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Key, Peters and the early election

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, March 11th, 2014 - 57 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, national, nz first, winston peters - Tags:

john-key-winston-peters-2-february-20111

Just over three years ago, on February 2 to be precise, John Key announced that the date of the 2011 election would be November 26, 2011.  At the time he said:

“I believe it is in the country’s best interests to know the date of the General Election early in election year … [i]t creates certainty for New Zealanders and allows people to plan accordingly.”

Giving such extended notice was praised by independent commentators such as David Farrar as being principled.  Instead of preserving the ability to time the election to give National the biggest strategic advantage Key gave up that advantage. This was in keeping with his carefully constructed persona where he has tried to suggest that he is above playing political games.

At the same time he ruled out Winston Peters being part of his Government.  In very clear terms he said the following:

“I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead … [h]istorically, he has always been sacked by prime ministers. It’s a very different style to mine and it’s rearward-looking.

What a difference three years makes. We now have an early election based on political advantage and Key is disparaging of NZ First but is refusing to rule out going into coalition with Peters.

The early election date decision is cynical in the extreme, and is based on political rather than constitutional considerations. The chance for Key to attend the G20 gathering in November as an observer is no justification for mucking around with constitutional norms. Let’s be clear, the only reason for the earlier date is the hope that National can maintain current polling levels and the fear that over time its support will ebb.

Key could not go any earlier as there is no justification. The experience of 2002 where Labour went early and lost significant support during the campaign is something Key would have been conscious of. A September election is as early as he could go without facing significant adverse electoral effect.

Key has attacked Peters saying that he should announce now who NZ First will go into coalition with. Peters has responded by stating “[h]e’s never talked to me on the matter and whatever his planning skills are, mind-reading is not one of them.”

The attack on Peters is at one level understandable. MMP elections often see votes swirl amongst smaller parties as people make decisions on what mix of parties they want to see in Government. If NZ First was seen as a potential coalition partner then soft National votes would flow Peters way.  Key cannot rule Peters out for pragmatic rather than principled reasons.  But he cannot get too close either.

This election is up to grabs. It is going to be an interesting six months.

57 comments on “Key, Peters and the early election”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    No I disagree, I think it’s good that everyone has a good period of notice of when the election is.

    My preference would be that an election date is set in statute such as ‘the 2nd or 3rd Saturday in October’. However it is a far superior situation than what we had previously.

    As for Winston he will play his usual tricks of appealing to people’s prejudices and bigotry to try and get over 5% and continue with the parliamentary gravy train into and through his dotage.

    • Anne 1.1

      And do you think Key doesn’t appeal to people’s prejudice and bigotry? And you can add avarice and self centredness to his bag of “tricky” tricks. The difference is: Key disguises it a little better than Winston which makes him infinitely more dangerous.

  2. Skinny 2

    Key is being tricky he needs John Banks to pass the budget and a by election is the very last thing he needs. The G20 is a convenient excuse. Winston Peters is in the luxurious position of putting up the ‘No Deal’ sign whenever he decides the time is good to go. NZF will absolutely soar in the polls possibly to 8-10 percent.

    When you see Winnie relaxed and smiling and John Key desperate and snaring when referring to Peters you know who is in control and who is not.

    I have no regrets doing a oncer by party voting NZF in 2011 he has kept us in the game while Labour were getting their shit together, and he will get his revenge on September 20 when he joins a L/G setup.

    Good health Winston!

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      What gets me is TV3 news said last night “this will give Key the ability to attend the G20 meeting if he wins” rather than “this will give whoever wins the election the ability to attend the G20 summit.”

      And while talking about media bias I just heard feedback on Morning Report-3 texts/emails received all of which slammed Cunliffe and praised Key/National. This is not balanced. How does this happen?

  3. geoff 3

    David Farrar – independent?? Surely you jest! ;)
    Great post ms

  4. Tom Gould 4

    The MSM is heavily biased in favour of the Tories, and the political media simply craven. Maybe it’s time for a ‘pants-on-fire’ style website that challenges every piece of biased, unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate political reportage or comment? On the other hand, it would overwhelm itself with an avalanche of copy, within days, and need a staff of hundreds.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Any government contesting for a third term in office is always at a disadvantage. With the real economy and the institutions of this country performing dreadfully for the bottom 50% of the electorate, Labour should be in a clear pole position, not trying to eke out a narrow, cobbled together victory.

