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National seeks delay to election

Written By: - Date published: 7:38 am, April 9th, 2020 - 120 comments
Categories: election 2020, elections, jacinda ardern, labour, MMP, national, paula bennett, politicans, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

It cannot be much fun being a National Party MP right now.  The Prime Minister is receiving international acclaim for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.  She has acted decisively and quickly and there is a cautious optimism that New Zealand may be able to stamp the disease out, as opposed to slow down its spread.  If she succeeds, and it is by no means certain, she will be right up there with Micky Savage in terms of public adulation.

Meanwhile National’s leader is responding to the crisis by choosing to drive between Tauranga and Wellington to take part in Zoom conferences.  His claim that it was because of Tauranga’s poor internet has been met with derision.  If Wellington was the place to be he should have set up there, just as the Prime Minister has.

There are rumours of a UMR poll that has National at 35%.  That could mean a loss of 14 seats.  It can’t be much fun being in National’s caucus right now.  It runs the risk of electorate MPs changing tack and going for the electorate vote only as everyone scrambles for not enough life boats.  I have seen this happen before.  It is not pretty.

So National must be preying for a delay in the election in the hope their fortunes change. And in a sign of particular weakness it is now publicly talking about delaying the election.

From Jo Moir at Radio New Zealand:

National’s deputy leader and campaign chair Paula Bennett said the government and opposition needed to discuss in the weeks ahead whether 19 September was a realistic date.

“I must say that even in the last couple of days I’ve just been wondering just how ready would the public be for a September 19 election and is it fair to them and fair to our whole democracy system to be asking them to go through that,” she said.

Bennett said she wanted serious time and thought given to any alternative voting methods.

“I do think there’s other ways of people actually voting but as I say I do think being engaged in an election and making sure they have the right information is something that has to be thought through really carefully.”

Having said this I accept there are issues and the matter will have to be considered seriously.  But I can’t help but think that National’s publicly raising the issue is directly related to some pretty dire polling it is currently getting.

120 comments on “National seeks delay to election ”

  1. observer 1

    If Ardern was Machiavellian (which fortunately she isn't) she could respond by saying:

    "I have heard the opposition's request and therefore propose that the election be held in September 2021. This will provide the delay they are seeking."

    Then sit back and watch National try and respond. The RW base would be up in arms, with all the Trumpies from Stuff comments ("Nobody likes Jacinda, Kiwis want her out FACT") fighting the MPs who would be relieved.

    • ScottGN 1.1

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Ardern had more than a passing interest in the works of Machiavelli actually. The way she has deployed people like Michael Baker (as one example) to move the country in the direction she knows we have to go ahead of her decision making has been brilliant strategy.

    • ianmac 1.2

      Then there was the Trump lookalike who said, "We are negotiating with religious leaders to find a way to get the churches filled again and I think that we will shift Easter back."

      Trump didn't say that of course but he might.

    • infused 1.3

      not really. this is going to carry on a year anyway. i hope that push us to vote on 4 year terms

      • Steve Withers 1.3.1

        Definitely do not want a 4 year term. No thanks.

        • In Vino 1.3.1.1

          Most advanced countries have a 4 or 5 year term anyway. The silly 3-year term has always been an obstacle for Govt in NZ.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Turkey votes to delay Xmas….

    Add NZ First to the list of frightened political poultry.

    • ScottGN 2.1

      Haha yeah. Winston wants to move the date to Nov 21.

      • observer 2.1.1

        Winston: "November please, PM".

        Jacinda: "No, we're still on for September."

        Winston: "In that case … I must … er …"

        Jacinda: "Withdraw support? Collapse government? Snap election?"

        (long pause)

        Winston: "September it is!"

        • mac1 2.1.1.1

          Brilliant observation, observer. Did you see the look that went with that final question?

        • alwyn 2.1.1.2

          I offer you an alternative. The first 2 lines are the same.

          Winston: "November please, PM".

          Jacinda: "No, we're still on for September." Then it changes.

          Winston: "As a patriotic New Zealander I must inform the Governor-General that I have withdrawn my support from your Government. I shall tell her that in the light of your attempt to corrupt out Countries sacred political system my party and I will be providing Confidence and Support to the National Party until they hold a November Election. etc, etc."

          (long pause)

          Jacinda: "November 21 it is then"

          After all, the Governor-General wouldn't take Jacinda's advice to hold an election if Simon now had the Confidence of the House and she didn't.

