I’ve been talking with some people about when John Key will call the next election. Two common points emerge:
1) it will be after the 2011 Budget. A government doesn’t risk the right to lay down a budget lightly. It won’t want to be campaigning while trying to write and sell a budget either. So that rules out June and early July. It will also be keen to have the election well after any increase to GST or other taxes on April 1st.
2) it will be before the Rugby World Cup. Key can call the election date for as late as early January but he clearly won’t want to do it too close to Christmas – it would annoy people going on summer holiday. He won’t want to do it during September and October with the the World Cup on because the country will already have enough on its plate and be annoyed by an election. For the same reason he wouldn’t go for early-mid November, which would mean trying to campaign while the World Cup is on. And then there’s the risk of the ABs losing, which just isn’t going to be good for the government. They might win and that would reflect well on the government but given Key will probably be feeling reasonably confident anyway, it’s not a gamble worth taking.
That leaves late-July and August. But school holidays are late July, so that rules that out.
The more I think about it the more plausible August seems. Key is clearly making an effort to tie himself and National to the All Blacks’ brand. How many times have you seen Richie McCaw pop up in relation to something to do with Key over the last year? Or Key at something to do with rugby? There’s a strong likelihood that at least one ex-All Black will be a National candidate next election too.
And when is public feelings of loyality towards the All Blacks going to be most postive? In the lead-up to the World Cup (before they’ve had a chance to lose again, when we really believe this time will be different). Seen in this light. It’s clear why Key is getting so aligned to the ABs, to ride their wave in an August election.
I’m picking one of the last weeks in August, say, August 20th. What do you reckon?