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ACT's The Letter - Monday, 12 September 2005

ACT's The Letter
Monday, 12 September 2005

The Haps

It is a cliff-hanger. The election will be decided by how the third parties fare and whether the Maori party create an overhang.

Polls, polls, polls

In no other election have the polls varied so much, National ahead 7%, then Labour 8%, and then neck and neck and now National by 4% depending on whose poll you read. NZ used to be a pollsters paradise. Ask 10 voters in Queen Street and they would give you the same answers as 10 voters in Southland. We are now more diverse. Nearly half of all new Telecom connections refuse to go in the phone book, many young people just have cell phones and telephone ID has led people not to answer the phone to numbers they do not recognise. Pollsters claim to be able to rebalance by instructing callers to get 50/50 male/female, young/old, etc. But they cannot. What if the people who use only cell phones have different politics? Around 100,000 Chinese will vote this election. Mainland Chinese are never going to tell a caller how they will vote. Polls also do not tell us how strongly people hold views.

What we know

The electorate is volatile. 10% of voters claim to make their mind up on Election Day. We think the election will be decided by the turnout. We think National will be the biggest party.

How will the Chinese vote?

Last election Labour got half the new immigrant vote to stop Peters. If Peters continues to look like losing, what does that do? In Epsom there are 4,000 Chinese -enough to decide the vote.

Labour losing Heartland

Under first past the post the party that won the North Island provincial seats won the election. Today National holds just Whangarei in the North Island and Nelson in the South Island. We predict National will sweep the South Island and do very well in the North.

Tauranga: National gain. In the Tauranga Boys High School poll, legendary for its accuracy Peters 36.5% Bob Clarkson 40.9%. The boys also predict National 42.4% Labour 27% and NZ First 14.7%. In our own Letter readers poll 78% think Peters will lose Tauranga and 69% think NZ First won't make 5%

Hamilton East. National gain. A Waikato Times poll has Dianne Yates a massive 34% behind National's David Bennett.

Hamilton West: Probable National gain. Labour MP Mark Gallagher is trailing by 5%.

Invercargill: National gain. Eric Roy 34.5%, Wayne Harper, the new Labour candidate replacing Mark Peck, has just 21.5% - though Labour leads the party vote 27.3% to 24.8% with a third of the electorate undecided.

Otago: National gain. Jacqui Dean 36.1% ahead of Labour MP David Parker 28.3%. Last election split votes to ACT's Gerry Eckhoff let Parker through.

Seats to watch

A poll in the Marlborough Express puts new National candidate Colin King ahead on 43% to second time high profile Brendan Burns on 24.2%, a massive swing to National. The Nelson Mail reports Nick Smith in the traditionally Labour electorate of Nelson is on 66% and National that has never won the list vote in the seat, leading by 3%.

Seat loss?

The Library using last elections voting has done a chart setting out the % swings needed to deseat MPs. 1.2% Hamilton West; 1.2% Otago; 4% Wanganui; 5% Wigram; 5.3% Invercargill; 5.9% Northcote; 6.1% Tauranga; 7.1% Banks Peninsula; 8.2% Wellington Central; 8.3% Napier; 11.3% East Coast; Aoraki where Sutton is trailing is a 12.3% swing. There has been no boundary change so some seats have population shifts and the quality of the candidates makes a big difference. For the full seat table see

Clean Sweep?

Even before Pita Sharples' credible performance in Thursday's leaders debate the Marae Digipolls showed a massive swing to the Maori Party. Dover Samuels who was closing on Hone Harawira is now trailing 30% to 49%. John Tamihere has fallen even further behind and with no list placing will be out. Tariana Turia is on 72% in her seat. The Maori party may win 6 seats and with Jim Anderton's failure to win 1% of the list vote would create a possible overhang of 3 seats, advantaging Labour.


Australian pollsters had Rodney Hide on 32.8%, Richard Worth 26.5% and Labour's Stuart Nash on 12.4%. TV One has Worth on 44%. Rodney 30% and Labour 20%. What is going on? First Colmar Brunton removed the do not knows. Secondly Clark's call for Labour voters to stop Hide had some effect. ACT's canvassing shows that voters in Epsom are well aware of the tactical situation. With ACT on 3% winning Epsom on some polls is the extra MPs National needs to form a government. We think the voters will vote tactically.

Media Hypocrisy

Last election the teachers union spent more money on advertising trying to influence voters to vote Labour than National spent on the election! There was no adverse media comment. The Labour Party shares polling information and co-ordinates messaging but there is no investigative journalism into the union's influence. No one thinks the Brethren have any policy influence over National or National is able to influence the Brethren pamphlets. The press gallery's bias has led them to go over board. No one else is shocked to learn that religious fundamentalists do not like this anti family government.

This Weeks Poll

The big one. We are voting ACT. Our vote not only won't be wasted as Rodney takes Epsom but because constituency seats are deducted not added to a party's list entitlement a list vote for ACT gives the best return. We think it will take nearly 90,000 votes to elect a National list MP and just 17,000 to elect an ACT MP. (Last election it took 119,746 party votes to elect a Labour MP, 70,885 for a National MP and 16,120 for ACT.) Without ACT there will be no National tax cuts and no flat tax or welfare reform etc.


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