Morning Briefing Sept 29: Is National’s poll bump too little, too late?

National may have had a small bump in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll last night but it’s “just not big enough for this point in the election cycle”, according to political editor Jessica Mutch McKay.

Judith Collins. Source: Getty

Labour slipped from the comfort of being able to govern alone in the new poll, dropping one point to 47 per cent, while National rose 2 points to 33 per cent.

ACT and the Greens each rose 1 percent to sit at 8 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively. NZ First, meanwhile, has slid even further and sits at just 1 per cent support. 

Mutch McKay says National “needs to get more traction” if it wants any hope of forming a government with ACT.

Judith Collins did at least rise in the preferred PM rankings to 23 per cent, but still languishes behind Labour’s Jacinda Ardern, who remains steady on 54 per cent. 

Meanwhile, a Māori Television-Curia Research poll of votes in Māori electorate Te Tai Hauāuru didn’t have great news for Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, who’s considered the party’s best chance for re-entering Parliament.

The poll shows her trailing Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe by nearly 20 per cent in the electorate – however 30 per cent of voters are still undecided. 

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Parties go head-to-head

Climate change, housing and mental health were all hot topics at TVNZ's Young Voters debate, which saw representatives from Labour, National, Act, the Greens and NZ First going head-to-head last night.

National talked tax and swiped at Labour’s housing promises, while Labour described its “stable” plan for fixing the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But it was ACT’s deputy leader, Brooke van Velden, who caused the biggest stir of the night, when she described the current economic response to Covid-19 as “fiscal child abuse”.

The Green Party’s Chlöe Swarbick hit back at the comment, calling it a typical “ACT party soundbite” and “disgusting”. 

If you missed it, you can watch the full debate here.

Wild start to spring

More wild weather is expected around the country today after strong winds and snow caused problems in the lower North Island and South Island yesterday.

Some flights and ferry crossings were cancelled in the capital yesterday due to high winds, with hundreds of Wellingtonians also without power. 

Meanwhile, snow blanketed the deep south, falling to sea level in Dunedin and Invercargill and forcing the closure of Queenstown Airport – and interrupting Jacinda Ardern’s election campaign travel plans, too. More snow is expected in the south today, while Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has warned motorists to expect snow, wind and ice on the Desert Road, too.

Strong wind gusts have also seen several lanes temporarily closed on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge this morning. 

A fourth-floor escape

An investigation is underway after a man escaped from a managed isolation facility in Auckland yesterday.

Several tied-together sheets were found hanging from the window of a fourth-floor room at the Ramada Hotel with the room’s occupant discovered at the facility’s front gate.

Officials say they don’t yet know what time he absconded from the hotel but say the health risk to the public is low. 

Meanwhile, the construction industry says it has its own plans to quarantine highly skilled workers, in the hopes of getting more of them into the country.

The sector would like the Government to let them fund their own quarantine centre, saying it must be easier to bring desperately-needed workers to New Zealand. 

Labour commits to Tiwai Point

Labour has joined other parties in attempting to keep the Tiwai Point smelter in operation should they be re-elected.

Jacinda Ardern and Megan Woods say Labour would seek to extend the life of the smelter for three to five years while a transition is developed for the Southland region.

Their election promise follows Rio Tinto announcing in July that they are planning to close the smelter, putting 1000 jobs at risk.

National and NZ First have previously made similar election promises. National’s Judith Collins says she would attempt to broker a deal to keep the smelter open for longer, while NZ First’s Winston Peters has made the issue a bottom line for any future government negotiations.

Southland leaders have welcomed all of the pledges to push for a Tiwai Point extension, however they’re wary that time to lock a deal in is running out.

More National pledges

National revealed a few more election promises yesterday, saying they plan to give training providers $4000 for every unemployed person they help get into work.

The party also announced several mental health pledges, including a “zero suicides” prevention strategy and the creation of a Minister of Mental Health role should they win the election.

Other news of note this morning:  

- The New York Times has reported US President Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years – but Trump says the story is “fake news”.

- New figures show Auckland’s job losses have been far fewer than predicted, despite the city going back into lockdown last month. 

- Most New Zealanders want to see conversion therapy banned, according to the latest findings from TVNZ’s Vote Compass tool.

- The tourism industry is welcoming new reports of a travel bubble between some Australian states and New Zealand, while National’s Judith Collins says the Government isn't being clear on the matter.

- Fair Go has the story of an Invercargill man fighting for an insurance pay-out after his car was stolen while its engine was running in the driveway. 

- And a 100kg concrete turtle that went missing from a playground in Nelson last week has turned up in Blenheim.

And finally...

David Seymour reacts to a cake made in his likeness. Source: 1 NEWS

It’s the election campaign content you’ve been waiting for – Seven Sharp’s Laura Daniel is creating political party leaders as cakes and then forcing them to eat them.

After making international headlines with a terrifying Jacinda Ardern cake back in April, Daniel tried her luck in recreating David Seymour’s infamous Dancing with the Stars twerk in cake form last night.

It’s safe to say Seymour was delighted with the results - until he was forced to have a taste of himself.