Latest TV 1Poll & Bernard Hickey highlight how hard it will be to break the middle class addiction with John Key



The latest TV One Poll is a reminder of a whole bunch of things.

1 – As Frank insightfully points out, the Poll ignores how much of a drop in personal support Key has suffered along with how the 51% could be met with Greens, Labour + NZ First.

2 – Despite Tracy Watkins thoughts, the staggering 47% support is a reminder that Twitter has very little influence. Facebook does because it has far wider buy in with the population and the environment within Facebook is far more benign and less brutal than Twitter. Bless it, but Twitter is like a boutique shop down a tiny alleyway specialised for Militant Free Bleeders and Beard Glitter aficionados where as Facebook is a a huge 20 block Mall. Social media traction works on Facebook because it’s broad and the climate is far less hostile (it’s difficult really slagging someone off when you know your Mum and Dad might be watching). Twitter however is like Game of Thrones, 140 characters and most of them are self interested and evil.

3 –  The bias of the mainstream media with wall to wall Mike Hosking, Paul Henry and 7pm current affairs reduced to the political and cultural wasteland level of the Edge morning madhouse, means we have an electorate more uninformed than before the printing press.

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4 – The incredibly high poll rating hammers home however a simple glaring fact which is that the middle classes back Key to the hilt. The missing million voters are so disconnected, they aren’t coming back to the ballot box unless free houses are being offered and with every opposition Party chasing the middle those voters are invisible.

The middle classes of NZ will still vote for Key AS LONG AS their property valuations continue rising. They are making more out of the climbing value in their property than they are from their actual jobs. The illusion of wealth National’s property bubble has created makes it very hard for the middle classes to walk away from voting National.

Muddle Nu Zilind voted for Key despite his mass surveillance lies, they voted for Key despite the abuses of political power highlighted in Dirty Politics, they voted for Key despite knowing his office colluded with the SIS to impact the 2011 election, they voted for Key despite the assets sale privatisation, despite the hundreds of thousands of kids in poverty, despite the inequality, despite the killing off of public broadcasting, despite the abuses of process.

Unfortunately it will take more than crap flags, Maurice being a sexist homophobic arsehole and limp dead children on foreign beaches to move the middle classes away from Key. It will take the property bubble popping.

No one sums this up better than Bernard Hickey

We are obsessed with getting, protecting and growing our tax-free capital gains from land. Our economy worships at the feet of bankers and agents.

We feel in our bones that tax and banking systems are set up to make it easy and relatively risk free to get ahead by leveraging up and waiting for the inevitable rise in house prices.

It appears nothing can dissolve the magic. Labour has abandoned a capital gains tax, which means it is unlikely for another generation. The Government won’t discuss the role of its migration policy in pumping up house prices in Auckland.

The Nimbys (Not in My Back Yard) in the leafy suburbs of Auckland will fight tooth and nail to thwart attempts to quickly build lots of affordable houses.

And now the magic and joy is spreading into the provinces.

This week, while the nation was working itself into a frenzy about which fronds and curls spoke the most about us, the real us was being revealed in statistics from the bowels of our real estate market.

Quotable Value reported that Auckland house values were up 20.4 per cent in the year to August, but it was the surge in values in Hamilton (up 10.3 per cent), Tauranga (up 8.6 per cent) and the Hauraki region (up 16 per cent) that caught attention. There will open home flags aplenty flapping in the provinces this spring.

Even the Reserve Bank seems powerless to dampen the speculative lust sweeping north and south from Planet Auckland. Its rate cut expected on Thursday will also embolden borrowers.

The scale of the obsession with borrowing to buy and hold land was also clear in Reserve Bank lending figures released this week. Mortgage lending grew $1.087 billion in the 31 days of July to $219.813b, the fastest monthly growth rate since December 2007.

Mortgage debt is growing faster than incomes, helping drive the household debt to disposable income ratio to a record high 162.2 per cent, among the worst in the OECD.

Landlords grew their borrowing by twice as much as owner occupiers and three times as much as first-home buyers in July.

…the middle class speculators are simply making too much money out of Key’s property bubble to ever seriously consider voting him out. Key could set a Decile 1 School on fire and those speculating in property would find excuses to justify his actions.

The tide turns against Key when the property bubble pops. Then and only then will the middle classes suddenly remember they have a conscience – when they are hurting.

This is the venal self interest that rules NZ politics now, as ugly and as soul distressingly petty as that is.


  1. Yes don’t forget there are no Housing bubbles in the Provinces?

    Only Auckland is the major player here, so we in the Provinces such as Gisborne which has lost 17% property value since 2007 the latest real estate report says.

    HB has done a little better at a flat property market mostly.

    If we believed in polls which I don’t we should be encouraging the Labour/Greens/NZ First to combine as an effective Government in two years time.

