Time to come back from Hawaii John – National takes big hit in latest poll; defends housing policies

John Key will have plenty on his plate this coming week.

National has been on the backfoot since Labour blindsided it with its release of leaked Barfoot & Thompson data suggesting that Chinese investments comprised a disproportionate number of recent Auckland housing sales. Particularly those over the $1 million mark.

While Key has been off on his holiday jaunt in Maui – and his deputy Bill English has been visiting Chinese powerhouse cities on the Mainland –  it’s been left to Cabinet Ministers Steven Joyce and Nick Smith to run reaction. Joyce and Smith have opted for charges that Labour is playing the race card.

That’s a typical political response.

But what’s really required is an economic response: curbs on foreign investment until supplies pick up.

National’s own soundings will be telling them that, but with their annual conference coming up next weekend, party members will be looking to Key to settle growing public disquiet down.

As Pattrick Smellie of Businessdesk reports:

The National Party has lost more than 10 percent of its support in two months, as measured by the New Zealand arm of Australian pollster Roy Morgan, to run neck and neck at 45 percent support, with its coalition partners, against a combination of the Labour and Green parties for the first time since five months before last September’s general election.

Labour and the Greens at 45 percent lead National at 43.5 percent, although 1.5 percentage points of combined support for National’s four seat parliamentary partnership with the Maori, Act and United Future parties puts the two blocs at an equal 45 percent. In its May poll, which showed much higher support for National than other publicly available polls, Roy Morgan NZ had National at 54 percent support. The same poll had National at 46.5 percent in March.

If an election were held today, the New Zealand First party of Winston Peters would determine who forms a government, with 7 percent support, up 0.5 percentage points since Roy Morgan NZ’s last political poll, in June.  The same agency released polling showing a marked increase in concern about the economy among New Zealanders earlier this week.

The poll of 886 people was taken in the early days of this month, before this week’s  Labour Party attack on the level of foreign, especially mainland Chinese ownership, of Auckland residential real estate and the very low prices for dairy products in the global auction held overnight on Wednesday.

The latest poll shows Labour and the Greens command 45 percent of the vote, compared to the National Party’s 43.5 percent support, bolstered to 45 percent support by 1.5 percentage points of support for the Maori (1.5 percent) and Act (0.5 percent), with the United Party, holding one territorial seat in the 121 seat Parliament, registering zero again.

Most encouraging for Labour is that it gained 6 of the 6.5 percentage point gain to record 32 percent support, while the Greens were unchanged at 13 percent after changing last month from male co-leader Russel Norman to James Shaw.

Despite covering a period in which the Conservative Party appeared to implode, with the ousting of founder and financial backer Colin Craig, its support touc

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