The Economist on the election

The Economist magazine has an article on the impact of the Rugby World Cup on the election:

IT WAS a narrow victory. New Zealand’s rugby team, the All Blacks, pipped France by eight points to seven in the Rugby World Cup final in Auckland on October 23rd. The triumph, in the only sport that matters to most Kiwis, ended a 24-year jinx that had seen the All Blacks fail to lift the trophy since the first tournament in 1987. From north to south, celebrations erupted across the land.

With an election scheduled for November 26th, John Key, prime minister of the centre-right coalition government, will be relieved. An All Blacks loss would have topped off a horrible year. Last November, a coal mine explosion killed 29 miners. In February, an earthquake devastated Christchurch, the second-largest city, killing 181 people. On October 5th, a cargo ship struck a reef off the North Island’s east coast, spilling 300 tonnes of oil onto pristine beaches.

It has been a truly horrid year, but only the most foolish Labour loyalists have tried to blame all of that on John Key.

Still, since the government was elected in 2008, polls have on balance shown approval for Mr Key’s National Party. A poll in the New Zealand Herald newspaper early this month showed National’s support at 55%, enough to govern alone with a 13-seat majority in the 120-member parliament. Mr Key’s folksy charm, although lambasted by critics as empty of substance, plays well with the public.

It plays very well. It staggers me that Labour continues the “Nasty Mr Key” meme. A far better tactic would have been ignoring the Prime Minister, drowning him in silence. Instead they have shown themselves to be the nasty party, and made John Key almost saintly in comparison.

The National Party is helped by the fact that Labour, the main opposition party, has its own problems. Some of its policy announcements have been shrewd: reducing sales taxes on fresh fruit and vegetables to appeal to struggling householders, and a brave proposal for a capital-gains tax, once political poison in a property-boosted economy. But Phil Goff, its wonkish veteran leader, has struggled against the charismatic Mr Key. The same Herald poll showed Labour’s support at only 28%.

Phil Goff is a wonk, his stilted delivery style, he new learned walk, dyed hair and constant flip-flopping on policy have made hom an embarrassment, so much so Labour can’t face having Phil Goff on their billboards. The man who would be Prime Minister is almost invisible, and risible at the same time.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.