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Whoops: National's Goldsmith well ahead of ACT's Seymour in Epsom

A cup of tea with John Key could be in order for ACT's Epsom candidate, David Seymour.

A TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, released today has shown National's Paul Goldsmith with a clear lead, 44% to Mr Seymour's 32%.

According to the survey, nearly one third of Epsomites are unaware Prime Minister John Key has openingly called for National Party supporters in the seat to cast their vote strategically.

When respondents were made aware of the PM's push, the tables were turned with Mr Seymour jumping ahead 45% to 31%.

47% said they support the arrangements Mr Key has made with the Act Party in Epsom.

Goldsmith sharpens don't vote for me message
In response to the poll, National's Mr Goldsmith sharpened his message that people should not vote for him.

“If you want John Key to remain Prime Minister and National in power, party vote National.  That’s the crucial message.  In Epsom we've said we're encouraging National supporters to vote for the ACT candidate, and we're very happy with that," Mr Goldsmith said on TVNZ's Q+A, which hosted an Epsom candidates debate.

The poll of 501 eligible Epsom votes was carried out August 4 to 8. The Conservative Party's Christine Rankin was announced as a surprise late entrant on August 1.

Ms Rankin registered 4% support — a modest total, but one that could prove vital if the contest is as close as 2011, when 36,929 ballots were cast in Epsom, and then ACT leader John Banks won the seat by just over 2000 votes. National won 64.24% of the list vote; ACT 2.54%.

Cllick to zoom

The Epsom result was close in 2011 as some National Party voters, either through ignorance or being fed up with MMP games, voted for Mr Goldsmith. They were joined by Labour, Greens and others on their left who cast a mischevous ballet for the National candidate in a bid to derail ACT's coat tails plan.

Ms Rankin focussed the fact the Conservatives were polling higher, meaning she would bring in other MPs on her coat tails if she took the seat.

“I don’t agree that I don’t have a chance of winning Epsom.  I think this is going to be greatest turnaround the country has ever seen.  We are the opportunity to maintain stable centre right government.   And if I'm elected at the polling that we've got at the moment across the country I'd take in three or four people.  David Seymour would take in David Seymour," Mr Rankin said.

Elsewhere in the debate, Green candidate and lsit MP Julie Anne Genter (expected to be Transport Minister in the event a Labour-led government is formed after September 20, said, “I have to be honest most people talk to me about transport because that’s a big reason why the Greens are popular.  We've launched a very comprehensive policy to get world class transport system for Auckland and I think the people at Epsom want to live in a one class city and unfortunately the National Party is denying them that by holding up progress in the city rail link and other issues like that.  Newmarket station is in the heart of the electorate and I think people deserve to have a train every five minutes.” 

Labour's Michael Woo offered, “Well what's very clear on the street when we door knock people and we talk to them at the shops, is that people have had enough of the games.  People don’t want the deal again, and what your poll reveals this morning is that people actually when they're asked the direct question, do not want ACT to be re-elected in this electorate.” 

Mr Seymour said, “Well first of all there's a lot of things that we'd like to change about education.  We'd actually like to open up the supply of education by allowing schools to run themselves with more flexibility."

In a recent Ask Me Anything session with NBR readers, ACT leader Jamie Whyte was questioned on why he had not lead from the front and stood for Epsom himself.

Mr Whyte said he did not have time for electorate-level campaigning.

The downside of that strategy is that if ACT's list vote support remains at its current level, former youth wing leader Mr Seymour will be the party's only representative in Parliament (if he wins Epsom), with Mr Whyte left on the sidelines.

Watch the full Epsom candidates debate here.

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Comments and questions

David Seymour did extraordinarily well. He will win Epsom.
But who on earth decides the make-up of the panel on Q&A and why would they choose Bronwynn Puller's cohort to comment on anything?

Maybe the wise Epsom National voters are like most of us and sick of MMP and being told what to do and how to vote

In the good old days John Key would have been told what to do by the voters not the other way around.

Voting for a loony party like ACT is as bad as voting for the Conservatives or the Internet / mana party.

You nailed it there Herr Doctor.

For myself I think ACT is the only party for a future NZ. The other parties sole purpose is policy for their future.

Could you elaborate on your so called loony policy of ACT?

National have done nothing just like labour before them. NZ has the most useless idle politicians. What are Key's acheivements Doc? He has done nothing but waited for the end of a recession. Where are the meaningful initiatives to improve productivity he promised? At least if the Conservatives got in we would start getting hard on crims.

John Key has not told the Epson voters what to do - he has indicated the need for coalition partners to form a government and the media now and in the past have made options clear.

