Election eve and all the country is looking at Chippy’s taught winces and those dreadful haunted, spooked eyes from last night’s final leaders’ debate. The same anxious, doomed, transfixed focus of impending mortality he has had for a few weeks (since Kiri’s epic self-destruction) had waned in the last couple of days as polls danced around giving him false hope from the Labour spin doctors. He seemed for a day or two to be optimistically reconciled to opposition facing a National-Act-NZF coalition clusterfuck that he wistfully hoped out loud would be a coalition KKKLuxonfuck. Then he could be a loser, but be right and a better person than the other guy. An empty virtue signal. His message couldn’t be clearer: you will be cursed with National if you don’t pity vote Labour. How appealing. Chippy was smug about that outcome evidently. Smug like only a Wellingtonian can be – the smugness of knowing your useless skinny white arse devoid of talent or ability or judgment can still pull six figures in Wellington no matter how badly you perform. But the flaming fields of Armageddo had returned to his petrified eyes again last night.
Was the angry ginger dweeb who looks like a maths teacher who was getting personal at every turn, going negative, ranting and speaking across the moderator look like a good Prime Minister? Or did the cool corporate ballhead who looks like a former CEO of Air NZ who was on about policy, went positive and spoke well look like a good Prime Minister?
Chippy has had and has taken some woeful advice – most of it from Robertson I guess – since he became PM. His approach last night will be one of the last mistakes he gets to make as PM. Those who think Chippy should have gone hard and did so successfully (the Nat’s “tax scam” was referred to as a “tax swindle” etc.) are those that will see low blows (“bed leg” etc) as counting – they don’t, the public mark those as points against Hipkins because they see it under Queensberry Rules not as a street fight. The messaging was: Bottom-feeders bed legs vote Labour, Luxon is untrustworthy and has no integrity vote Labour. No GST off blah blah blah just frontal groin-aimed attack, phony hypocritical tantrums over his government’s own failings and an overpowering stench of existential angst. Spitting and spewing, hating and writhing like a demonic entity being pulled out of the body politic. The debate isn’t about volume either – Marama Davison’s pitchy, hyperventilating, mad lady rants, whilst pointing and jabbing a pen around detract from whatever she says and it didn’t work for her – and it hasn’t worked for him. Labour went negative the nanosecond they launched their campaign: Robbo stepped forward at the presser and instantly, reflexively went after Luxon on his religion, on every conceivable personal attribute. They’ve started negative and they’re going to finish negative. Predictable Labour. We really began to tune out when Robbo rat-fucked Chip on the wealth tax when the poor prat was in the Baltic on a humiliating NATO arse-licking exercise in between humiliating sausage roll presentations. His own team don’t back his calls – why should we? We have tuned out and are waiting for tomorrow to turn it off.
He has made terrible captain’s calls. One poor decision after another. The wealth tax rule out, letting Kiri back off leave early, not promoting anyone and leaving the cabinet two down, ruling out NZ First, telling reporters that if Winston rang he would pick up the phone, the unpromising of recognising the Palestinian ambassador just 24 hours after promising to recognise them…the list is quite long of unsound and counter-productive edicts from someone in office for such a short period.
Angry, negative, personal, desperate. Chip looked like the maths teacher appointed as interim Head of Department who knows he won’t get the HoD position after this interview. He deserves to never be Prime Minister again and Labour deserve to be thrown out. We may never see another single party majority government in our lifetime and it amazes all of us – left, right, and centre – that they never contemplated ever doing anything transformational with it. And the reason for this epically fumbled sitter is the following: ‘But, but, but Neil and Clint said we have to target Karens.’ History cannot be harsh enough. He is a non-entity student politician in a Labour pantheon of student politicians. He was elevated to the Prime Ministership after Jacinda gapped it for motherhood and Netflix when Grant Robertson ruled himself out of drinking the poisoned chalice. Chippy was an accidental, soon to be incidental, PM randomly designated by Robbo to take the hit – Judith Collins style – for the loss so Robbo could emerge untarnished as Leader after the defeat. And just to make sure that plan works out Robbo’s kept that chalice topped up with toxic decisions and policies enough to prevent Labour winning. Chip is just Johnny on the spot, the perky dude that everyone else trusts to wear the suicide vest and do his best to take one for the team – that team being Robbo. The masterstroke of this was convincing Chip to rule out Winston – the only possible path to a Labour government. Chip had been convinced to snooker himself. If any deal is to be done with Winnie someone else will have to do it, won’t they.
