Alex's live election blog: Fairfax poll shows National at 54%, Labour 26%, NZ First at 4% after teapot saga; Big undecided vote

Alex's live election blog: Fairfax poll shows National at 54%, Labour 26%, NZ First at 4% after teapot saga; Big undecided vote

Here's a fresh election blog for Wednesday. 

See and compare policies of parties currently in Parliament here.

See party lists here.

3:08 pm: John Key's office puts out comment on teapot tape decision:

"The Prime Minister notes the court's ruling and remains focused on the issues that are important to New Zealanders as they go to the polls on Saturday."

2:39 pm: After much confusion in the twittersphere, The Herald's @dchengnzh tweets: High court declines ambrose request for declaration. Teapot tape legality still up in the air #votenz #ambrose

Here is the full judgement.

Read Derek's full article on NZ Herald online here:

The teapot tape is unlikely to be published before the election, after the High Court today declined a request to rule on whether it was a recording of a private conversation.

In her decision this afternoon, Justice Helen Winkelmann said granting a court declaration would prejudice the ongoing police investigation while the facts of the case were still contested.

She declined to rule whether the conversation was private or public...

...The decision also opens the door to police to execute search warrants on TV3, Television NZ, Radio NZ and the NZ Herald, including the Herald on Sunday; police had wanted to conduct the searches on Monday, but decided to wait until after the court's decision.

1:50 pm: ACT leader Don Brash is calling for a referendum to be held within a year on raising the retirement age from 65 to 67. Brash says ACT would raise the issue with National in any confidence and supply agreement talks, although he is not in a postion before the election to say whether the party would demand the referendum be held. Brash told that would depend on factors such as how many MPs ACT got into Parliament on November 26, and the make-up of the government.

“The single biggest impediment to raising the age of eligibility – a measure that is widely-acknowledged as being necessary – is the Prime Minister’s promise that he would resign rather than raise the age, yet this promise is at odds with the demographic and fiscal reality,” Brash said in a press release..  

“ACT believes we cannot afford to have a single politician influence such an important issue in this way. ACT will push hard for a referendum to be held on the retirement age in the coming year. We would negotiate for such a referendum to form part of our Confidence and Supply Agreement with National in the upcoming Government," Brash said.

“The referendum question could be very simple.  For example: ‘Should New Zealand match Australia’s retirement age of 67 by 2023 by raising the age of eligibility six months every second year starting from 2017?’

“A referendum would take this issue, and its long term consequences, out of today’s politics and put New Zealand’s fiscal destiny in the hands of New Zealanders," he said.

11:30 am: Prime Minister John Key releases a 'post-election action plan' in Auckland. He says:

We will be firmly focused on getting New Zealand back into surplus quickly, paying off debt, and keeping costs down for businesses so they can get on with creating more jobs.

Overseas, we are seeing how political instability can threaten economic recovery.

Politicians in the US are struggling to agree on how to rein in America’s ballooning debt, and in Europe instability continues.

What is happening overseas is further proof that without a strong and stable Government, you can’t reduce debt or have a stable economy.

We don’t want that to happen in New Zealand – and it doesn’t need to happen here.

What the news from overseas does is bring into sharp focus what this election is actually all about - which is, who has the best plans for a strong economy in a turbulent world environment.

A number of opinion polls are saying National is in a strong position going into polling day on Saturday.

However, the reality is that Saturday is the only poll that counts, and the result will be much closer than some people think.

Under MMP, you can stack up the parties in all sorts of combinations  and the potential for a Labour Party-led stack of minor parties is very real. 

And the more complex the stack of parties, the more expensive it will be.

Two things are certain. Firstly, that a Labour-led stack will lead to more debt – around $21 billion over four years collectively so far.

11:30 am: iPredict releases its daily update. Main points are:

*       New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira will square off in the second-to-last iPredict programme before the election, tomorrow (Thursday) at 7.00 pm on Stratos (Sky 89, Freeview 21).

*       Three days out from the general election, John Key's National Party continues to be forecast to be able to govern with the support of one of the Green, Act, Maori Party or UnitedFuture parties.

*       However, the market's forecast for Labour vote-share has recovered 0.5 points to 28.5%, while the market's forecasts for the Greens vote-share has also increased, up 0.4 points to 11.5%.