          Would you bet that he wouldn't do it, if he was convinced that a September election would write his party off? He could even expand it, in his standard manner, to ramble on about how he must do this because the Labour Party are deliberately destroying the New Zealand economy and how they have tried to hide their deceit from him but "I know what they are up to".

          And do you think that National wouldn't grab their chance? After all they don't have to be in Government with him and they can always decide, over the next seven months that he really has changed.

          • observer 2.1.1.2.1

            He could try.

            It would guarantee Ardern a landslide.

            The number of potential National voters (say, 50%) is far higher than the number of Any Means Necessary Ardern-ultra-haters (more like 5%).

            • alwyn 2.1.1.2.1.1

              "It would guarantee Ardern a landslide."

              Perhaps you are right. Bear in mind though that this would be an election held on 21 November and that National would have been the Government for the six months before the election happened.

              The would have plenty of time to open inquiries into the expenditure that has been going on in the last few weeks. Without any malfeasance at all there is sure to be some that looks a bit fishy.

              They would also have time to investigate, and publicise why it took so long to close down Pasifika. Or why it took so long to bring in compulsory quarantining.

              All that time we would have Ardern, and Labour, out of the limelight.

              I really don't know what would happen.

              • In Vino

                alwyn, I know we are supposed to be in lockdown, but I suspect that any such move by Winston in the present climate would have mobs rampaging in the streets. And Winston would know that he would be blamed for it.

                • alwyn

                  We don't really do mobs rampaging in the streets over something like this. The only occasion that I can remember in my lifetime when we had anything like that was during the 1981 Springbok tour.

                  We aren't like France with the 1968 riots.

                  Anyway I was simply offering a possible alternative scenario to the one observer put up. I think that, if Winston thought he could not possibly get 5% in September but might in November he would consider it.

                  • In Vino

                    1968 was indeed a good year.. But this current lockdown has raised tensions in some ways, and I think Winston is clever enough to know how far he can push. But it was an interesting scenario. Full credit, as Sean Fitzpatrick would have said.

  3. Pedantic me: praying, not preying.

    Though, on reflection, the image of Bennett in safari suit hunting down a reason to save the Natz has a certain humorous lustre about it.

  4. Treetop 4

    National would lose some seats. I think Bridges wants to see what is in the May budget then he will go on the attack. The longer it takes for an electon to occur the longer Bridges can attack the NZ deficit.

    Borrowing is necessary to get through the Covid-19 crisis, but it has to be paid back.

    As well there is going to be a lot more unemployment which is going to be costly and health care needs a lot more resources than it usually requires.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Bennett’s jittery opportunism was possibly also influenced by the 88% approval of Govt. performance in the Colmar poll widely quoted yesterday–the type of numbers that turn opposition innards to water!

    There is something just about to bite the Government’s rear end though–welfare delivery–the chaos and hard luck stories about to break will have them wishing they had fully implemented the Welfare Working Group Experts report.

    After the first flush of relative good will from a number of employers, Fletchers and various fiddlers notwithstanding, money and accrued leave will begin to run out, many self employed, contractors and SMEs work stopped dead on day 1 of Level 4. WINZ/MSD cannot change its culture of denial and punishment to one of genuine assistance in the time frame needed. Its systems seemingly can not handle the influx even if they wanted to. People unaccustomed to seeking WINZ/MSD “assistance” will be in for a shock when they present as having defacto partners or one still working etc.

    The easy way for the Govt. to circumvent this approaching shitstorm, and promptly deliver assistance would be to institute an emergency BI–Basic Income, and a few complimentary measures. Pay any individuals with an IRD number appropriate amounts of money and completely bypass MSD for the time of any lockdowns. Also free Wifi, fare free public transport where applicable and phone in food and care package delivery as Auckland City, Salvation Army and several Iwi organisations are doing already.

    The Government has done an admirable job so far but they need to get over their mental barrier re taking on the neo liberals at the top of the public service.

    • Treetop 5.1

      The bail out for business long term needs to be thought out carefully as some businesses will not be sustainable.

      Life skills will need to be used or taught as the future has never been this uncertain in my life time.

    • Carolyn_Nth 5.2

      The government is covering the cost of the food being distributed by Auckland Council from Spark Arena.

      The government is covering the cost of the food, while Auckland Council is operating the contact centre to respond to calls and coordinating the supply, packaging and delivery of food.

  6. alex shaw 6

    Why are we not getting inundated with polls ? Do the Nats want to keep the slippery slope secret?

