Jacinda Ardern’s popularity may have dropped in last night OneNews Colmar Brunton poll, but her Labour Party is now powering its way to an overwhelming victory in the election.
The poll showed Labour on 47% and National dragging behind on 32%.
ACT was on eight per cent and the Greens on six. NZ First was on two per cent.
Meanwhile there is international speculation that Ardern may tonight win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Time magazine has her in their top three picks to win.
if she won, that would give Labour’s campaign another boost
However, leader Judith Collins may be entitled to feel that she is being sabotaged by her own side as Newshub continues to run stories sourced to anonymous National MPs which are negative about her leadership.
POLITIK understands the stories are being taken seriously by National’s leadership team and a witch hunt is on for the leaker.
What seems clear is that the stories have their origins in the divisions that began to appear in the caucus in April last year when there was speculation that the-then leadership team of Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett was in trouble.
Prior to a caucus meeting in April, Collins asked if she was loyal to Bridges said: “I am loyal to the National Party.”
Bridges was asked whether he trusted Collins.
“I trust my colleagues, but I’m not going to get into these semantic, silly games in the media,” he said.
The matter came to something of a head at the party’s Central North Island regional conference which led to a meeting of the region’s electorate chairs with Party President Peter Goodfellow on April 28. He called for unity and demanded an end to the leaking.
There were reports that several members of the caucus also attacked her for leaking her leadership ambitions.
But if National has got its problems, at least it will be back in Parliament.
It now looks highly unlikely that New Zealand First will be back or that the small right-wing parties, Advance NZ and the New Conservatives will make it.
The minor parties battled it out on TVOne last night with divisions opening up about our relationship with China.
On the campaign trail, both Advance NZ and ACT have been calling for a re-calibration of New Zealand’s foreign and trade policies away from China.
“What we’ve also done is put too many eggs in the China basket,” said AdvanceNZ co-leader, Jami Lee Ross.
“We need to expand our trade agreements to our more traditional trading partners.
“And I think we should also need to come down hard on China and not be afraid of them.”
Maori Party co-leader, John Tamihere, took another view.
“They’re an outstanding and huge economy, and we need to trade with them, simple as that,” he said.
“And it shouldn’t be racial.
“This is Trumpism starting to play out.”
NZ First Leader, Winston Peters is also Foreign Minister and has been subtly shifting New Zealand’s foreign policy emphasis away from China and closer to the United States and Australia.
Peters agreed with Ross the Chinese money was coming into New Zealand politics.
“I don’t see it in the media, and I don’t see it in the serious fraud office,” he said.
“I think this is catastrophically bad.”
“We’ve got too much dependence on one market.
“And they(the National Government) walked into it without their wise eyes wide open.
“They were always going to be outsmarted by the Chinese.
“Don’t blame the Chinese; blame our past leadership.”
In a way, that statement with its focus on the National Party could be an epitaph for Peters in what is likely to be his last major TV appearance as an MP.
He often reached back into the past last night and even referenced Sir Robert Muldoon over whether there should be Maori quotas at medical schools.
“There’s been no organization in this country where you’ve seen the lack of separatism and the sense of unity as our army,” he said.
“Robert Muldoon once asked General Poananga, the head of the army, how many Maori had he got in the army.
“The answer is still relevant today; he said, Mr Prime Minister, we just have soldiers in the Army.”
One of the most touchy points in the relationship between the Greens and Labour is the Greens proposal for a wealth tax.
Greens co-leader, James Shaw, told NewstalkZB yesterday that though Jacinda Ardern has ruled out a capital gains tax, he said the Greens had come up with “another version” in their wealth tax proposal.
On the TVNZ debate, he said house valuations were up about 15 per cent on average around the country.
“Over the same time, last year wage and salary earners saw the median wage drop by seven and 1/2 per cent,” he said.
He was cut off by host Jessica Mutch-McKay before he could finish his argument, but he told Mike Hosking on NewstalkZB that the wealth tax would be a “top priority” for the Greens in any Government formation talks with Labour.
In fact, it is likely to be a major, possibly fatal, sticking point in terms of whether the Greens end up in Government with Labour.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said Labour’s tax policy would be the tax policy of a Labour-led government.
If so, and if the Greens are unwilling to give up their wealth tax, that could see the Greens have to forego their hopes of being in coalition and therefore having Ministers inside Cabinet.
But given the Colmar Brunton poll results last night, the Greens are likely to be the only minor party involved in any formation of government talks after the election.
And even that is not a certainty.
Bluntly, never have the minor parties mattered less than they do this election.