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Saturday, June 04, 2005

ELECTION DATE: July 30 holds, Sept. shortens

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UPDATE:
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):

30 July:
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).
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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.

4 Comments:

At 5/6/05 11:31 am, Blogger Phantasmagoric Political Junkie said...

May I join the gathering crowd on 17 September?
And have you given any odds for the government changing the law and having an election after 24 September? (the clause for a three term Parliament is entrenched, but the clause which entrenches it is not. So it is a simple case of having to repeal the entrenching clause in one Act, then in the next change the term of Parliament to four or five years, jeez we need to fix our constitution up.)

 
At 5/6/05 3:15 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Phantasm:
The odds are 100,000-1 that Labour will convince another party(s) that the election should be delayed and actually pass the necessary statutes. Legislation (I believe) was passed during WW2 to delay the election (from '41 to '43?) so a global war in which NZ is in imminent danger of defeat is a fairly high hurdle as far as precedents go. But sitting at 100,001-1 would be a constitutional crisis whereby they refuse to hold an election.

Yes our colonial-era constitution is poked and if you go to the constitutional committee's website you can tell them what you think of it and what needs to be changed.

I have suggested (though not to the committee) that to keep some air of mystery, ceremony and randomness about the election timing that the Chief Justice sets the date by way of lot ie. drawing a date of a Saturday between early August and early December from out of a hat (or similar) at the start of the year's parliamentary session.

 
At 5/6/05 3:33 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Improved idea for election date:
Every MP puts their preferred date for an election (providing it is a Saturday and not a public holiday between 1 August and 10 December) into the hat (or similar, perhaps a pork barrel) and the Chief Justice can draw one out. That's a very transparent, public and politically inclusive method. The incoming government could establish this as a convention without the need to even pass a law.

The Greens, UF, NZ First or other party could demand that as part of a coalition deal and as a visible break with the "back-room scheming" of the past and a commitment to constitutional reform.

 
At 4/10/05 6:24 pm, Blogger Nosey said...

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