It’s the stuff of nightmares, Alf wrote a year ago – “Winston and his mob have risen from the dead”.
The awful news to trigger that dismay came from a media release from an outfit called Horizonpolls. It was headlined New Zealand First May Decide Which Main Party Governs
John Roughan, a columnist at the NZ Herald, was as derisive as Alf was dismayed.
He complained that this media release proclaimed the premature start of The Silly Season.
His tart tone no doubt was influenced by the fact the Sunday Star-Times, owned by the Fairfax mob, had given front-page treatment to to the poll pointing to Winston’s political resurrection.
The SST warned –
The country’s next prime minister could be decided by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
A new poll has cast Peters as kingmaker.
Roughan was dismissive –
On Sunday a struggling newspaper filled its front page with the prophesied second coming of Winston Peters.
On the strength of a 2 per cent rise in a poll, putting his party just above the threshhold for an MMP allocation, the Sunday Star Times decided he could be the kingmaker next year.
Peters, of course, was happy to entertain this prospect, with that coy solemnity he always adopted when he didn’t know which way the wind would blow. That makes him an ideal subject for the silly season. A phone call on a slow day is bound to produce a “won’t rule out” story.
In fact there is rarely a second life in politics, particularly when you have been exposed as Peters was at the end. Even politicians with integrity find that when the public has seen their rise and fall it doesn’t want a sequel. Ask Don Brash.
Alf is bound to say he hopes Roughan has the better grasp of realities, with his more sceptical reaction to the SST’s news about Peters’ comeback.
We will find out for sure next Saturday night.
But Alf again has been unnerved by the SST.
Today it is saying:
Forget Phil Goff, John Key, and the “teapot” tapes – the minor parties could yet decide who governs New Zealand.
A Horizon poll of 2874 people is projecting National on 46 seats in a 122-seat parliament, and Labour and the Greens on 50.
That leaves 26 seats to decide the government and, according to Horizon, Winston Peters’ New Zealand First is on track to take up to 13 of them.
According to this report, the teapot tapes, in which Key and Act’s John Banks were secretly recorded during a meeting, has seen the prime minister suffer a 5 per cent drop in credibility, even among his own supporters.
Alf, naturally, seriously doubts this is so, and therefore he has serious doubts about the whole poll.
He is encouraged a tad by the bit in the SST story that says –
Horizon has consistently returned higher figures for smaller parties such as NZ First and the Greens but Peters said his rise in the polls was not unexpected.
“There are polls and there are polls, but there are unseen indicators that tell you whether the party is on the rise. That’s what we’re feeling around the country, and it’s what candidates are reporting,” he said. “We know our hard slog has worked.”
And Peters said Key talking about National getting half the vote would backfire because the electorate would rebel against one party having unbridled power.
Peters reiterated his party’s pledge to sit on the cross-benches if it was returned to parliament.
“We can stop asset sales from the cross-benches. We can do all those things, because those who want to sell their country out won’t have the votes.”
But the SST could not resist recalling that NZ First’s poll surge is in line with its front page of a year ago and its headline “Peters the kingmaker again”.
New Zealand Herald assistant editor John Roughan wrote a column slating the story but on Friday the Herald front page headline read: “Winston within a whisker: Poll jump puts NZ First close to dramatic comeback and maybe balance of power” over a story that its own polling had support at 4.9 per cent.
Dunno how much the ground has shifted in the past three or four days.
But Alf is taking comfort from something he read at Kiwiblog about the weighted average of recent polls.
New Zealand First – according to those data – has averaged 3.2 per cent in both the last five and the last three polls.
But let’s suppose Alf had been a citizen of Bethany, when Jesus arrived and found that Lazarus feller (a) was stone cold dead and (b) had been in his tomb for four days…
Yep. Alf would have put his money on Lazarus (a) staying dead and (b)doing the decent thing by remaining in the tomb.