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A July election?

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 am, July 8th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: election 2011 - Tags:

The common wisdom is that first-term governments never go early. After all why would you cut short your period of mandate and lose valuable months of your carefully planned policy programme?

But then again this not a usual government. Not even two years into their term they seem to have run out of ideas, or at least ideas that can be stomached by the public, and they wasted the first of those years getting the hang of some the basic governance stuff a party nine years in opposition struggles with – just look at how long it’s taken Gerry to figure out how to run the house.

They also face an economy that could fall into recession at any time, have implemented a host of policies that will start to bite into voters’ pockets from the end of this year (and will only keep biting as time goes on) and have only just started to get their functionaries into senior public service positions.

They also have their fingerprints all over a rugby world cup that could leave the voting public dissatisfied with both the sporting outcome and the cost and inconvenience of badly run infrastructural programmes around the country. Put all that together and it might start to look like even a poorly organised opposition could gain traction given enough time.

Add to that the fact that an strong majority is needed by National for them to drive through their second term privatisation agenda (possibly without the help of Act party numbers) and the case for going early to lock in a second term starts to look very appealing.

Let’s also not forget that Key is pretty clearly planning on a being a two-term PM – that’s enough to look credible on his CV without all the hard graft a third term entails.

So I’m picking that we’ll see National go early in 2011. Probably in July because at that stage any potential problems with the world cup planning won’t be on the public radar and a winter poll means a lower turnout which is always a good thing for the right.

If they do go in early they’ll be betting on squeaking in with a majority (either with the Maori party or with the Maori party and Act) and then claiming they’ve got a mandate for all sorts of nasty right-wing stuff that transfers wealth and power from ordinary Kiwis to the usual suspects.

And at the end of it all Key will leave English holding the baby (he’s had some practice – poor bastard) and the sixth Labour government will be left to pick up the pieces.

Of course election date predictions are a notorious trap for even the oldest hands so I wouldn’t bet the farm on July just yet but I’ll guarantee the Nat’s strategists will be giving it serious consideration. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

22 comments on “A July election?”

  1. The Voice of Reason 1

    Well. I’ve been banging on to anyone that will listen that Key is almost bound to go early. It’s consistent with his former career as a high stakes gambler to make something happen, rather than go the distance. April, for mine. Supercity underway, weather still Ok, rugby to look forward to. While I agree that traditional tory voters would go out in a hurricane to vote, it’s not them that made him PM, so he won’t want to risk a wet winter saturday stopping swing voters from turning out.

    I hope his snappie turns out at least as well as Muldoon’s did. If ACT collapse, and the Maori Party lose ground, he’s a goner, no matter how wussy the right claim Goff is. The fact is that if the Nats lose, Labour win. That’s the default setting in NZ politics and it’s only a few percentage points away from happening.

    • just saying 1.1

      I think you’ve nailed what’s most likely to happen. Unforseen circumstances excepted.

      IMO it’s essential that the left starts talking policy (and coordinating in areas of common ground) immediately. Labour could start by clearly telling the electorate what it believes in. Obviously, Goff will be at a particular disadvantage in this. But if the caucus is unwilling or unable to replace him, maybe he could try to ‘get in character’ and channel a real Labour Leader.

      We need to start hearing the alternative vision for NZ right now, starting with a clear strategy for dealing with the recession. I really hoping Labour does have one. Of course it will draw criticism and derision, but at least it will get heard.

      Not meaning to dis Labour all the time, it’s just that the consequences of a left defeat at the next election either through loss at the ballot box Or through Labour winning but completely selling out, are too awful to contemplate.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        Labour sold out in the late 1970s. Through the 1990s/2000s they started coming back to base but they still have a long way to go.

  2. Bored 2

    Irish, you have the Nats real agenda pretty much summed up, and your crystal ball gazing about the way NZ will be may be accurate. Thats the key point, the voters will respond to. History is not very kind to the left in the face of economic uncertainty, looking back over the last century the right usually does best early in a recession phase, the left seem to get a shot only when the right fails to deliver (always a fait accompli given the policies they use). The questions are where will we be in the cycle, and what other hollow men will be hauled out?