    • observer 6.1

      Polls are the definition of "non-essential" right now. Last thing we need is having them inserted into the news.

  7. Hooch 7

    It was only a few weeks ago nationals sycophants wanted an early election. I’m not sure parties with close ties to China are going to do well regardless of the election date once this all blows over.

  8. Paddington 8

    As things stand at present, there should be no delay. The timing of an election is not a matter for opinion polls, it is a matter for democracy. There be a bounce for the government in polls as there almost always is in times like this. That's life, and national need to just suck it up.

    • Treetop 8.1

      An election is to big a distraction until next March for both the Government and the Epidemic Response Committee.

      Some people may not be able to get out and vote.

      This has been evident in I think Florida with the US primary.

      • observer 8.1.1

        Come on, it is at least 2 months too soon to be predicting the state of things in September, let alone extending the term (as mentioned before the election could be held in Nov or Dec with no rule change).

        In NZ we might be in a mess, we might be in the clear. We can't possibly know.

        • Paddington 8.1.1.1

          Well said.

        • Treetop 8.1.1.2

          Your last paragraph says it all.

          Delay the election and then set a date which can be relied on.

          The science on Covid-19 is not yet out. Pre symtomatic you can be infectious, asymptomatic you do not know you are infectious and post recovery you can be infectious.

          It is important that a person can exercise their democratic right and be able to get to the polling booth and not fear getting or passing on Covid-19.

      • Paddington 8.1.2

        If people can't get out to vote by November 2020, we will have much bigger issues to deal with.

        • Treetop 8.1.2.1

          It is the getting out that concerns me.

          Some other method of voting and a late election this year could be an option.

          Do you or anyone else have any suggestions using another method?

          • Paddington 8.1.2.1.1

            I hear you. Electronic voting is the obvious solution, but will not cover a wide enough voting constituency, with too many people unable to access/use that technology. Perhaps a postal vote with collectors paid to go house to house collecting voting papers?

            • Treetop 8.1.2.1.1.1

              That combo is probably the best option.

              Special votes what about those?

              • Paddington

                Those could be handled in the same way. Overseas votes by mail or on-line. It may take a bit longer to get the results, but it is do-able.

  9. Blazer 9

    Paula wants to delay the election till after her new cookbook comes out.

    'Waist not-want knot.'

  10. AB 10

    Good tactics from National. Get beyond the period where everyone is happy to swing in behind a capable and personable leader who is clearly showing the decency of her core values – and has introduced "be kind" into the lexicon of everyday interactions. Wait until the hard grind of recovery is underway. Give a media who is overwhelmingly on your side the time to amplify the inevitable minor stuff-ups into major news – and maybe claim a scalp or two. National is actually much harder to contain and eradicate than C-19.

    • Treetop 10.1

      The one thing I want to see is the election manifesto from the National Party. This is where weakness could be shown.

      With Parliament not sitting what the National Party is actually thinking is being concealed.

      Question time is going to be a very busy time for the Government.

    • Wayne 10.2

      I would expect the election to be fought on the economic recovery plan that each party presents. Obviously the PM will get credit for handling the immediate crisis, but by September that should be 3 to 4 months in the past.

      Although elections are partly about the record of the government in the term just past, they are also about their plans for the future. In my view the future will have more importance this time, because lots of New Zealanders are going to be fearful about their own future.

      Will the date be changed? Probably not, but I reckon the time to deal with that issue will be mid to late May.

  11. ianmac 11

    A long time ago it was thought that MPs did not represent the A+ group if intelligences. I think Jacinda may be the exception. Her intellect bridges a wide range where other leaders such as Bridges and Key were clever/cunning, but seemed unable to handle the big picture as well as Jacinda.

    • In Vino 11.1

      True. I suspect that Jacinda affects a slightly klunky Kiwi accent to please the majority, but she is the first PM we have had since Lange who can sustainably speak without mangling the English language, and stay on subject with coherent explanation.

      Who else is there?

  12. From Radio NZ:

    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today said he wants the election held on 21 November.

    He said the health system would be under the pump in September with the winter flu season and potentially still dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

    Peters said he had fought for a November date originally as his party believed summer elections were better.

  13. Peter 13

    Paula Bennett thinks we're too dumb to vote in September. We won't know enough. Through the year polls are taken and reported on with great fanfare. Apparently we know enough to tell them who we'd put in Parliament through the year. Politicians believe all that stuff and place great store in it.