*       Meanwhile, Act's support is down by 0.8 points, while the probability that they will win Epsom is only 55%.

*       The heavily traded stock forecasting Winston Peters' chance of returning to Parliament is down to 37% probability, from 40% yesterday.  New Zealand First's forecast party vote is 4.3%.

*       Stocks on who the Green Party will support after the election have been launched at

*       The race for the Labour leadership post-election is starting to heat up with David Parker surging 10 points overnight to 37% probability, closing the gap with rival David Cunliffe with 42% probability.

The Parties

National                        47.5%             n/c           60 MPs

Labour                  28.5%           +0.5%           36 MPs

Greens                  11.5%           +0.4%           15 MPs

New Zealand First                4.3%           -0.2%            0 MPs

Act                              2.3%           -0.8%            3 MPs

Mana Party                       2.2%           -0.4%            3 MPs

Conservative             1.7%             n/c            0 MPs

Maori Party                      1.2%             n/c            3 MPs

UnitedFuture             1.1%           +0.7%            1 MP

10:00 am: Why no Crafar Farms decision? Labour asks. Labour's economic development spokesman David Parker has issued a release questioning why there has been no decision on Shanghai Pengxin's bid for the 16 Crafar Farms which has been in front of the Overseas Investment Office most of the year.

David Parker says he questions the ‘political motivations’ behind no decision having been taken in the past six months on the latest foreign application to buy the Crafar farms.

“On the face of it, there’s no reason the Overseas Investment Office could not have made a decision. So why hasn’t it?

“The only conclusion I can come to is that National doesn’t want a decision to be made until after the election, because the Government is already copping so much flak for its intention to sell our power companies,” David Parker said.

“Finance Minister Bill English has set out the rules for the OIO. Provided the applicant is not corrupt --- and there has been no suggestion of corruption in this case, as far as I am aware --- the OIO normally eventually approves the sale.

“A letter from Bill English to the OIO says the National Government is happy to allow farmland up to 10 times the size of the average farm to be sold to the same buyer,” David Parker said. “For practical purposes that means the first 10 farms applied for can be sold provided the potential buyer isn’t corrupt, but the 11th application must be turned down.

“The rule puts no real obstacle in the way of foreign ownership of large chunks of our land, but it seems very clear National doesn’t want this reality to be borne out before the election. That’s the only reason the OIO has been sitting on its hands.”

See and compare Labour's foreign investment policy with other parties in Parliament here.

9:50 am: Prime Minister John Key has just been on National Radio. When asked whether National's asset sales policy could be up for negotiation after the election, given two-thirds of Kiwis say they are not in favour of it, he replies, "I don't think so".

See all parties' SOE policies here.

What's the chance of National having to rely on some kind of arrangement with the Green Party after November 26 if ACT disappears, NZ First gets in, and the Maori Party loses seats?

Key reiterated he would not be forming a government if he had to rely on NZ First abstaining on Budget votes.

9:10 am: He's making it up as he goes along. No Treasury advice over 10% SOE share ownership cap. TVNZ reported last night night they had been fighting Treasury for the advice it had given to Ministers over the 10% ownership cap the government would impose on shares sold in the four energy companies it will sell up to 49% of.

Remember back in August government Ministers made a big deal that they expected 85-90% of the SOEs would be 'New Zealand owned' (including the government's 51% share-holding), in reaction to public anxiety about foreign ownership of the shares during the sell-off.

SOE Minister Tony Ryall at the time also said "it’s the Government’s intention to impose a maximum shareholding cap on the mixed ownership companies. That cap is most likely to be 10 per cent.”

TVNZ then asked for the advice from Treasury on that ownership cap.

The Government refused to release the information about the asset sales so ONE News called in the Ombudsmen to investigate.

The response to the ONE News complaint reveals the Government has received very little official advice to back up some of its major claims about the asset sales programme. 

In fact Treasury admits it has not provided the Minister of Finance with any advice about a possible 10% cap on shares held by any single company or individual.

Labour came out firing:

Labour is calling on John Key to immediately release all information the Government has received supporting his claims that majority ownership of public assets will remain in New Zealand hands after National has sold them.