  3. Steve 3

    What effect would the MMP referendum vote have on the date?

    • The Voice of Reason 3.1

      None, I would have thought, Steve. The Electoral office is already gearing up for the election, ads have gone out looking for election day workers, the wording of the referendum is already up, so whenever it’s called, they should be good to go.

  4. Santi 4

    Key will go early and will blitz the unfortunate and leaderless Labour Party. It’s a pity the opposition is toothless because the Nats need to be kept under check.

  5. I’d bet the farm on a Blitzkrieg if they’re re-elected.
    It’s worked well for them so far:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/on-auckland-and-leningrad/

    and with a refreshed mandate and a complicit msm we’ll see policy that’ll take your breath (and money, livelihood, national sovereignty, national assets… etc) away.

  6. burt 6

    Fingers crossed National go early and get on with it. It’s about time NZ joined the rest of the world and acknowledged state funding and state provision are two separate things. Labour and their great leap backward re-nationalising everything they could will take a few decades to sort out but if we want to realise Helen Clark’s dream of moving up (rather than down) the OECD rankings we need to start joining the real world sooner rather than later.

    Suck it up guys, one size fits all failed again and left us in recession before the global crisis so stop pretending state monopolies are a good thing. Remember the reality of this situation, a monopoly is a monopoly and simply because its state owned it won’t suddenly stop doing what all monopolies do Quickly become self serving and inefficient as it moves to one size fits all (one size fits none) for the sake of its own ease of administration and convenience.

    Disclosure: I’m heavily into iPredict for a snap election.

    • loota 6.1

      Strangely enough, moving up the OECD ranks will require NZ to own and operate more high value productive assets itself. Can National stomach it?

  7. felix 7

    Put all that together and it might start to look like even a poorly organised opposition could gain traction given enough time.

    Wicked! We’ve got one of those!

  8. Herodotus 8

    Lab get to work and formulate some policies, Nats may free up govt assets (To the mum & dad investors ????). Either wins an election the good ship Kiwi will still float down the same general course. Many have commented on the supposedly failing economic philosophy of Neolib. With NZ heavily reliant on cows and tourists (and 1 time potential fixes like mining?), the vision of an upwardly progression up the class system (in reality the middle to upper middle class are being stripped of any wealth) nothing will change either in NZ or in world terms.
    The Lab we see, does not have any point of real difference in the direction we are taking, just different packaging that the promises come in, and who gets given a few token guestors to sweeten up in return for their vote.
    The poor will still be down troden, the regression of the middle, and the few wealthy will remain up in their towers and Tv soaps bestowing their lifesyles that we all wish for will continue, supporting the facade of the rest of us believing that one day we could be up in the ivory tower enjoying the taste of success. Just give us distractions:drugs/TV/party central/election so we cannot really see the crappy life we are all living, and someone wants a winter election, that would really brighten up our outlook for next year.
    To get my rantings back on topic, would not a winter election also have lower voter turnout that in turn supports a Nat election win?
    Also with a potential World cup win (as we dream of) just give us the idea of the glass 1/2 full, and not post quarter final loss on the empty glass and wanting a clean slate be it AB coach, captain, whole team and govt?

  9. Jenny 9

    Broad Unity, or Business as usual?

    The question: Should Labour embrace the Broadest electoral Unity unity possible, or continue Business as Usual?

    What, currently, is Labour’s electoral strategy?

    It seems to me that Labour Party strategists are hoping that, eventually after two, or even three terms of a National led administration, the electorate, feeling suitably chastened by the experience, will flood back to Labour in such numbers that Labour won’t need any troubling coalition partners to form a government. Effectively sidelining the Greens and the Maori Party.

    I think it is becoming obvious that the Labour Party is prepared to let the National Party rule for another term, despite what long term damage these market extremists will do to the natural and human environment of this country.

