Matthew Hooton wasn’t a fan of an early election but he has noticed that some parties are campaigning already.
The argument for a pre-Christmas election is that Mr Key’s government isn’t really doing anything anyway, Labour is in utter disarray and a quick win by National, even with Winston Peters’ NZ First, could make 2017 more a year of substantive governance than endless selfies in shopping malls.
On Monday, though, Mr Key ruled out not just a pre-Christmas election but the March one predicted over the weekend by Mr Peters. The prime minister argued, probably accurately, that New Zealanders don’t want an early election but also, totally inaccurately, that it is not within his power to call one. Instead, Mr Key indicated the country would not go to the polls until “the back half of next year”.
With him referencing All Black tests and the need not to get too close to the annual Apec leaders’ meeting in mid-November 2017 in Da Nang, a late September election seems most likely, as in 2014. That’s a whole year away.
My favourite year in the political cycle.
[T]he whole political class is already in what amounts to election mode.
There has been talk of new but certainly hopeless political vehicles and a mini-scandal over a donation to NZ First.
The opposition has used the time-honoured tactic of a parliamentary filibuster to disrupt urgent housing legislation that a government with its eye on governing would have passed months ago.
A broke Labour Party stands accused of getting up to its old 2005 pledge-card tricks by using taxpayer funds for a campaign office in Auckland.
Mr Key has abandoned major and long-promised local government reforms on the grounds they are too controversial but is warm to Mr Peters’ idea of paying for elderly people to go into secondary schools to teach teenagers to drive.
Most excruciating, the year-long questioning of Mr Peters’ post-election intentions has begun, along with his inevitable refusal to answer.
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