28 Aug 2014

Conservatives, NZ First up in poll

8:26 am on 28 August 2014

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig is delighted with the latest 3News-Reid Research poll which has his party's support nudging the 5 percent threshold.

Colin Craig.

Colin Craig. Photo: SUPPLIED

Support for both the Conservatives and New Zealand First is up in the poll, at the expense of National and Labour.

The survey was carried out after the release of Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics, which claims National ministers and staff have repeatedly smeared opponents by feeding damaging information to right-wing bloggers.

The poll has the Conservatives on 4.6 percent and New Zealand First on 6.3 percent.

National and Labour fell to 45 and 26.4 percent respectively. The Green Party recorded 13.5 percent, while no other party got near 5 percent.

The Conservatives needs to win an electorate or 5 percent of the party vote to get MPs elected to Parliament.

Mr Craig said he expected the party's support to rise further as the full impact of the Dirty Politics book comes through.

"It's good to see the polls catching up", Mr Craig told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme. "The support out on the hustings (is) fantastic for us."

In the past, he said, the Conservatives has had greater support at the ballot box than has been shown in the polls.

Mr Craig said the party is also doing very well in the Napier seat, where Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar is standing for the Conservatives.

Garth McVicar.

Garth McVicar is contesting the Napier seat and is No. 3 on the Conservative Party list. Photo: SUPPLIED

Mr Craig said the party's first target is to get more than the 5 percent threshold, but asked if he thought the Conservatives could win Napier, Mr Craig said "I think we might".

National Party leader John Key decided not to do a deal with the Conservative leader, to allow him to win the East Coast Bays seat, and Mr Craig is not expecting that will change.

"I don't see the need for him to take any risks or send any indications and we'd rather he didn't send any indications ... because I think it taints the process."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ

Earlier this week, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters pulled out of a debate on economic issues in Queenstown because Mr Craig had been invited, but the Conservative leader is not ruling out working with Mr Peters.

"That'll be up to Winston, won't it. He doesn't want to share a platform with me at the moment, so he'd have to get over himself a little bit, I think."

'Rogue poll'

Mr Peters said today the latest survey was a rogue poll in respect of the support shown for the Conservative Party.

Asked on Morning Report whether he could work with the Conservatives, Mr Peters said he did not expect them to be elected.

"I don't think they're going to make it. I think the poll is rogue in that respect and I think you're all getting slightly carried away. Just because you've got millions of dollars doesn't mean you're going to win an election."

Mr Peters is ruling out working with the Maori Party and Internet Mana, but would not comment on whether he could work with the Greens.

He said New Zealand First was still assessing the policies of the other parties, and could then decide which it could work with. "We want to know all the aspects of the debate before we rush out and make a decision."

But Mr Peters said he was concerned at some Green Party policies. "There are promises being made by some parties, and the Greens is one party, that can't possibly be implemented because the country hasn't got the money."

Mr Peters confirmed it is New Zealand First policy to talk firstly to whichever party wins most votes in the election.

Mr Craig told the programme he could still work with National despite the revelations in the Dirty Politics book, but says it would be more difficult to work with the Green Party and Internet Mana, as they have few areas where they agree with the Conservatives.

Poll of Polls

In Radio New Zealand's average of the four most recent surveys, the Conservatives are on 2.7 percent and New Zealand First on 5.6 percent.

In the POLL of POLLS average, calculated by political analyst Colin James, the inclusion of the latest 3News-Reid Research poll produces the following result:

  • National 48.3%
  • Labour 26.3%
  • Greens 12.4%
  • NZ First 5.6%
  • Conservatives 2.7%
  • Internet Mana 2.7%
  • Maori 0.8%
  • Act 0.5%
  • United Future 0.4%

The polls included are Morgan, Colmar, DigiPoll, the 3News-Reid Research poll - which is the latest in terms of the midpoint date of polling. Ipsos, the outlier, drops off. It favours National roughly 5 percent more than the others and downgrades Labour roughly 5 percent more than the others.

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