How long will Cunliffe last? iPredict punters' surprising pick

David Cunliffe

David Cunliffe is 99% likely to remain Labour leader until election but 62% think he is likely to step down before the end of 2015, according to Victoria University's political marketplace, iPredict

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The more than 7000 registered traders on New Zealand’s online predictions market, iPredict, overwhelmingly pick Labour leader David Cunliffe to remain in his job until this year’s election, now even more strongly expected to be held in September and to result in a National Prime Minister. 

Mr Cunliffe is then expected to step down before the end of 2015 to be replaced by Grant Robertson, ahead of Jacinda Ardern, but with Shane Jones and Andrew Little also emerging as serious contenders. 

For his part, the probability National leader John Key will step down before the end of 2016 is up to 63% with Steven Joyce now ahead of both Judith Collins and Simon Bridges in the race to replace him.

Mr Joyce now ahead of Ms Collins and Mr Bridges to replace Key, who is 63% likely to step down as National leader before end of 2016

Party Vote
National, Labour and the Conservatives have gained this week at the expense of the Greens and Act.

Of the major partiesNational is expected to win 44.28% of the party vote, up from 44.13% last week, 43.33% the week before and 42.02% three weeks ago).  Labour has also gained over the last week and is now back on 32.14% compared with 32.00% last week, 32.57% the week before and 34.03% three weeks ago.  The Green Party’s expected vote is now below 9%, at 8.96% compared with 9.13% last week, 9.76% the week before and 9.08% three week’s ago.

Of smaller partiesNZ First is again expected to narrowly miss out on the 5% threshold under the MMP electoral system when parties’ likely support is adjusted to sum to 100%.  Winston Peters’ party is expected to win 4.94% of the party vote, up from 4.92% last week.

The Conservative Party has gained this week and is now expected to win 4.15% of the party vote, up from 3.64% last week 3.82% the week before and 4.02% three weeks ago.

Act is down to 2.18%, compared with 2.86% last week, 2.10% two weeks ago and 2.30% the week before.

The Maori Party is broadly steady on 1.19%, as are the Internet Party on 0.78%, UnitedFuture on 0.49%, Mana on 0.40%, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party on 0.30%, and theCivilian Party and Democrats for Social Credit on 0.10% each.

Electorate Contests
The Conservative Party continues to have just a 35.0% probability of winning at least one electorate seat (steady).  It’s expected representation is now down to just 0.39 MPs, from 0.41 last week and 0.53 two weeks ago

Of electorate bundles launched so far, the Conservatives are not expected to win any specific electorate, with just a 15% probability of winning East Coast Bays, down from 17% last week, 20% two weeks ago, 25% three weeks ago and 28% four weeks ago.  It has just a 12% probability of winning Rodney, down from 13% last week.

The four other small parties in parliament all appear safe.

Mana has a 91% probability and the Maori Party an 80% probability of winning at least one seat and have expected electorate representation of 1.21 and 1.08 MPs respectively.  Mana has an 89% probability of winning Hone Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau electorate and the Maori Party a 75% probability of winning Te Uruoa Flavell’s Waiariki (steady).  Labour is favoured to win Tariana Turia’s Te Hauauru electorate, with 86% probability. Pita Sharples’ Tamaki Makaurau electorate is safe for Labour with more than 90% probability it will be won by that party.

UnitedFuture and Act also look secure.  UnitedFuture has an 81% probability of winning at least one seat and has expected electorate MP representation of 0.81 MPs.  Its probability of winning Peter Dunne’s Ohariu electorate is 82%.  Act continues to have a 78.0% probability of winning at least one electorate seat but its expected electorate representation has fallen to 0.77 MPs down from 0.99 last week.  It has a 75% probability of winning Epsom

The Greens and NZ First continue not to be expected to win electorate seats.

Other seats that may be in play are Napier, Port Hills and Waimakariri.  Labour is expected to pick up Napier and Waimakariri from National, with 67% and 75% probability respectively, and hold on to Port Hills with 71% probability.

Election Result & Alternative Scenarios
Based on the party vote forecasts and the electorate results above, Parliament would be as follows: National 59 MPs (up from 58 last week), Labour 42 MPs (down from 43), the Greens 12 MPs (steady), Act 3 MPs (down from 4), the Maori Party 2 MPs (steady), UnitedFuture 1 MP (steady) and Mana 1 MP (steady).  Parliament would have 120 MPs and a government would be required to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply.

Under this scenario, the current National/MaoriParty/Act/UnitedFuture governing arrangement could continue with 65 MPs.  Alternatively, National could also form a coalition with Act alone (62 MPs) or with the Maori Party alone (61 MPs).  A Labour-led government would not be viable.

Given how close NZ First is to the 5% threshold, iPredict has also analysed what would happen if it did win 5%.  In such a case, Parliament would be as follows: National 56 MPs, Labour 41 MPs, the Greens 11 MPs, NZ First 6 MPs, Act 3 MPs, and the Maori Party, Mana and UnitedFuture one MP each.  Parliament would have 120 MPs a government would be required to have the support of 61 MPs on confidence and supply. 

Under this scenario, the current National/Maori Party/Act/UnitedFuture governing arrangement could continue with 61 MPs.  A National/Act/UnitedFuture arrangement would not be possible with only 60 MPs but a National/NZ First arrangement would have 62 MPs.

The only theoretical possibility for a Labour-led arrangement under this outcome would involve all 61 MPs from Labour, the Greens, NZ First, the Maori Party, Mana and UnitedFuture.

Should Winston Peters have the balance of power after the election, iPredict’s bundle of stocks forecasting NZ First’s decision-making indicates a 42% probability it would give confidence and supply to National (down from 44% last week), and a 37% probability it would give confidence and supply to Labour (up from 36% last week).  The market also indicates an 11% probability (up from 10% last week) that NZ First would not give confidence and supply to any party, which would favour the larger bloc, and an 11% probability (up from 10% last week) that some other unexpected event could occur.

Overall, National is again up this week, with a 65% probability of leading the next government, up from 63% last week and 62% the week before.

Labour continues to be marginally favoured to win the 2017 election with 53.3% probability (steady).

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