    Maybe the main problem is that Bennett has the latest poll results. She knows we are very well informed and are ready to cast an intelligent vote. She doesn't like that.

  14. Anne 14

    National’s deputy leader and campaign chair Paula Bennett……

    "I must say that since our latest internal poll results, it is imperative we postpone the election for as long as possible."

    Bennett said we needed more time to seriously consider alternative strategy methods.

    "I do think there's other ways of distracting the public's attention from the government's excellent handling of the pandemic crisis, but our ability to produce plausible misinformation needs to be carefully thought through before implementation and that takes time."

    FIFY.

  15. FYI: the last Saturday an election can be held is November 21. This is NZF's preferred date and seems to be National's as well. For both parties, this makes sense as it allows them time to claw back votes.

    However, National need to get to at least 40% to have any shot at Government. And even at that number, they would need NZ First support.

    If NZF fall short of the 5% threshold, then National need 44-46% and a better than normal showing from ACT to get a one seat majority.

    • Remember the Greens? What if they miss the threshold as well as NZF?

      I think in the current circumstances it would be advantage Labour, but that could change – it's said that a week is a long time in politics, but it's even longer in a Covid crisis.

      • te reo putake 15.1.1

        Hi, Pete.

        Assuming both the Greens and NZF both get 4.9%, ACT get 2% (and Epsom) and Labour get 44%, the result is Lab 61 seats – Nat/ACT 59.

        The maths is really simple for Labour if the other two Govt parties miss out; they just need a lead of 3-4% over National. Which is an entirely conceivable result in September, not so much in December.

        • Pete George 15.1.1.1

          I agree that's entirely conceivable – I think in September or November, that latest an election could be held.

          But that would be close, and it's also nearly as conceivable that National got a bit more and Labour got a bit less. A lot will depend on the business and employment recovery measures and results. If Labour do well with that they have to be warm favourites, with or without NZF or the Greens. If not, it could get very close.

  16. Promoting rumours (or mischief) of internal polls being on supposedly credible blogs is a lowering of standards.

    The incumbent lead party in Government doing a very good job handling the biggest crisis in decades has a distinct advantage with an election later in the year.

    National will struggle to be seen, which is a bit ironic given that Bridges has shown more good leadership qualities in the last week than the rest of his time as National leader.

    NZ First are largely sidelined too. Any perception that Ardern was a front for the real leader Peters has been dispelled (except at The BFD who are still busy shilling for NZ First).

    Anyone remember the Green Party? If Labour gain support out of their handling of the Covid crisis Greens will be more likely to suffer a sub-threshold result whenever the election is.

    • ScottGN 16.1

      Hooten was apparently quoting the poll too Pete if that makes you feel better. Labour 49%, National 35%.

      • Pete George 16.1.1

        That sort of result wouldn't surprise me, but with no poll details and no recent poll history or any idea of trends, and in an extraordinary period, it means less than a fully disclosed and published poll with history in more normal times.

        It would simply be a snapshot in voter sentiment – and event that could be distorted, with an unusually large proportion of the population at home, able to be contacted, and with time to bother responding to a poll. So the sample may not be typical of recent samples.

        If Ardern and Robertson continue to dominate the news and continue to do a good job dealing with COvid then I think they will get medium term benefits in the polls.

        But a week of bad Covid news, for example if there's a jump in deaths, or a jump in cases which prompts a return to Level 4 restrictions, could impact quite a bit on a poll if the polling is done at the time or just afterwards.

        Polls are even less reliable than usual in times like this.

    • In Vino 16.2

      You fail to acknowledge the argument that a good 5+% of the population appreciate the overriding importance of environmental issues, and see you as foolish in holding your priorities. These people will not stop voting Green, however wishfully you may hope.

      Greens will break 5%, and not even Labour (who have done more for Winston than the Greens, with their not exactly brilliant environmental record) will be able to attract those votes away from the Greens. Beyond your understanding?

  17. Barfly 17

    Promoting rumours (or mischief) of the demise of NZ First and the Green Party being on supposedly credible blogs is a lowering of standards.

    Shame on you Mr George

    • If the current semi-secret poll is anywhere near accurate both NZF and Greens are in the threshold danger zone. Allowing for margin of error and rounding (not revealed) they could be above or below by a % or so.

      That's not a rumour, that's been reality for both parties since the last election.