    Time to show the electorate a true alternative vision for the nation.

    • Jim Nald 5.1

      “Time to show the electorate a true alternative vision for the nation.”

      Hah.

      I am enthusiastically waiting to hear from the Labour caucus and particularly David T.I.N.A. Parker that increasing the age of entitlement for superannuation is such a true alternative vision for the nation.

      Btw, if anyone can give a great analysis as to how that policy will helpfully encourage the so-called ‘missing voters’ to come out on election day and strongly support Labour, I would like to read it.

    • Yep I’m a bit surprised by the ‘he went early’ lines – imo labour should be champing at the bit for the election to show voters a clear choice, a clear alternative to the gnat nastiness – instead more of the ‘he’s not playing nice’ stuff. The left need to find people with backbone to take it to these gnats and their hanger-on dags. Come on labour you have everything to win and nothing to lose.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        I hear many natural Labour supporters disgruntled with the cheap pot shot lines from Labour. Trying to stick it to Key for going early matters only to a Thorndon bubble crowd. No one in Ashurst or Waihola gives a damn.

        So who gives a fuck if Key went two months early, its his constitutional perogative as PM. The issue Labour, if you are listening, is not that Key is going two months early, its the alternative vision that you are offering the nation. People are waiting for it, they want to hear gutsy game changing details, and they don’t have long attention spans. Get to it.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          +1

          All we’re hearing from Labour so far is more of the same neo-liberal BS that we’ve heard for the last thirty years. People are looking and demanding change but no political party is offering one.

  6. Tracey 6

    Interestingly the Herald reported as part of the announcement that National has given the nod to Dunne and Seymour.

    No cups of tea required it seems.

    “Mr Key is also expected to give clearer indications of whether National will assist potential coalition partners in electorate seats closer to the election.

    He has already indicated it will do so for Peter Dunne in Ohariu and Act’s David Seymour in Epsom, but has not yet said whether it will support Conservative Party leader Colin Craig in the same way.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11217195

    • Skinny 6.1

      Tracey things are very different this election. Key will not have it his own way in Epsom. ACT are a total joke, people I know living there feel rightfully shamed by Banks & the latest plonker heading ACT. 

      Key is doing ‘double speak’ regarding Collin Craig. He is saying “don’t force National to do a deal with this religious wacko party, give us a clear margin to govern alone or with the new-old ACT party if they prove they are worthy of our endorsement. 
       
      Note Key is already trying to peel back soft NZF Tory voters to his Nat party. Peters recent polling 5% will be unpalatable, probably 1.5 % are likely to head home if Key rights off Winston. However NZF stand to pick up treble that with deserting Nat voters. Most of the former disillusioned Maori Party voters too. This is even before Peters drops the bomb and rights National off.  

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        It’s easy to say that now, though. When it comes down to the last polls released before the election, if it shows National losing if they don’t get Act, I’m sure the National voters in Epsom will once again do what is required of them.

  7. MaxFletcher 7

    In all fairness, Cunliffe also talked about a coalition with NZ First also in his Q+A interview on Sunday.

    Seems both parties realise they might need Winston

  8. Craig Y 8

    Reports of the Conservative Party’s ‘fiscal conservatism’ are much exaggerated. In other words, will Key have to conduct a strange-sect wedding with a clone of New Zealand First if they’re foolish enough to gift Colin and Co. a sacrificial constituency? Good question…

    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/31/article_14733.php

  9. xtasy 9

    “Let’s be clear, the only reason for the earlier date is the hope that National can maintain current polling levels and the fear that over time its support will ebb.”

    This is true, but Key and National are not that much “desperate”, they are calculating and slightly worried that their “popularity” will not last the full year. So yes, what they are going to do is running an election campaign BLITZKRIEG STYLE!

    Prepare for the hits, also under the belts, and the use of easily manipulated media staff, who can also be too easily tied in by National’s spin masters, to manipulate the wider public. We will get hammered with “success news” about economic growth, about “achievements” and get appeals like “needing to stay on course” and so forth. Key will be presented as the competent, strong, smart and “popular” leader, possibly claimed to be the “best PM” NZ had (?). They are planning to win the election outright, so they will not necessarily need the small support lackeys from ACT and United Future.

