° °
  • Firstline - TV3 New Zealand

    Firstline

    Weekdays 6am

  • 3 News - TV3 New Zealand

    3 News

    Nightly 6pm

  • Campbell Live - TV3 New Zealand

    Campbell Live

    Weekdays 7pm

  • 3rd Degree - TV3 New Zealand

    3rd Degree

    Wednesdays 8.30pm

  • Paul Henry - TV3 New Zealand

    Paul Henry

    Returning to mornings in 2015

  • Three 60 - TV3 New Zealand

    Three 60

    Sundays 9.30am

  • The Nation - TV3 New Zealand

    The Nation

    Sat 9:30am / Sun 10am

Key still holds all the cards

Monday 14 May 2012 11:09 a.m.

Key is looking quite up-for-it and motivated at the moment - I've heard him say on a number of occasions recently that he wants to

Key is looking quite up-for-it and motivated at the moment - I've heard him say on a number of occasions recently that he wants to "get stuff done" (pic: file/Victoria Evans)

By Patrick Gower

There's a lot of talk around the shop that John Key has "got them mid-term blues".

Apparently the typewriters have been telling their interviewers that all the sideshows are wearing the Prime Minister down and are symbolic of some great sea-change.

Well, in my experience, the typewriter is often wrong.

It's always best to stick to the facts, and to steal a phrase from the Prime Minister, let's "look at the counter-factual here".

JOHN KEY OWNS THE MIDDLE GROUND

Key has 49.8 percent in the latest 3 News Reid Research poll. That means John Key owns the centre voter. Historically, this is where elections are won and lost. So until something serious changes here - no worries.

SIDE-SHOWS DON'T ALWAYS MAKE A CIRCUS

Can't see too many centre voters changing their vote because the MFAT reforms were bungled. Nor can I see too many voters switching camps because Nick Smith resigned 12 hours later than he should have.

OPPOSITION LEADER STRUGGLING TO MAKE AN IMPACT

Getting the middle ground back is David Shearer's job. At the moment he is focussed on stopping his rival David Cunliffe from going on The Nation to be interviewed - great news for Key.

OPPOSITION IS A MESS, PART I

Could Labour, the Greens and NZ First really work together as a Government? Very unusual trio. Nobody has ever been able to explain just how this could work to me. This question will only get asked more and more over the next two-and-a-half years - no answers on the horizon.

OPPOSITION IS A MESS, PART II

The Labour/Greens/NZ First troika would likely rely on Labour leading the Government despite not having the most votes. Is the New Zealand public ready for this? Er, no. In fact, they probably won't want a bar of it. Lot of work to do to persuade the public of this.

COMETH THE CONSERVATIVES

Colin Craig has arrived and while he comes with his own problems, the benefits outweigh the negatives. No more wasted vote out on the far right. The chance even that the Conservatives can sneak in and nab some of the Pacific vote off Labour. What's not to like from Key's perspective? OK, he may put the frighteners up some centre voters - but all minor parties do this. Brand Key should technically be able to overcome this.

WINSTON HAS TORY BLOOD

So it may be that Winston Peters holds the balance of power. Even though he wants to teach Key a lesson, Winston probably doesn't want his last ride in Government to be in the unworkable troika. He has Tory blood in his veins - and getting Key to come to him will be enough of a victory for the old stager. I predict Winston abstaining on confidence and supply in exchange for policy gains - both sides save face. No doubt National/NZ First will work together on a couple of issues this term to warm up to it.

KEY AND WINSTON AGREE ON KEEPING RETIREMENT AGE AT 65

Labour wants to raise the retirement age. Winston would never go into or support a Government that did that, so the much-pilloried "I'll resign" call could turn out to be a political blessing for Key.

ACT HAMMERED

Things aren't looking that flash for ACT. This isn't particularly good news for Key, but the reality is it has happened two-and-a-half years out from the election. Plenty of time to start looking for other options, rather than an election year combustion. A lot of good people are still in ACT, such as ACT on Campus - maybe a rebuilt ACT or another vehicle will be up and running for 2017.

So all in all, while there's a bit to worry about, the counter-factual is that National is in a much stronger position than the Opposition.

I actually believe Key is looking quite up-for-it and motivated at the moment - I've heard him say on a number of occasions recently that he wants to "get stuff done".

And how much mileage have the Opposition made out of this? Basically zero.

The reality is that Key holds all the cards.

And maybe it's the Opposition that should have those mid-term blues.

Others Are Watching

comments powered by Disqus

Trending

>
;