NZ election 2011: the morning papers, Sunday 13 November

by Toby Manhire / 13 November, 2011
The secret recording of Banks and Key could have been a game-changer, says the Herald on Sunday. But they're not telling us what's in it.
The Herald on Sunday leads with the story of Zac Guilford's Rarotongan late night exploits on Friday, and a headline that could be mistaken for a tribute band to one of New Zealand's hippest bands.

Inside we learn that a scone radio microphone 'inadvertently' left on the Urban Cafe table during the Cup of Tea Summit captured the whole conversation. The prime minister's office have refused permission for the recording to be released because "neither party knew they were being taped". HoS editor Bryce Johns said he believed they could have gone ahead, "but it was an ethical matter". Jonathan Milne says the conversation would be "a game-changer", were they to print it. "It's the  sheer range of comments in Key and Banks' discussion that is breathtaking," he adds.

Pita Sharples' electorate manager Martin Cooper is under fire for asking for money in return for "political pressure" to end a dispute between the Auckland City Council and a property owner over an ex gang HQ in Mt Wellington, writes David Fisher.

Defaced billboard signs are one of the biggest drains on MP campaign funds, Susan Edwards reveals. This could be why.

The average New Zealand household has been found. Jonathan Milne finds out they struggle just to spend time together.

Yesterday's iPredict forecast is printed in a sidebar: National are running at 46.5% to Labour's 28.5% and there is a 37% chance of Winston Peters returning to parliament.

Kerre Woodham has tea and microphones scones with Phil and Mary Goff.

The Aussies are coming! The Aussies are coming! (to offer us jobs) writes Chloe Johnson.

Paul Little talks about the response to Robyn Malcolm at the Green launch as he reflects on celebrity and politics. "We don't like our heroes to talk out loud, especially if it is to express their beliefs," he writes.

We meet the other candidates in the Helensville electorate where it is widely expected John Key will only appear once. Outside the  Kumeu takeaways Key name-dropped in his candidates speech, the clientele are voting National. "Gotta be better than Helen," one says.

The paper's editorial, echoing that of the Dominion Post back on the 8th, takes Winston Peters to task. Voters "would need particularly short memories" to overlook his political past - especially the promise to remain in opposition, which in itself is no great aspiration. "The country needs a breadth of vision and a desire to contribute - not simply a promise to be a publicly funded detractor of everyone else." It also discusses the importance of the Maori party's Te Reo policy.

Matt McCarten reviews the week's polling and says the figures are making things a little more interesting. He dismisses the possibility of a Teal Deal but that the Greens should have some sort of limited policy arrangement to avoid "twiddling their thumbs on the back benches for another term".

Deborah Coddington comes out in support of MMP. "It's not perfect, it needs tweaking but, hey, democracy isn't perfect," she writes, before adding examples from Michael Cullen on the paralysis caused by the FPP system in both chambers in the United States.

Finally the question we all really want answered is "how will the election affect my house value?"

The Sunday Star Times leads with fraud charges for an Auckland wine consultant, name suppression outrage in a child assault case in Gisborne and the question of whether New Zealand will be able to cope with a population of seven million in 2050. Also on the front page is the image by Sam Mahon of a dead John Key as part of an interactive website game. Viewers are invited to guess the killer for a prize.

Inside Russel Norman is accusing regional councils of ignoring the pollution of rural waterways, he points to the figure of just five infringement notices being issued in the last year for breaches of rules barring livestock from waterways. He drew support from Federated Farmers boss Bruce Wills.

Norman will take heart from a survey by the New Zealand Business council also which, along with highlighting a general feeling of pessimism leading into the election, puts the environment as our key concern. The survey "showed that the environment rated incredibly highly among New Zealanders' views on what is important about living here and our direction for the future, with 85% of respondents saying the natural environment was important to their decision to live here."

Labour is winning at something. Their radio ads are judged to be the best "hands down" by AUT advertising Creativity Lecturer Paul White. "Bright but bland" is the view of Bryce Edwards on the 2011 election advertising.

It's David v Goliath, Chalk v Cheese, Mr Incremental v Mr Change, but the electorate is only listening to one of the finance men, writes Tracy Watkins

John Hartevelt says Phil Goff deserves credit for his campaign but that this is just not Labour's time. Their policies may be the right thing to do but "three to four weeks is patently far too short a time for policy ideas to translate into big political gains. Three or four years may be more like it."

Lois Cairns writes on the lack of appetite for an election campaign in Christchurch. "Frankly I've got enough on my plate to deal with without listening to them prattle on," says one resident.

Anthony Hubbard's column focuses on the tactical voting in Epsom, the post-election permutations should NZ First return and the unlikelihood of the Greens getting into bed with National - for their own political future's sake. He concludes with the more likely members of Key's next cabinet and how he might integrate Banks and Brash into the fold.

The SST editorial thinks the Greens have a good chance of making arrangements with National that will enable them to put the brakes on some of the more extreme National policies. "The best hope for the Greens is to extract concessions from National under an enhanced memorandum of understanding, but to keep plenty of distance," it says while warning them that trying to tame the "great blue beast" has the possibility of being fatal.

Louis Chambers and Ellie Woodward implore us to think of the environment this election - for the sake of our children.

Michael Laws' column looks forward to his upcoming boxing bout with Ken Mair. "I not only know that it's crazy but that I am spectacularly ill-equipped to compete. Essentially I am going to be offering myself as a punching bag for three two-minute rounds."

In the Sunday News, John Tamihere says Phil Goff needs a miracle.
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