Why the rush?

Written By: - Date published: 10:54 am, September 4th, 2008 - 49 comments
Categories: election 2008, national, slippery - Tags:

We are, at a legal maximum, 72 days away from the election. The tradition is that the date is announced at least six weeks before election date (that’s the timeframe the Electoral Office needs). So, we would expect to have the election date announced by the start of October, no more than four weeks from now. Even if the election date were named today and it was the bare minimum six weeks from now, that would only be at most four weeks earlier than it could otherwise be. In other words, there’s no such thing as an early election at this stage; the range of potential dates is trivial, from mid-October to mid-November (and Oct 25, Nov 1, and Nov 15 are out, Labour Day weekend, All Blacks test, Canterury Anniversary weekend – leaves Oct 18 and Nov 8).

So why is National so desperate for the election to be as soon as possible? Probably for one or more of the following reasons:

– to try to shorten the remaining time Parliament has to sit. Maybe John is bored sitting in that uncomfortable chair while Gerry and Bill do all the talking or, maybe, they want to prevent the passage of the final pieces of legislation

– the later after October 1 the election is, the longer people will have been receiving Labour’s tax cuts and Working for Families increases.

– maybe Key just wants to be right. He’s been predicting an October 18 election to anyone who will listen and we’re now on the cusp of that becoming unfeasible timewise. Maybe, National has been so sure of that date they have been timing their policy releases and advertising around it and are worried that they will peak too soon if it’s at a later date.

– maybe it’s purely political. Calling for an early election is intended to make the Government appear unstable. It’s the same trick they tried in 2005. And, if Key can convince the public he forced Clark to go early, that will be a psychological advantage.

– or maybe they’re worried about the polls. They’re turning on National. A couple of the public polls have National falling to the high 40s (the internal numbers are rumoured to agree). That’s a danger zone. With only ACT as a partner for sure, Peter Dunne bringing just his own seat back, and the Maori Party anything but a sure bet, National needs to win 47% plus of the vote (less if there’s a large wasted vote, say, if NZF narrowly fails to reach 5%). There must be very real concern in the National camp that the gap will continue to narrow and National will find itself getting 42-45% of the vote and not able to govern. With the trend being down, National needs to get to the polls as soon as possible. The hollow charm is starting to wear off. The more time people have to wake up to National’s secret agenda, the less likely they are to win.

49 comments on “Why the rush?”

  1. East Wellington Superhero 1

    Lame. So lame.

  2. Benodic 2

    That’s a pretty lame comment Superman.

  3. Daveski 3

    Pot – Kettle – Black

    Why the rush – lead by your good self – then to demand National issue policy a couple of months ago?

    Rather than simply defending Labour’s position (albeit, your specialist topic), wouldn’t it be better to discuss the issue of whether the date for the election should be mandated to take the politics out of the issue (which underpins your post).

    Unless, of course, this had a chilling effect on the democratic process.

  4. outofbed 4

    It is looking 8th or 15th Nov which is good for me as I haven’t built the bloody billboard frames yet , probably should get on to it
    Is that a pile of corflute I see before me 🙂

  5. there is a mandated election date – it must be not later than november 15 by law. the decision to go earlier is the PM’s. it’s hard to see how we could keep the ability for early or snap elections to be called by the PM without also giving her the power to go a few weeks before the legal last date if she chooses… unless we went to the German model where there is a mandated date and an early election occurs only when the Government loses a confidence vote (before their last election, the sdp purposely lost a confidence vote to cause an early election)

  6. daveski. it’s obvious what my rush is in regard to see National’s policy, i believe it hurts themwith the electorate, and that’s been proven true so far. I’m asking what National’s rush for a election is and i suspect it’s the polls.

  7. John Stevens 7

    Why the rush, bc Labour are being propped up by the Corrupt Winston Peters. He should be in jail, not in Parliament.

  8. Better Dead Than Red 8

    So by the same token, why all the complaining about the Nats not getting their policies out? Elections should be on a fixed date.

    More- Politicans should be limited to two terms. Terms should be increased to four years. Number of politicians should be reduced to 50 max. Always amazes me how NZ families, struggling to put food on the table, petrol in the car, and meet the monthly mortgage, are content to have an enormous amount of money taken from their pay packet every week (before they even see it) to keep the edifice of government afloat. While we complain about the price of food, and petrol, isn’t it time we started complaining about the price of government?

