New Zealand First was Friday’s campaign winner with a double dose of good news.
An opinion poll showed its support at 4.5 per cent of the party vote and the Electoral Commission ruled its secretary, Anne Martin, did not commit an offence when she filed an incorrect 2007 donations return.
At 4.5 per cent, the New Zealand Morgan poll’s latest rating, NZ First would need just half a point to reach the crucial 5 per cent threshold to win seats in Parliament.
It was higher than the party has been for months, and better than most other polls show.
But what is good news for NZ First is bad news for National.
Party leader John Key has said he won’t work with Peters after the election, even if that means staying in opposition.
Key confirmed on Friday the Electoral Commission’s ruling hadn’t changed his position, and talked about the alternative to a National-led government as “a five-headed monster” — a reference to a Labour-led government supported by minor parties.
“He’s getting rattled,” said Labour leader Helen Clark.
With the Electoral Commission out the way, and the Serious Fraud Office having earlier cleared NZ First, only a police inquiry into donations remains to be resolved.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said today his party had gone through its records with the police.
“That’s two down and the police to go, and the police have got nowhere to look either because it was always a matter to do with electoral law,” he said.
The Morgan poll, and a New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll survey released on Friday, both showed National still holding a comfortable lead over Labour.
They also supported a recent trend of rising support for the Green Party, and the Morgan poll puts its rating at a remarkable 11.5 percent.
In other campaign developments on Friday:
- ACT staged a piece of street theatre in Auckland where a wicked witch whipped a poor farmer staggering along under the burden of debt created by the Government’s emissions trading scheme;
- ACT leader Rodney Hide campaigned in his Epsom electorate. NZPA’s Ian LLewellyn went along with him and reported support on the streets for the MP who is poised to retain the seat;
- Grey Power, the influential lobby group for older voters, said it was taking a good look at the health and home insulation policies of the political parties;
- Clark was looking for votes in Rotorua and she announced the Government had approved a $38.2 million investment to complete the upgrade of its hospital.