      In the only two published polls this year Greens were on 5.6 and 5 (trending down), and NZ First were on 3.6 and 3.3.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2020_New_Zealand_general_election

      • Barfly 17.1.1

        You are pretending ignorance of NZFirst's electoral history.and when was the last time the Greens didn't make it – under MMP? You appear quite desperate to be relevant – all you succeed in is being annoying…but I suppose then at least you have that glow of "being noticed".

        • Pete George 17.1.1.1

          I'm not pretending anything, I'm looking at facts and polls.

          Are you aware that the last time NZ First was in Government they ended the term losing their only electorate (Tauranga) and failing to make the threshold? And coincidentally they also had to deal with donations controversy during 2008, a bit like this year.

          The Greens have made the threshold each election since 1999, but had a real scare last election and dropped from 10.7% (2014) to 6.3%.

          They've never faced an election while in Government, and support parties have often lost support when in Government. On 14 February the Green Party Campaign Director sent out an email that said:

          I won’t lie, the last two polls aren’t looking good for us. Last night’s poll marks the second in a row that indicate we are at risk of falling below the 5% threshold.

          We always knew this election would be a challenge. No minor party in the history of Aotearoa has ever entered government and then returned to parliament at the next election

          So the Greens themselves have obvious concerns about making the threshold for the second election in a row. They now have the added challenge of getting publicity and being noticed in the shadow of Ardern and her Covid efforts.

          • observer 17.1.1.1.1

            " No minor party in the history of Aotearoa has ever entered government and then returned to parliament at the next election… "

            That isn't true, although we'd need to see the full context to know if it means what it says.

            Of course the Greens will be concerned, but they have never fallen below 5% (in all 7 elections they have fought) and they've survived vote-shedding meltdowns like Corngate and the Metiria Turei story. And there's clearly a space on Labour's left (CGT, roads, climate change etc).

            So I know where my money's going.

            • Pete George 17.1.1.1.1.1

              I hope Greens do get back in and suspect they probably will, but it will be a challenge for them to be seen above the Covid noise.

              They also run a risk if they pick up on some suggestions and propose using the Covid disruption as a reason to redesign the whole economic and social system.

              I think that most people see the need for doing it touch for a while to survive Covid, but normally most people are averse to major changes to their lives. If things are generally ok they prefer not to take risks.

          • Incognito 17.1.1.1.2

            They [the Greens] now have the added challenge of getting publicity and being noticed in the shadow of Ardern and her Covid efforts.

            A silver lining of the pandemic response is the positive effects already seen and noticeable on the environment and wildlife in NZ. Something that not even Greta could accomplish. It is a once in many lifetimes opportunity to do something about us burning the candle at both ends. It gives the Greens an ideal platform to campaign on rather than on the economy and social welfare.

            • Pete George 17.1.1.1.2.1

              Time will tell whether Greens capitalise on that (there's a lot of general support for improving the environment) without overreaching and scaring people off.

              If they're working on it they must be doing it quietly. Nothing on their media News page since 25 March.

              • Incognito

                This is not to you personally, but many people say they want to improve the environment but not many want to actually do something about it.

                I can never understand why people are “scared” of the Greens. What bad things have they ever done to the people to deserve this? Have they sold State-owned assets? Have the raised taxes of GST? Did they send troops to overseas warzones? It beats me …

                Here’s a recent opinion piece from Chlöe Swarbrick that you might enjoy reading: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/120807860/opinion–the-way-things-were-thats-no-longer-our-future

                Not everything happens on or through party websites, that’s more National’s MO 😉

                • KJT

                  To much propaganda memes in the media, directed at the Greens.

                  A lot of it below the radar, but just ask your average cocky.

                  You'll get screeds of moans about, "anti farmer" Greens. Much of it about environmental sustainability and animal rights issues, that the Greens would agree with, but were a result of consumer demand and boycotts of irresponsible farm products. Imposed largely by Fonterra. It was the big bad Greens, who pushed for subsidies for them to meet requirements.

  18. Siobhan 18

    I guess Labour need to get this election done and dusted rather quickly..as Winston Churchill found out in the 1945 election..being a great leader in a crisis doesn't necessarily carry through for the rebuild.

    Jacinda and co. have done a good job of handling this crisis…the question is..what happens now..what happens to the unemployed, the individuals and businesses drowning in rent debt, the already massive backlog of medical issues being even further postponed, THE HOUSING MARKET FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

    The Centrists are, quite safely, relying on National being devoid of vision, but I still suspect, come time to vote, the split will still be very much 50/50..and if the election is in the colder months, Winstons lot may be confined to their living rooms..then what?