    Changes like extending terms to four years, fixed election dates and reductions in the number of MPs are events that should naturally occur as more and more people awaken to the fact that a Rolls Royce government is something they just do not want to spend their hard earned money on any more.

  9. Daveski 9

    Let’s try a different track.

    Both sides are playing games. Let me guess what you post would be if the Nats were “holding off calling an election” … in your eyes, it would be further evidence of a secret agenda 🙂

    I’m president of a relatively smaller and on a national scale relatively unimportant sports body. Our AGM must be held by 1 November each year.

    We’ve scheduled it and informed key stakeholders eg auditor, lawyer etc. The more time

    Why wouldn’t you want to schedule it and announce as early as possible to give people the most notice unless you saw benefit in delaying your decision?

    I don’t see anywhere any justification for Labour’s refusal to set a date just condemnation for National pushing for an announcement. Strange

  10. appleboy 10

    Because the puiblic will see through key – the same one that denied knowing anything about the Bretehren spening a million..though we later saw tv news film of him meeting the Bretehren in his office!!! and he has the audacity to talk about integrity. The man is a creep.

  11. Lew 11

    John Stevens: Surely you’re not advocating that the rule of law be dispensed with?

    I do think the election date should be fixed barring a vote of no confidence. It’d simply obviate this whole sideshow. That said, I don’t see why everyone is surprised that the kids are calling for an early Christmas while the turkey isn’t.


    Captcha: `well campaign’. That’s in the imperative, folks. With a comma and a bang.

  12. i would support the pm naming a date earlier but i’m commenting on why national wants an earlier date.. big difference. maybe you could make it a legal requirement for the pm to name a date at least 3 months before the last legal date.

  13. IrishBill 13

    It won’t be the 15th of November. That’s Canterbury Anniversary weekend. It won’t be the 1st because there’s a Bledisloe cup match on that day and it won’t be October because they’ll want the tax cuts to have bedded in and there’s a lot of people out there who get paid fortnightly and monthly.

    I’m picking November 8 and I think Key wants to go early because he sees National’s lead eroding.

  14. Daveski 14

    That said, I don’t see why everyone is surprised that the kids are calling for an early Christmas while the turkey isn’t.

    Priceless 🙂

    SP – naturally, you are right in what you say but the whole this is a charade on both sides.

    I also agree with a 4 year cycle which may help allow governments to develop longer term strategies.

  15. Julie 15

    On the issue of the polls, Standardistas may be interested in these two posts which re-calculate a July 2005 an a July 2008 poll based on including the undecideds, which have been left out of the reportage:

    http://stupidinternetname.blogspot.com/2008/08/panzers-in-poll-land.html (for July 2008)

    http://stupidinternetname.blogspot.com/2008/09/sitting-in-dark.html (the July 2005 figures for comparison)

  16. Rakaia George 16

    Number 4. It’s good for the opposition to be seen to be setting the agenda. Next question.

  17. Tara 17

    More fundamentally .. that the run on finance companies, which recently extended to corporate heavyweights like AXA and AMP, could engulf other sectors of the economy, driving people to value security over an economy run by a glorified former screen jockey.

    However wins, in the US or NZ, will have to face some hard realities.

  18. gobsmacked 18

    Yes, the same old sideshow, every three years:

    1) PM has the advantage of naming the date

    2) Opposition leader demands a date be set

    3) If opposition leader becomes PM, see 1) and continue …


    If John Key wants to announce now that as soon as he becomes PM he will announce a fixed date 3 years in advance, good on him. But we all know he won’t, any more than his predecessors did. (When I say “we all”, obviously I mean everybody except the idiots in the media who seem incapable of pointing this out when they interview him).

  19. Swampy 19

    Well I am just an ordinary voter and I think that Labour are playing dumb games leaving it so late, no more than 2 months from the election, to make an announcement.

    I think that Labour is playing some very strange games, part of which is that they hope like hell that the Winston Peters thing will just blow over if they lie low.

    Labour hasn’t actually released any of their policy that I’m aware of.

    The only thing that the delay in election dates is doing is making it as difficult as possible for opposition parties to make arrangements, like bookings on election day, or indeed any arrangements regarding election timeframes. Labour is either very desperate or very arrogant if they regard that as worthwhile.

