Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Jacinda did well in NZ, too

Surprising absolutely no one, New Zealand Prime Minister is polling extremely well in the most recent opinion poll, taken after the terrorist attack in Christchurch. The main party in the coalition government, the NZ Labour Party, also increased its support. And that wasn’t the end of the good news.

The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll has found that Jacinda Ardern’s preferred prime minister rating is at a new career high of 51%. Opposition Leader Simon Bridges fell 1% to 5%, and his chief rival for leader of the National Party, Judith Collins, also fell 1% to 5%. Winston Peters, who is leader of the New Zealand First Party and Deputy Prime Minister, is steady on 3%.

Of course, New Zealand doesn’t elect its prime ministers, it elects a parliament which, in turn, determines who will be prime minister. There, too, it’s good news for Jacinda Ardern. Her Labour Party widens its lead, up 3 points to 48%, while the National Party is down 2% to 40%. Labour’s coalition partner, the NZ Green Party, is steady on 6%, while the other partner, New Zealand First, is at 4%, up one point.

Translated into seats in Parliament, which is what really matters, Labour would have 60 seats, the Greens would have 8, giving them a very comfortable governing majority of 68 seats in a 120-seat parliament. The National Party would have 51 seats, and its only possible coalition partner, the neoliberal Act “Party”, would have the one seat that National has gifted them for years, for a total of a mere 52 seats.

There are some caveats to all this. First, and most obviously, this isn’t an election year, so the numbers will change next year. Also, the poll reflects the opinions of those who had one: 15% said they didn’t know who they’d vote for. Over the next year and a half, there are a lot of things that could reduce Labour’s chances—OR increase them. No one can possibly know which.

One thing that will absolute NOT hurt the current government is the recent changes to New Zealand’s gun laws: 61% in the same poll thought the changes were about right, but 19% thought it didn’t go far enough. A mere 14% thought it went too far. That crushingly overwhelming support for the recent change, combined with its virtual unanimous support in Parliament, means it’s beyond any possibility of affecting the next election. Mission accomplished.

So, things are going very well in New Zealand: A popular Prime Minister who showed the world the way to respond to tragedies like the Christchurch attack, increasing support for her political party, and crushingly overwhelming support for recent gun law changes means New Zealand has made it through the recent challenges very well.

Things can change, fortunes can reverse, but right now, things are good. Right now, that’s enough.

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