Heather Roy's Diary 2 September 2005
Heather Roy's Diary 2 September
Newsflash - Rodney Hide on track to win Epsom
News that Rodney Hide is ahead in Epsom is great news for everybody who has been working on the ACT campaign.
Here are the figures: Rodney Hide (ACT) 30.79% Richard Worth (National) 29.97% Stuart Nash (Labour) 11.99% Other 2.80% Don't Know 25.07%
Rodney is in the lead in the battle to win the seat of Epsom. In each poll that ACT has conducted over the past few weeks Rodney has been gaining steadily, knocking a few points off Richard Worth each time and adding a few of his own.
This is a remarkable turnaround from just a few months ago when polls showed that Rodney was at 15% and Richard Worth was on 55%. It is interesting that Labour's Stuart Nash, who was second in July, has fallen right behind - solidifying Epsom as a two horse race.
The Epsom voters know that they can vote for Richard Worth and get just Richard Worth or they can vote for Rodney and get Rodney, several ACT MPs and Richard Worth. This is more likely to result in a change in government and that is a message which is resonating.
I fully expect this news to lift ACT's polling as well, with more people likely to give their Party Vote to ACT as it looks likely that Rodney will take Epsom. This will upset those who continuously and erroneously say that ACT at 2% is not worth having in Parliament and doesn't provide much of a support partner for National. People can be confident that their vote won't be wasted.
Another Interesting Electorate
Winston Peters seems to be in serious trouble in Tauranga. A recent Bay of Plenty Times poll (11 August) put Winston on just 10%, National's Bob Clarkson on 26% and the Labour candidate on 18%. A third of voters are undecided but it looks as if Peters is gone. National's candidate is a very successful self-made millionaire known locally as "Bob the builder". He is a major benefactor of local projects like the stadium. With New Zealand First on just 5% Peters is begging Labour for help.
Famine and Feast
Michael Cullen has been conspicuous by his absence in the last few weeks. Perhaps he has been too busy crying into his fiscal responsibility soup. For six years Labour has claimed to be tackling the economy in a responsible manner with Dr Cullen's recent comments at budget time that there was only funding for crumbs not jam. Dr Cullen has been left with egg on his face with Labour embarking on the biggest election spending spree of all time. If the promises ever came to fruition the extra spending would no doubt be welcomed but the five years of famine followed by one year of election feast is neither responsible nor practical - and Dr Cullen knows it.
The horrified look on his face at Labour's "no interest on student debt" announcement said it all. I was waiting for Helen Clark to tell him to pull himself together and smile for the cameras.
In biblical times there was routinely seven years of famine followed by seven years of feast. There is often talk today of seven-year cycles. Labour's five to one ratio has made it difficult to plan and implement policies in any coherent way. Health is a good example with any number of election bribes coming shortly before an election with little if any thought to workforce planning, or how the policies will be put in place while staff shortages and District Health Boards' practical constraints exist.
It is all very well to promise something then expect someone else to implement it. If it doesn't happen what does it matter - Labour gets the credit then blames frontline staff for incompetence. Yesterday Labour announced its Health policy. There was nothing new in it. It was full of self congratulatory praise for the last six years and reannouncements of promises already made. Anyone holding their breath for any kind of improvement should stop immediately for fear of fainting and requiring medical attention which will not be forthcoming.
The real statistics reveal 180,401 patients on First Specialist Assessment and surgical waiting lists when Labour was elected. Yet, despite throwing a record extra $3.6 billion into health each year, waiting lists have risen to 180,692.
The number of operations is static with just a 1.3% increase in surgical case weighted discharges between 2000 and 2004, despite a 4.3% population increase. Health is Labour's greatest failure.
Only ACT has the policies to improve health waiting lists. We want to break down the artificial barrier between public and private and use private hospitals to clear the waiting lists. You can view ACTs full Health Policy