    The whole election campaign this year is an utter joke anyway because of the Electoral Finance Act, it all shows up Labour’s desperation to get re-elected.

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    Swampy, I think the least of Key’s problems is what night he needs to book out Dine. As an ‘ordinary voter’ how is this differing to any previous election, in your opinion?

    There are two viable dates for the election – what is the problem with not choosing one right now? Is John Key incapable of dancing to his own tune and needs Labour to hold his hand a wee bit?

    Aren’t you worried that the National party is thoroughly incapable of acting without a specific date – how will they manage in the real world if this shows their level of incompetence. “Oh god, what if I book the caterer for the 18th, and it’s the 8th. I might have to change the order. Shit, for a serial flip-flopper, you think Key would be happier this way.

    For Labour policy, look at what parliament is doing now, or refer to the budget, or any of the previous nine years worth of legislation that will not cease to have an impact on NZ subsequent to the election. For National’s, you tell them what you want and that’s what they’ll tell you that you’ll get. Wonder how that will work out.

  21. monkey-boy 21

    So to summarise – the calls by Key are a sinister plot by National to encourage the Government to declare an election date, and thus advantage National’s chances of winning the election?

    I guess you had to be there.

  22. gobsmacked 22

    “the calls by Key are a sinister plot by National to encourage the Government to declare an election date, and thus advantage National’s chances of winning the election?”

    The words “sinister plot” are your own fantasy. The rest is obvious, and just politics as usual.

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    Your faux-paranoia is becoming pretty boring, MB. Use of a political tactic needn’t be sinister; there’s nothing wrong with calling it for what it is.

  24. gobsmacked 24

    OK folks, let’s get an all-party, non-party agreement on the 2011 election date (yes, I know, the National-ACT-Maori government will have torn itself apart long before then, but that’s a different matter, decided by a vote of confidence).

    We want a fixed date, so let’s pick one.

    There’s the Rugby World Cup from September 10 to October 22, 2011. Ideally, the PM (Bill English) would want to hold the election immediately after the All Blacks have won it. But not after they’ve lost to France in the semi final. Knowing the ABs, that’s too big a gamble.

    Having the election campaign coincide with the Rugby World Cup would be a mess. Perhaps good for an incumbent government (low key campaign, less news coverage) but a big call 3 years in advance.

    So maybe late November or early December, 2011. Any further submissions?

  25. Haha! Monkey-Boy is in need of a tinfoil hat. I hope you’ve got an authorisation on that hat, MB because otherwise the EFA gestapo might come visit you in the night.

    Actually they probably already do. Perhaps you should just take your olanzapine instead…

  26. Swampy 26

    The election date announcement farce by Labour is the latest in a whole string of games being played by the administration which is staring down the barrel of an election loss. It’s been a very bad term for Labour.

  27. John Stevens 27

    See the electroal comission is looking at the Peters farce now. Has Winnie got the get out of jail free card, aka the Labour Party Card, Prima Facie but not in the public (Labour) interest to prosecute.

  28. monkey-boy 28

    ‘fantasy’ ‘faux-paranoia’ ‘tinfoil hat’ Wow you guys sure shot me out of the water that time. Why do you have to let yourselves down with such insulting attitudes – unless, perhaps I hit a nerve??

    Let’s face it, Labour will have to go early anyway, because they are in a race against time to quash the privileges committee if they are to ‘exonerate’ Winston and hopefully rely on him to prop up their corrupt regime …. again. I wonder how much they will sell the country out for this time?

  29. gobsmacked 29

    If you debate what people say, you will get a respectful response. If you make things up, you don’t.

  30. Phil 30

    “November 1 is out because of the AB’s playing”

    The game is being played in Hong Kong and will be televised at roughly midnight NZTime, therefore not likely to obstruct that day as a possibility for an election.

    If the election is on November 8, that’s two days AFTER publication of our unemployment rate for the September quarter. The september quarter is traditionally ‘bad’ as it has a big negative seasonal impact.

    My pick is still Nov 1st, despite the unfortunate “111” parallel…

  31. lprent 31

    The point about elections is that they are called by either the government or by the GG.

    Daft posturing leaders of the opposition don’t get a say. This is a good thing otherwise all of leaders of parties could have a say.

