Should National stand down its candidate in Ohariu?
United First leader Peter Dunne is at risk of losing Ohariu, according to a Colmar Brunton poll of 500 people for TVNZ's Q+A.
The poll has:
- Ex-Police union boss and Labour candidate Greg O'Connor: 48%
- Peter Dunne: 34%
- National's Brett Hudson (already a list MP): 14%
- The Opportunities Party's Jessica Hammond Doube: 2%
- ACT's Andi Moore: 1%
- Don't know: 9%
- Refused: 1%
Colmar Brunton tells NBR the margin of error is +/- 4%.
Mr Dunne – a key member of the National-lead government who effectively gives Bill English's party a bonus vote in Parliament – won the electorate by just 710 votes in 2014.
This year, under the Labour-Green MoU, the Greens are not putting up a candidate.
The UnitedFuture, who has been in the Beehive since he came in with the 1984 landslide as a Labour MP, is Parliament's longest-serving member.
Going by this poll, his fate on September 23 will hinge on strategic voting (or not) by National supporters.
However, there probably won't be a cup-of-tea with Mr English; the Nats might be too wary given Mr Dunne sided with Labour after the 2005 election.
Bootcamp for young offenders
National promises to send up to 50 young offenders to a new training facility at Waiouru military camp each year, to train alongside soldiers.
The teenagers sent there would be 14- to 17-year-olds who had committed offences carrying adult jail sentences of up to 14 years - serious assault, sexual assaults, aggravated robbery and murder.
Those who failed to complete their time at the military academy would have to serve out their sentence in an adult prison.
At a campaign event in Auckland, Justice Minister Amy Adam said National would also introduce $200 spot fines police could issue to the parents of under-14 year-olds found walking the streets between midnight and 5am .
The Sensible Sentencing Trust backed the policy.
But ACT leader David Seymour called it sloganeering and a retread of a policy originally promised by John Key in 2008. And JustSpeak''s Katie Bruce said it assumed the teenagers involved were lacking in discipline, "but most have been failed by our society".
Commentator Matthew Hooton asked "Will a whole lot of social workers and addiction experts also have to move to Waiouru? Are there houses and flats?"
Bill hearts EVs
National wants one in three cars in the government's fleet to be electric by 2021.
Prime Minister Bill English announced the new policy at a rally in Lower Hutt.
It could be seen as a play for the blue-green vote at a time when the Greens are wobbling.
The Crown owns around 15,500 vehicles. Procurement guidelines are already in place for public sector agencies to choose an electric model when replacing a vehicle.
Mr English said he had a "light bulb moment" when he first got into an electric car on a visit to Australia.
"One thing that struck me is how quiet they are but also how powerful they are," the PM said.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are certainly no slouches on the acceleration front (Tesla's Model X can zoom from 0 to 100km in 3.1 seconds, for example). However, they don't pack the same power. The plug-in hybrid version of Mitsubishi's Outlander SUV has a towing capacity of 750kg, for example, vs the petrol version's1600kg.
The new policy builds on a series of government initiatives to increase the number of electric vehicles on New Zealand's roads from its current 3700 to 64,000 (or around 2% of total vehicles on the road) by 2021.
Measures already in existence include no road-user charges for EV owners under the 64,000 target is reached, and a law change allowing EV owners to drive in bus and high-occupancy lanes (although the latter has been derailed by Auckland Transport).
Ardern won't rest until there is pay equity
Jacinda Ardern told a rally in Auckland that her party "will not rest" until pay equity is achieved in New Zealand.
The Labour leader said the government's recent $2 billion settlement to boost pay in the female-dominated sector of rest home work was not good enough.
Her plan is to include mental health workers and others left out of the settlement.
"The pay equity legislation the government introduced this week will also be scrapped and redrafted when we are in office," she said.
James talks up TOP
Ignoring NBR's helpful advice, Green Party leader James Shaw appeared on The Nation, where he talked up Gareth Morgan's TOP.
“The level of policy alignment between The Opportunities Party and the Green Party is extremely high," he said, adding he could certainly work with TOP if it makes it to Parliament.
TOP is polling at 2% after doubling its support in the past month or so.
The latest polls notwithstanding, Shaw said he expects the Greens will get 11% or better in the election.
He said he won’t need a deal in Wellington Central to help his party get back into Parliment via winning an electorate, and he hasn’t discussed doing one.
This weekend’s campaign relaunch will include new billboards and pamphlets and a new TV ad, he said [UPDATE: The Green's new 2017 slogan will be a revival of the one they used in 2014: "Love New Zealand." James Shaw got a laugh at the relaunch by quipping that the party was "into recycling." More seriously, it implies a focus on the party's environmental roots after its recent social justice campaign gone awry.]
There will also be a new face for welfare issues, replacing Metiria Turei.
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