Have you voted yet? It’s purely psychological – I made up my mind months ago (TPMx2 in Waiariki makes more sense than any other options this time round) but will probably leave it to the last day just to keep the tension, keep the illusion of empowerment.
Labour do not deserve to win. That is the bottom line. They are hopeless, useless and bereft. National have chartered a middle course with cream for their property developer doners, and stingy on the poor, as is traditional. The mood is change, people have warmed to Luxon.
My sense is this could be a 60-60 hung parliament on the night and National could therefore potentially prevail based on winning the Port Waikato by-election. There is a slight probability c.20% that the Nats and Act could pull off a slim majority by themselves, however that means there is a c.80% probability they cannot – and in that scenario NZ First will decide the next government. I think the electorate as whole understand this and have also come to accept the result will be Winston negotiating with National and with Labour.
National first accepted this when Luxon ruled in working with NZ First. It seemed obvious that Farrar’s internal polling had told them NZF was clear over the 5% threshold and was making ground too fast to stop. Time to wake up and smell that heady mix of Chivas Regal, Old Spice and Rothmans that heralds the King-maker. The Nats would have liked to have ruled him out, but feared he would get up anyway and they wanted the way clear to put a deal together without reneging and losing credibility. This was a wise approach.
No such wisdom from Labour. Their whole campaign, their strategy, their tactics have been one self-inflicted disability after another. Grant Robertson has been doing to Chris Hipkins exactly what he did to David Cunliffe – only Chippy is dopey enough to think he’s on his side. Robertson is rodent-frigging him and the party, just like in 2014, all for his own career. Notice how Robbo is the only one who seems genuinely nonplussed with no signs of stress like everyone else? That’s because it suits him if Labour loses, suits his career and his chances of a run as leader at the next election. In 2014 he – and Hipkins I bet – foisted Cunliffe with a policy of raising the superannuation age to 67. Pure poison. Now Chip’s condemning the Nats for raising it to 67 in twenty years’ time – what a hypercritical arsehole. The same guy that dropped the word Aotearoa and co-governance so quickly when he became PM is now sanctimoniously berating National for Maori-bashing race division – it is absurd.
So my forecast:
Vote +Electorates = Total MPs
National 38% +41* = 48*
Labour 24.9% +25 = 31
Greens 13.5% +1 = 17
Act 8.5% +2 = 11
NZ First 8% +nil = 10
Te Pati Maori 3.5% +3 = 4
TOP 1.5% +nil = nil
New Conservatives 1.1% +nil = nil
Democracy NZ 0.3% +nil = nil
Freedoms NZ 0.3% =nil =nil
ACLP/NZLoyal/NewZeal/NZOFP all <0.3% each +nil =nil
Total = 121 MPs*
*Nats to win Port Waikato by-election
Marginals: Party / majority
Auckland Central: Green HOLD c.2000
East Coast: National TAKE c.6000
Hamilton East: National TAKE c.5000
Ikaroa-Rawhiti: TPM TAKE c.1000
Ilam: National TAKE c.3500
Napier: National TAKE c.5000
Ohariu: National TAKE c.2000
Rongotai: Labour HOLD c.500
Tamaki: Act TAKE c.1000
Tamaki Makaurau: Labour HOLD c.2000
Te Tai Hauauru: TPM TAKE c.1500
Te Tai Tonga: Labour HOLD c.1000
Waiariki: TPM HOLD c.3500
Wellington Central: National TAKE c.500
Whangarei: National TAKE c.5000
Nat+Act = 59 [need +2]
Lab+Grn+TPM = 52 [need +9]
Nats and Labour will only get 6 off their list so a lot of senior MPs on both sides will miss out.
The only 2 party scenario that can gain a majority is Nats+Labour or Nats+Grn. Those are not available, therefore every other combination of government involves 3 or more parties.
Fun times people. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.