Everything to play for

Last week I looked at the variation in the polls, with the Newshub-Reid poll appearing to be an outlier amidst a trend towards Labour. This week however, the final polls are in, and the Reid and Colmar Brunton polls are almost identical, showing National leading Labour by 8%, at 46% to 37%. This was apparently helped along by a bruising but effective campaign against Labour’s budget figures and tax policies (and widely criticised as misinformation). The Roy Morgan poll, completed 9-10 days earlier, had National and Labour level-pegging at around 40%.

And so to the poll of polls, which in this final version, averages out the eve of election polls for each of these three publicly available polls. National, at 44% have a lead over Labour at 38%. The Greens appear to have recovered from their slump and are at 8%. New Zealand First are at 6%, still losing support week by week. 

Among the minor parties, TOP are on 1.3%, Māori Party are on 1.1% and Act are on 0.5%

When the campaign began, I wrote that Labour needed to strengthen their position to be the leading party of the left; energise and mobilise the many disaffected voters who simply didn’t vote in previous elections; and chip away at National’s vote. As the graph below shows, they very nearly did all three, but National have just pulled away in the last week.

parties 170920.png

And this is where things get interesting. If this scenario holds – and acknowledging the Roy Morgan is more than a week shy of the Colmar Brunton and Reid polls – it points to a hung parliament. The table below shows what happens when these figures are put into the Electoral Commission’s MMP seat allocation calculator.

I’ve assumed that Act will retain their Epsom seat, and that the Māori Party will pick up two electorates as well. I’ve also put my finger in the air and suggested National will pick up 35 electorate seats and Labour 30.

With MPP it’s the party vote that determines overall proportionality. So, under this scenario, pictured below, National would have the most seats with 54, but Labour and the Greens combined would have 57. Both left and right would have to try to negotiate a deal with New Zealand First – and in National’s case, the Māori and/or ACT parties as well, to get a majority.

parliamentary seats 170921.JPG

At this point, it’s about counting to 62. And that will come down to Winston Peters. In this scenario, would he align with National, but also Māori Party and ACT, two parties that he sees as an anathema to his own policy agenda? Or would he go with Labour and the Greens, many of whose policies he has also criticised (and in 2005 he refused to go into government with the Greens)?

Of course, this poll of polls scenario may not play out that way. Those of you who have read my posts can fairly easily read between the lines to see which side I personally favour. But whichever side of the fence you prefer, this scenario suggests that all parties still have everything to play for.

So, get out and vote, it really counts.


The data in this blog is taken from a poll of polls of the last three publicly available polls in New Zealand: One News-Colmar Brunton, Newshub-Reid Research, and Roy Morgan. The figures are simply an average of the most recent poll from each organisation.