    Now the fact that John Key is so in love with his fantasy (that he is the PM in waiting) is completely irrelevant. He isn’t, and for all of his typical moaning and whining, is unlikely to be so.

  32. monkey-boy 32

    gobsmacked – which part? I think if you look through some of the other posts my initial statement was pretty innocuous. If that is all it takes for the like of some to suggest I am suffering from a mental illness, it speaks volumes about their own lack of compassion for mentally ill, and also falls pretty short of the ‘debate what people say’ litmus test. I would suggest. Similarly, ‘the ‘faux-paranoia’ is a direct quote from my own blog rather ineptly turned on me by Matthew. Actually the only one of you who made any sense, and didn’t turn the thing into a personality issue was you, gobby. My reference to ‘sinister’ was just based on my own observations that quite often postings about John Key tend to be part of a consistent attempt to suggest he is incapable of being trusted, or incapable of digesting detail. Check the post:
    “Maybe John is bored sitting in that uncomfortable chair while Gerry and Bill do all the talking ”
    “It’s the same trick they tried in 2005. And, if Key can convince the public he forced Clark to go early, that will be a psychological advantage.”
    “The hollow charm is starting to wear off. The more time people have to wake up to National’s secret agenda, the less likely they are to win.”
    So maybe my use of ‘sinister’ wasn’t so out there after all. Looks like it’s I’m not the only one who needs a tinfoil hat…

  33. unless, perhaps I hit a nerve

    Monkey boy you couldn’t hit your big fat mum on the arse with a broom from two paces but I love your desperately delusional attempts to turn the fact we think you’re a dick into a claim you are keeping it too real for us to bear.

    Mate? I hate to break it to you but you get the piss taken out of you because you’re a dick, certainly not because of your “sharp” wit…

  34. Tane 34

    Sod, settle down eh?

  35. Irish Bill said “It won’t be the 15th of November. That’s Canterbury Anniversary weekend. It won’t be the 1st because there’s a Bledisloe cup match on that day and it won’t be October because they’ll want the tax cuts to have bedded in and there’s a lot of people out there who get paid fortnightly and monthly.

    I’m picking November 8 and I think Key wants to go early because he sees National’s lead eroding.”

    It won’t be November 8th IMHO, as that is just a couple of days after the US Presidential election, and if the US is in the mood for change, the PM might not want that sentiment to spread down-under!

    My pick is till October 18th – tax cuts will have kicked in by then, but punters will not have had time to realise that the purchasing power of said tax cuts is not great. And somehow I think that by then, National’s lead will be inflating, not eroding, as people reflect on the events of the last couple of weeks, not the least of which is that the Prime Minister knew, or at the very least strongly suspected that one of her Ministers had misled her for six months.

    And just for the record, you can’t have it both ways – you guys have constantly called for National to release policy; now you are saying that there’s no need for the PM to announce the election date yet. At best that is a double standard – if I was a real cynic, I’d suggest you were being (unparliamentary word starting with “H” deleted by author)

  36. Vanilla Eis 36

    IV2: Releasing policy and announcing an election date aren’t comparable.

    We know that there is going to be an election – and that it has to be by mid-November at the latest.

    We don’t know that there is going to be any policy, and National aren’t doing anything to change that perception.

    Guess which one we want clarified?

    captcha: small bayonet (you’d be amazed at how much damage you can do with a small prick)

  37. monkey-boy 37

    So we covered ‘mental illness’ and now we get onto close family. It’s refreshing to see that some don’t even make a pretence of being witty and cut straight to insulting. Even if the calibre of the insults are only effective at year 10.

    I’m hurt.

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    Saying your faux paranoia is boring isn’t making it a personality issue MB. Maybe I’m ADHD, did you think about that? Kids can be so cruel. Bad monkey.

    Seriously, though, using a false-facts summary to try and link this thread with previous comments about National’s sinister tendencies was boring. When we’re accusing National of being sinister, you’ll know about it. This isn’t one of those times.

    And to link that stuff with a comment about people’s lack of compassion for mental illness somewhat reinforces ‘sod’s call – you’re better than that, or so I thought. I was debating what you said. You said it was ‘sinister’, I pointed that people have been accused of faux paranoia for far less by none other than yourself. Stick to the issue and leave the personal stuff out, if you don’t mind.

