Last night’s Reid Research Newshub poll surely seals National’s fate and points to a landslide Labour victory this election.
Labour just have to stay on track and not suffer any gaffes to be able to govern alone if they want to.
Advance voting begins next weekend and Electoral Commission officials have said they expect 60 per cent of all votes cast will be advance votes.
That means the voting could effectively all be done by election day on October 17.
Though National Leader Judith Collins was yesterday claiming National’s own polls showed a different level of support to the 29.5 per cent in the Newshub poll, POLITIK has been told by National insiders that the poll is not all that far away from the party’s own polls.
Nevertheless, a result like the Newshub poll suggests would see National down from 55 to 39 MPs, and eight sitting MPs would lose their seats.
Labour will have some worries about the poll; although they are on an unprecedented 50.8 per cent, they have lost 10 per cent since the last Newshub poll. But no one ever expected they would hold 60 per cent of the vote once the campaign started.
The other standout in the poll is that yet again NZ First on 1.9 per cent are nowhere near the five per cent threshold.
It looks as though their vote could be being cannibalised by the New Conservatives who have shot up 1.2 per cent to 2.1 per cent. The two parties have similar platforms.
ACT continues to ride high on 6.3 per cent; up three per cent.
Those are likely to be National voters disillusioned with National but unwilling to support Labour.
There is still a massive gap between the centre-left (Labour, 50.8%; Greens 6.5%) and the centre-right (National 29.6; ACT 6.3%)
The parties will be well aware of these trends. Both of them are polling daily.
And it is possible to see some explanation for the way they are campaigning in the figures.
Judith Collins appears to have turned her campaign into a one-woman crusade with a minimal staff which is currently aimed at largely consolidating the National Party “true blue” vote.
POLITIK understands that Campaign chair, Gerry Brownlee and campaign manager Tim Hurdle are now playing a less prominent role in the campaign than they were a few weeks ago.
Instead, the emphasis now is on holding the base.
That is why there has been so much emphasis on farming policy and issues and the new tougher rhetoric on climate change.
That approach also plays to Collins’ strengths. She has never been seen as a consensus politician capable of crossing over into Labour territory.
In contrast to National, ACT, appear highly organised and have published their schedules through to October 9 whereas National has advised the media only of events up to Tuesday. (The Prime Minister’s forward diary is out to the end of next week.)
ACT is buoyant, and though Judith Collins last week said she hoped ACT would help destroy NZ First, with that job apparently done, ACT Leader David Seymour is now directly competing for votes from National supporters.
He has sharpened up his campaign speech to now include a direct attack on National in which he imagines Helen Clark goes into a deep coma between her defeat in 2008 and National’s defeat in 2017 when she awakes to find that the Key Government has changed none of her policies.
“Did they change anything?” he asks.
“No, and if you study history, it’s not surprising.
“National has been in power for two years out of every three since 1949, but they have never reversed a Labour Policy.”
Seymour said ACT existed to hold all parties accountable.
“Time and again, ACT stood alone against every other party,” he said.
“The vote was 119-1 numerous times as one party stood on principle against the madness of ‘political correctness’ and the ‘conventional wisdom’.”
The enigma in this poll as it is on the campaign trail is New Zealand First.
Both Labour and National are wary of a revival from the country’s most experienced campaigner.
Butt though Winston Peters has shown a capacity to get a leap in support during an election campaign he has never managed to get four per cent in three weeks which is the task ahead of him.
He gave a clue as to how he might try and reach that figure in a speech on Friday.
Speaking in Orewa, he said NZ First had three times stopped Labour from doing a deal at Ihumatao.
He said if Labour governed alone or with the Greens after the election, Ihumatao would be only the first case of a treaty settlement being opened up again.
“In 2020 too many Maori, aided by a small minority of wokeish fellow traveller elites, cannot shift their mindset,” he said.
“They are trapped in the past. They wallow in it.
“Never-ending self-flagellation about the past by elites in Maoridom and in our universities and cities, not to mention certain political parties, does not serve the national interest.”
Just how far Peters may go, could be one of the more intriguing questions for the rest of the campaign.
But his candidates are showing signs of giving up; Shane Jones did not join him on a visit to Dargaville in the Northland electorate on Thursday and a weekend candidates’ debate in Auckland Central saw the NZ First candidate, Jenny Marcroft drop out to be replaced by the party’s New Lynn candidate, Robert Gore.
Though this campaign has three weeks to go; in many ways, it has only one week to go because the voting starts next weekend. That would suggest these poll results may be near the final election result.