People continually make up what this person or the other said based on their perceptions or what voices in their minds say.

Epson voters have every choice to make - and John Key is certainly not telling them what that has to be.

But I guess the voters in Epson for the main part are not thick and can work out what they want for themselves whatever that might be - its not rocket science.

Let us hope that Epsom voters have more character and independent thought than this article infers
Personally,if anyone had the audacity to tell me how to vote I would do the opposite!

Seymour came across as arrogant in my view. So did the Labour candidate.

Would personally not vote for either.

I don't understand why Epsom voters would be fed up. It's simply a matter of whether they prefer National as government, in which case they should vote for Act's Seymour. If they prefer Labour/greens as government then they will vote for National's Goldsmith. I'm sure there are plenty of voters in that electorate who know the tactics required with MMP. And no matter what, Goldsmith will be in parliament, but an electorate vote for him could see him on the opposition side of the house.

Rankin will be making a difference to the outcome. Law and order issues are what a lot of families care about in our decaying society.

Hardly. I suspect that most Epsom voters view her as an irrelevant opportunist , parachuted into the electorate to try to erode ACT's voter share. So far, it seems that she has not accomplished that task.

Where to begin? True, absurdities in Epsom are too numerous to mention. Rich, white, moronic central.

But please, don't blame MMP. The only thing wrong with MMP is the coat-tailing it enables. Take that away and all this ridiculous nonsense goes with it.

Do you think just maybe that's why our glorious leaders decided to reject the recommendations of the electoral review, and the majority of submissions, to get rid of it?

No party benefitted from coat-tailing in the last election. The only party likely to benefit this time will be the Internet/Mana party, and they're a oncer. Coat-tailing is hardly a problem.

Thank you Horario - so many people keep banging on with the same story - National does not need coattailing they just need maybe two parties to provide 1 seat each. It is Labour that needs all the extra coattailing that they can get - for the fourth time it seems.

Agreed - perhaps Judith Collin's finest hour, which ultimately led to her exposure as a replicant. The NBR gave an excellent summary of the furore - well worth reading again:

That and Andrew Geddis:

Epsom voters will fall in line and do what's right. They may be little frustrated being told who to vote for, but they're an intelligent lot and know the lesser of two evils.

Do you really think they'll vote for a tax hike on their family trusts, a capital gains tax or their batch and Cunliffe/Norman/Turei/Harawira/Sykes/Harre/Dotcom government?

Or three more years of John Key.

I wish David Seymour all the best as M.P. for Epsom.

You are right Tamati. Greed will prevail.

Wanting to retain one's earnings is hardly greed. Wanting to take a share of someone else's earnings is greed.

Strange, that Goldsmith should be National's fly in the ointment when it comes to Epsom. Just shows us how flawed MMP is.

In a race it helps if the competitor is capable of running

Have people considered what greed really is?

It is a short term advantage over other people. I highlight the short term, because, one can hardly say NZ is a better country than before this so called free market entered our economy, when so much of the wealth is now controlled by so few.

The current economic theory being applied started in the 1980's, and has resulted in the wide spread ownership of most former state assets by overseas interests; who care not for local consequences of deferring investment, charging what they like, minimising tax paid and paying the absolute minimum wage.

Think about the real effects of this economic experiment, when you vote (strategically) in September. And consider where your grand children may like to live in the future, when you are making that decision.

I prefer that my grand-childen don't grow up in a communist state, where through wealth re-distribution no-one in incentivised to do anything and everyone just sits around doing nothing. NZ would not be competitive in the world stage, so it drags everybody down.

I much prefer a system where ALL people are motivated to succeed, and push NZ's interests ahead. "A rising tide lifts all boats"

I also prefer a parliament controlled by reasonable NZers, not by German Nationals who are convicted criminals. Or by racist Maori radicals who want to knock down prisons and doesn't want white kiwis dating his daughters. That is an incredibly scary future for this country.

How about some balanced reasoning, rather than very unlikely scenarios.

I agree people who put in more effort should be rewarded above those who dont put in the effort.

Being paid $100 million plus to sell $4.2 billion in assets is not balanced, nor is it fair; especially when those buying (largely) set the price. The price to earnings ratios do not lie.

You obviously buy into propaganda pushed out by vested interests. Could I suggest community work, as you'll find its much more rewarding. There use to be so much more, but now the vast majority of people are too committed to keeping their head above water to survive.

Who is being paid $100 million plus?

And can i suggest some paid work for you, so you get a feel for the rest of us who are paying your benefit.

No benefit here.

Community work, with sufficient passive income through value added investment is my secret. And supporting a family too.

You should try it some time.

