NZ election 2011: the morning papers, Friday 11 November

by Toby Manhire / 11 November, 2011
The New Zealand Herald leads with the $103m fraud trial of former Datassouth director Gavin Bennett. But alongisde is the morning's big news: the latest Herald Digipoll which has a very different complexion to yesterday's Colmar Brunton Poll (see here 6.10pm).

The Herald poll has National dropping to 49.5%, Labour on 28.7% Greens 12.6%. NZ First, the big movers, are up to 3.7% and Act 1.5%. Based on these figures if Act win Epsom they would bring one more MP to parliament - and the chances of that will be given a big boost by today's cup of tea. MMP is ahead by a slim margin in the poll.

Inside Labour's education promise of laptops to low-decile schools is welcomed but should go further says the Secondary Principals' Association president in Elizabeth Binning's report.

Phil Goff says that boosting the minimum wage by $2 an hour will create more jobs than would be lost. "What I'm saying is, there will be a net benefit. People will have more money to spend buying the necessities. That keeps New Zealanders in work, in business. That keeps the economy going."

The Conservatives are focusing on the Asian vote to take them over the 5% threshold reports Lincoln Tan.

Over the page John Armstrong examines that Digipoll further and picks up on the lift for NZ First. "If Peters is seen to be within touching distance of the threshold, there may be sufficient momentum to push NZ First over the line as people realise they no longer risk casting a wasted vote."

Timing is everything: a survey has Act the top of the list of coalition partners for National supporters.

Rounding up the triumvirate of Epsom related news is a piece on Paul Goldsmith's campaigning, or rather non-campaigning as he engages with letterboxes in Remuera.

Labour's policies are widely seen as inevitable and are unlikely to die after this election, writes Adam Bennett.

The editorial is talking fluoridation after Labour's promise of an inquiry. Put the decision in the hands of the District Health Boards, it decides.

Jim Hopkins offers some alternative voting systems to spice up the election in his satirical piece. MyMP, where everyone gets their own MP, gets my vote.

On the back is a focus on the battleground seat of Waitakare (the "battle of the bolshie chicks", we're told), currently held by Paula Bennett, where employment is the biggest issue.

And Morgan Godfery says Labour is exposed without a Maori policy statement and has not done enough to engage Maori voters, allowing Maori and Mana parties to "direct the narrative" while gaining support from a traditionally Labour support base.

In the Business section Deborah Hill Cone has the feeling we are not talking about the real issues facing this country, and indeed the world, this election. Following a Keynesian dental metaphor she tells us "we should stop thinking about toothache and wonder whether what ails us is terminal".

The Dominion Post leads with the international search for a Kiwi believed to be involved with a drug ring in Argentina. The Pike River charges join the story on the front page.

Kate Newton meets the Wellington Central candidates at the riotous Aro Valley community hall meeting.

Andrea Vance wonders who has taken the gloss off this election. "Despite the pretence that this election is all about austerity and chunky policy, really this campaign has been nothing more than a series of orchestrated and unnatural photo-ops," she complains.

We may be voting to keep MMP but we still don't know enough about the other options according to a Fairfax poll.

John Hartevelt covers the "Hawaiian holiday" jibes as well as the claims made by Goff that $100m in fees would go offshore from the asset sales.

Former MP David Garrett faces yet more accusations, this time we hear he has locked his family out of the house.

Chris Trotter looks at the "what ifs": the possibility of a Teal Deal, and the potential for a centre-left coalition which would have disastrous consequences for MMP in the future. "All you have to remember is that if National wins more votes than any other party on November 26, it must be allowed to go on governing  or else," he warns. The Greens will be the designated fall guy, he concludes.

The editorial blames the rule of Silvio Berlusconi for a lack of action to address Italy's financial woes and tells him to go right now.

The Taranaki Daily News covers the New Plymouth candidates' debate at the Waitara Town and Country Club here. It was like the Jerry Springer Show, reports Jo Moir. "I've never had more fun in my life," said Labour's Andrew Little." And the bloke from the Legalise Cannabis party explained why he is running: "I needed a new challenge in life. What's more of a challenge than trying to get cannabis legalised?"

The Christchurch Press reports on a secretive meeting between the City Council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority yesterday on land development, and the EQC has reversed its decision not to cover carpets and drapes in homes set for demolition.

The Otago Daily Times covers the DOC "yes" decision for the $150m Milford tunnel; there is strong opposition from Southland District Council Mayor Frana Cardno.

In the editorial we are reminded it is Armistice day. "While Gallipoli and Anzac Day, resounding as they do with a sense of nationhood, will remain our primary war commemoration, it is important, as well, to remember when the horror of World War I, this country's worst nightmare, ended." Occupiers take note: the Robbie Burns cannon will fire at 11am at the Octagon today.


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