Newsroom Pro's 8 things at 8 am: UK election lessons; Labour's CGT plans

Could a mobilised youth vote have the same impact on our upcoming election as it did in the UK? Photo: Lynn Grieveson

In today's email we look at how the youth vote very nearly won the UK election for Labour, and ask if the same could happen here.

1. Youth vote almost destroys May

One of the most intriguing implications of the shock near-loss for the Conservatives in the British election was the key role of the youth vote, and whether any similar rise could happen here on September 23.

Hard data has yet to be compiled, but the early analysis shows a significant rise in the youth turnout was a driving force in the surprisingly strong result for Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A Sky News exit poll and the National Union of Students suggested the turnout could have risen more than 20 percentage points to 70 percent between the 2015 and 2017 elections. Only 43 percent of 18-24 year olds voted in the 2015 British election, and 64 percent voted in last year’s Brexit referendum.

British opinion polls in the last week of the campaign indicated Prime Minister Theresa May and her conservatives had a six to eight percentage point lead over Labour, but those polls depended on assumptions about a repeat of the low youth turnout. The raw results, before the re-weighting of results to take into account the shape of the population and expected turnout rates, were much closer.

Youth voters also voted for Labour at much higher rates than for the Conservatives. Lord Ashcroft’s exit poll of 14,000 people on election day found 67 percent of 18-24 year olds said they voted Labour, while just 18 percent voted Conservative. That contrasts with the poll’s finding that 41 percent of all voters voted Conservative and 39 percent voted Labour.

Could something similar happen here? Just 49 percent of 18-24 year olds voted in New Zealand’s election in 2014, dashing the hopes of Labour and the Greens that they could mobilise the ‘missing million’ to overpower National in the polls.

The same re-weighting of raw polling results is done here to take into account an expected low youth turnout, so any change in turnout rates could have an outsize impact relative to the polls, particularly if young voters went for Labour and the Greens.

The British situation has few unique qualities. Corbyn promised to abolish tuition fees and many young people who regret not voting in the Brexit referendum were mobilised to vote this time around. Labour is promising three years of tuition-fee free post-secondary education here.

But many of the same themes around intergenerational wealth transfer and housing affordability are common for youth voters here.

2. Wheeler vs Toplis

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler has taken the unusual step of writing to BNZ CEO Anthony Healy to criticise BNZ's head of research Stephen Toplis over the economists comments about the Reserve Bank.

BusinessDesk's Paul McBeth reported over the weekend from documents obtained under the OIA that Wheeler had called on Healy to rein in BNZ's top markets economist.

This followed comments from Toplis in his preview of the Reserve Bank's May Monetary Policy Statement, in which he said the bank would be negligent not to admit it had a tightening bias.

"I would also expect that the editorial quality assurance process (and any legal sign-off involved) would have identified that an accusation of negligence is inappropriate in a public document distributed by the BNZ," Wheeler was quoted as saying in the letter to Healy.

The letter is unusual and a sign of the heightened sensitivity over Toplis' criticisms of the bank over recent years.

3. Labour's Deborah Russell and the CGT

Newsroom's Co-Editor Tim Murphy talks to new Labour candidate for New Lynn, Deborah Russell, in this interview for Newsroom.

She tells Tim that a Capital Gains Tax is far from off the table for Labour.

"The big thing we want is a thorough-going review of taxation. We are aware of the issues around the differentials in taxation of savings and of property and we are concerned about that. We are particularly concerned at the over-taxation of investment and savings in comparison with property," she says.

Ask the tax expert whether she wants a CGT and she offers: "The party says we need to review taxes. We are not campaigning on it [CGT]. I think something as substantial as a capital gains tax is possibly best introduced from within government. So, do a review, take it out and look at how we might design the tax and then perhaps we take it to the country at another election."

4. Mark Mitchell's time in Iraq

Newsroom's Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Sachdeva has interviewed new Defence Minister Mark Mitchell about New Zealand’s role in fighting terrorism and his exposure to the worst of humanity during the Iraq War.

Here's the interview in detail on Newsroom Pro, which goes into depth on Mitchell's time in Iraq.

5. Dairy intensification consents

Water quality and the future of dairying are set to become major election issues so Labour's water policy announcement on Friday afternoon was of interest.

Newsroom's National Affairs Editor Shane Cowlishaw reports on the policy, including the need for farmers who are intensifying to seek a consent.

Here's Shane's report in full on Newsroom Pro.

6. Quotes of the day

Attorney General Chris Finlayson delivering a formal apology at a reconciliation ceremony at Parihaka on Friday:

"A few short years after guaranteeing to Maori the undisturbed possession of any lands they wished to retain, the Crown began systematically to dispossess the tangata whenua of Taranaki of their lands. By purchase deed, force of arms, confiscation and statute, the Crown took the rich lands of Taranaki and left its people impoverished, demoralised, and vilified. The Crown reiterates the apologies it has made to iwi of Taranaki for its many failures to uphold the principles of partnership and good faith that the Treaty of Waitangi embodies, and for the immense harm those actions have caused to generations of Maori in Taranaki."

The United Nations' Committee Against Torture calling
on the Government to investigate the allegations in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book Hit and Run:

"Please indicate what measures the State party has put in place to ensure that all allegations relating to “Operation Burnham” –a raid of two villages in the Baghlan province in Afghanistan by the New Zealand Defence Forces on 22 August 2010– will be fully investigated and addressed."

7. Coming up...

Prime Minister Bill English is scheduled to hold his weekly post-cabinet news conference at 4 pm today. Later this week he is scheduled to lead a Pacific Mission to Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga.

Statistics New Zealand is scheduled to publish March quarter GDP figures on Thursday. Economists are expecting quarterly growth of around 0.5 percent to 0.8 percent, which would be up from the 0.4 percent reported in the December quarter, but suggest a slight cooling from last year.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is scheduled to publish the report of his Mayoral Taskforce on Housing later today.

Labour is due release its migration policy later today. It is reported to be likely to announce plans to cut migration by 20,000 to 30,000. It is expected to announce a special Kiwibuild Visa to allow in migrants to build houses.

8. One fun thing

Some tweets of the weekend on the British election result:

Philip Matthews
: "Theresa May, the Dean Barker of UK politics?"

Dave Armstrong:
"Mayday mayday!"

Michael Ian Black: "Maybe Trump should call a snap election?"