The Green surge continues. The Green Party has so far had a near perfect election campaign, and they have strategically repositioned themselves for considerable mainstream success next week. They're on track to peak just at the right time - the three opinion polls released in the last 24-hours all put them on remarkable 13% of the vote - see, for example: Labour hits ten year low in latest poll. iPredict now has the Greens on a projected 11.3% party vote which suggests that pundits believe the Greens won't suffer badly from the usual problems the party has getting its own supporters to actually turn up to the polling booths.
This has made the Greens the party to watch during the campaign. The party has received ample media coverage - and, according to recent academic research, they've received a greater proportion of positive coverage than any other party. But there is a lack of detailed examination of the party, especially since it has changed so dramatically in recent years. They really are the 'New Greens' under new management.
A re-examination of the Green Party is particularly important in light of its significant new coalition policy of 'leaving the door open' to supporting a National Government. This really is central to the new-look Greens. It has made the party appear more relevant to any post-election scenario, and has underlined the party's new centrist political positioning. But would the party really go into a coalition with the rightwing National Party? Officially the line is that it would be 'highly unlikely', but this is frustratingly vague, especially as it becomes apparent there is no chance of a Labour-led government. At the moment, iPredict has projected the likelihood of this happening under the trading stock of: 'At least one Green Party MP to be a Minister in next government'. Currently the stock is trading at 19% - which is certainly greater than 'highly unlikely'.
Rightwing political commentator Matthew Hooton says that the Greens will be a crucial determinant of the make-up of the next National government - see his analysis on the Stratos iPredict election programme last night. Hooton predicts that after the election John Key will invite Russel Norman into his government, with policy sweeteners and the chance to sideline the Act Party.
Political/financial journalist Pattrick Smellie is also of the opinion that the Greens are now at the centre of - not just the political spectrum - but of determining future coalition governments - see: 2014 and the Greens: the timetable that really counts. Smellie says that 'National will almost certainly have to deal more constructively and actively with the Green Party than it might have otherwise, since the Greens will again be the third largest party in the next Parliament'.
While the Greens new-found respectability may be attracting swing voters, Morgan Godfery argues in today's Herald that their new centrist popularity will come at a cost to their traditional support base and speculates who is best placed to benefit - see: Mana ready to pick up disaffected Green-activist vote. Other useful recent items on the Greens include: Sarah Robson's Election 2011: Q&A with Russel Norman and TV3's Russel Norman - dreaming of cleaner pastures.
The latest opinion polls also show that the teapot tape saga has not yet damaged National's popularity to a significant degree. National's support remains steadfastly around 50%. It's possible that the damage to John Key has not yet properly filtered through to the polls - they were both taken in the period before this really blew up. But there's a very good chance that no damage has been done at all. That's the analysis of Matthew Hooton, who writes in the NBR today that 'National's [own] polling was showing that more than 60% of voters regarded the teapot issue as silly, trivial and vastly over-reported. Only 11% wanted the media to stick with the topic'.
New Zealand First are clearly benefitting from the teapot tapes saga - see, for example, Audrey Young's Poll shock: Winston within a whisker and Peter Wilson's Media stunt bungle helps propel NZ First. According to iPredict, the chances of Winston Peters being elected to Parliament are now 43%.
The teapot tapes issue is no longer just about their content, but about the relationship between politicians and the media. For more on this, and good commentary on the saga see the following items: John Armstrong's PM's blustering a reminder of Muldoon days, Guyon Espiner's Policies shunted to background by teapot tape, Tracy Watkins' Tea stains may be hard to shake, John Drinnan's Labour waits as police leap in for Key, Russell Brown's A week being a long time in politics, and Tim Watkin's Governing alone - time to talk about power.
Labour is judged to be another loser in the whole affair because the party is being crowded out from the election debate - see, for example James Murray's Goff's the surprise teapot tape loser. This is why we're seeing reports such as this one: Goff 'sick to death' of teapot tapes.
Issues of inequality and MP high pay are still resonating today, with some excellent comment in the following items: Dom Post's editorial MP's travel perk raise unwarranted, Kate Newton's MPs 'don't deserve' pay rise, Adam Bennett's Ministers' salary bump outstrips most voters', and No Right Turn's Joining the top 1%. The Dominion Post even led today with a sole frontpage story - Lane Nichols' Revealing the gap between NZ's rich and poor.
Other very good election campaign items today include: Mathew Grocott's Voters turned off by SOE, retirement policies, Isaac Davison's Every picture tells a story, even if sometimes it can be the wrong one, Ali Ikram's Defacing Labour billboards with Goff's face and the Reading the Maps' blog post, Labour, neo-liberalism, and a blueberry smoothie: a chat with Carmel.
Audrey Young (NZH): Poll shock: Winston within a whisker
Morgan Godfery (NZH): Mana ready to pick up disaffected Green-activist vote
Patrick Smellie (idealog): 2014 and the Greens: the timetable that really counts
Waikato Times: Editorial - Election focus diverted
Whaleoil: Green vandals still at it
Jock Anderson (NBR): Greens deny paying for poster vandalism
Peter Wilson (TV3): Media stunt bungle helps propel NZ First
Dom Post: 4.9%
Guyon Espiner (TVNZ): Policies shunted to background by teapot tape
Rebecca Wright and 3News staff: NZ First climb polls on back of teapot tapes
Tim Watkin (Pundit): Governing alone - time to talk about power
Matthew Hooton (electionresults): Daily Snapshot: Beyond the teapot?
John Pagani: Herald poll
Epsom tea party fall out
John Armstrong (NZH): PM's blustering a reminder of Muldoon days
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Tea stains may be hard to shake
Russell Brown (Hard News): A week being a long time in politics
John Drinnan (NZH): Labour waits as police leap in for Key
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): Political Report: November 18
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On whether politicians should have the same rights to privacy
Chris Trotter: Two's Company ...
Danya Levy (Stuff): Nats' handling of 'teapot tape' defended
Shane Cowlishaw (Dom Post): Tea tape investigation 'lose-lose'
Dean Knight (Laws179): Reading the tea leaves: the declaratory judgment application
Stuff: Tea tape frenzy goes global
Adam Bennett (NZH): Goff 'sick to death' of teapot tapes
James Murray (TV3): Goff's the surprise teapot tape loser
MP salaries and inequality
Kate Newton (Dom Post): MPs 'don't deserve' pay rise
Adam Bennett (NZH): Ministers' salary bump outstrips most voters'
No Right Turn: Joining the top 1%
Lane Nichols (Dom Post): Revealing the gap between NZ's rich and poor