Short answer – because of MMP, maybe?
Long answer – I think ACT were unfairly stung by Luxon, he hoovered up all the sub 5% Christian vote and the math shrunk ACTs gains. If you look at the urban vote, ACT have enormous dominance in the 18-59 male demo market and I just can’t see Christian Lex Luthor appealing to them.
The naked truth is Seymour is actually cool in comparison to National, when the media breathlessly reported that Clarke Gayford had given speaker phone advice on testing, National wagged its finger and Bishop intoned that deeply inappropriate where as Seymour cheered Clarke on for promoting RATs!
Likewise when Seymour handed Luxon his Christmas Card last month, it had Simon Bridges name crossed out on the front.
ACT are just cooler than National.
ACT will gain two huge culture war set pieces in the form of the Hate Speech legislation and the Royal Society kangaroo court for Woke heresy which ACT will be able to weaponize.
Luxon will also have trouble bringing back the Labour female voters that supported Helen Clark that Key seduced but Jacinda won back in 2020!
This 200000 block of 45+ year old women see in Jacinda an empowerment of female leadership that won’t feel at all tempted by a rich evangelical CEO Handmaid’s Tale level anti-abortionist.
That’s not to say Luxon will fail, there is a deep polarization of NZ society but he’s unlikely to get National above 35% on Election Day.
So while I’m 90% confident that Labour + Green will win in 2023, the unique attributes of MMP may come into play in Auckland that sneaks a victory to ACT & National.
I think it’s entirely plausible that National wins more electorate seats than Party vote in 2023 because I think a lot of reactionary male vote in Auckland may well vote National as the electorate vote but will party vote ACT.
I can see National winning back Auckland electorate seats while losing party vote which will cause a huge overhang in our MMP election which will increase the size of the Parliament and make getting 51% far more difficult for Labour and the Greens.
MMP Overhang could be the deciding factor in a razor close 2023 election.
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