We’ve already established that New Zealanders are largely non-ideological, and often look to personality and other non-policy factors.
But what role do general current events play as portents?
Commentator Barry Soper reckons overseas studies have shown a feel-good sports win can affect the vote by about 2%.
He doesn’t cite any references (details, details). But there is some research out there. One US study of numerous elections claims a 0.8% boost to an incumbent if a local team wins within 10 days of an election.
In any case, it stands to reason that the All Blacks steam-rolling the Boks is better for the status quo than a loss.
But what Steve Hansen giveth, reality TV and a cracked fuel pipeline took away on Sunday.
Bidding at The Block NZ live final stalled under the reserve on each of the four homes, better illustrating the slowdown and fall in Auckland property prices better than any REINZ data.
Each townhouse eventually got over the line but with profits of between $1000 and $31,000, chicken feed next to the profits banked by last year’s teams ($380,000, $300,000, $151,000 and $150,000).
There were grizzles on social media that the $1.3m reserves were set too high relative to standalone house prices in the area (not to mention some bizarre sub-plots , including shenanigans over the auction order and a lack of code of compliance certification that would hinder cash buyers; arguably it could have been more of a factor than the cooling market or the ambitious reserve).
But for Auckland property, it was a bad look. And more so because most of the buyers appeared to be straight from a Phil Twyford list — and the only prominent non-Asian bidder was apparently an actor (who launched 1000 memes, one of which is pictured below).
— Tim Kautai (@kautaiTIM) September 17, 2017
Some Auckland homeowners (skewing National and centrist) will be as glum as the cast. National will hope swing voters looking to buy a house in the City of Sales will be encouraged, but overall the mood was sour.
Commentator Matthew Hooton saw the spectre of negative equity rising up to frighten the viewing public.
"why are we running?"
"the plane has no fuel" pic.twitter.com/XoX4J0KVMe
— Brendan Kelly (@brendankellol) September 17, 2017
The cracked fuel pipeline to Auckland Airport and delayed flights was also a grim portent. It raises questions of shoddy planning around infrastructure, and under-investment at Auckland Airport (where the government sold its majority stake back when on Winston Peters was Treasurer), and why NZ Refining and the government took until Sunday to publicly react to an incident that occurred on Thursday afternoon.
Maybe there was nothing that could be done to stop a determinedly stupid digger operator from causing damage. But a fuel shortage and cancelled flights are just not a good look in the final days of the campaign.
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