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So, what you look for with polls is a trend, and when we say the wheels are coming off this Government, it seems the polls now back that up. It’s a downward spiral.
Two different polls out yesterday both confirm the drop for Labour, and the drop for Ardern personally. I’m not surprised and I doubt many Aucklanders would be surprised. If anyone has reason to feel aggrieved, let down and cast adrift by this Government, it’s Auckland.
That was exemplified by the insulting visit the Prime Minister made to the city this week. Less visit, more orchestrated stopover. And, in that arrogance, is everything that’s going wrong here.
You can only pull the wool over voters' eyes for so long. You can only rely on goodwill for so long. You can only bank on your support, in such a smug fashion, for so long. What voters want is transparency (which this Government promised and has failed to deliver on), authenticity, also now out the window, surety that there’s a plan, a way forward, some leadership. That’s all missing and has been for a while. It goes to show the huge highs this party enjoyed were a post Covid love-in where people were emotive.
This time around, there’s still plenty of emotion – but in the opposite direction.
People are angry, disillusioned, divided, locked out of their home country, in the case of many Kiwis overseas, and being driven to despair. Instead of being honest and admitting when they’ve got it wrong, this Government continues to put its head in the sand and tell us ‘nothing to see here’.
They govern on the hoof, are reactive not proactive, lack experience and political nous, and continue to railroad through policy they won’t even bother consulting on.
So, the reckoning is coming and only two things stand to protect them. One, the short memories of New Zealanders who, by 2023, may’ve forgotten the misery of lockdown, the dishonesty of Three Waters and the incompetence of the health system. And two, the fact National isn’t bouncing high enough in the polls – even with Act – to block a left leaning coalition. The gap’s closing – but it’s still not tight enough.
We do, however, have a long way to go. And the mood in this country has changed. And that will push political trends if it continues. If Kiwis continue to feel the country’s going in the wrong direction, then that’s going to bite this Government in the bum. And here’s the part I think Labour voters need to think long and hard about – who replaces Ardern?
It’s felt for a wee while now, like the lights have gone out for her on the leadership front, she really doesn’t seem that interested in the cut and thrust of political leadership. She seems to prefer the cosy Facebook lives from home to the rigour of the road. And if she bails, how many of the ministers lining up behind her are you willing to have lead the country?
Where I would’ve once backed Grant Robertson, I now don’t. (I’ll tell you more on that next week), but as far as this week goes, the wheels are officially off.