“John Key, Bill English and Tony Ryall have repeatedly told New Zealanders that 85-90 per cent of the four energy companies and Air New Zealand that National wants to sell will remain in Kiwi hands,” Labour’s campaign spokesman Grant Robertson said.

“They have also said that any one stakeholder would be limited to a 10 per cent cap of shares to give ‘mum and dad’ shareholders a stake.    

“Under pressure from the Ombudsman, the Government has been forced to reveal these claims are worthless.

“National has received no official advice, and instead is relying on National Party staffers and ‘market contacts’.

And Russel Norman from the Greens joined in this morning:

Treasury documents relating to the sale of state owned assets must be released prior to the election, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Green Party this morning wrote to the Ombudsmen’s office requesting they rethink their decision to withhold information relating to National’s plan to privatise state owned assets post-election.  This followed on from a complaint from Dr Norman regarding Treasury withholding documents relating to National’s state owned assets policy.

8:45 am: Nats still governing alone after teapot saga. This morning's Fairfax Media-Research International poll shows National still sitting pretty at 54%, up 1.5% from a week ago, and well above a struggling Labour at 26% (up 0.1%). The Greens are at 12% (down 0.6%) and New Zealand First is at 4% (up 1.2%).

ACT, at 0.7% (down 0.3%), would only get Epsom candidate John Banks into Parliament (given he wins the seat) on its current polling. The Maori Party was at 1.1% (down 0.4%), as was Mana (up 0.4%)

The undecided vote rose 1.3% to 15.6%. The poll of 1,000 voters was held between November 17 and 21, and had a margin of error of 3.1%.

More soon.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Updated following Key on NatRad this morning

Do these polls factor in special and overseas votes which always favour the Greens?

Weather for Saturday looks reasonable - which means the lazy left might make it out of bed....

Special votes, no I dont believe so....



Key reiterated he would not be forming a government if he had to rely on NZ First abstaining on Budget votes. 

Toys, cot, throw.



Probably a sane decision given WP whos a lose nuclear warhead...


No it is toys, cot, throw.  Which NZ MMP government has had to go to an early election because of difficulties governing?  The answer is none, notwithstanding that Winston was in several of them and got sacked by Shipley.  So why is he suddenly the big ogre now.  Something to do with National scare mongering perhaps?

One big advantage of partial asset sales is that it would provide a broader investment base for buying shares on the NZ stock market, NZ'ers have been endlessly lectured about not investing so much in property, well there's little blue-chip shares available at present to invest in.  A share offer could provide for reasonablr opportunities?

The SOE's are just about the last companies that havent been pillaged and loaded with debt Once on the NZX they are at the SOE's will go the same way if it goes past 49% IMHO.....they will simply become worthless....its not a market I'll play in today until its lost a huge amount of its make believe value.....20% say of what its worth today.

"Reasonable" no not by a long way IMHO.


I already own Meridian, Mighty Power et al as a taxpayer....

Why should I have to pay for stocks in those companies again?

Because you're not a citizen, you're a consumer, and good consumers shuttup and consume.

Its a new tax....they take what's yours off you, sell it to someone else for money they then spend to look good or cover up previous mistakes....and those ppl then tax you for using it.....

If you think this sucks wait until they load the failed PPP model on you as a way to leverage even more tax off you...


Why should I have to pay for stocks in those companies again?

To line the pockets of national party financiers.

I already own Meridian, Mighty Power et al as a taxpayer....

Why should I have to pay for stocks in those companies again?

Oh really? Well if that's what you think, try selling your share then to raise a little extra cash to do some maintenance around the house, or to buy a new car. You will let me know how you get on, won't you?

Me, that doesn't make partial asset sales necessarily right for the country, as a good majority of NZ'ers realise.  However, that won't mean everyone will vote against National as the issue is not as important to voters as Phil Gofff mistakenly thinks.  Unfortunately Labour has shot itself in the foot with policies like a CGT, which if you scratch the surface, people are fiercely against if it affects them. eg very few would be happy if they weren't offered an exemption.  Personally I'm in favour of a CGT but only if it applies  to everyone for all capital - a bit like GST without exemptions.  Well a CGT on owner-occupied houses is not going to happen because of the howls of outrage by virtually all those who would be affected (and prospective house owners as well) and of course with a National government any CGT is not going to happen.

