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SCOOP ELECTION: John Howard's Election Picks

Contrary to my Scoop colleagues predictions on the outcome of the election, I am favouring a National-led government for the following reasons.

Firstly, the polls have been wrong too many times before. Take Victoria in Australia. Last September the polls had Jeff Kennett's Liberal Party being returned to government with an 85% chance - a week later he lost. In other words, people lie in polls.

Secondly, our cities are doing reasonably well at the moment and that's where the voting bloc is today.

Even in the country there are sufficient rural conservatives who have voted National all their lives and who don't look likely to change. Richard Prebble and Winston Peters might not like it but many in the rural heartland see both of them as a "flim flam merchants" or in the old parlance "silver tongued city slickers."

Thirdly, the Internet is now playing a significant part in forming the opinions of people. 50% of New Zealanders have access to the Internet and they not only receive the somewhat sanitised version of world events from our mainstream media, but they have instant access to the state of the world via the Internet. The state of the world does not look good at the moment and people still want stability no matter who they are and where they live.

Fourthly, Labour's Helen Clark seems to have a reputation in the rural areas as the academic "dry-ice lady" who has never got her hands dirty. People also remember that she shafted Geoffrey Palmer.

Likewise with Jenny Shipley and Jim Bolger. Shipley does not seem to have the common touch either. And that's the trouble when you hold presidential-style campaigns - personalities and image become much too important.

Fifthly, too many people see the current political party landscape as the same 'ol same 'ol - the more things change the more things remain the same. What's the bet that within months, if not weeks, of the election we'll all be told this or that has changed things and they can no longer keep their election "promises."

And we'll all be rushing from one disappointment to the next - that said, in my view, there will be sufficient voters in the cities and the country to pull a National-led government through.

Problem is, we'll still have a selfish society and our Parliament will still be a House of Political Parties not a House of Representatives.


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