Election Live, October 15: Advance NZ Facebook page deleted; Labour steady in final TVNZ poll

Welcome to The Spinoff’s Election Live for October 15, bringing you the latest on election 2020 and other NZ news. The essential campaign dates are hereFor all you need to know about the cannabis referendum click here. For the assisted dying referendum click here. Explore the parties’ pledges at Policy. I’m on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz

8.05pm: The day in sum

There were two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation

Advance NZ’s Facebook page was taken down by the social media company, citing repeated violations of its Covid-19 misinformation policy

Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins met in their final election debate of 2020

A new TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll put Labour at 46%, and the Greens jumping 2 points to 8%

Winston Peters knew about NZ First Foundation finances a year before scandal broke, contrary to his claims, according to a Stuff report

A major report found that climate change is already happening in New Zealand

More than 1.5 million advance votes have now been cast.

7.50pm: Ardern and Collins go head to head in final TV debate

If you were hoping for fireworks, you’ll likely be disappointed by the final leaders debate, live on TVNZ 1 now. That may be partly down to the setup – Ardern and Collins are seated behind desks, which tends to encourage calmer conversation – but there is also an unmistakable air of exhaustion hovering over proceedings. While Collins began the debate by putting a brave face on the her still-dismal poll numbers, viewers may get the sense that some of the fight has left her.

Highlights? Not many. The most exciting moment of the Jessica Mutch McKay-moderated debate was probably Ardern attacking Collins’ attempts to stir fears of a Green-led wealth tax as “desperate” and “dishonest”. But for the most part, it’s been a bit of a snoozefest of a debate so far. Roll on Saturday.

6.05pm: Labour steady, Greens see 2 point jump in final TVNZ poll

Tonight’s TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll, the last of election 2020, has Labour on 46%, National on 31%, the Greens on 8%, Act on 8% and NZ First on 3%.

To a certain extent, this poll is something of an opinion poll/exit poll hybrid, given that more than 1.5 million votes have already been cast – representing around 60% of the total number of votes in the 2017 election. TVNZ did not differentiate between those who have voted and who haven’t in tonight’s poll.

On these numbers, Labour would need the Greens’ support to govern. Here’s how the seat breakdown would look:

Labour Party: 59
National Party: 40
Green Party: 11
ACT Party: 10

The last TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll seven days ago on October 8 had Labour on 47%, National on 32%, Act on 8%, the Greens on 6% and NZ First on 2%.

Jessica Mutch McKay presents tonight’s poll results (Photo: TVNZ)

5.30pm: TOP crash open home in protest

A group of Opportunities Party candidates gathered this afternoon at an open home to protest the lack of affordable housing, and to draw attention to the issue ahead of the election.

Led by deputy leader Shai Navot, they gathered at a house on the market in Sunnyhills, in the Pakuranga electorate.

The two bedroom brick and concrete unit has been valued at $810,000, which technically makes it affordable, but Navot said in the current market it will likely sell for closer to a million dollars.

“Here we are, two days out from an election, and one of the biggest crises in this country, the housing crisis, has barely been spoken about in the media,” said Navot. “Every time house prices rise, it’s a social and economic disaster. It is the biggest driver of rising poverty and inequality in this country, and it’s a huge issue.”

TOP only advised the real estate agent what they were doing when they arrived, and opportunities to speak to potential buyers were few and far between.

Two boomers who had been through the house gave them dirty looks on the way out the door, with one telling them to “get a real job”.

Photo: Alex Braae

4.15pm: Facebook confirms it deleted Advance NZ page

Facebook has confirmed it removed the page of Advance New Zealand for “repeatedly” spreading misinformation about Covid-19.

In a statement provided to The Spinoff, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We don’t allow anyone to share misinformation on our platforms about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm.

“We have clear policies against this type of content and will enforce on these policies regardless of anyone’s political position or party affiliation. We removed Advance New Zealand / New Zealand Public Party’s Facebook Page for repeated violations of this policy.”

Read the full story here

3.15pm: Advance NZ Facebook page deleted

Advance NZ / The NZ Public Party has had its Facebook page shut down this afternoon, cutting off a live video by co-leader Billy Te Kahika.

As of 3.10pm, the Facebook page cannot be accessed, but the Twitter page is still active.

Te Kahika was giving a Facebook live video when the page suddenly went offline.

(Image : Facebook)

Facebook has since confirmed its behind the page’s disappearance.

Yesterday, Advance NZ was ordered to pull advertising that falsely claimed vaccines are mandatory under the law. In a Facebook video, Te Kahika called Facebook’s interference unprecedented and said “I don’t think any other of the political parties are going through anything like this.”

That’s not strictly true: The Outdoors Party considered suing the social media giant earlier this month after its page was deleted for allegedly sharing “misinformation”.

2.45pm: Australia releases rules for travel bubble

From tomorrow, you’ll be able to travel to parts of Australia without having to quarantine for 14-days. At this stage, the rules only apply one way: you would need to spend time in managed isolation upon your return.