    • Sanctuary 18.1

      National's result will be worse than their polling, I know several National voters who would never vote Labour but are not going to vote for Simon or against Jacinda in 2020.

      There is a widespread feeling amongst National supporters that she deserves a second term based on her leadership, so they will stay at home and wait and see who replaces Bridges.

      • Peter 18.1.1

        That's several off the total then. 1,152,068 to go!

        • alwyn 18.1.1.1

          No, no. He must know at least a hundred thousand of them, at least.

          After all, anyone who knows "There is a widespread feeling amongst National supporters" must either be a leading figure in the party or possibly does their polling.

          Perhaps he (or she) can enlighten us on how he comes to know so much about so many people that he can say such an amazing thing?

          I suppose me could be Mark Zuckerberg or perhaps he is General Paul M Nakasone.

      • Stunned Mullet 18.1.2

        'I know several National voters who would never vote Labour but are not going to vote for Simon or against Jacinda in 2020.'

        Swing voters will also be heavily influenced by their economic circumstances between now and the election – including what the budget looks like.

      • Pete George 18.1.3

        "There is a widespread feeling amongst National supporters"

        How do you know this? Sounds to me like you've made it up.

        • observer 18.1.3.1

          It is supported by pre-Covid19 polling.

          When asked specifically about Ardern (NOT Labour), the respondents consistently gave her over 60% approval. Here's the last such survey before the virus/lockdown:

          63% approved of PM's performance

          That's more indicative than an inflated number from the lockdown period. Similar results in late 2019.

          Obviously that includes a sizeable chunk of National's support. Also obviously, some of those will still end up voting National, despite their preference for Ardern over Bridges.

          But historical precedent strongly suggests that an incumbent with such crossover support will keep enough of those "non-Labour" voters in the election, or (as Sanctuary says) they will be looking at non-National options.

          • Barfly 18.1.3.1.1

            +1

          • Pete George 18.1.3.1.2

            But as the polls also show, support for Ardern is not the same as support for Labour, and it's the party vote that's critical.

            If it looks like Labour have a chance of getting back in but are reliant on NZF that could easily deter people who like Ardern from voting for a Labour+NZF government.

            A popular leader can help lift a party vote, but the Labour Cabinet and caucus are not exactly brimming with talent.

            • observer 18.1.3.1.2.1

              "support for Ardern is not the same as support for Labour, and it's the party vote that's critical."

              *sigh*

              You don't say? Thanks for explaining it. Never mind that I was on step 3 and 4 of discussing voter behaviour, we can always go back to step 1.

              Could you just read what people say, Pete? Honestly, that's all I'm asking.

          • alwyn 18.1.3.1.3

            "But historical precedent strongly suggests".

            I suppose that explains why National had 82 seats after the 2014 election and Labour had 14.

            After all, in a Herald/Digi poll preferred PM poll over the period 21-27 August 2014 John Key had a 67.8% figure while David Cunliffe was on 11.6% .

            Now what historical precedent are you relying on?

            • observer 18.1.3.1.3.1

              The very same election you cite. It's a good example. For the reasons I gave.

              • alwyn

                You mean National really did get the seats to match their leader's popularity? And Labour did the same?

                Amazing. I never realised that National were more than 2/3 of the House.

                • observer

                  I'm not here to teach reading comprehension for beginners. The word "enough" is not "all" or "most". I don't know how much simpler that could be.

                  Read Sanctuary's original point. Read my further comment at 2.19 pm. If you cannot understand basic English, then …

                  People Big Like Leader, Get Many Big Votey Votey From People Not Like Party Party. People Not Like Leader, Party Party Not Get Big Votey Votey.

                  • alwyn

                    Oh dear. I suspect that there was a shortage of a sense of humour when he went down the assembly line.

            • In Vino 18.1.3.1.3.2

              As your heroic leader John Key said about scientists – for every precedent you find, I can find another that says the opposite… or something like that.

              • alwyn

                Not my hero mate.

                I thought he did a good job with the GFC but he wasn't my "hero" as you appear to think. He was a nicer person than his predecessor but not any more competent. Life was rather more pleasant and much less bitterly tribal when he was in Premier House.

                By far the best PM we have had in my lifetime was Keith Holyoake. Nobody else was even close. Nobody at all.

