Last night’s TV3 poll provides a dose of reality to the election campaign which it has been missing since the TVOne Colmar Brunton poll put Labour ahead.
Even Labour staff were not willing to endorse that poll.
But last night’s poll showing National on 43.3% back in front by 3.9% over Labour also shows that the Labour-Green block would have 57 seats against the ACT-National block which would have 54 seats.
Neither main party could form a Government without NZ First who would have eight seats.
But there would also be substantial changes in Parliament
NZ First on 6.6% would lose five sitting MPs and pick up two new ones — Mark Patterson and Shane Jones.
The Greens would lose three sitting MPs and pick up two new ones; Chloe Swarbrick and Golriz Gharaman.
Labour’s challenge would be to somehow form a Government with both NZ First, and the Greens and National would have real problems trying to form a Government with NZ First at all.
The fallout from the Peters pension overpayment leak still permeates the relationship with National and last night on an iwi radio debate in Northland, Whangarei candidate Shane Jones said the first thing NZ First would do in Government would be to launch an inquiry into the leak.
Meanwhile, Naitonal is ramping up its campaign against Labour.
Essentially National is now trying to hold on to its base. One party official told POLITIK that they were losing middle class, middle aged female voters to Labour which suggests that their strategy now will be to hold onto the male, rural and provincial vote.
Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s extraordinary claim yesterday that gang members did not deserve some human rights might be a reflection of the party decision to concede the female vote to Labour and instead go after the red-neck male vote.
Bennett was called out by Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford who tweeted: “”All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. What we fought WW2 to preserve. What NZ declared in 1948.”
Bennett proposed that police be given powers to search gang members’ houses without warrants.
Section 21 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act says everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure, whether of the person, property, or correspondence or otherwise.
And Section 22 says everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained.
Justice Minister Amy Adams was not available last night for comment on Bennett’s claims.
National is on stronger ground with a series of campaigns against Labour’s proposed water tax.
A Facebook video produced by the Ranfurly community about how the levy would impact on farmers using irrigation on the Maniototo says it would cost them $2.3 million a year.
Speaking on Saturday Labour Leader, Jacinda Ardern said Labour would use the National Policy Standard on Freshwater to impose nitrate limits on farms, but she backed away from any suggestion that Labour would set mandatory stocking rates on farms.
“If we continue to expand (cow numbers) it’s going to affect our environment,” she said.
“So we do need to take the view that when people make future decisions around large scale conversion and large scale intensification, that we need to ask the question whether that is going to cause damage.
“We’ve looked at putting a process in place for that.”
And that would be the National Policy Standard.
With polling showing over 70% of New Zealanders support the water levy policy, Labour is on safe ground continuing to push it.
But National says it has galvanised support among for it among the rural communities.
Thus this election is now between the two main parties which are divided by gender, geography and to a certain extent by age.