Here's a fresh spot for all election-related coverage.
8:58 am: The latest Roy Morgan poll released this morning shows National on 49.5% and Labour on 23.5%. The Greens have had a big surge, up to 14.5%.
8:38 am: The latest Herald Digi poll has National above 50%, and shows Winston Peters would get back into Parliament with five other MPs, as he is over the 5% mark. the Greens would get 15 MPs back into Parliament on current polling, and Labour would get 34. But despite the Nats being over 50%, on the Herald poll there would be 126 [!] MPs in Parliament due to overhangs. This means National would still need either ACT, UnitedFuture (given Banks and/or Dunne win their electorate seats), or the Maori Party to have a majority:
National polled 50.9 per cent (up 1 point in a week), Labour 28 (down 1.1), Greens 11.8 (down 0.8), NZ First 5.2 (up 0.3), Act 1.8 (up 0.1), Conservatives 1.3 (up 0.7), Maori Party 0.4 (down 0.3), Mana 0.3 (down 0.1), United Future 0 (down 0.1).
The popularity of Mr Key as preferred Prime Minister remains high at 66.3 per cent, down slightly from 68.5.
Mr Goff's popularity has continued to rise throughout the campaign. He began it on 11.7 per cent and is now preferred Prime Minister by 19.5 per cent.
That could dampen any early challenge against his leadership, in the event of a loss.
* The poll of 850 voters was taken between November 17 and 23. The party vote figures are of decided voters only. The undecideds were 7.7 per cent.
8:18 am: To kick it all off, we're sorry to advise we will be turning off the comment function from midnight tonight (friday) to 7 pm Saturday. Why? Because the Electoral Commission has told us we should:
The Electoral Commission advises that no campaigning of any kind is allowed on election day. This covers any statement that is likely to influence a voter as to which candidate, party or referendum option they should or shouldn’t vote for, or which influences people to abstain from voting.
The general intention is to leave voters alone from midnight until 7pm on election day so they can vote without interference. The key messages are:
• News items must not include any words or images likely to influence voters.
• Restrictions apply to photographing or filming voters or candidates at or near polling
places on election day.
All election and referendum advertising and other statements, by anybody including the media, which could influence voters cannot be published or broadcast on election day until after the close of the poll at 7 pm.
Newspapers published after 6 pm on the day before election day are treated as being published on election day
News stories posted on websites before election day can remain, as long as the website is not advertised on election day. Comment functions should be disabled on all websites, including social media sites, until after 7pm on election day to avoid readers posting statements that could influence voters.
Why they don't want to let you talk to each other, we don't know. The argument is that comments on websites are 'published statements' which could influence other voters. Yes, that is true - we give you the platform to publish, and you take the action of doing so yourself - so we could both be in trouble.
How about this for a thought then: Given they've put these restrictions in place, the Electoral Commission should now have to patrol every inch of the country, in every household, cafe and sports field on Saturday making sure no one talks at all about anything in a way that could influence others' votes.
Whether you discuss something through the medium of the internet, or through the medium of air (speaking directly to one another) shouldn't make a difference - they should treat all media exactly the same.
Are we just rolling over and playing nice? Well, perhaps. It's not that we don't trust you, of course. We just figure that if an organisation has the tenacity to say that you shouldn't be allowed to talk to one another on election day (and I do hope they will be patroling all the pubs and cafes to make sure no one is talking about the election there as well), then they will have the tenacity to go after us for not closing our comment section, and someone has gone on there and said 'vote for such-and-such'.
That's my two cents worth anyway.