                • KJT

                  Kiwi Keith, you “Lefty”.

                  • alwyn

                    Well Keith Jacka formally. I never did understand where his second name came from.

                    I heard him described by Henry Lang, who was Secretary of the Treasury during the last 3 years of Holyoake's term as being the smartest man in New Zealand. I met Holyoake a few times but that was all. He was definitely well above my pay grade.

                    And all from a man whose formal education finished at the age of 12. Rather like Kirk and Moore of course. They were 13 and 14 when they left school weren't they?

  19. Herodotus 19

    We progress to level 3 then 2 over the next month or so, then the govt needs to implement a recovery program. So how does campaigning for a Sept election fit into this ?

    Anyone arguing for the Sept election date to stand is placing political gain and extreme small mindedness ahead of this country best interests.

    • "We progress to level 3 then 2 over the next month or so"

      Very optimistic I think. The preparations for learning from home and Chris Hipkins saying schools are unlikely to reopen after the 4 week lockdown period suggests the MoE is preparing for longer restrictions.

      And there's a big risk that if the levels and restrictions drop too quickly we will have a bounce of cases and will have to go up the levels again.

    • Treetop 19.2

      Strongly agree your last sentence.

    • observer 19.3

      " Anyone arguing for the Sept election date to stand is placing political gain and extreme small mindedness ahead of this country best interests."

      Nonsense.

      There will be an election in the USA in November. If a country with (touch wood) only a few deaths can't hold an election, nobody can, anywhere.

      • Herodotus 19.3.1

        You want to compare NZ to US in their actions ? I look forward for commentary that our PM should replicate what Trump is doing then ? If not.

        IMO the election should be delayed until we are thru this , say March 21 ? Just far enough away that we will be freed from too much electioneering over the Sumer season and NZ can have some foundation to recovery and can see this recovery in action !!!
        ps Should we stay with Sept – there is a very strong likelihood we will be left with 3 parties in parliament – and Long term that a position that we really want ?? IMO No

        • observer 19.3.1.1

          The last point is a long-term concern but not relevant to deciding an election date.

          Essentially you are calling for Parliament (not the government) to extend the term, because you are (as I understand) saying that an election in 5 or 7 months (Sept or Nov) is not possible, but one in 11 months (Mar 2021) might be.

          That is not based on any scientific evidence, it is a guess. You, me and the world have no idea where we will stand on those dates.

          But again – you are really saying that democracy all over the world should be on hold, because of Covid19. No other nation is going to be better off than NZ. Maybe reflect on what that would mean. Riots and revolutions, I suspect.

          • Herodotus 19.3.1.1.1

            You don't think we need this government to have some time and opportunity to put into place initial support once we revert back to level 1 and the restrictions we are currently under?

            Then for us the voter to decide what course of recovery the country should take planning for our future and how the government facilitates this e.g. spends $$ for infrastructure both local and central, fast track projects etc.

            Plus what trade offs are we willing to take: Climate change, Environment, Economic etc.

            I am sure that there will be various opinions and direction NZ should take between different political parties as they

      • mpledger 19.3.2

        The republicans are wanting elections to be held because they know that if they suppress the vote (by keeping the sane at home) then they are more likely to win.

    • Gabby 19.4

      Well, doorknocking would be out. Odearhowsadnevermind.

  20. Treetop 20

    I would rather be cautious than hasty with the next election. There are 2 referendums.

    How many elections have been held in November, October and September in the last 50 years.

    I would need to go back to 1918 to find out how many elections were deferred and to find out if there was rioting in the streets.

    • "There are 2 referendums."

      What better time to research and discuss these than the present time and near future when most of us are at home with a lot more spare time than usual?

      Or deferring them and the election until we are busier than usual getting back up to speed in education or work or getting hour households and families back to normal ?

      [Fixed major disaster in user handle. Please pay attention before you submit your comment]

      • Incognito 20.1.1

        Pete, please check your user handle before you submit your comments. I’ve had to correct it twice now and I’m getting tired fingers 😉

      • Treetop 20.1.2

        If you discuss the referendums now you will not need to discuss them later on.

        The timing of the euthanasia referendum.

        Is there ever a good time?

        • In Vino 20.1.2.1

          Incoming pedantry alert: one referendum, two referenda.

          A bit like one phenomenon, two phenomena

          Not to mention one medium, two media

          and one datum, two data.

          Tiring to see people write ‘The media is’, or ‘the data is..’

          For a dedicated pedant, that is.

