Dawn Chorus October 5

Auckland's Level 1 decision; Judith's Christian revival; Chloe's strong Auckland Central poll

Morena. Auckland’s Level 1 decision is today. Judith Collins is pivoting to win Christian votes. Chloe Swarbrick is giving Labour an option to rescue the Greens. Donald Trump may be out of hospital tomorrow. America’s economy is stalling.

On track for Level 1

Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce early this afternoon that Auckland will move from Level 2 to Level 1 from midnight on Wednesday. There were five new Covid-19 cases yesterday, but all arrived at the border in recent days. There were no new cases of community transmission, extending the run to 11 days. (Ministry of Health release)

Ardern said yesterday the Covid cases and the response were tracking as expected.

Judith’s Christian pivot

Judith Collins extended her pivot towards appealing directly to Christian voters yesterday, visiting a church on the campaign trail for a quiet prayer with a bunch of TV crews in tow. She began emphasising her faith in the second leaders debate last Wednesday.

“As a Christian, I do believe in miracles, but I tell you what, he won’t be one of them.” - Judith Collins in the TV3 debate when asked if Winston Peters was irrelevant.

National has a chorus line of backbench MPs who are outwardly Christian and often fundamentalist, including Chris Penk, Simon O’Connor, Alfred Ngaro, Agnes Loheni, Paolo Garcia, Simeon Brown and Dan Bidois.

The New Conservatives have been polling around 2% in recent polls and have aggressively targeting the Christian vote.

Jacinda’s Auckland Central option

The last couple of polls showed the Greens getting back in to Parliament (just) over the 5% threshold under their own steam, but earlier last month after James Shaw’s ‘Green School’ debacle there seemed a risk of dipping under 5% and wasting a big chunk of the centre-left’s vote.

One option floated was for Labour to ‘gift’ Auckland Central to Green candidate Chloe Swarbrick, but her vote was seen as not high enough. But a One News poll published yesterday showed Swarbrick edging closer to the lead to make such a deal more respectable, if Labour needed to. It also showed National’s Emma Mellow uncomfortably close to Labour’s Helen White. Labour would also want to avoid the embarrassment of the centre-left vote being split so badly as to allow National through the middle.

The poll found White on 35%, Mellow close behind on 30% and Swarbrick following on 26%. A Newshub poll the previous weekend saw White having a bigger lead over Mellow of 42.3% to 26.6%. Swarbrick was on 24.2%.

Trump getting better?

Donald Trump’s doctors said last night he was improving and could be released later tonight NZ Time. They said he was given the steroid dexamethasone after his oxygen levels dropped on Friday and Saturday. (BBC)

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released overnight showed Joe Biden’s national poll lead had widened to 10 points since last week’s debate. (Reuters)

Stalling recovery

America’s economic recovery is stalling, just as its politicians struggle to extend fiscal stimulus. Jobs figures released on Saturday morning NZ Time found 661,000 new jobs were added in September, which was less than the 850,000 median expectation from economists. Permanent job losses rose to 3.8m in September from 345,000 in August. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics release)

Coming up

Today Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce Cabinet’s decision on Auckland moving to Level 1 while on the campaign trail in Auckland.

Australia releases a mini-budget on Tuesday night. The Reserve Bank of Australia releases its monthly monetary policy decision late on Tuesday afternoon NZ Time. Most economists think the RBA will hold at 0.25%, but the drumbeat is quickening for more easing. NAB’s Alan Oster sees a cut tomorrow to 0.1% and more QE.

The third leaders debate is on Wednesday night in Christchurch.

The Reserve Bank updates its statistics on house values on Thursday at 3pm.

Lunchtime Leanback

This New Yorker piece on The Race to Redesign Sugar goes deep into the battles between medical researchers and the food industrial complex over the future of sugar.

I’ll update the day’s news in the Roosting Chorus out at 5pm.

Ngā Mihi