    So it is all on now, and Labour as the largest opposition party is now called upon to get all their acts together, to have their MPs firmly fall in line, to get policies ready, and put the weaponry in position, to hit back and go on the attack of shallow government policies, of “achievements” that largely have nothing to do with the government and John Key, and to present the country and people a PLAN for the future.

    A clear plan and alternative packaged – in simple, yet clear messages, and constantly machine gunned at the government, presented to the media and public, and carried out into public events, meetings and more, by all MPs, potential new candidates and members and supporters.

    I am waiting to see Labour in action, also on welfare, please, as you are the ones that are expected to LEAD, while the Greens will fire away with their plan (likely to be well matched).

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      xtasy – yours is the narrative which I feel is the most pertinent. National were desperate late last year with the membership election of David Cunliffe, but they have long since regrouped and see an opportunity to win. And they are going for it, as can be seen with their retirements and caucus renewal – again the left is fond of framing that as “desperate rats leaving a sinking ship” but the electorate is likely to view it as a party determined to bring something new to the table.

      • Skinny 9.1.1

        Yeah yeah and the Left just tell the truth National are recruiting a harsher bred of right-wing psychopaths. The saying “you can not trust a third term National Government” should be rolled out immediately.

        • gnomic 9.1.1.1

          Erm, this almost seems to imply a newly elected National government could be trustworthy. Shurely shome mishtake here? Though I agree that if elected in 2014 the Nats will finally go utterly psycho. After all, it will be like a total mandate to implement the thousand year reich. And when the wheels fall off there will be no alternative, right? And the weasel will have nothing left to lose. Sorry, that’s Sir Smirking Weasel to you.

          The same weasel who referred to our nation’s banner as post-colonial. ‘The current flag symbolizes “a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed,” Key said in a speech in Wellington today.’

          However honours from the English monarch are OK. Please tell me it is time for this man to retire to Hawaii, and get some tasty directorships.

    • Tracey 9.2

      Yup. Success like fewer on welfare but then…

      Interesting claims more people are in work cos they are not on welfare anymore BUT not reflected in the tax take… which is down for 3rd or 4th month in a row

  10. risildowgtn 10

    I look forward to see the leaders debates :)
    Cunliffe is gonna rip shonky a new one and then some hahahahhahahahahahahaha

    • Jim Nald 10.1

      Re leaders debate:

      So how many words and seconds will Cunliffe take to explain (explaining is losing?) the wonderful super policy that has been blessed by David T.I.N.A. Parker?

      Will Cunliffe’s explanation and advocacy of the policy totally floor John Key and generate such fantastic reaction to the extent that voters will cast a winning vote for Cunliffe or a protest vote against Key?

      Ok, let’s wait and see. Too soon to tell. 194 days to go.

    • Puckish Rogue 10.2

      Really?

      I say that because Key ripped Clark, Cullen, Goff, Campbell and (well probably would have) Shearer a new one whereas Cunliffe hasn’t been tested against anyone of note

    • Sosoo 10.3

      They won’t be real debates brcause nothing of substance will be discussed. They will be political beauty contests and framed by the press as such.

      By the end of this election campaign, if you are a Labour voter, chances are you will abandon any confidence in democracy if you haven’t already.

  11. About two weeks ago I was contacted by a polling company. They wanted to ask me some questions about politics and I thought here we go and said yes.

    The question that caught my attention most was: If NZ First get’s voted into a National government should Winston Peters have a ministerial post?

    Deducting from that question and framed by the others I reckon that National wants to know how much they will lose in the run up to the elections if they start courting NZ First.

    They know they are losing support and are trying to find out what they can do to keep a majority.

    Now what was that a bout giving up sovereignty forever in favor of big transnational Corporations?

    • Te Reo Putake 11.1

      That’s a good analysis, Travellerev. You don’t recall the name of the polling company do you? If it was Curia, then … Bingo!

      My gut feeling is that National know their safest bet is to stop Winston getting 5% and hoping NZF voters go there way. Option B is a post-election offer to Winston of the deputy leadership. Anything less wouldn’t work this time round.

      One thing that stood out for me is how weird it is that Key spoke about NZF at all. No words of encouragement for his current coalition partners; it’s like he knows they ain’t gonna be around.

      • travellerev 11.1.1

        Do you know what? I didn’t pay attention to the blooming name but now that you remind me it damn well was Curia marketing!

        What makes this even more interesting is that we have an unregistered number. HTF did they get our number?

