All this talk of snap elections is a bit premature


I’m all for elections, but people talking about snap elections is a little premature.

I had a chat with the old man last night about this issue and he told me about 1998 when Winston had cut up rough. Jenny Shipley wanted to call and early election but was told in no uncertain terms by the then Governor-General, The Rt Hon. Sir Michael Hardie Boys, that he would ask Helen Clark to try to form a government first, and only if that failed could an election be called. Shipley cast her eye across disaffected caucus members and also the destroyed NZ First party and saw enough people with shameless self interest that she backed away from a snap election and cut a deal. 

Dad’s point was this…calls for a snap election under MMP are almost always made by people who have no understanding of how it all works, how MMP works and how shameless a politician is when it comes to extending their tenure, even if by only 18 months.

Helen Clark got away with calling an early election in 2002 to ram home her advantage against a down and out Bill English led National party. She should never have got away with that. She of course had a tame Governor-General in Dame Silvia Cartwright.

There is little or no chance of an early election unless the support parties all go their separate ways and then also refuse to deal with Labour.

It would be a foolish John Key that would tread down the path of a snap election.

While John Key would undoubtably win an early election, he has to get to the point of an election being called.

Labour sources are telling me that they would avoid an election this early…mainly because their internal polling is showing numbers with a two in front of them and the Greens rising off the back of them shedding support. David Shearer too has handled the Dunne affair poorly giving the front running to Winston Peters and to Russel Norman.

A snap election is a difficult thing to contrive under MMP. Turkey’s remember, rarely vote for an early Christmas.


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  • Pete George

    And it’s clear today that the way is being prepared for Peter Dunne to remain in Parliament. Both John Key and Matthew Hooton this morning have suggested he should remain as a quiet reliable government vote – Hooton said he should semi-retire to his electorate and stay away from Parliament.

    But Hooton also suggested that it should be tempting for Dunne to walk away from it all and buy a Harley (why the hell would he buy one of those) or go on a long holiday or soemthing.

    That makes it a simpler choice for Dunne (albeit still difficult).

    • unitedtribes

      (why the hell would he buy one of those)

      Essential tool for the mid life crises

    • peterwn

      The simplest choice for him is a ‘do nothing’ choice – sit tight until the next election. Assuming the UF Party can tidy up its membership list and get reinstated as a party, Peter Dunne owes it to the party to maintain a ‘leader’s’ presence in Parliament until the next election, even if his political ambitions are over.

    • tarkwin

      He could always grow a pony tail, with his haircut he’s got nothing to lose.

  • Rolla

    I somehow think the current Governor General would be less likely to refuse to call an early election, his previous roles as head of the army, and defence forces could lead some people making reference to military coups/dictatorships, and I’m sure the words bannana republic would come up.

    Can’t see John Key calling an early election, but if he did, I also equally can’t see the Governor General refusing the call either.

  • GazzW

    Why would the PM even have to contemplate an early election?

    Dunne has already committed to supporting the government. Whatever anyone says about Dunne he’s a man who will keep his word.

    Winston is on a high at the moment and to go to the polls on this issue will almost guarantee NZF their 5%. Let the bugger stew for another 18 months and there’s a fair chance that Winston and his motley lot will disappear forever.

    Kiwis like stability in their governments. To call an early election smacks of Italian or Greek politics to the bloke in the street.

    Another 18 months will give time for the benefits of partial asset sales to start kicking in.

    Labour is likely to have more internal ructions before long.

  • rockape

    Early election Nothanks. I want to watch the LAB/GREEN alliance fall to bits over the next six months. Winston Peters liver explode and his demunture to continue the downward trend. Surely I am not alone in seeing him slurr his way through questions. No its fine ,the next18 months should be entertaining. All I want is National to go for it, no ACT, no NZ First and NO Maori Party unless invited .

  • GregM

    An election held after next years budget would be best for National. The books will be close to being back in surplus, more jobs, lower crime, Christchurch on the mend, etc etc. All Dunne has to do is sit at the back, keep his head down and vote with the government. And I wouldn’t mind betting the Greebour alliance would be melting down by then as well.