National release new campaign video featuring former prime minister Sir John Key.
National release new campaign video featuring former prime minister Sir John Key.

The BulletinOctober 5, 2023

National unlocks key tactic as NZ First reality keeps biting

National release new campaign video featuring former prime minister Sir John Key.
National release new campaign video featuring former prime minister Sir John Key.

National ups the ante on messaging about post-election stability as new poll yet again shows they will need NZ First, and a cup of tea raises an eyebrow, writes Anna Rawhiti-Connell in this excerpt from The Bulletin, The Spinoff’s morning news round-up. To receive The Bulletin in full each weekday, sign up here.

So goes the OCR and the latest poll

A day of few surprises yesterday, with the OCR and 1News Verian poll matching each other’s energy with almost no change. The OCR remains at 5.5%, with the Reserve Bank’s tone described as less “hawkish” than expected. Last night’s poll revealed no change for Labour, National, the Greens, NZ First and Te Pāti Māori. Act, however, is down 2% on last week’s poll. That continues the party’s decline after hitting 13% in mid-August. National is also down from its high in this poll of 39% in mid-September.

In the preferred prime minister stakes, Christopher Luxon is on 26% (up three), ahead of Chris Hipkins, who is on 25% (up two). Winston Peters was unchanged on 4% and David Seymour dropped two points to 3%.

The minors are a major factor in this year’s election

As with the trends seen in previous polls, a solid chunk of those polled (38%) are indicating they’re voting for the parties we call minor or are undecided. Combined support for the traditional main parties in last night’s poll was at 62%. As with last week's poll, that’s the lowest it's been in this poll since November 2011. If these results bore out in this year’s election results, it would only be rivalled by two elections of the MMP era. In our first MMP election in 1996, the combined party vote for Labour and National was 62.06%. In 2002 Labour and National captured a combined 62.19% of the party vote. Tonight's minor party leaders’ debate on TV1 and next week’s Press debate, which is also now a minor party debate, only serve to remind us that the minors are a major factor in this year’s election.

Key rolled out in new National party video

Following last night’s poll, National’s campaign chair Chris Bishop sent supporters an email appealing for donations and warning that the poll “showed we do not yet have the numbers to form a stable coalition with Act.” Toby Manhire reports the full details of the email, but it does not explicitly mention NZ First or Winston Peters. NZ First and Peters are also not mentioned in a new video rolled out by National this morning featuring former prime minister Sir John Key. Key notes the potential “uncertainty” in the coming election result. Another former prominent leadership figure within the National party made an appearance yesterday, but it was perhaps not as welcome as the return of Key. Paula Bennett, credited with raising $1.8m in donations for the party, met for a cup of tea with Act deputy leader Brooke van Velden. National’s deputy leader Nicola Willis said the meeting “certainly wasn’t helpful”. A poll on Tuesday night shows van Velden neck and neck with National’s candidate Simon O’Connor in the Auckland seat of Tamaki.


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Are we ‘valence voters’?

This morning on The Spinoff, Max Rashbrooke has tried to unpick why people might be finding this election fatiguing and confusing. “The stakes seem extra high, and the debates extra ugly, yet the space for meaningful political reform is as small as ever. Feeling confused?” he writes. He notes that while we’ve heard the term “mood for change” ad nauseam, it’s not necessarily applicable to the traditional main ideological positions of “left” and “right”. Rashbrooke introduces us to the term “valence voting”, where people voters emphasise qualities like honesty, consistency and accountability over more classically ideological values such as liberty or solidarity. “Post-Covid everything feels a bit broken. It would hardly be surprising if New Zealanders simply wanted someone who could – to paraphrase Wayne Brown – get things fixed,” he writes. Great read, recommend.

Keep going!