Morning Briefing August 10: NZ First brushes off disastrous poll as politicians clamber for votes

NZ First’s Winston Peters and Shane Jones are brushing aside a poll that spells doom for their party come September’s election.

Shane Jones and Winston Peters. Source: Getty

The Q+A Colmar Brunton poll in the critical battleground of Northland has Mr Jones running a distant third in the electorate, behind incumbent MP, National’s Matt King, and Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime. 

Mr Jones needs to win the seat to give NZ First a path back to Parliament without 5 per cent of the party vote. He says the poll was taken before the election campaign had properly begun and expects voters to change their mind by September.

Party leader Winston Peters carried on his tradition of rubbishing polls and said the survey of the Northland electorate was “unscientific”

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has ruled out a deal with NZ First in the electorate. Mr Peters has also reiterated he’s not interested in such a deal.

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Nats fill electorate gaps

National is expected to announce their Auckland Central candidate later today. The controversial search follows the resignation of Nikki Kaye, who held the seat for 12 years.

The Party plugged another gap in their list yesterday too, announcing agricultural consultant Megan Hands as the replacement for disgraced MP Andrew Falloon in the Rangitata electorate.

National also released their party list over the weekend, with candidate Nancy Lu the highest-ranked non-sitting MP.

Based on the party’s current polling numbers, it's not clear how many candidates will be going to Parliament off the list.

Political commentator Ben Thomas says some National MPs have been given a clear message that they need to win their electorate.

Labour launches 2020 pitch

Meanwhile, the Labour Party launched their election campaign over the weekend with one of the pitches to voters being an upgraded flexi-wage scheme.

The scheme targets those on government support and subsidises employers to help give them a job. 

The plan has been welcomed by both BusinessNZ and the Council of Trade Unions, however, National’s Judith Collins says the scheme is a National party policy from 2012.

Ms Ardern says they’re taking a scheme “that has already proved its worth and we are scaling up dramatically”. 

Greens reveal housing plan

The Green Party is promising to ensure “everyone has a warm, dry and affordable home” if they’re elected into Government.

The party says their Homes for All Plan will clear the housing waitlist within five years.

The National Party has dismissed the proposal as “wishful thinking”. 

Meanwhile, the Greens were also making light of an attack ad directed at them by NZ First earlier in the month.

The ad had featured the Green Party leaders standing next to a unicorn with cash raining down around them in a swipe that “money doesn’t just fall from the sky”.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson recreated the ad over the weekend and was pictured sitting on a unicorn with MP Chloe Swarbrick throwing cash in the air around her.

NZ hits Covid century

New Zealand reached the milestone of 100 days without community transmission of Covid-19 yesterday.

But while the feat was cause for celebration, it was also met with warnings that the race to beat the virus is a long one.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says Kiwis can’t afford to be complacent, while those who are still suffering months after contracting Covid-19 also urged caution.

Thirty-two-year-old Alice Banfield told 1 NEWS she’s still extremely fatigued 20 weeks after catching the virus, while 26-year-old Freya Sawbridge has written an essay for The Spinoff about being “horribly sick” for the past five months.

Food insecurity grows

Meanwhile, demand for food parcels at Auckland City Mission is at an all-time high as communities struggle to cope with the economic fallout of Covid-19.

The charity says there’s been a record 175 per cent increase in demand for food parcels compared to the same time last year.

City Missioner Chris Farrelly says he expects the demand to increase again when the Government’s wage subsidy ends next month.  

Other news of note this morning: 

Another person has allegedly forced their way into a managed isolation facility

A top New Zealand scholar is calling on Chinese authorities to release her brother from prison

A demographer says the economic fallout from Covid-19 will hit millennials the hardest, causing the wealth gap between them and the baby boomer generation to widen.

A sketch by Jacinda Ardern has fetched more than $18,000 in a Trade Me auction.

The Crusaders survived a scare to claim the inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa crown yesterday – but coach Scott Robertson isn’t celebrating with his traditional breakdance yet

And music mogul Simon Cowell has broken his back after falling off his bike at home.

And finally...

Serena and Amber Shine. Source: Sunday

If it’s crazy or dangerous, New Zealand’s ‘Wild Twins’ are there.

Serena and Amber Shine have done everything from skydiving to mountain climbing and hunting – but now they’re competing in a reality TV series where they need to survive the African wilderness. While naked.

Armed with just a bow, arrow and machete, the twins were left to fend off rhinos, leopards and hyenas for the TV show Naked and Afraid for three weeks.

So, TVNZ’s Sunday went to ask them all the questions you’re no doubt thinking yourself right now...