This election the choices are stark

Rob Hosking looks at the dilemmas facing voters this election.

You can see the choices for Election 2017 firming up.

With New Zealand’s 52nd parliament to be elected on September 23, the jockeying for position has intensified since Stephen Joyce delivered his first budget just over two weeks ago.

And the choices are increasingly looking like this:

  • On the one hand, the government, which is showing increasing signs of complacency, tinged with arrogance (or arrogance tinged with complacency – your view of the mix may vary);
  • On the other, the opposition, whose main characteristics are being dumb and nasty.

Take your pick, folks.   

I can’t and won’t support a party led by Bill English. Not after the UNSC 2334 debacle, not after intransigence on immigration, and not for personal reasons.

I, of course, wouldn’t contemplate voting for Labour, almost ever.

Always beware that bitter, reductive, dismissive word “just” – especially in an election year.

And that brings us to the Labour Party’s strange, bitter, reductive attack on former prime minister John Key’s knighthood this week.

Stupid as well as venomous, it ignores the long tradition of non-partisanship in these matters (National knighted Michael Cullen, offered Helen Clark an Order of New Zealand membership and also slung knighthoods at Geoffrey Palmer, Bill Rowling and Walter Nash: Labour bunged a knighthood at John Marshall and Sidney Holland).

Labour’s been busy, bitterly circulating a meme on various social media channels about the most recent prime minister getting his knighthood for keeping kids in child poverty, cutting health spending and not doing anything out the housing crisis.

Now, you might even agree with at least one of those.

But it’s mean-spirited as well as stupid. Mr Key – sorry, Sir John – was unbeaten by Labour and retains a certain degree of public popularity and the bitterness about this amongst Labour partisans remains strong.

And in any case – he’s gone. Not even in Parliament now.

Why burn up political capital in a silly attack like this? In what strategic masterplan is this a good move?

No, it’s not a good move, but Labour has spent 10 years denigrating John Key; they just couldn’t help themselves.

[T]his is, in turn, why ministers are getting increasingly complacent.

“We do know how to win elections, you know,” Beehive apparatchiks are occasionally inclined to chortle at anyone who raises such concerns – and this is true.

The worry is that quite a few in the Beehive haven’t had much experience at losing elections. It might make them a bit more focused.

The problem the government has is that almost none of their current caucus have ever experienced opposition. Those who have, have got their own lifeboats already ready in case Bill does a Theresa.



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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.