  2. John Key must be shaking his head in wonder at the gullibility of New Zealanders. However corrupt, sordid and inefficient his government is, makes not a jot of difference, they will still love him to bits no matter what. No wonder it goes to his head and makes him feel omnipotent, most mere mortals would be tempted by this. I think the only thing that will change this is economic recession – that is the only thing the middle class are really concerned about. Social poverty? declining government services? public education? phffffth! who gives a …..? But when they see their own wallets growing thinner then that’s different and they will start to wake up.
    Heard an item on Morning Report this morning with economists saying a recession is going to hit, the question is when?

    • Recession will hit when the following happens:
      – Housing Bubble bursts (which will happen because most NZ’ers can’t afford to buy new homes or rent the expensive apartments, and you have to question whether NZ’ers will have the money to pay mortgages if there is enough of an economic shock).
      – Export demand declines for dairy and other NZ exports, or dairy prices collapse and bankrupt enough farmers. A major drought due to pushing the land beyond its limit could do things in too though.
      – Stagnant wages or salaries lead to a decline in consumer spending.
      – Banks make poor investments (as globally no real action has been taken to stop a repeat of the great recession’s bank collapse).
      – IT and Tech companies leave NZ for countries outside of the TPPA zone (if the TPPA passes), for countries with less restrictive copyright laws. China, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, and the UAE will love getting those jobs though.
      – Student Loan costs in NZ encourage more to leave for jobs elsewhere to pay it off, and those that leave usually don’t want to come back, which expands the NZ skills shortage. Many of the people I know who went to university now live and work overseas, and I doubt they would return for anything but a holiday or to visit friends and family.

  3. Since when was Bernard Hickey a Marxist-Leninist economist? It takes a bit of getting used to, seeing stuff like that appearing in the MSM! And he’s a well-respected commentator…

    • lol.
      Capitalism has got us to a point where any economist with half a brain is at least sympathetic to a Marxist analysis.
      Only a few around, but more are coming out all the time.
      Some of the stuff Paul Mason is saying in the UK is anti-capitalist.
      Karl Marx is the new realism…they just can’t accept it…yet.

  4. Not all Middle-Class like Shonky, Martyn. I am middle Class (rapidly slipping out of it) and I cant stand him!

    You are right about Facebook. Amazing what you can find following the threads. Keeping an eye on Sanders and Corbyn there. They are our hope! But you wont see them on MSM

  5. So essentially, vast swathes of the nation are greedy scum who stubbornly refuse to put the needs of the many before the avarice of the few. That’s a genuinely depressing thought.

  6. Fascist regimes have always been supported by the middle classes who fear the loss of their money and assets from the Left. Germany and Chile are two examples of this.

  7. Most people are not involved in the speculative bubble. If you want to know why there is not more of a movement away from National, the first place to look is at strategy, tactics, coherence and cohesion on the Left.

    You need a reason to change your political orientation. It doesn’t have to be back-pocket incentives. The prospect of a better world both for yourself and your children would be plenty. Authenticity is the main thing here. Even capital gains would still fly if the policy were defended with confidence and accuracy. And if the receipts were connected to a social benefit, educational, health or whatever.

    This is why it is essential that the Left, especially Labour, talk more about their over-arching philosophy. They must also be seen to involve themselves more with potential coalition partners. And, I also believe they must now go after John Key. There is plenty of ammunition.

    Someone with influence must believe that Key’s popularity would hurt anyone who criticizes him. I think the exact opposite is true. Much of his popularity rides on the Teflon ride he is given by those who should know better. The success of the National Party is largely due to this popularity. To change that, it would be necessary to affect that uncontested popularity. I suggest that the best way to achieve this would be to remind the country that Key is at the heart of all their policies. Climate change minimalism, asset sales, privatisation of social services, private prisons, refugee policy, the bribery/Saudi Free Trade nonsense, cowardly conduct at the UN and niggardly increases for beneficiaries – postponed 12 months, no less -, petty cost cutting in the extension of paid parental leave, mouldy State houses, corporate welfare, dodge back-room deals, shady dirty tricks and so on. An administration with neither vision nor ambition. All this sheets home directly to John Key’s personal inclinations.

    Of course, none of this is a secret to readers of the Daily Blog, but, coupled with the offering of a better future, the message must be taken to the mainstream at every opportunity.

  8. i too am a middle class New Zealander, and I can’t stand Key. I have never, and will never, vote National as I abhor their political ideology. Please don’t lump all of us in the middle classes together, there are a heap of us in the provinces that can’t stand what the government is doing, and yes, I term Dunedin a province now as this govt is slowly but surely closing down our infrastructure.

  9. Middle class NZ are still fizzing at the bung over John Key, self made millionaire who donates his salary to charity. Also we have a media which keeps talking him up, with a very slick PR agency behind him in the shape of Crosby Textor. Labour, Greens and NZF are going to have to lift their games for the next election.

  10. Then why do the Press make that statement and if it is factually incorrect, John Key should correct the statement, otherwise it is a form of false advertising or public relations by National’s PR Machine.

  11. I was called a month ago and asked who I’d vote for in the next election. When I said Labour, the poll taker said ‘Really? ‘ in a voice so incredulous it was clear I’d given the wrong answer.

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