        Now if I could only let you look at this video about an orange

  12. Monty 12

    Oh dear risildowgtn, we have heard that before. In 2005 Key destroyed the master of the debate Micky Cullen, then in 2008 he tore apart Clark, then Goff in 2011 was a no contest. What makes you think Cunliffe will better Key? I doubt he will. Lefties have always underestimated Key.

    And by the way Winston will go with Key he Winnie gets back in simply for the following reasons. 1 Winnie will not abide by the extreme left policies of the greens, 2. Winnie will go with the biggest party because the electorate has spoken, and 3. Because he understands that a three way plus possible Hone factor will be too unstable, and 4. He knows no government could survive the ego of Cunliffe, Norman and himself, and 5. Winnie will not want to be the third part of the trifecta. He can handle being second , but not third.

    In fact I do not think Winston will be back. Labour and greens supporters who voted Winston last time around will go back to voting for labour green rather than vote for a party who is likely to support a national Government.

    • risildowgtn 12.1

      hahah is that your best?

      Cunliffe aint clarke or any of those other fools

      [lprent: John Clarke? ]

      • MaxFletcher 12.1.1

        Clarke was no fool

        [lprent: John Clarke? Helen Clark (with no frigging ‘e’)? David Clark? It would help if you used the fuller names so others could figure out who you mean. ]

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      I don’t recall him “[tearing] apart Clark”. I recall the media being surprised by how well he did, because expectations were set very very low.

      Similarly Goff in 2011 wasn’t a “no contest”, it was quite close (in so much as leaders ‘win’ debates), with Goff clearing ‘winning’ one, Key ‘winning’ one and the other one going to Key by a nose. But apart from the ‘winning’ aspect, Key really put on a poor display, particularly with his lame ‘drunken sailor’ joke.

      No one cares about finance spokespeople debates so I don’t know anything about whatever 2005 debate you’re mentioning.

      • Ant 12.2.1

        I always thought National were smart and criticised Helen for being “too aggressive” – Labour then went full retard and over reacted – Helen noticeably held back (didn’t interrupt him, didn’t talk over him) in the debates which essentially gave Key free reign.

        I hope Cunliffe doesn’t receive any equally conservative horrible advice that makes him hold back.

    • framu 12.3

      “greens supporters who voted Winston last time ”

      you reckon?

    • PapaMike 12.4

      Winnie has always maintained he would never go into any coalition with the Greens.

      I assume he is changing his mind – again

      • McFlock 12.4.1

        Many ways to skin a cat without technically being part of a coalition government.

        e.g. post 2005: confidence and supply support, a minister, but not in the coalition government.

    • Skinny 12.5

      Your handle says it all, your a bloody comic alright Winston won’t get 5% lol that is a classic.. You forgot to say if he declared going with NACT he wont get 5%.

    • Tiger Mountain 12.6

      Classic “miss-underestimation” from Montykins.

  13. Tombstone 13

    I notice there’s been another budget blowout for the government which is kinda odd as I thought they had delivered a rock star economy and we were now all on the slow but steady march toward Utopia? So, the tax switch, austerity measures, slashing of jobs and flogging off our assets has achieved what? Seems we’re going backwards and still Key’s fans crow like great things have been achieved – ah, no they haven’t you bunch of sanctimonious doosh bags! Wake the fuck up!

    • Puckish Rogue 13.1

      Well theres this:

      http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/manufacturing_and_production/EconomicSurveyofManufacturing_MRDec13qtr.aspx

      Not counting dairy and meat (which increased higher)

      » Seafood +2.7%
      » Fruit, oil, cereal and food +5.0%
      » Wood and paper +1.6%
      » Printing +8.5%
      » Non-metallic minerals +5.5%
      » Transport +5.9%
      » Furniture +6.2%

      So I’d suggest lefties wake the fuck up and realise (and appreciate) the good work Nationals doing

      • McFlock 13.1.2

        You forget to mention 27% of kids in poverty. That’s up, too.

      • KB 13.1.3

        Maybe these things are up despite what National’s been doing. Also what were the volumes prior to the GFC/when National took over? Are they merely returning to previous levels?

