The 5 reasons why NZ First won’t get over 5% and how Colin Craig is now a contender for Key’s help in East Coast Bays



One of the rules of NZ punditry is to NEVER count Winston out.


The silver fox has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat so many times he seems immortal with a dislike for sunlight.

I love Winston, the way you love a slightly racist older member of your family whom you have deep enough affection for to overlook their more ugly personality traits. His mark upon the political landscape has been profound and at times brilliant (while also sometimes being horribly xenophobic), so it gives me no joy to suggest the following, but I don’t think NZ First are going to get over 5% for a couple of very specific reasons. I am sure that my learnerd blogger Curwen Rolinson can helpfully correct me on some of these points, but it seems to me that the energising factors that propelled NZ First over 5% last election are not prevalent this time around.

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1 – Phil Goff’s candidacy was one of the most wooden in recent political memory. He made C3P-O look like a ballet dancer. Cunliffe’s talent is his oratory, expect Labour to woo back more voters from NZ First than it lost.

2 – This elections Tea Pot Tape scandal will be the Kim Dotcom Town Hall meeting, and there’s nothing in that for energising Winston.

3 – Winston the man himself. At 69, the great campaigner ain’t the boxer he was. One need only reflect on his terrible swing and miss with Judith Collins this year in Parliament to see that Winston is a tad punch drunk. He has set the bar so high in terms of his performances to date, it will be difficult I think for him to match his own high standards.

4 – Lack of a future. Beyond Winston, who does NZ First have? Tracey Martin is the only MP worth keeping, the others contribute little more than Parliamentary Tie updates on twitter. Now if that smart young Curwen Rolinson was in the running to be an MP, you’d have some type of future arrangement, but the cavalcade of stiffs currently crowding NZ First benches looks like it has about as much future direction as the Titanic.

5 – The 5th reason why Winston won’t get over 5% however is the most damaging – Colin Craig and the Conservative Party. Colin’s money has bought top level political strategists (I have my suspicion as to who it is) and those top level strategists have shrewdly concluded NZ First voter profile matches the Conservatives voter profile and the mass copy and paste of NZ First policy by the Conservatives is a very obvious attempt at stealing Winston’s voter base.

It is this last point that suddenly breathes life back into Key needing to hand East Coast Bays over to Colin. If Conservatives can cannibalise NZ First votes to drop Winston under 5% while building the Conservatives up to 3%+ then dumping Murray in East Coast Bays becomes the only strategy.

If National were to pull Murray, my suspicion is that Labour’s response may well be to do the same and allow Winston to stand unopposed. Such a deal however would require a private understanding that Winston would set his bottom lines at a level that National could never meet. If Winston won East Coast Bays, he wouldn’t need 5%.

Coat tailing, a feature of MMP the Right have exploited mercilessly with ACT since MMPs birth may well decide the fate of NZ First, Conservative Party, ACT, United Future, the Maori Party and the Internet MANA Party as well as the next Government this election.





  1. An interesting article. Obviously the Conservatives need to improve their poll ratings. I am unclear why the NZ Herald did not provide the Conservatives poll ratings in their poll out today. They gave the ratings for all other political parties.

  2. Regarding #1. Are the Stuff.Co and Sunday Star times reports correct that David Cunliffe went on holiday?

    This is of course just over 2 months from the election and with Labour polling badly under half of Nationals polling figures? If correct it explains Labour dropping off the radar over the last week right when they need to be headlining for the right reasons and if so his oratory is going to have to be brilliant beyond the best ever oratory!

    Or are these claims wildly inaccurate??

  3. ‘ New Zealand First . ‘ I like irony but that’s ridiculous . Another career politician and Machiavellian liar about to bow out with our money ?

  4. Winston Peters is NOT “xenophobic”.
    He has been labeled as such as a diversionary slur, by his opponents, and to swallow that line demonstrates shallow thinking and a gullibility to political correctness at the expense of clear sightedness & truth.

    There is a HUGE difference between normal immigration rates.. vs opening the floodgates and letting so many people in, in a short space of time that it completely changes the fabric of society.

    It has taken job opportunities away from native NZers, kept wages down,(because they are happy to work for less), put strain on our infrastructures, and lets not forget the original reason that property prices in AK went soaring .

    The original Kiwi identity along with our original “fair go” culture, and unstressed comfortable family lifestyle, is forever gone..replaced by a horribly competitive struggle for survival.

    In actual fact, New Zealanders should have been asked , and if they had they would never have agreed to the current status quo.

    Wanting to preserve one’s national identity & values does NOT equate with “xenophobia”. Understand?

  5. The Blue Rinse Brigade, although these days the Blue Rinse has gone outa their hair. Colin doesn’t have them and theres a lot of them that will be voting this year.
    The local Rymans rest home that I visit is loaded with the old dears, some still have their husbands, and most of them according to what I hear are going to vote for Winston (not NZ First). They love him. He’s close to their age, he’s debonair and ruggedly handsome, (God I’m watching far too much of “Castle”) whereas to them Colin is not in that league…just look at him. Not to mention the moon man thing.
    Multiply that around NZ and there is a force that Colin can’t match. Also Winston is a master of the debates on the campaign trail something the other party leaders lack.
    I reckon 6.5% without standing in East Coast Bays.

  6. East Coast Bays voted for the National candidate at a rate of 65 percent last time with the Conservative candidate picking up 5 percent last time. So Winston has B all chance of winning.
    The interesting bit are the large number of ‘new age’ new pentecostal type churches in the area. This helped Paul Adams (ex United First) to 5800 or so votes in 2005.
    Okay, ECB did reject Mr Brash but that was 33 years ago.
    The upshot is, if Murray McCully stood aside, that 2.65 percent the Conservative got at the last election, would not be wasted and three seats would be handy.

  7. The battle between NZF and the Conservatives will be one of the most interesting of this election (IMP vs Green will be the other to watch as well).

    While I agree with most of your analysis there is no way Labour will do a deal with Winston – for a start he wont honor any pre-election deal and I cant see Labour/Nationa/Green voters voting for him – hes so untrustworthy. I cant see David Cunliffe (or any Labourites) doing a deal with him – given the attacks they’ve made on National ACT and the hostility Goff/Hipkins piled on Mana/IMP for quite legitimately doing a pre-election deal with IMP they would look too hypocritical doing the same with the old Xenophobe.

    Im not sure about National doing a dirty deal with the Conservatives, theyre brand of conservatism is pretty intense, Im guessing NZF and the Conservatives will fight hard and both fail to get 5% leaving and easy victory for National.

  8. 1. No. Voters have turned off Cunliffe and the anti-man policies of Labour.
    2. What people don’t get about the tea tapes is that if it wasn’t the tea tapes, there would’ve been another angle Winston would’ve found. He always finds an angle, and as proven time and time again over the last three decades, Winston is unstoppable from opposition.
    3. He might not be Muhammad Ali anymore but he’s still a Sonny Liston compared to the rest of his opponents.
    4. That’s not an issue that’s relevant to 2014. Winston is still there.
    5. The last election proved that this is not the case at all. Both New Zealand First and the Conservatives made significant ground in their own right. There are two separate effective constituencies here: those who like Winston and his policies (who vote for New Zealand First and have no reason to change), and those who dislike Winston but like a lot of his policies (which is the vote that National and the Conservatives will be battling it out for).

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