    Wasn’t it you pretending to lecture me about chinese people having a public argument and the loser was the one who fired the first (physical) shot? I’m tempted to demand a Jamiesons, but a) there’s better stuff around and b) I’d look like a knob.

  39. Even if the calibre of the insults are only effective at year 10.

    I’m pitching them to you MB. Y’know – so you geddit? If you want to engage in a more intellectual discourse I’ll school you smarter too.

    Oh and your mum is fat. So very fat.

  40. Wondering 40

    daveski. it’s obvious what my rush is in regard to see National’s policy,

    You must get quite annoyed then when you compare what national has released with what Labour has….


    Not a single policy since 2005.

    [that’s moronic. the labour party is the bulk of the Government, it releases a more or less constant stream of policy through the ministries. on top of that there will be election policies. But it also misses the point – we need to know National’s policies to know what it basically stands for because every time National change leader it says it is a new beast, cuts links with the failed past – so we have to find out what it stands for this time. Other parties don’t do that – at drinking liberally last night, for example, Russel Norman was asked about the Greens’ drugs policy and he said it remained the same as 2005, as you would expect – the objectives of that policy have not been met and the Greens are still the Greens so they stand for the same things they did 3 years ago. With National, we just don’t know, they spent over a ear just dropping Brash era policies, so asking what they had to replace them is valid question. SP]

  41. monkey-boy 41

    a) you wouldn’t get one – Overall I preferred ‘sod’s response – at least it wasn’t pretentious.
    b) Too late.

  42. Matthew Pilott 42

    Year 10 strikes again, eh, MB? At least we can all conceed one point of ‘sods, I’ll leave you to consider which. No prizes.

    I guess this is the bit where you try to pretend it was all a supremely witty parody or something similar (except I guess you can’t now that I’ve said it). As said before – boring…

    P.s. dictionary required.

  43. Swampy 43

    There are policies on the Labour website from 2005. They obviously published them on their website that year.

    The whole point of having a website is to advertise yourself. I don’t buy it at all that the reason Labour hasn’t got any policy there is because they have released it on the Beehive site. People aren’t going to go to look at the Beehive site, and in 2005 Labour put the policy on their website.

    Whale posted a letter on his blog in which some person allegedly working for Labour allegedly said the policies would not be released until “closer to the election”.

    Your logic should actually be the same for all parties. We don’t know what new policy Labour is proposing to implement over the next three years, unless anyone is prepared to collate a zillion press releases all over the place. There was a row a few weeks ago over a speech on the Beehive website that was pulled, people cited that that must be an example of Labour’s policy.

  44. monkey-boy 44

    Matthew – see b). Seriously, though, why are you wasting your time on this shit?

  45. Wondering 45

    Looks like I hit a nerve. Mind you, it is classic Standard/Labour though isnt it, attack the messenger and make out somehow the rules only apply to your opponent and not your team.

    [lprent: It could also be because you’re an idiot – you certainly prove it by attributing a mind to a program (or for that matter to a social organisation like a political party). It shows me that you haven’t bothered to read the About/Policy, which I regard as a act of terminal stupidity.

    Read the About and Policy because if I see you acting like a idiotic moron around here then I’ll start banning you. Always learn the attributes of a site before risking martyrdom.

    Hah – I see SP has already had a go at you. Not bad for the second and third messages on the site. I’ll pick this one as being dead troll in few messages. ]

  46. Matthew Pilott 46

    MB, I could ask you much the same with every single post you write, given that it is presented as a serious comment and almost invariably resoves to “you’re being faux-paranoid”, “you can’t handle what I’m saying to you” or “it was parody”.

    But in short, it amuses me to see what you’ll come up with next. You have a very unique way of commenting and I enjoy reading what you have to say and how you approach it.

  47. Wondering 47

    Wow, ask what the Labour Parties election policies are and look what happens.

    So damn sad

  48. randal 48

    in the dompost this morning the only thing approaching a reason for John Keys desire for an early election was his use of the adverb absolutely. well an adverb is no reason whatsoever for an election and I am absolutely sure of that. It is becoming increasingly plain that the national party have no manifesto or moral presence or in fact absolutely any reason to occupy the treasury benches whatsoever.

  49. Felix 49

    “you’re being faux-paranoid’,
    “you can’t handle what I’m saying to you’
    “it was parody’

    Don’t forget “I’m drunk”

    Yep, he pulls that old chestnut too.

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