      • framu 13.1.4

        your link doesnt show those figures (unless im just missing something) – edit – perhaps i skimmed that too quickly – sorry

        also “The total manufacturing sales volume had a record rise”

        sales not tax revenue – considering that tombstone is talking about govt budget blowouts its weird that you link to things other than govt revenue data

      • xtasy 13.1.5

        Seafood – more exports to China and other places (mostly low value added),
        Fruit, oil, cereal and food – more exports to China and so (likely more canned fruit comes under this),
        Wood and paper – more exports to China and the likes (cut or chipped logs are likely counted as “manufacturing”),
        Non-metallic minerals – more exports to China and so (could mean any such mineral with little “manufactured” value),
        Transport – maybe once off contract of some transport appliances or accessories by a manufacturer, possibly to Australia, otherwise work on electrification of rail links in Auckland and whatever else, that had been planned for a long time (already prepared for under Labour),
        Furniture – yes, perhaps some more furniture for local use?

        Indeed, it shows a growth curve, slowly returning manufacturing data to the level of 2008 – just before National took office!

        http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/manufacturing_and_production/EconomicSurveyofManufacturing_HOTPDec13qtr.aspx

        Bearing in mind that most the exporting benefits some, but not necessarily all New Zealanders, this alone does only say so much.

        So it took National in government over 5 years to bring it back to what it was prior to when they took over government?!

    • xtasy 13.2

      Apart from share-milkers and fruit picking gangs (from overseas) working their butts off, and logging gangs risking life and well-being to keep jobs, by cutting thousands of cheap logs for China, fishing vessels from overseas ripping their quota and more out of the sea around us, most that have come off welfare and gone into “work”, ended up with marginal, part time and casual jobs, that pay little in income tax. GST take is not growing, as retail spending on cards may be up, but in cash goes down, which rather represents a change of purchasing behaviour (by younger generations), and NOT a real, substantial growth in retail sales.

      Also solo parents (mostly females) forced off welfare, due to work testing and other draconian expectations, have moved in with (potentially abusive) partners, or are working the streets, to survive without cut or denied benefits.

      Yeah, it is a “rock star economy” by some figures, but the whole picture will show it is anything like a “rock star economy”, where only farmers and a few others do well, but most get nowhere, or move backwards. And the farmers spend perhaps more on paying off debt and importing new machinery, made in China, like those glossily (asbestos) painted new trains, which cost Kiwirail 3 million a week, while being out of business, due to suspected health risk for the drivers.

      Selling assets put some cash into the till, but that cash was already spent before, so now the cupboards are bare, and it may show sooner than National may like, hence the rush for 20 September now. Key knows, if they get in again, they can rip the rest of the crap out of this country and really get stuck into beneficiaries and others.

      Times could never have been more serious under this government, to realise a change of government is NEEDED!

  14. Enough is Enough 14

    Well of course they are desperate Mickey.

    I wish we showed similar levels of urgency and desperation for the treasury benches instead of this sloppy mistake filled start to election year.

  15. captain hook 15

    shifty Key has always been desperate.
    people like him have no acceptance of the world.
    they need to grab everything in case there is nothing left for them.
    when they are finished there is nothing left over for anybody else.
    he wants to enron new zealand and then split.

  16. peterlepaysan 16

    The media chatterers that talk about G20 influencing the election date display an extraordinary incompetence and/or venality.

    I have no idea what the National party thinking is about the date apart from the fact that it is a date that they think is advantageous to them, for whatever myriad of possible reasons.

    It would be nice if, for once, media chatterers stopped interviewing their iphones and lifted their heads to look around at real world around them.

  17. Philj 17

    Xox
    Part of me relishes National, post election, having to live with the results of such mis management of New Zealand. Can we be so shallow and dupe able? That is the question.

  18. Murray Olsen 18

    The election date is good. We know the day we’ll get rid of Key and his douchebag acolytes, if Labour can do two things:
    1. Forget increasing the retirement age. In an ideal world, I’d say kick anyone promoting the increase, like Clark and Goff, out of the party.
    2. Realise that you can’t shut Shane Jones up, so use his big mouth to attack NAct rather than the Greens. Keep him to a script and keep him away from the mining and fishing interests he loves so much.

    It would also be good to hear a few inspiring, rather than insipid, things from other Labour candidates. Jacinda Ardern needs to learn that just being photogenic is not enough. Mallard just needs to retire.

  19. Tanz 19

    Key gets all the good media attention, he is their darling. It’s scrape and bow by the MSM. No wonder he thinks he is golden…even if he is not.

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