Monday, October 31, 2022

Point of Order: Perhaps Peters will be a kingmaker

But let’s see what happens to the Nats’ support in future polling

After five years of Jacinda Ardern as Prime Minister, a nostalgia for politicians of another era is breaking to the surface. The Dominion-Post, for example, rushed on to the front page a news item headlined “The return of the Kingmaker”, while the NZ Herald featured a learned piece by Dr Jarrod Gilbert headed “Why I’d be pleased to shout Bill English a beer”.

And there’s seldom a week when John Key or Helen Clark don’t get a mention, either to recall their deeds or tap into their political skills.

So who’s “the kingmaker” the Dom-Post thinks is on the way back?

Why, none other Winston Peters. The old lion, who has been resting in his lair in Northland, is apparently ready to re-emerge on to the political stage, judging by the newspaper’s headline.

The Dominion Post breathlessly reports:

“A new political poll has NZ First leader Winston Peters once again in the kingmaker position, reclaiming a place in Parliament and deciding the next Government.

“A Horizon Research poll, provided exclusively to Stuff, showed NZ First – fresh off the back of holding a party conference and a year out from the election – had crossed the vital 5% threshold of party vote required to enter Parliament, with 6.75% support.

“Labour had an edge on National, however neither had enough support to govern with their respective traditional coalition partners, Green and ACT. If the 2023 election returned this poll’s outcome, Peters would be the deciding factor.

“Between the major parties the contest is close. Labour is ahead of National in large and regional cities and close to National in small towns and rural areas,” said Graeme Colman​, Horizon Research’s principal.

“If New Zealand First should not achieve an electoral seat or 5% of the vote, then the contest is very close.”

Point of Order recalls Colman in an earlier political life serving the distinguished Labour politician Mike Moore as an adviser.

This latest poll result is certainly worth a headline, although there may be some who find it contrasts with other recent polling, in that it shows National’s support below 30%.

The Hamilton West by-election may provide a better gauge of just where the two main parties stand. That by-election will attract more interest than most of its predecessors, because in 2020 it supplied the then Labour candidate. Dr Gaurav Sharma. with a 6000-plus majority after being held by National’s Tim MacIndoe.

Meanwhile just in case Bill English hasn’t heard that a beer is waiting for him, Point of Order would be pleased to advise him of it. Dr Gilbert met him in 2015 when English was working up an idea of a social investment model.

“I liked English’s ideas then, and I’m pleased the National Party is attempting to breathe life back into them now”.

Dr Gilbert’s stamp of approval is the kind of endorsement that is likely to encourage the National Party leadership to go hard on that bit of policy.

Who knows? It could get National nudges in front of Labour, when Horizon does its next poll.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

No comments: