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Muriel Newman: Labour's decline

As we finish the second year of Jacinda Ardern’s premiership of the only majority Government to have been elected outright under our MMP voting system, two polls and a by-election spell bad news for Labour.


Taken chronologically, Monday’s 1News Kantar poll showed support for Labour continues to slide, down 1 to 33 percent – the lowest ranking since before the 2017 election. National increased 1 to 38, ACT rose 2 to 11, the Greens were steady on 9, and the Maori Party steady on 2.


On those results, National and ACT would have the numbers to govern with 64 MPs.


Jacinda Ardern is also on the slippery slope in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, falling from the heady heights of over 60 percent support to 29 - her lowest rating since becoming Prime Minister. Meanwhile National’s Chris Luxon is on the rise, now ranking at 23 percent.


Tuesday’s Roy Morgan poll was much more brutal. It painted a devastating picture of a collapsing Labour vote - down 3.5 to 25.5 percent, the lowest level of support for the Party since June 2017 - before Jacinda Ardern became leader.


In fact, it was in response to a One News poll in mid-2017 showing Labour only fractionally lower at 24 percent that former Labour leader Andrew Little stepped aside.


On the current levels of polling, Labour would lose more than 30 of its 64 MPs at the next election. As a result, a number of those Labour MPs are now signalling they intend moving on, with the PM expected to announce some resignations before the House rises for Christmas.


Meanwhile, the poll showed support for National is on the rise - up 7 to 39 percent – and while ACT lost 1.5 to 11, at 50 percent, the two parties would have the numbers to govern.


The Greens fell 3.5 to 12, the Maori Party rose 1 to 4, and New Zealand First was steady on 3.5.


The poor performance of Labour was not only reflected in a decline in confidence in the Government, which has dropped to a record low, but also in those who think the country is ‘heading in the wrong direction’ - up 5 to a record high of 55 percent compared to a 7 percent drop to 35 percent in those who believe New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’.


Roy Morgan’s in-depth breakdown of voter support showed for the first time more women are supporting National and ACT at 44.5 percent, than Labour and the Greens at 42.5 percent, with support more pronounced amongst those who are older.


The difference for men is much more defined – 55 percent support National and ACT with the support of older men aged 50+ at 66 percent, compared to younger men aged 18-49 at 44.5 percent. In comparison, 32.5 of men support Labour and the Greens, with older men at 29.5 percent and younger at 35 percent.


Further analysis shows that both the Green and Maori parties rely almost entirely on the support of young people. Clearly, exploiting impressionable young voters with radical agenda-driven narratives pays dividends: for the Greens, supporting their extremist climate policies is the only way to save the planet, and for the Maori Party, supporting Maori supremacy is the only way to alleviate repression and inequality. It’s therefore little wonder that both parties are strong advocates for lowering the voting age.


Saturday’s by-election in Hamilton West was a definitive win for National’s Tama Potaka. He gained 46 percent of the vote, compared to Labour on 30 percent, ACT on 10 percent, and former Labour MP Gaurav Sharma on 8 percent.


National will be buoyed by their success. The seat is regarded as a reliable ‘bellwether’ of the electorate’s mood and is usually won by the party of Government.


For Labour, it’s another clear message that the electorate no longer wants what they are delivering, with many commentators now saying the Ardern administration is the worst government ever.


Labour seems to lack the ability to do even the basics well. This is exemplified by the fact that New Zealand’s cost-of-living crisis is largely of their own making.


Auckland University’s Professor Robert MacCulloch explains that a simple formula used by central banks around the world to control inflation is to raise the Official Cash Rates by one percent for every one percentage increase in inflation. With New Zealand’s annual inflation jumping from 1.5 percent in March 2021 to 6.9 percent in March 2022 and the Reserve Bank increasing the OCR by only a little over one percent during that period, it’s clear that not nearly enough was done:


“After keeping the cash rate so low for so long and embarking on a $53 billion Quantitative Easing programme, the bank is now in panic mode. Those having trouble paying back their mortgages in the next few years can blame our RBNZ Governor and Finance Minister. They encouraged a borrowing binge to buy houses at wildly inflated prices, financed by dirt cheap credit, turning a blind eye to the breach of the target to which they mutually agreed and not learning the lessons of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.”


Exacerbating the rising price of goods and services is the increasing cost of carbon. This is a direct result of the Prime Minister’s obsession with being seen to be leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But imposing restrictions onto New Zealand when major emitters intend dramatically increasing emissions for the next thirty years, is madness.


Then there’s the disaster of falling education standards and rising truancy rates, the escalating crime-wave, the crisis in health care, the increasing homelessness and poverty, a seeming inability to address the country’s critical shortage of workers – and so it goes on. Almost every area of government touched by Jacinda Ardern’s administration has failed.


In addition, major reforms have been undertaken to benefit iwi leaders without any mandate from voters - as the Three Waters debacle shows only too clearly. They lied to councils that the scheme was optional when it was always going to be compulsory. They claimed councils would still own their assets while confiscating them without compensation. They promised massive consumer savings that will never materialise. They used a model that independent analysis exposed as faulty. They engaged in an unconstitutional attempt to entrench policy to bind future Parliaments. And they failed to disclose to the public that the primary objective of the reforms is passing control of all water in New Zealand - freshwater, stormwater, wastewater, coastal water, and geothermal water - to Maori tribal leaders.


Only Labour voted in favour of the Bill – all other parties were opposed. And now two more Three Waters bills have been tabled - the Water Services Legislation Bill to transfer assets from local authorities to the Water Services Entities, and the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill to establish an economic regulator.


More significantly, Three Waters has exposed the fact that New Zealand is now being co-governed by Maori. Nanaia Mahuta has assumed the mantle of a de-facto Prime Minister, blatantly flouting Cabinet rules and acting as a law unto herself as she pursues her legacy project of delivering control of New Zealand’s water - along with all the financial benefits that will flow - to iwi, including to her own Tainui tribe.


The scale of this transfer of power and wealth through co-governance is eye-watering. It amounts to an effective mass privatisation of key New Zealand assets, as control is stripped from the public and passed into the hands of some of the biggest private businesses in the country. Instead of elected officials being in charge and acting in the public interest unaccountable tribal representatives will be driven by self-interest.


It is astonishing hypocrisy from Labour – a party that not only rails against privatisation and the accumulation of private wealth but feigns to value democracy and individual rights.


But after two years of the Ardern Government, we have now learned that they have no respect for New Zealand’s core values of freedom and democracy. With their jack boots, they have trampled over our traditional culture as they attempt to divide our society and crush our spirit.


But Kiwis are not for crushing. We may be slow to react to acts of aggression from government, which we generally consider to be working in our best interests, but when a line is crossed, we will not take it lying down.


So why is Jacinda Ardern losing the support of voters?


The simple reason is that she cannot be trusted. Of her litany of lies, some stand head and shoulders above the rest.


Claiming to be an open and transparent government, whilst running the most secretive and devious administration in our history.


Emulating George Orwell by claiming to be New Zealand’s single source of truth:


“I want to send a clear message to the New Zealand public: We will continue to be your single source of truth.”


Entrenching globalist agendas without informing the public - including the United Nations Agenda 2030, and the World Economic Forum’s ‘great reset’.


Using the UN’s Paris Agreement to restrict farming - in direct contravention of article 2, which prohibits governments from enacting climate policies that threaten food production.


Then there’s ‘co-governance’ – not only failing to inform the public that her He Puapua goal of tribal rule was being introduced under the guise of implementing the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but denying the agenda was underway even as power-sharing arrangements with iwi leaders were established.


With health and polytechs already controlled by iwi, and now Three Waters, is the proposed new public broadcaster the next in line, or will it be the conservation estate - or what about the whole of local government?


The ambition of Maori supremacists knows no bounds.


And how has Jacinda Ardern responded to those who are taking a stand and challenging her radical idealism? By labelling their views as misinformation or disinformation and turning the media and government agencies against them.


Former District Court Judge David Harvey has delivered a comprehensive analysis [co-published at BB&H today] of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s on-going attack on the freedom of expression, in which he concluded she has “the mindset of a tyrant”:


“Ms Ardern is possessed of a high sense of the righteousness of her cause. She does not debate ideas. She rejects them or refutes the premises of opposition without engaging in debate. She therefore avoids confronting the uncomfortable reality that she may be wrongAnd by rejecting and refuting she adopts an air of superiority that views dissent as evil and, because it has become ‘weaponized’ it is too dangerous to allow.


“But for her it is dissent that is the enemy. Ms Ardern does not want a single voice raised against her. This is the most common cry of the 21st-century authoritarian – that contrarian speech can have a destabilising and even life-threatening impact, especially if it concerns big crises like climate change or Covid-19.


“So ‘climate deniers’ are a threat to the future of the human race and thus may be legitimately silenced. ‘Lockdown deniers’ threaten to encourage the spread of viral infection and thus may be legitimately gagged. The spectre of crisis is cynically used to clamp down on anyone who dissents from the new global consensus.”


The reality is that Jacinda Ardern has a delusional view of how the rest of us should live. She clearly has no regard for our rights as free citizens, or our traditions as a representative democracy: ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’.


With the power of the state at her fingertips, she is dangerous.


It’s no wonder that Kiwis are disillusioned and no longer trust the Prime Minister.


That’s why she’s falling in the polls.


The sooner she leaves office, the safer New Zealand will be.



Dr Muriel Newman established the New Zealand Centre for Political Research as a public policy think tank in 2005 after nine years as a Member of Parliament. A former Chamber of Commerce President, her background is in business and education.

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