National down in polls; NZ First solidly over 5%, may hit 10%; Conservative under 5%; Peters seen 'Kingmaker'; Key rules out last-minute deal for Craig

National down in polls; NZ First solidly over 5%, may hit 10%; Conservative under 5%; Peters seen 'Kingmaker'; Key rules out last-minute deal for Craig

By Bernard Hickey

With 7 days to go until the September 20 election, here's my daily round-up of political news on Friday September 10, with two opinion polls showing National would struggle to govern with its current support partners and may need the support of an engorged New Zealand First in Parliament under Winston 'Kingmaker' Peters.

TVNZ published its now-weekly Colmar Brunton poll showing National down 4% to 46% in a poll of 1,001 voters from September 6 to 10. Labour fell 1% to a record-low 25% and Green rose 1% to a record-high 14% in this poll.

New Zealand First was unchanged at 7%, while Conservative rose 1% to 4%. Internet Mana fell 1% to 1% and Maori rose 1% to 1%. ACT also rose 1% to 1%, although the margin of error on the poll was 3.1% at the 95th percentile. The poll found 12% of eligible voters were undecided, up from 7% the previous week.

If this poll result was repeated on election night, National would need the support of ACT, United Future and Maori to only just retain power. In theory, Labour/Green/New Zealand First could just win power if it was able to count on the support of Maori and Internet Mana. Much will depend on whether Conservative gets over the 5% threshold.

"It just shows you how tight the race is going to be," Prime Minister John Key said.

The NZ Herald's Digipoll also showed the race tightening.

It found support for National fell 1.5% to 48.6%, Labour rose 0.8% to 24.6%, Green rose 0.1% to 11.5%, New Zealand First rose 2.1% to 8.1% and Conservative was unchanged at 3.8%.

Internet-Mana fell 1.2% to 2.3%, while Maori rose 0.3% to 0.7%, Act was down 0.1% to 0.3% and both United Future and Legalise Cannabis were on 0%.

The poll of 750 eligible voters was taken from September 4 to 10 and 9.1% of those surveyed were undecided. The margin of error was 3.6 per cent.

Wasted vote?

The risk for National is that right-leaning Conservative voters 'waste' their vote on Conservative if it fails to get above the 5% threshold under MMP.

Key was asked again yesterday if he would do a last-minute deal with Colin Craig to 'gift' him an electorate to ensure the remaining Conservative vote gets represented in Parliament through the 'coat-tail' provisions under MMP.

Craig had asked for a deal in East Coast Bays, where Foreign Minister Murray McCully is the electorate MP.

Key again said it was too late and not possible.

"Firstly, I've said I won't. The second thing is we'd have to take our candidate out and that wouldn't take him off the ballot paper and I'm not convinced that's a strategy that would work," Key was reported on NewstalkZB as saying.

Although Key said a deal with Conservative in Napier, where Garth McVicar is standing for Conservative against National's Wayne Walford and Labour's Stuart Nash, would have been easier than East Coast Bays in hindsight. A strong McVicar performance risks splitting the right-leaning vote and handing the seat to Nash.

"Would've been an easier deal, but I will say Nash has run a big campaign there for a long period of time nad we've been fighting hard in the electorate too, so it's not straightforward," Key said of a possible National deal to give McVicar the nod.

(Updated with National missing out on Conservative wasted vote)

See all my previous election diaries here.

See the index for's special election policy comparison pages here.

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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iPredict still shows a 83% win for National.

In 'Dirty Politics' it  was revealed that Ede and Slater were rigging iPredict polls by putting down money. I wonder how much of this is still going on?

While possible to influence them significantly would cost them a lot of $s I assume. Also does that really achieve anything?
Though its interest just how far some will go to corrupt democracy, with it seems not a second thought.
Of course if you think its is indeed a con putting down on Labour gives a big win, asymetrical plays are always worth considering.

It buys news stories about how well a group is doing. Far cheaper than taking out ads, and you get to appear in the main part of the news not the advertising spaces.

iPredict doesn't run polls. They are prediction markets. You can't "rig" them. Buying contracts for outcomes you want rather than what you predict just increases liquidity for that market and actually ends up making it a more accurate predicter. I'm taking a small punt on Colin Craig for East Coast Bays based on the electorates voting history. Been buying contracts at 5c each to pay $1. Small change but fun.

they are a fairly illiquid market by world standards, so that can be exploited if you are willing to lose money to buy publicity,

Oh that the the National Party will one day return to its decent Tory roots and purge the crooks that have crawled in; then make up with Winston and form a permanent coalition of all Conservatives. New Zealand would be free of the lefty perverts, greenie nutters and "treaty" tribunal separatists for good.

I've just exercised my rights and voted for Donald Duck..

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