    Part of the reason for this strategy is that any future Labour led administration would not have to make concessions to any coalition partners, preserving the labour party’s middle of the road, balancing act between the environment and social issues, on one hand and the increasingly extreme demands of the market on the other.

    A Labour led government that had to include the Greens and the Maori Party, would see these minor parties in a position to be able to shift Labour from it’s current centrist position. The Greens and the Maori Party especially if they worked together around their common interests are more likely to wrest progressive environmental and social concessions out of a Labour led administration more than a Labour administration would deliver by themselves

    This conservative electoralist strategy will effectively torpedo any chance of a Labour, Greens, Maori Party coalition after 2011 leaving a minority National government in place to do their worst.

    I believe if this happens it will be very bad, for the environment and the country.

    No doubt claiming an electoral mandate a new National led administration will be able to implement even more extreme market driven initiatives to the detriment of both the economy and the environment.

    Can we afford this?

    Labour Party strategists may think so.

    But I don’t.

    Personally I think that the problems that the planet and society face are so extreme and pressing that bold changes in policy direction need to be taken, and taken soon, and implemented as soon as they possibly could. Such radical action needs to carry as much of the voting public with you as possible.

    The best chance of forming a majority left leaning government in 2011, is one in which the minor parties have to have some real policy input, This would entail a grand coalition led by Labour and involving both the Greens and the Maori Party. No other combination has a chance of turfing out the Nats.

    We need to get over our sectarian differences, to not do so means accepting defeat in 2011.

    Only the broadest possible coalition Led by the Labour Party and supported by both the Greens and the Maori Party would be in a position to take the serious measures needed to protect the environment from the very real threat of climate change or the challenges of peak oil, or the market crisis driving the recession, and carry the majority of the population with them.

    In my opinion without smaller coalition partners to goad them, Labour is unlikely to shift from their comfortable centre left position on the political spectrum which they will need to do, to really confront out of control market forces and runaway climate change. If we have to wait until Labour can do it on their own, it may be too late.

    capcha – family

    • just saying 9.1

      “What currently is labour’s electoral strategy”?

      -Waiting for national to lose, then continuing where they left off.

    • Couple of points:

      1. Jenny – what makes you think that the Maori Party will choose Labour over National, given the opportunity?
      We’ve arguably been in this position before, with NZFirst in 1996. Most commentators believed that NZFirst would coalesce with Labour, but they chose to back National.
      I’m certainly convinced that in general Maori Party voters would prefer Labour over National but I’m not convinced that this will necessarily make any difference.

      2. In the 2005-08 parliament, the party with the closest voting record to the Greens, was the Maori Party, but I remain to be convinced that this is their natural state, if you will. In this parliament, the Maori Party has voted for many policies detrimental (in the eyes of the left) to New Zealand, including the taxpayer rather than polluter pays ETS, a rise in consumption tax, and a budget which outlined real cuts to both health and education spending.

      3. You yourself sound slightly sceptical of the chance of this alignment if it became possible. By the way I also hope that this happens – I’m just not convinced the Maori Party is a centre-left/left party. I hope that in the year coming that the Maori Party caucus can convince us otherwise.

      • Jenny 9.2.1

        Dear Policy Parrot,
        In answer to your first question:

        Jenny what makes you think that the Maori Party will choose Labour over National, given the opportunity?

        There have been a number of examples where the Maori Party have shown a willingness to work with the left, the most recent was where the Maori Party joined with both Labour and the Greens in nation wide protests against the undemocratic sacking of ECAN by the Nats. Another example is the Maori Party call for cross party talks about the dangers of peak oil. A subject the Nats seem to have their heads in the sand over. Finally a recent statement from Turoa Flavel that the coalition agreement with National lasts only up to the elections, (misplaced the link to this one.)

        In answer to you second question:

        In this parliament, the Maori Party has voted for many policies detrimental (in the eyes of the left) to New Zealand, including the taxpayer rather than polluter pays ETS, a rise in consumption tax, and a budget which outlined real cuts to both health and education spending.

