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.
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.