Care to spare a thought for how Phil Goff might be feeling this morning?
On second thoughts, forget about it. Let’s get used to the idea that in a few months he will be political dog tucker.
Alf confidently asserts this on the strength of news that the National government is trouncing Labour, according to the latest Horizon poll.
National has 10.2% more support than Phil Goff’s Labour, and is continuing to widen the gap, with its support up 2.2% since May against a 0.9% rise for Labour.
The only surprise there is that Labour was able to lift its support at all after dishing up that capital gains tax pap.
True, the buggers at Stuff are trying to tell us it’s a different story when coalition support is tallied.
Among those who know who they would vote for if an election was held tomorrow, as well as undecideds who express a party preference, the governing National, Act, Maori Party, United Future coalition would secure 44.4% support.
A Labour, Green, New Zealand First, Progressives coalition is only marginally behind at 44.3%, with 7.6% remaining undecided.
But Alf has a farmer mate who has a three-legged donkey, and if he were a betting man (which he is not) he would put more money on the donkey winning the Wellington Cup than he would put on Goff being able to stitch that bunch togehter into an effective and lasting coalition.
Oh, and let’s check out the Maori vote.
Hone Harawira’s Mana Party recorded 1.9% support – down from 2.9% in May, and the Maori Party 0.7% – down from 1.2%.
Then there’s Brash’s mob and the Dunne Deal party.
Act and United Future are both polling below the 5% threshold to guarantee list seats, so would need to win an electorate to return to the Beehive.
So the deals being done in high-profile seats such as Ohariu and Epsom will be critical to the next government. Ohariu, in Wellington, is held by United Future’s Peter Dunne, while Epsom, in Auckland, is being vacated by Act’s Rodney Hide and will be contested by former Auckland mayor John Banks.
It’s no secret that National wants Dunne returned in Ohariu.
According to Stuff, our candidate – the splendid Katrina Shanks – had a momentary rush of blood to the head and said she would fight hard to win the seat.
Nah. That’s not the game plan.
She is sure to have been reminded of her running orders since that little lapse, and her running orders are a bit like those given by Formula One teams to their drivers.
Alf’s constituents will recall how Mark Webber ignored instructions to obey orders from team chief Christian Horner four times during the closing stages of the British Grand P:rix race as he challenged Vettel.
Mind you, Webber is a bloody Australian and therefore genetically conditioned to be stroppy.
In Epsom, we have gone out to ensure John Banks wins the seat – despite disquiet among National members who agitated for a strong candidate to stand and go for broke after Rodney Hide bowed out.
Last week we gave the candidacy to a good team player, Paul Goldsmith, who won’t want to show he is the better politician by trying to overtake Banks.
As the media quickly discerned, we picked a bloke who has strong ties to Banks and to Act leaderDon Brash, having penned biographies on both men.
Key said in April that his party would take a similar line in Ohariu and Epsom, an indication National would focus on the party vote, and send a message to supporters to vote strategically for the minor party’s candidate.
Likewise in Ohariu, party president Peter Goodfellow has said National will run a strong party-vote campaign.
Yeah, Alf knows a lot people think he’s a bit of a tosser, and moreover that he is a tosser with a silly hair-do.
But our leaders reckon letting him win again is the smart way to go, if we we are to have a strong, second-term National-led government.
The only fly in that ointment – and in many other ointmens, come to think of it – is that The Greens and Labour have responded with an Ohariu deal of their own.
Green Party candidate Gareth Hughes says he will campaign for the party vote and encourage his supporters to vote for Labour’s Charles Chauvel, who labelled Dunne a National yes-man. United Future claims its polling has Dunne well ahead, a claim Labour makes for Chauvel.
Of course, this carry-on exposes one of the bits of nonsense about MMP: parties that win an electorate don’t have to pass the 5% threshold to get MPs into parliament.
We can expect fun and games.
At the last election Act got five seats with only 3.65% of the vote, but polling shows that if it loses in Epsom this year it will be gone.
Labour and the Greens could send Goldsmith to Wellington even though his party doesn’t want him.
Greens candidate David Hay said it was a “very odd thing in Epsom”.
“National has a candidate it doesn’t want [Goldsmith], to support a candidate it doesn’t want [Banks], to get someone else in that voters wouldn’t vote for [Brash].”
Hmm. When does the bar open so Alf can sit back with a nip and digest that assessment?