New parties gaining on both sides

By Yvonne Tahana, Jarrod Booker, Simon Collins

Tamara and John Savage (with Kahn, 3, and Soul, 2), favour Mana. Photo / Christine Cornege
Tamara and John Savage (with Kahn, 3, and Soul, 2), favour Mana. Photo / Christine Cornege

New parties are displacing those that have occupied the far left and far right extremes of our political spectrum for 20 years.

On the left, Hone Harawira's Mana Party has displaced the Alliance, with 3 per cent support in the Herald street survey. The Alliance, which won 18 per cent of the vote in 1993, is still fielding a party list so it was listed on the card we showed voters, but nobody picked it.

On the right, Colin Craig's Conservative Party gets 1.5 per cent support in our survey. Act, which peaked at 7.1 per cent in the 2002 election, dwindled in our survey to three supporters, or 0.7 per cent.

In the centre New Zealand First, which peaked at 13.4 per cent in 1996 when leader Winston Peters became Deputy Prime Minister, dropped to 3 per cent in our 2008 pre-election survey and still at that mark.

Mana wins negligible support in mainstream phone polls - 0.1 per cent in last week's Herald-DigiPoll survey and 0.7 per cent in a Fairfax poll yesterday.

But it shows up more strongly on the streets, reflecting its appeal to people who can't afford landlines.

Unlike the Maori Party, which is backed almost exclusively by Maori in our survey, almost half of Mana's support is from Pakeha and Pacific voters.

Pakeha candidates John Minto and Sue Bradford rank third and fourth on the party's list, and Samoan former Manukau city councillor James Papali'i ranks sixth.

Otara truck driver Andrew Latoa, 41, has always voted Labour but doesn't trust it any more.

He has lived in Northland and likes what Mr Harawira says about jobs and housing.

Waikato dairy-farm worker John Savage, 32, and his wife Tamara, 31, also voted Labour last time but support local Mana candidate Angeline Greensill after hearing about her through Facebook friends.

"We like her ideas about preschool education," they say.

They have two preschoolers and are upset they have had to pay "hundreds of dollars per child" in various fees for their three older children at primary school.

New Zealand First still has a loyal following among older voters, in line with the DigiPoll survey, which gave it 5.1 per cent support among those aged 65-plus and 1.7 per cent overall.

Eleven of the 13 people thinking of voting for it in our survey are over 55 and the only two younger voters are Maori, like Mr Peters.

Te Arawa kuia Dolly Walker, 84, who won a Queen's Service Medal for her work for the Glen Innes Family Centre, has backed Mr Peters for years because he is "down to earth" and has "wonderful ideas for the elderly".

"My main target was I supported the Gold Card, and I'm rather glad that I did because it did happen," she says.

Morrinsville meat handler Reihana Pakinga, 23, voted Labour last time and is one of Mr Peters' two younger supporters in this survey. "Don't know why," she says.

The Conservatives are standing in 52 of the 63 general electorates and won 1.1 per cent in the DigiPoll, apparently through the flyers it is distributing with community newspapers.

"We had a brochure from the Conservative Party, which I had never heard of before," says Morrinsville music tutor Carolyn McCracken, 64.

"I read that brochure and thought that's interesting. Or maybe NZ First or the National Party."

- NZ Herald

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