The new rules specify that you won’t need to quarantine if you’ve been in New Zealand for 14 days or more and not been in a “designated hotspot”. A hotspot is a place with a rolling three-day average of three cases a day, meaning there are currently none in New Zealand.

Bonus pod! Alex Braae’s been everywhere, man

You might not have known it from reading The Bulletin, but Alex Braae has been touring the nation in a Jucy van, seeing the sights and meeting the voters.

Now, he joins Toby Manhire for a special bonus edition of Gone By Lunchtime to discuss the mood of the nation beyond the main centres, the small parties’ prospects and the seats he’s fizzing about watching on Saturday night.

Download now, subscribe through Apple Podcasts, or visit Gone By Lunchtime on Acast or Spotify.

2.00pm: Advance voting ticks over 1.5 million

More than 1.5 million New Zealanders have already voted, according to the latest advance voting data.

The latest numbers represent about 60% of the total number of voters from the last election. In 2017, roughly 2.6 million people voted.

Yesterday alone, 147,000 people headed to the polls, the commission said.

(Image : The Electoral Commission)

In 2017, the total number of advance votes was about 1.24 million, with just 717,579 early voters in 2014.

1.00pm: Two new (imported) Covid-19 cases

There are two new cases of Covid-19 in managed isolation, the Ministry of Health has reported. There are no new cases in the community.

The first new case arrived on October 9 from India via Dubai and was taken to a managed isolation facility in Hamilton. They tested positive after their day three test and were transferred to the Auckland quarantine facility.

The second imported case arrived on October 12 from San Francisco and was taken to a managed isolation facility in Christchurch. They were tested after displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is now 1,520 and the number of active cases has increased to 42 – all from overseas.

Yesterday, our laboratories processed 5,196 tests, bringing the total number of tests completed to date to 1,016,853.

12.45pm: Greens say people are getting confused about wealth tax

New Zealanders are confusing wealth with income, according to Green Party.

The party’s wealth tax policy has been repeatedly ruled out by Jacinda Ardern, but has remained a strong attack line from the National Party, who believes it will be introduced in a Labour-Green coalition.

Co-leader James Shaw told Newshub it could be a bit like how some people don’t really understand MMP (which is concerning, when you think about it).

“I think in New Zealand we actually confuse income and wealth. Actually, the real inequality is between people who earn and get wages and salaries and pay tax on those, and people who own assets and don’t,” Shaw said.

According to the Greens, the proposed tax would see the wealthiest 6% taxed at 1% on their asset wealth over $1 million, with some exceptions.

11.55am: Majority of Māori voters back euthanasia

A new poll shows majority support for the End of Life Choice Act in every Māori electorate, two days out from polls closing.

The study, carried out by Curia Research for Māori TV, shows 53% average support across the seven electorates.

As Stuff reports, support was highest in the southern electorate of Te Tai Tonga at 60%, with support for the Act in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Waiariki, and Te Tai Tokerau averaged at 54%, 52% and 51%, respectively.

11.15am: Climate change already happening in NZ – new report

A new report suggests climate change is already happening in New Zealand – and could have devastating impacts.

The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ study analysed data from 30 sites around the country, with every location recording increased average temperatures in winter.

“This report points to profound changes to New Zealand’s climate, and greater impacts on our wellbeing in the future, unless there is both local and global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said the ministry’s chief executive Vicky Robertson and government statistician Mark Sowden.

Robertson said the report shows the serious challenges climate change poses. It should be used to inform discussions and choices by whānau, schools, businesses, and communities about the legacy we leave for all those who come after us, she claimed.

Read more here

10.30am: Ardern thanked by theatre cast for Covid response

Jacinda Ardern’s met with the cast of Mary Poppins in Auckland this morning in her only campaign stop ahead of tonight’s TVNZ debate. It’s the perfect photo op for the Labour Party leader, who’s relying heavily on the government’s strong Covid-19 response to get votes.

The Spinoff’s culture editor Sam Brooks is masquerading as a political reporter, and filed this from the Civic:

This morning, Jacinda Ardern attended a media preview for the upcoming Amici production of Mary Poppins at Auckland’s Civic Theatre. When this show opens tomorrow night, it will be the largest production currently running in the world. 20,000 people have already booked tickets to see it. By Sunday, 8,000 people will have seen it.

The PM, sitting in row J of the stalls (hot tip: best seat in the house), listened to the cast sing two songs from the show. She later thanked them for not singing ‘Supercalifrajilisticexpialidocious’, the song which was recently parodied by a British sketch show, with Ardern as Poppins.

The young actor playing Michael Banks thanked the PM onstage for her response to Covid-19 and the March 15 shootings, a script change that I imagine will be unique to Auckland. He also thanked the PM for moving the country to level one, the only level a production on this scale could occur.

Afterwards, the PM met the cast, regaled with tales of their schedule – as with most productions there’s a rotating cast for the major role – and posed for a photo. She leaned over the orchestra pit, and expressed worry that the safety net wouldn’t necessarily catch someone falling but might just break their fall. Definitely more of a concern in a show like Mary Poppins than most.

