The biggest problem with political journalism in NZ is that we have MMP politics and a First Past the Post press gallery. At some point, someone is going to have to break it to them that despite their flawed landline opinion polls, David Cunliffe has a very good chance of becoming the next Prime Minister of NZ.
The lack of working knowledge many voters have of MMP paints a grim picture of an overwhelming victory to John Key.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
National won only a few thousand votes more in 2011 than they did in 2008, the reason their percentage soared was because of the lowest voter turn out in a century. If the opposition party’s can reach out and mobilise this time around they will lower that percentage considerably. This is one of the reasons why National are only polling 44% on iPredict.
With that context, there are a number of MMP challenges that seriously challenge a return to power for John Key.
John Key – Mr No Mates
Here’s a beer for you John, it’s a Speights. Speights No Mates. Sure Key will have the highest percentage on election night, but he might not have anyone to go into coalition with. If ACT and the Maori Party get eliminated this election, Key can’t form a majority with United Future. Even the threat of losing will force Key to consider throwing East Coast Bays for Colin Craig. That’s how desperate for mates Key will be.
This makes Annette Sykes winning in Waiariki so vital. The Maori Party will lose their other two seats but may poll 2% Party vote, if Flavell beats Annette, he’ll bring in 2 MPs on his coat tails.
If Labour and Green Epsom voters vote Paul Goldsmith, they end ACT out and stop them coat tailing in Jamie Whyte.
Cunliffe’s grand alliance strategy
NZ would be lucky to have a leader as intelligent and as smart as David Cunliffe to lead it, and the chances he will are far greater than currently predicted. Cunliffe may not be able to find co-operation within his own Caucus due to the ABCs, but the beauty of this strategy is that he creates that co-operation by a grand alliance with all the left and the political centre.
If the narrative that Key will romp home with a landslide remains unchallenged there will be a lot of very angry National Party voters come election night feeling cheated.