        As has been mentioned in their own defence these matters are covered under the Maori Party’s Confidence and Supply agreement with National. And rather than break their agreement they had to vote for these detrimental policies through gritted teeth. If they had chosen to break their agreement over Confidence and Supply they would have had to throw away all their other gains. As National with ACT currently has the numbers, these laws would have been enacted anyway and the Maori Party would have achieved nothing for this sacrifice. I might mention here that Lynne Prentice has castigated the Maori party saying they would make an unreliable coalition partner. I think this example proves otherwise.

        In answer to your third question:

        I’m just not convinced the Maori Party is a centre-left/left party.

        In my opinion this is beside the point. The question is would they join a centre-left/left coalition?

        How about this, as a thought experiment try putting the argument the other way round.

        Why don’t Labour put out the hand of friendship to the Maori Party and see if they reject it. If the Maori Party do reject an offer from the Labour Party and continue to prop up National for a second term. Then at least the Labour Party will have done the right and honourable thing.

        If the Labour Party and the Greens call on the Maori Party to help them form a government and the Maori Party reject it, the opprobrium that will come their way from the resulting social harm that a second National Government intends to unleash will probably be the end of them.
        If the Maori Party agree to prop up a second term for National when offered a real alternative, then the political dissolution that is happening to the Liberal Democrats in the UK as their grass roots supporters desert them, will inevitably happen to the Maori Party here. No doubt many in the Maori Party realise this.

        Polly from your comments I took it, that you think that the Labour Party will never make the effort to reach out to the Maori Party. Unfortunately you may be right.

        The Labour Party have recently released their alternative plan for the banking sector. In which Labour announced that they would consider “a small tax” on investment flowing into the country. (An initiative similar to a limited Financial Transaction Tax. Unlike a full FTT, investment money leaving the country, or even flowing around inside the country generating profits will remain untaxed.)

        However what I noted, pertinent to this debate, was that in announcing this plan, the Labour finance spokesperson, David Cunliffe, mentioned, almost in passing, that the Labour Party have ruled out a variable rate for GST.

        Labour has ruled out adopting a mortgage interest levy or variable-rate GST. However, during a previous monetary policy review the Reserve Bank recommended consideration of a small tax on inbound investment flows, which are often tax-free in practice. Labour agrees it would be timely to consider this concept.

        Has Labour finally come down with a decision against Phil Goff’s earlier statement that Labour would consider supporting Rahui Katene’s private members bill for the removal of GST off healthy food?

        If Labour have made the decision not to back the Maori Party in this simple reform to help grass roots kiwis with their grocery bills, then this clearly signals to me that Labour have no intention of working with the Maori Party, at any level, over anything.

        If this is truly Labour’s position, then Labour have already ruled out any possibility of coalition talks that would include the Maori Party;

        Ipso facto Labour would rather have a National government in power, than have anything to with the Maori Party.

        The question I would like to have answered is why?

        It is not enough reason as some contributors to this site have argued, “because they are not left wing”. Because Labour in the past have made coalition with conservative parties like New Zealand First and United Future to keep National out.

        What is it, about the Maori Party, that Labour Party supporters consider worse than leaving National in power?

  10. randal 10

    you always get premature ejaculation from these performance types but if he does that then his government will go down in the next year.
    take my word for it.
    whilst key may have ‘it’ his subordinates definitey do not and when they are exposed then byeeee.

  11. Bill 11

    How come it isn’t us that get to say when an election will be? After all, aren’t we the ones seeking representatives to manage or look after our affairs? Anyone would think that this democracy of ours has become nothing more than a cynical power grab by scurrilous individuals and the parties, institutions and interests that employ them. Surely not? Surely there is something worth fighting for? Like, em…

  12. All the more urgency to make sure they don’t walk all over us in Auckland.
    That is their Anschluss. Leningrad comes later.
    see http://redrave.blogspot.com/2010/06/supercity-fight-is-class-war.html

  13. Labour MPs are quite actively hostile to the Maori party, so there has to be a hellava lot of sucky kissy faces being made towards them if Labour is to get their support after the 2011 election.

    I look forward to watching the sucking up process :)

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