Evening Report’s editor Selwyn Manning joins FiveAA Australia’s Mark Aiston, Jane Reily and Dave Penberthy on the Breakfast show to deliver New Zealand Report. First up Cricket…
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The National-led Government is predicted to suffer a humiliating loss as voters go to the polls this weekend in a key rural by-election.
The Northland seat has been a National Party stronghold for decades but two significant polls in two days are predicting the Nationals candidate, Mark Osborne is 18 percentage points behind the wily New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters.
When it comes to politicians, Peters is as a shred as they come.
For three election cycles, Peters has been yearning to win an electorate. He and his party’s MPs won seats in Parliament as list MPs under New Zealand’s electoral Mixed Member Proportional voting system.
And due to scandals and arrogance, the Nationals have handed their conservative nemesis the Northland electorate on a plate.
Years of neglect have caused anger in the region.
The Nationals committed a fatal strategic mistake sending posses of suited and slick ‘flash Harry’ urban types up to the rural electorate to door knock the shakes and homesteads of Northland.
It seems voters have defined that as arrogant. And, the strategic blunders have caused rifts among the various factions inside the National Party. (For reference see: Evening Report’s analysis: State Of It – Factional Fractures In Evidence As National Loss In Northland Looms)
But the real reason for the Nationals’ demise, is due to the resignation of the former MP for this seat. Mike Sabin, a former Police officer, was forced to resign after Police announced there was a prima facie case for him to defend in the courts. Details of the type of assault alleged have been suppressed by the Courts.
If Winston Peters does win on Saturday, that will cool the Government’s legislative agenda and force it to present to the House more centrist, less neoliberal right bills.
The Government can still be assured of confidence and supply support from the United Future and Maori Parties, but the power swings into their more moderate brands of politics, and leaves the ACT Party on the far right economically, as irrelevant.