ELECTION DATE: July 30 holds, Sept. shortens
The NBR poll has poured ice water over Labour's sleep walk. The budget is supposed to be the manifesto and campaign platform that silences the critics, rewards it's key constituency targets and boldly and proudly signals the way ahead. The opposite has occured. Labour's conceded the tax bracket point without doing anything meaningful about it, it does not reward the groups they need, shows no vision or direction and has had no follow-up. Worst still the fawning media are now about to turn on Labour. All of the outrageous shenanigans that they colluded to sweep under the carpet and down-played in the past will be dredged up and used against them as National builds it's case that they would make a more credible government.
I'm not the only one who can't work out why Labour has fumbled so badly on the basics of political management. Are they really that arrogant? And if they are is it too late for them to avoid a hammering?
Now that the time of an "early" election has almost passed (sorry Keith Ng - the politics lecturer is the first punter to be eliminated having guessed 2 July) there are two remaining scenarios (see the Herald's analysis here and DPF's here):
Head the Nats off at the pass. Get in before the speeding limo case reaches court. Lions tour distracts country for first three weeks of campaign depriving opposition of crucial weekend headlines - NZ win will be fresh in public mind. Nats will not have enough time to solidify momentum of change. Winter campaign will punish lazy Nats. Less time for Maori Party to entrench support at flax-roots level. Leaving it later makes the date more predictable for the opposition and thus the advantage of being able to set the date in the first place will be lost. Reserve Bank unlikely to raise interest rates before August (if at all).
20 Aug./10 or 17 Sept.:
Nats will have run out of steam having released all policy and lost initiative. Winston will run out of Iraqis. Greens will run out of oil. Act will run out money. UF will run out of prayers. Labour will have enough time to think of some policies.
The underlying assumption behind the odds table below is not just the expression of professional, party and other punters' opinions but on inherent assumptions of strategic advantage of calling an election early rather than later as the longer the lead time the greater the advantage accrues to the opposition and smaller parties as unknown factors and risks arise the longer the time window.
If 30 July is on then expect the announcement to be made at the post-Cabinet press conference of the 20th of June or at the weekend beforehand. The following day Parliament sits and the government will open up with both barrels over those three sitting days (as the next month no sitting days are scheduled at any rate).
Option 1: Date of the next New Zealand General Election.
Date.......Odds.......(Relevant event)...... Punters
9 July......99-1 (NZ v. Lions)
16 July.....12-1 Maori Party (Opotiki Branch Chairman)
23 July.....10-1 SageNZ(old), John Armstrong?, SundayNews
(3 years after last election)
30 July.....2-1 John Armstrong?,Adolf F, Dave, Jono,RodneyHide, AntarcticLemur
6 August...7-1 (NZ v. SA, Capetown)
13 August..7-1 (NZ v. Aust, Sydney)
20 August..5-1 TuataraLeft, Asher, Audrey Young
27 August..40-1 (NZ v. SA)
3 Sept......50-1 (NZ v. Aust) Berend deBoer
10 Sept.....14-1 Spanblather,Simon Pound, Berend deBoer, Kate
17 Sept.....12-1 Greg Stephens, Vernon Small?, Michael, Molesworth&Featherston, DavidPFarrar, SageNZ(new), AshleyClarkson, Phantasm.
24 Sept.....66-1 (School Holidays)
Bet closes: At start of statement from Prime Minister or Governor-General (whichever is first) confirming [Option 1 event] has been set.
Bet paid: "Writ day." (Governor-General orders election to be held).
All odds subject to change. No refunds.
NB: Centrebet in Australia will take real wagers on our election result soon... so they say. I was picking they will set no more than $1.30 for Labour forming the next government but after the budget I'm not so sure. Will post their odds when available.