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The BulletinOctober 12, 2023

Rising tide lifts more Greens as polls show party bringing record numbers to parliament

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The Greens are on track to be one of this election’s biggest winners, and consensus emerges about National’s self-inflicted ‘injury’, 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.

Greens on track for its biggest caucus yet

Oh, to be an increasingly popular but slightly endangered native insect on a Green party HQ wall last night. Both the Newshub Reid Research and 1News Verian polls show the Greens on track to bring in a record number of MPs at the election. Newshub’s Reid Research poll had the Greens up nearly one point to 14.9%, while the 1NewsVerian poll has the party up one to 14%. Based on those results, the Greens would bring in 17-19 MPs. The results are being described as unexpected for the party, with a sense that it’s been running a stealthy, quiet campaign. I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, given the dominance of the minor parties over the campaign. Both co-leaders, Marama Davidson and James Shaw, have brought their A-games at debates. Some might even say it’s MMP in action as the globe grows ever hotter and the main parties hug the middle, but I’m picking some good post-mortem examination of the party’s probable success after the election.

Climate change concern growing

While climate change is not in the top five issues concerning New Zealanders today, according to the latest Ipsos Issues Monitor, it is significantly more of a big worry for the future, with one of four expressing concern. People are now more worried about climate change than before the 2020 general election, but concern is still lower than its peak of 27% in February 2023 after the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle. It’s pretty remarkable that just over 12 months ago, James Shaw was re-elected as the party’s co-leader after facing a leadership challenge. As RNZ reports, Shaw has characterised aspects of this campaign as a turnoff for the public as National and Labour staged “a Punch and Judy show”, battling over who had the bigger fiscal hole. As Marc Daalder reports for Newsroom, while current polling would see the Greens in opposition (despite the perennial “teal deal” whispering), Shaw is waiting and watching to see if results bear out differently.

Same, same but slightly different

To the rest of the party polling and the now entrenched position of NZ First as power broker. Both polls threw up different results for National but neither showed a result allowing them to form a government with Act alone. Labour is up slightly, while Act’s support continues to fall.

National’s self-inflicted injury

One thing that does seem sure is that National’s late call on NZ First has cost them. As Toby Manhire writes, “messages of the last fortnight might have had an unhinged ring, but the real strategic blunder happened some time ago. The blunder was failure to follow Key’s example and rule out, or even rule in, Winston Peters, but – and this is the critical bit – do it well in advance, so that any embers had extinguished by campaign time.” Newsroom’s Jo Moir writes that “when the election is over, and a government is formed, Christopher Luxon may finally admit the mistake he made when he single-handedly breathed life into Winston Peters’ campaign”, while the Herald’s Claire Trevett says (paywalled) “the various attempts to play Whac-A-Mole with Winston Peters have failed miserably.”

Special election edition of The Bulletin for Sunday

We have one last leaders’ debate tonight, and as usual, we’ll be liveblogging and filing verdicts tonight on The Spinoff. This is my last Bulletin for the week and last before election day. Catherine will do her usual Friday spot but I will be at Spinoff HQ on election night filing results and updates, dissecting the immediate aftermath late on Saturday night, and I am back on Sunday morning with a special election edition of The Bulletin. I am letting you know now in case it arrives (probably after the All Blacks v Ireland game), and you find yourself wondering if it’s Monday already. Godspeed and vote if you haven’t if already. See you on the other side.

Keep going!