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Molesworth & Featherston (Lobby Edition) – 15/7/05

Molesworth & Featherston

Business and Political News
15-21 July 2005

Intelligence in the latest edition:

Election date: Our pick stays with 17 September

Michael Cullen is keen to get National's tax cut policy out in the open as soon as possible to give the longest time to attack it. So the theory that an August poll date would surprise National and give it no time to sell the tax pack seems more than a little perverse.

Helen Clark this week gave the clearest signal she could that an August election was off the cards. She said she planned to run the four issues to be highlighted during the recess – health, education, superannuation and industry training - and then return to Parliament.

There is no way an election could be held on August 20 if the House resumes in the last week of July. To cancel the coming three-week sitting, scrapping plans to pass the Budget and the much-prized valedictory speeches of people like Richard Prebble, would only look like panic and would be hugely counterproductive for Labour. A slightly shorter sitting session (say two weeks instead of three) to accommodate a mid- September date cannot be ruled out.

But we are still firmly expecting it to be on September 17, because if Labour is right and the mood is turning, why would they rush?

Given that, we think it is time for National to stop bleating about Helen Clark setting a date. However, it is understandable - and sound strategy – for the Nats to hold off announcing their tax-cut package. You only get one bite at these things and if it is to be one of the strong themes for the campaign there is no point in blowing all the detail before hitting the hustings.


Business confidence sags as the markets set new records


Meriridan winds up a couple of big projects as Vector polishes off NGC.


We’re looking for your entries in our search to find how Alistair Campbell might have spun events in history. There’s a copy of David Barber’s book of political quotes to win.


Only in the Governor’s Edition: The cabinet agenda, and this week’s big new announcements. There is much more background, there are more stories and it all arrives earlier in the week.

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