          • Treetop 20.1.2.1.1

            I did find out after I wrote referendum that referenda is the correct word.

            You knew what I meant, I hope.

            • In Vino 20.1.2.1.1.1

              Fine, Treetop – just the straw on the donkey's back (and I am the donkey) but as a teacher of language I do get annoyed at times by good arguments spoiled by semi-literacy. All the other examples I gave along with yours were the expression of my annoyance. I knew what you meant OK..

              • Treetop

                Great to get a lesson from you and I am not to old to learn.

                I better go and write down what you wrote so I do not forget.

                • In Vino

                  Ha! No too serious, I hope. We all seem to be easily forgetting much more important things than reasonably logical language…

          • Andre 20.1.2.1.2

            The referendum authorities apparently disagree with you.

            A referendum is a vote on a question. A referendum can be started by a citizen or by the government. If you are enrolled to vote, you can vote in a referendum. Referendums are an important part of New Zealand’s democracy. (my bold)

            https://elections.nz/elections-in-nz/what-is-a-referendum/

            Please don't shoot yourself now.

            • In Vino 20.1.2.1.2.1

              Yes, well elections,nz are hardly any kind of language authority. Their proof-readers are probably NCEA-qualified. (Quelle horreur.)

              shoot yourself is a bloody good video – thanks.

              Oh – when I was at school the correct plural of ‘octopus’ was ‘octopi’ (strong Latin influence in those days.) But then most English people started saying ‘octopuses’, so that appeared in the Oxford dictionaries from the 70s onwards. I guess the same is happening with ‘referendums’. It hurts us students of language, but I think we are a dying breed. By the way, how many of you wrongly think I should have written ‘we students of language’? Popular now but utterly wrong.
              This bloody isolation must be getting to me.

              • Andre

                I would have shot him long before he shot himself. HHH is an abbreviation, not an acronym.

            • Treetop 20.1.2.1.2.2

              Andre I have just seen your comment.

              My favourite saying is, six of one and half a dozen of the other.

              In English it means the same, give me 6 of it.

              Well a bakers dozen gets complicated as it is 13.

              Off topic and I have had a good laugh.

    • alwyn 20.2

      I can only think of 3 Parliaments since 1900 that lasted more than 3 years.

      1914 – 1919, 1931 – 1935 and 1938 – 1943. The first and third were because of the World Wars, the second was the Great Depression. I think all 3 reasons were rather more serious than coronavirus but delaying the planned 1934 election probably meant more harm for New Zealand in the long run.

  21. cricklewood 21

    Well I think there are two ways this can go.

    1. Lock down is successful and the virus effectively eliminated from NZ and we get back to 'Normal' in which case it's Labour in a landslide.

    2. Lock down is lifted earlier than it should due to pressure from business and or NZ First and the virus gets a solid foothold again resulting in another lock down or many infections in which case I suspect Labour will get buried at the next election.

    A fine line to walk and lots of water to go under the bridge.

    • In Vino 21.1

      Why would Labour get buried when anyone with any brains knows that National would have eased things even earlier and made an even bigger mess?

      Are you implying that not many people have brains?

      • Cricklewood 21.1.1

        Look at it this way, many thousands of people are under massive financial pressure already (car finance companies are sending out repo notices still for example)many mortgage holders have kicked the can down the road at this point.

        The reality is the full economic impact wont start to be felt until the 12 weeks of govt support to keep people employed finishes. Once that goes you will see redundancies soar and the recession deepens only as the mortgage holidays finish.

        If this pain that many will feel, doesnt prevent the wide spread of the virus anger will be wide spread.

        It's very important we see this quarantine period through including an extra week or two if that is what's needed.

    • Treetop 21.2

      1. is preferable apart from returning to normal. There is no more normal when it comes to tourism or overseas students because there is a high risk of the virus entering the country.

      Returning citizens and residents risk the virus entering the country, this needs to be managed well and from midnight it will be improved.

      "A fine line to walk and lots of water to go under the bridge"

      Early days yet.

  22. Wensleydale 22

    “I must say that even in the last couple of days I’ve just been wondering just how ready would the public be for a September 19 election and is it fair to them and fair to our whole democracy system to be asking them to go through that,” she said.

    Totally ready and it's entirely fair, but thanks for your faux concern, Paula. Looking forward to watching National's rusty jalopy plummet off a cliff as Bridges yaps out the driver's side window like a petrified fox terrier.

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