SURVEY: Asset sales issue may cost National at next election
Story by Laura Macdonald, Sophie Jackman and Regan Roberts
NATIONAL’S asset sales plan is turning away both loyal and swing voters – and not gaining it any new support.
About half of those who voted National in the last general election say the Government’s handling of asset sales has made them consider changing their vote, according to a NewsWire poll of 51 people on the streets of Wellington.
This comes after the Mixed Ownership Model Bill – which provides for the partial sale of state assets such as Air New Zealand and power generation SOEs – passed by one vote on Tuesday.
Fifteen of those polled said they voted National at the last election, and eight of those people will either switch away from the party or are thinking about it.
No-one who voted for opposition parties is now considering a vote for National, with some saying that the asset sales issue has confirmed their choice.
Jeremy Deane, 23, of Lower Hutt voted for National in the last election but will now switch because of the sales: “Labour all the way…[asset sales] will put the country down the tube.”
Accountant Linda Clay of Miramar says she will continue to vote against National.
“I understand [the sales] economically, but money isn’t everything. I want my kids to grow up as I did.”
A Miramar couple who agree on many of National’s policies may vote different ways in the next election because of asset sales. While artist Sam Doyle says the asset sales have changed his mind on the Government, his partner Jo Rogers is torn on the issue, saying the economic climate at the time of the next election will affect her vote.
“John Key is looking at the global picture while Labour is focusing on New Zealand only,” she says. “On the other hand, you get the sense that Labour is looking after New Zealand.”
The sales have not fazed some National voters. Self-employed Avalon resident Gavin supports the sales and will not change his vote.
“I’m a right-wing person. I see it as absolutely positive, not a short-term solution as most people think.”
Sam Doyle (left), 43, visual effects artist, Miramar: Likes National’s policies in general but cannot abide by the asset sales plan.
“It’s not a good way to do business. I’m all for the free market, but I don’t see why we can’t keep these assets local.”
Jason Osman (right), 40, IT, Porirua: Will change his vote.
Warren Isles (left), hospitality, Te Aro: Will change his vote from National.
Sticking with National
Harriet Cartwright (right), 20, student, Mt Victoria: Sticking with National. Thinks asset sales are not ideal, but necessary since opposition parties will block other money-making options like mining.
“We don’t have enough money – it’s simple. We’re in serious trouble.”
Kenny Smith (right), 29, freelancer, Wellington CBD: Not against asset sales in general but doesn’t like National’s plan.
“Power companies shouldn’t be sold – it’s likely to push electricity prices up.”
“The asset sales are short-sighted.”
Kristin Allen (right), mother, Lyall Bay: Did not vote National and still won’t.
“I wouldn’t vote for a government that would sell our businesses offshore.”
Mt Cook printer Danya Douglass, 22, is against the present sales but feels they are part of an electoral cycle where National sells assets and Labour buys them back.