I was at a meet the candidates meeting last night....asset sales is hugely un-popular.......its costing National more votes than anything else....

CGT is not on the family home and covers more than just housing....share setc which are tax free......



You have been told this so many times, Steven, that you're now just being deliberately pi** ignorant on the matter – much like you are on peak-oil. New Zealand already has a capital gains tax on property and shares. If you don't like the way it’s administered, take it up with Inland Revenue.

I like the Greens ( except for the crazy climate change nonsense)


Read this UBS report on the $287 billion wasted in the Euro Carbon Scheme:

“SWISS banking giant UBS says the European Union’s emissions trading scheme has cost the continent’s consumers $287 billion for “almost zero impact” on cutting carbon emissions, and has warned that the EU’s carbon pricing market is on the verge of a crash next year.”

Climate change isnt nonsense....its good science....

Sure the schemes are not getting to grips with the problem.......then I didnt think they held out much hope.....bitter experience it seems is the only way we as a species will learn.


The Greens are great for lobbying to protect our natural environment. Unfortunately their voting record by their leaders are largely opposed to good family values.

Greens leaders oppose raising the drinking age to 20 - even tho our young people are destroying themselves with alcohol abuse. They oppose the proposed ban on street prostitution. They are against income splitting for families ... etc etc   basically their social values are very left field more in line with Helen Clarks PC Correctness gone mad ... "the state knows best for you" ....

depends on "good"...I cant see that getting 100,000 kids out of poverty isnt a good family value myself...or stopping adults asulting children.....being allowed to do that, I dont class that as a good family value. Street prostitution targets the women who end up in this profession because they dont believe there is a better option....Splitting income, do you have a URL? Im not / was not aware this is the case....but Im interested to see that.....

Oppose raising the drinking age, a limit set by the nanny state, but in the next sentence they are into social are not being consistant.  The Green's are, they dont want a nanny state, they lean more towards libertarians than authoritarians......sure they lean more left than right, but the political compass is 3d and not 2d.....


The only reason binge drinking even occurs is because we have minimum drinking age laws. In grown-up countries, binge drinking isn't at all part of the culture (and rarely happens), simply because alcohol is seen as nothing more than just another pleasant part of a meal. Children are permitted to drink a small glass of wine at lunch and dinner.

uh no......


Agree that our drinking culture is also a major part of the youth alcohol problem. However, until that culture changes, parents etc really need the law to back them up.  With the law at 18, the reality slips down to 16 yr olds etc  ...

Um...the "youth alcohol problem" is our drinking culture (right alongside the adult alcohol problem). Anon good nurse is correct: almost all NZers believe that drinking is a badge of adulthood, or more likely proof of manhood, and it's due to the age restrictions, which is why kids clamour for the opportunity to get as drunk and stupid as their parents in order to demonstrate just how "all growed up" they really are..

They are green on outside and red to the core. If honest their mottto would be State control and social engineering

You're an idiot. Seriously.


Just take a look at their MPs (current and former) backgounds and you'll see just how red they are on the inside. Locke, Bradford, Delahunty just to name a few.


The Greens , (really a religious movement in terms of believing in the primacy of plant,animal and physical resources over humanity )  are successfully seducing a lot of people , mostly ex Labour and young voters , that they are a moderate peace loving do gooder party.However their current leadership have their roots in communist and anarchist movements.

But if they get a say in govt after 26/11  we can kiss goodbye to Transmission Gully and other future roading projects, further isolation from our traditional allies and little prospect of new mining or exploration


Is it too late to discuss the referendum ? ......... there is one , remember , on the type of parliamentally system we want in NZ .......... MMP / PV / STV / FPP / EQC , and all that malarky ....

....... silly Gummy , it's a minor issue really . ... secret tapes are so much more fun , and whether the intake of cops has been postphoned or merely delayed . Gotta have more police to watch those errant tea-cups .......

Roger - it's Thursday, wake up, you are on the wrong thread mate. Should be here:

In answer to your question, in the absence of a second house to moderate the speed (and dumbassedness) of legislature, I think we need to a system that provides a degree of moderation.

Am off for a cuppa.

Cheers, Les 

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