I am an Epsom voter. I will not vote for Act. They are idiots. I will vote National. I have voted Act every other time, it is too humiliating, I can't do it again.

Clarification: you are a stupid Epsom voter. The kind of supporter the National Party doesn't actually want.

Really? I am sorry that I am too stupid for you anon, and I am very sorry that National doesn't want my vote.

Vote National on the list if you want National. Vote the National electorate candidate if you want Labour.

Yes you do sound more like a Labour voter, so perhaps you should do that.

John Key actually needs to have 4 cups of tea during the campaign:

- David Seymour (Act, Epsom)
- Peter Dunne (United Future, Ohariu)
- Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori, Waiariki)
- Kelvin Davis (Labour, Te Tai Tokerau)

The first two are easy to engineer, but the last two are a lot more delicate! The first two give National an even chance of winning the election, but nothing more.

The last two could easily be the difference though...lets hope the National Party strategists have this in hand.

Sad state of affairs when our MMP system dictates that deals must be done to form a government.
While I support a right-of-center government,the increasing arrogance of the Nats -key,joyce,collins,brownlee,etc(as well as the same disease on the other side -clark, cullen,etc) -leaves me with the firm conviction that two terms are the maximum that the NZ political character can handle.

The Conservatives and Christine Rankin makes more sense for Epsom.

Why, when their tax policy would increase income tax for almost all voters in Epsom to compensate for their $20,000 tax free income band.

Is paying tax really that bad, when for the same effort you earn up to 5.5 times the minimum wage?

Richard, unfortunately effort does not equal quality of output. That's why different wages are paid to different people (some are simply worth more to their employer), and you pay more for a lunch at Clooney than KFC.

You communistic effort to equate input to output is deluded and ultimately self-defeating. You think we would all end up lunching Clooney, whereas in fact we would all be dipping chips into potato and gravy at KFC.

What you are really trying to do is turn us all into the same person, but can't you see that by doing that you turn us into nothing at all?

Nothing communistic here, apart from your perception. I have always agreed that quality is better than quantity. This should be dictated in your wage rate, rather than your tax rate. GST is not helpful with this equation, as those on lower wages proportionately contribute more tax. An increase in the tax rate about $150,000 redresses that balance.

Its all about fairness and equity, but you dont seem to get that.

The Conservatives have no plans to increase income taxes.
The advantage for Epsom voters in voting for Rankin is that she will bring in more MPs than boy-blunder and she would make a better MP.

TVNZ's Colmar Brunton micropoll of Epsom indicates that neither Rankin or her oddball political associates are succeeding in their objectives.

Given the urban liberal composition of that electorate, no, they don't, Will.

Isn't it time we put a stop to John key trying to run the country?

It's certainly time for New Zealanders to tell him that this is a democracy - well actually it's not. Not now.

But it has a better chance of becoming one again if we throw out determined leaders hooked on power. Time for the trader to trade out...

Rankin ? It's quite funny really. The word conservative is not what I would associate with this former free-spending, three times-married (?) boastful boss of WINZ, associated with its cult of extravagance during her time.)

She seems gifted at reinventing herself.

The bitterness of the left is intense already. Imagine what it'll be like when they get cleaned up in the election and National gain another term with ACT by their side. The left's sour grapes alone will be worth my vote for ACT.

MMP is indeed flawed when it leads to the rediculous game playing that is happening in Epsom.
National had the opportunity to correct the system,but flagged it away;now we live with the consequences of their short-sighted and self-serving actions.

Wrong. Nothing to do with National. MMP was reconfirmed as the preferred system in the recent referendum. If the majority want MMP then obviously they are happy for parties to require coalition partners . The only thing National had the chance to change was the right for an electorate candidate to forego the 5% requirement to bring in extra MPs. That certainly hasn't been a problem, with no MPs brought in by that method in the last election. The ridiculous game playing you refer to is in the Te Tai Tokorau electorate where Labour will not support or promote their own candidate, and doing what they can to get Internet/Mana to win. The problem with that is, they deny it.

Surely we just need to embrace MMP to it's fullest extent and remove overhangs and coat-tailing and electorate MP's altogether?

Simply reduce options to one vote - the party vote - and allocate a proportion of 100 MPs accordingly down to 1% of the total vote. That would remove all game playing, cups-of-tea, unsupported candidates, and all other high-jinks.

I realise that means the death of independent candidates and a few 1% strange policy parties getting a member or two into parliament - but if 1% of the population truly sees it that way so be it.

Reduced MP numbers, elimination of vote strategy, and the humour of seeing some of the small parties in office ... hey they may turn out to be useful politicians.