My sources tell me Key has a big surprise planned for National’s campaign launch tomorrow. In a break with tradition, Key will not be telling supporters about his plans for “a Labour government I lead”. Instead, he will not be telling them about his plans for a National government.
Seriously though, National needs the next week to go right for them. They took a hammering in yesterday’s polls and there will be more bad news to come; the polls were taken before the Nats announced they would gut Kiwisaver, cancel tax cuts for families and the poor, and before the latest ‘do what it takes’ secret agenda tape emerged.
The campaign launch can’t really give National and Key the momentum they need. It will be on the same day as Labour’s and it is expected that Clark will be making some substantive announcements at Labour’s launch. National has already fired their last round, the tax package, and it turned out to be a dud. So, coverage of National’s launch is likely to be at least balanced with, if not overshadowed by, Labour’s launch.
Which makes the debates all the more crucial for National. Speaking to Tories about town, they are quietly confident that Key is going to be able to pull one of the bag. They know Key has to do well in the debates to get National’s campaign back on track and they’ve put a lot of time and money into getting him up to speed. They’ve been looking at the questions that members of the public have submitted for Tuesday’s Youtube debate and have submitted some obvious patsies for Key themselves. National expects Key to do well in the debates and he will need to. If they are to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, they can’t afford another bad week.