitting from migration (rich dudes).