While polls are notoriously fraught with predictive problems I found last night’s Colmar Brunton poll particularly interesting in one regard – namely the apparent rise in popularity of the ACT party.
National down 6% Act up two to 5% and New Conservative making an appearance at 1% could signal that, at long last, the political Right in New Zealand is beginning to fracture in the way that has dogged the political Left for many years..
For those of us (like me) who think we should have more of a WE society than a ME society , that’s a welcome sign.
Why the drift to ACT the party of extreme neoliberalism?
I suspect it reflects the concerns of those who benefitted most from the pre-covid economic model (built on the belief that low taxes are a wonderful thing and the State has no business interfering in the marketplace) about the emerging post -covid economy where we are seeing the ideas of the Great Depression economist John Maynard Keynes ( that State spending stimulates the economy ) making a comeback in these tough times.
In short the extreme Right are worried their strangle- hold on privilege is weakening.
Why are the Greens down 1%?
No doubt there are a number of reasons for that drop but the decision they made back in May of 2018 to give up their questions during Question Time to National, in my view, helped make the Greens become almost invisible for some time as a separate party .
While the philosophy of “advancing the principles of democracy “ through strengthening the voice of the Opposition given as the reason at the time by the party’s co-leader James Shaw may have been well intentioned, it effectively deprived the Greens of those moments in the House when it could show its passion and fire .
The result? I suspect the Greens are currently suffering the same fate as Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrat party suffered in the UK when it appeared to the public that it has become absorbed by David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
Question Time invisibility has also meant that negative issues such as their caving on the Water Bottling plant in Christchurch have made headlines where the more positive things the Greens have achieved, such as making some progress on Climate Change and environment related legislation, have not had the same cut through.
NZ First on 2%, despite their leader’s bravado, must be worried as must the smaller parties like the Maori Party on 1% along with TOP and Social Credit (having no apparent visibility) must be equally concerned.
All that said, we know that polls can be notoriously wrong and that those who announce them rarely mention their margin of error of just over plus or minus 3% .
As is often wisely said , “the only real poll happens on election day”… so… over to you.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.