A week is a long time in politics

On the face of it, the latest One News Poll should be of some concern to those on the political right. The gap between the two major parties widens to eight per cent. The Greens are safe on six and NZF on four are perilously close to the survival figure of five. Having digested those figures, some closer analysis seems like a good idea.

The first and most obvious point to be made is that this poll is not necessarily a pointer to the result of the next election.

It comes in the aftermath of the Christchurch tragedy, and Labour got the bounce from that that everyone was expecting, as did the PM. So no surprises there.

It could be said that Labour’s bounce WAS THE POLL to the extent that everything else is meaningless. However that might be an oversimplification.

What other conclusions might we draw from this poll? Would the numbers have been much different without the Christchurch factor? Maybe, but probably still within the margin of error.

Assuming that to be the case, the hard gaze goes on the National Party.

They have been on a downward trajectory in the last few polls. This, at a time when many would say an Opposition?s task, always a difficult one, has never been easier as this government reeks of incompetence. There is virtually nobody in their ranks with any real life or business experience. Sorry, but practising wrapping cabbages with Mummy in order to be able to wrap fish and chips doesn’t cut the mustard.

What the continuing downward trend shows is that National is not performing as a competent Opposition. Apart from three or four of them, they are lacklustre.

That is not to say there is no talent within the party ? there is. Particularly amongst some of the younger members. How well the party is performing or otherwise must rest with the leadership and herein lies the problem: Bridges is uninspiring and Bennett appears only interested in Bennett.

This situation cannot continue. There has to be a change. The quicker the caucus and the party hierarchy realise this, the better.

It appears from reports that changes might be afoot. But there is also the question of timing. Is now too early? It?s already in the public domain so is timing relevant?

We can’t read too much into this poll, bearing in mind its timing. There is a long way to go to the next election. A week is a long time in politics and there is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge.

As observed in Kiwiblog, Labour is 6 points below where National was halfway through its first term in government, and National in opposition, at the same point, is 7 points ahead of where Labour was.

Nevertheless, the National Party has to sit up and take notice. Without change and a much-improved performance in the house, they risk handing the rabble on the other side a second term.

We need to see change and with it evidence that they are up to the task of being a vigorous Opposition.

AND we need to hear a lot more from them.