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The Letter - 16 June 2014

The Letter
16 June 2014

The ‘Missing’ 100,000

What happens to the last election’s non-vote may determine this year’s election. David Cunliffe won the Labour primary promising to take Labour to the left to mobilise the “one million” non-voters to turn out. Like much of David Cunliffe’s rhetoric it was careless. There were not a million non-voters, 800,000 is closer to the mark. In a usual election, around 500,000 do not vote. Of the extra 300,000 non-voters, it turns out many are from Right/centre voting electorates. Labour’s vote was down 180,000, so the other 120,000 voters came from somewhere else. ACT in its 6 elections has averaged 95,000 voters. In 2011 ACT’s vote collapsed. Getting the ACT non-vote to the polling booth grows the Right/Centre vote. Last election the 120,000 non-voting Right/Centre supporters almost gifted the election to Phil Goff. If they had all voted, ACT would have had six seats and National would not need to rely on the Maori Party.

Where is the Evidence?

New Zealand does not allow exit polls on Election Day. Even exit polls taken a day later are notoriously unreliable. Oddly, people quickly convince themselves that they did vote - and voted for the winner too. Only marked rolls let you know who really did and didn’t vote, and they are sealed after counting. So we do not know for sure who the non-voters are. The evidence that 95,000 are ACT voters is a) ACT’s vote collapsed, so those who voted for ACT in the previous 5 elections went somewhere else, b) non-voting increased the most in electorates where ACT is strong, c) anecdotal evidence from ACT supporters that they did not vote last election, and d) the results we’ve received this year from our extensive polling.

The Right/Centre thinks National is Labour-lite

In ACT’s 2014 voter poll of the views of the Right/Centre in Epsom, around 17 percent of the electorate reveals that they feel betrayed by National: “What is the point of voting National, if what you get is Labour policies?”, is a frequent observation. This group will only vote National to stop a Labour government. Last election they were sure John Key was going to win. This year they also think John Key will win. If the election was tomorrow, 100,000 (maybe more) would stay at home. Is ‘good vibe’ complacency a trait of the Right/Centre? If so, getting 100,000 potential ACT voters to use the ballot box is vital in 2014.

Only ACT

The National 2014 election year budget was brilliant politics; it allowed National to grab Labour voters. But it also convinced Right/Centre voters that National is Labour-lite. Only Jamie Whyte has a chance to motivate the missing 100,000 Right/Centre voters to go to the polls. ACT’s polling reveals that Right/Centre voters have not only a favourable view of Jamie Whyte but they have an unfavourable view of John Key, who they regard as being pale pink. Jamie has his job cut out for him, as Right/Centre voters think the job of being ACT Leader is a very tough job and they are not sure if anyone can do it. If there is a silver lining to the John Banks court case, it is that it proved Jamie Whyte can take tough decisions.

He Can Pick Issues Too

When he became leader Jamie Whyte had to pick the issues to highlight without the benefit of any polling. Jamie chose to highlight the 120,000 burglaries that occur annually and to float a solution - 3 strikes for burglary then 3 years jail. The media commentators were universal in their derision. ACT’s polling subsequent to Jamie Whyte’s election shows he was spot on. The Right/Centre is angry that National has frozen the Police budget, that burglary is out of control and that burglars have nothing to fear when they are caught – many professional burglars have double digit convictions and records of offending during parole. Since National was elected, over 750,000 people have been directly affected by a burglary. Jamie then produced a detailed and accurately-costed alternative budget. Showing how by cutting middle class and corporate welfare, the tax rate could be lowered to 24 cents was also inspired. Tax rates may not appear as an issue in public and media polls but that is because most people who are polled pay no tax in net terms; They receive more in benefits than they pay in tax. But 20% of the electorate - including the missing 100,000 ACT voters - are real taxpayers and they hear Jamie’s lower and flatter taxes message and like it. Jamie Whyte is the only person who may be able to motivate the Right/Centre non-vote to go to the polls.

Internet-Mana Party

I-Predict is now forecasting that the leader of the Maori Party, Te Ururoa Flavell, will lose his seat to Internet-Mana candidate Annette Sykes. The Letter thinks so too. Flavell destabilised the Maori Party to get the leadership from Pita Sharples and then has had no idea how or where to lead the Maori Party. Just being in government is not enough. No approach has been made to the party’s largest donor. We see no sign of electoral activity. Annette ran a vigorous campaign last election on no money. With a four million dollar war chest she can out spend Flavell with some ease. The irony is that if Annette wins on current polling, the Internet Party leader Laila Harre, who has the top list place, will miss out. Electorate seats are deducted from the Party list seats and Internet-Mana now needs over 2% to get a list seat.

Don Nicolson for ACT

ACT has selected former Federated Farmer’s President Don Nicolson to run for the Clutha-Southland seat. During his time as President of Federated Farmers, Don was a strong advocate of property rights and led the campaign against the Resource Management Act, a piece of legislation that has devastated the viability of many farmers. Regrettably, Federated Farmers present leadership thinks property rights are a lost cause and have instituted a policy of appeasement. Putting it boldly, appeasement did not stop Hitler and it will not stop the environmental Nazis. Don’s selection sends a clear message that ACT is the only Party willing to say no to the environmental Nazis. In rural New Zealand, and going by the reception he received at Field Days, Don’s selection is big news.

Sunday Series

We are often asked “What is Jamie Whyte like?” Jamie has recorded a Sunday series of YouTube clips that are onwww.act.org.nz . He is speaking in his own way and the results are quite revealing. We think he has got what it takes. Judge for yourself.

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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