In the media stand-up following, Ardern was asked if she’d done any acting before. She played Elizabeth Proctor, the female lead of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

(Photo : Sam Brooks)

On the campaign trail

Here’s where our political leaders are today:

  • Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern is in Auckland today ahead of tonight’s TVNZ leaders’ debate. First up, she’s meeting with the cast of Mary Poppins at the Civic Theatre. We’ll have a report on this later this morning.
  • National Party leader Judith Collins is also in Auckland ahead of the debate this evening. She’s visiting Stonewood Homes on Quay Street after a morning of media.
  • New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is in Auckland walking about in some malls and later visiting the Henderson Night Markets.
  • Act Party leader David Seymour is in the capital, visiting Porirua, Karori and the central city. Later, he’s hosting a public meeting.
  • Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson is in Mangere East today, while James Shaw is in Auckland central this morning before heading to Wellington later. He’ll be visiting a brewery, meeting locals, and helping out at a pub quiz.

Also today:

  • We’ll have the latest Covid-19 data at 1pm and advance voting figures at 2pm.
  • Tonight, the final TVNZ leaders’ debate will air at 7pm. We’ll have live updates and reaction throughout the evening.

9.30am: Collins surprised by backlash to obesity comments

The last 48 hours of political discourse has largely been dominated by Judith Collins’ comments about obesity, which is probably not what those in the National camp would be wanting.

Today, Collins said she’s been surprised by the backlash to her comments that people need to take personal responsibility for their weight.

“I was simply saying people do need to know what to do and need to take personal responsibility… it’s not that hard…the science is there,” Collins told Newstalk ZB.

Collins also slammed the media for their treatment of her campaign, in particular the way her Ponsonby walkabout was covered in comparison to Ardern’s mall walkabouts.

“If I’m out there talking about policy, I’m not gonna be at the mall,” Collins said.

At times, Collins said, it felt like she was speaking to Ardern’s press secretaries, rather than journalists.

8.00am: Peters knew about NZ First Foundation finances a year before scandal broke – report

Winston Peters’ claims that the New Zealand First Foundation had nothing to do with his political party appear to have been contradicted, according to a bombshell report by Stuff.

It’s been revealed that Peters and high-ranking New Zealand First MPs were briefed about the foundation’s expenses and activities a year before it first hit the news.

The Stuff report reads:

Stuff has seen an internal party report that, according to a source familiar with the matter, was presented to Peters in November 2018.

The report, dated 21 November 23, 2018 [sic], was written by former party president Lester Gray. It is understood that it was hand-delivered to Peters’ home mailbox in Auckland on Sunday, November 25, ahead of a meeting about the matter.

The report referenced money in NZ First Party’s Kiwibank account as well as money in the Foundation’s ASB bank account. It totalled expenses incurred by the ASB account and classed them as party costs.

Read the full report here

7.40am: It’s debate day!

Yup, that’s right – it’s almost time for another debate. Tonight will see Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern go head-to-head for the final time, in front of a studio audience, in the comforts of the TVNZ studio in Auckland.

It follows a tumultuous week for Collins, which has seen her on the defensive rather than the attack almost every day. By contrast, Ardern has been spending most of her time in shopping centres over the past week, getting snapped deep within crowds of adoring fans.

I’ll be at the debate tonight and we’ll have plenty of coverage across The Spinoff to keep you entertained and informed.

There’s just two days to go, people.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

For National’s Judith Collins, the talking points out of this week have been utterly bizarre. Most of her headlines have revolved around comments made about obesity being a “personal choice”, rather than anything remotely approaching the political platform of the National party. The other headlines have been about making savage attacks on the wealth tax policies of the Green party, despite it being ruled out again and again by Labour’s leadership.

Meanwhile Labour’s campaign has ended focusing on the party’s leadership, and batting away attacks from National based on the Green wealth tax. Stuff’s Thomas Coughlan set out a bit what that looks like – Jacinda Ardern meets huge crowds and visits iconic businesses, while finance spokesperson Grant Robertson stares straight down the barrel of a camera and tells former ‘Key and English’ National voters that the Nats are now in a state of chaos, and Labour will provide stability. It’s the aura of a party that has totally captured the centre ground of the political landscape, and come Sunday morning it will probably have put them back into government – possibly even alone. On that point, take our quiz and see if you can tell the difference between lines issued by the Labour or National campaigns – I tried it and got exactly 50% right.

One question for Labour now is who will be deputy PM, as Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva discusses – Winston Peters did a very able job filling in, and there are doubts about whether other top parliamentarians could do the same.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here

7.00am: Yesterday’s headlines

The latest advance voting figures showed 1.418 million people had done their civic duty.

An urgent court appeal to reveal the names of the two people charged in relation to the New Zealand First Foundation was dismissed.

National promised to establish a seniors commissioner if elected, and continued to argue a Labour-Greens government might introduce a wealth tax (despite Jacinda Ardern ruling it out).

There were two new cases of Covid-19 detected in managed isolation.

A leaked poll on the cannabis referendum suggested it’s likely to be a tight race, The Spinoff revealed.

Read yesterday’s Election Live here



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