Previous to the 2015 budget, the National government appeared unstoppable. Ponytail gate had failed to rattle a popular Prime Minister and Labour leader Andrew Little’s extended honeymoon period seemed set for the history books.
But budget 2015, it seems, has changed everything.
Little over two years out from the next general election, and economic confidence is plummeting. A Roy Morgan poll released on July 14 suggested consumer confidence was falling at a unprecedented pace not seen since the global financial crisis.
That’s bad news for government, as the message from the halls of power for the last few years has been pristine economic management, and that New Zealand is “punching above its weight” on the world stage. Consumers are receiving the opposite message from economists, who are now concerned New Zealand is in fact due for a recession.
“In part, the demise of dairy will be having an impact on economy-wide confidence, such as reflected in the recently released ANZ [business confidence] survey… in turn these confidence readings are also useful in predicting future GDP [gross domestic product] growth. Unfortunately, the trend in confidence is down.” A top economist, Stephen Toplis, told the New Zealand Herald.
Prior to the election John Key’s approval rating sat in the mid to high 60s, garnering support from right across the political spectrum. A recent 3 News Reid Research poll (the first done since the release of the budget), indicates John Key’s approval has sunk to a near record low of 39%, indicating he doesn’t even have the support of all those who vote National.
To further dampen the downward poll results from the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll and the 3 News poll, the Roy Morgan poll, released on Friday, suggested that, for the first time, National could be overthrown by a Labour-Green alliance which would muster 45% support if an election were held tomorrow (up 10).
Additionally, support for Winston Peters’ New Zealand First has risen to 7%, taking the opposition parties to 52.0%.
Confidence in government management has also fallen to 51.0% (down from 62.0%).
A similar decline in support for National, and a similar rise for Labour, would put Andrew Little’s party above National in its own right for the first time since 2006.
Meanwhile, Mana and United Future continue to rate appallingly at 0.0%, as ACT reaches just 0.5%.