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Labour hits new low as foreign land sales controversy fails to touch the sides

So much for Labour lobbing a "Lochinver grenade" into the election campaign by promising to block the sale of the 13,000 hectare Taupo station to Shanghai Penxgin.

A new Fairfax/Ipsos poll has National up 0.3% to 55.1% and Labour down 2.4% to 22.5%*

NZ First and the Conservatives are on 3.4%, Internet Mana 2.1%, the Maori Party 1%, ACT 0.2% and UnitedFuture at 0.

It remains a strange one, the issue of land sales to Johnny Foreigner. 

Polls on mainstream media websites found people opposing land sales to non-New Zealand residents by 80%+ margins. A CampbellLive poll (admittedly like all-comers across the web and txt, self-selecting), found 94% against former farm sales. Even NBR readers threw free market principles to the wind, backing an academic's call for the government to intervene and consider lease-only deals for land transactions involving foreigners.

Personally, I think the main danger of us becoming tenants in our own line is if our economy karks it, and the way to make our economy strong is through two-way trade, including Fonterra's large and ongoing investments in China (and, no, it doesn't own the dirt, if you're obsessed with that; but it can control companies higher up the food chain). 

I would have preferred David Cunliffe not to come over as Winston-lite, but rather stand up and say, "Hey, I was part of the Labour government that signed the free trade agreement with China that's delivered New Zealand's first positive balance of trade in a generation." 

However, I accept I'm in a minority. And I fully expected Cunliffe and other opposition leaders lining up to block foreign investment would make hay.

But it seems the issue just hasn't touched the sides. For all the emotion around the debate, it just doesn't seem to be a vote-decider.

According to today's poll, not even Winston Peters – so skilled at playing this issue, at least in opposition – has managed to capitalise on Lochinver. The poll has NZ First down 0.8% to 3.4%.** Perhaps that's because he no longer has a monopoly on protectionism with Craig, Cunliffe, Norman et al jumping on board.

The next big poll hope for opposition parties is Nicky Hager's book. But I don't think that one will touch the sides either. Allegedly funneling leaks to a blogger and guiding his OIA requests is lame and shabby, but it's something the chattering classes more or less assumed was happening anyway, and Joe Public is going to shrug and move on.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz


* Again, all of the major polls were a bit off beam with their final surveys of 2011. Fairfax's final poll was particularly wonky, putting National on 54%. The party's actual election day total was 47.3%. Fairfax put Labour on 26%; it's actual vote was 27.5%.

** Yup, swallow another grain of salt. Fairfax' final 2011 election poll put NZ First on 4.0%. The party's actual vote was 6.6%.

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Comments and questions
19

No-one expects precise accuracy in polls, but they do serve to show i what direction public feeling is trending. Let us hope that the next poll shows the public is uninterested in a book that proves the National party behaves like all other political parties behave. *yawn"

Give some credit to the majority of New Zealanders who recognize hypocrisy on the grand scale practiced by Winston and Cunliffe. They had no problems when they were in government (think Telecom, Auckland Airport, Forests etc etc) but speak a different language when they are in opposition.

There is also a basic acceptance that most New Zealnders' life savings are in their homes and properties - any restriction on their sales in any shape or form will impact upon their valuations, downwards.

Winston has the 3% to 6% of the greedy, selfish diehard anti-Asian voters - Labour is destroying its centralist appeal by playing the race card.

Wake up, Cunliffe - do you not hear what the electors are telling you?

>"There is also a basic acceptance that most New Zealnders' life savings are in their homes and properties - any restriction on their sales in any shape or form will impact upon their valuations, downwards."

Exactly the problem - short term profit orientation for current land owners outweighs longer term and more strategic implications.

The public look at the prospect of Labour/Greens/Mana/Internet running the country and run for the hills. and who could blame them. For a start Cunliffe does not even have the full support of his party caucus and members so how long would that government last. Better the devil you know than the one you don't.

A lot off fuss over the so far unproven allegations in Hager's book, but it hasn't changed any party's policy has it? I still like National's best and I hope voters will look first at policy rather than all the infighting,

Chris if you were a betting man would you lay odds on the Hagar book not effecting the polls. It appears that most print journalism reports the allegations in the book as fact. Yet this morning on ZB Judith Collins categorically denied any involvement and even quoted a section of law that forbade the justice minister influencing where a person served their time. Dunne however did admit to a lunch paid for an employee of Rothmans, IN 1994 NO LESS!. However Dunne said the lunch was £100.oo That would have been some lunch yes I am jealous

The juiciest allegation is that National Party's exploited files from a hacked Labour Party server (more at, least an inadvertently left wide open server)..

But it's hard for the left to make hay out of that when the Hager book centers on files hacked from a right wing blogger's computer.

That allegation is old news. Cam came out at the time and Labour apologies to its members for being so lax.

The biggest allegation in my mind is the improper access, and disclosure of confidential SIS files.

The funniest part of it is poor Phil Goff having a cry that the PM and the SIS were allegedly involved in the public finding out Phil was lying to them. Maybe he just shouldn't have lied to make PM look bad in the first place?

Ahh...two wrongs do make a right after all!

It will be a very sad day for NZ if National gets back in with a landslide.

They will be very arrogant and ride roughshod over people who do not agree with them. In a democracy we need check and balances especially in NZ where we do not have an upper house.

The country will become very divided between "them and us".
We saw arrogance in the last term of the Clark Government and the same will happen with National.

Settle down bro. The country is doing extremely well in all fronts. Thanks for your concern.

Looks like a perfect result Conservatives and New Zealand First cannibalise each others votes so neither get a seat!

Labour needs to urgently move to minimise its losses.
It clearly has no hope of forming a workable givernment and its potential association with Mana-Internet is probably costing it votes overall.

The best thing they could do now is to throw their weight behind Kelvin Davis to ensure he wins his seat and avoid further fracturing of their core voter base.

No sign of that happening as Cunliffe tries to have it both ways. Still has not learnt from the lesson of Clark endorsing Greens in 1999 and buggering up Labour now.

I am always amazed at how much emphasis is put on Polls and how we are in some way a reflection of what might occur and previous writers have shown the inaccuracies in past polls at election time.

The reality might be that as the media chase the public to fill polls you get more active participants but when people actually have to get up and go to the polls to cast a vote, complacency sets in.

NZ is littered with good ideas that never got off the ground because the minority opinion was activated while the majority opinion simply said "she'll be right".

While I am very uncomfortable allowing foreigners to buy New Zealand land where their own countries don't reciprocate the right, I'm not uncomfortable enough to want Cunliffe as Prime Minister, Norman as Finance Minister, and Peters/Harawira/Harre/Minto/et al with whatever baubles they demand.

Just wait for the left to claim that this poll doesn't reflect the latest revelations by Hager.....They cling onto even a straw....like a man who is drowning fast...Wait for them to label this as a rogue poll....wait for them to say that the word on the street is completely different....oh wait, the election is over and National has won?

You are correct in saying the last Fairfax poll before the 2011 election was off-beam. They had the Conservatives on 1.0% when they actually got 2.7%
Like the other polling companies they ALL underestimated the level of support for the Conservatives.