Hood: Election Predictions as of 14 Sep 2005
Election Predictions as of Wednesday, 14 Sept
by Lyndon Hood
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Yesterday I discovered a draft column down the back of my desk. It appears to be a set of election predictions I jotted down during the last week of campaigning and immediately mislaid. Since nothing of note has happened in politics this week, I present it below, unaltered. Was I right? You decide.
The election has now effectively become a two-horse race: if the trends of recent polls continue, then the winner will be National/National/Labour by a narrow/hefty margin.
On the last days of campaigning the Labour Government will take a number of well-publicised lefty-friendly ministerial actions, such as releasing dangerous criminals, crippling businesses, condoning immigration and subsidising petrol prices.
This will increase Labour's cannibalisation of Green support, but the Greens will narrowly break the 5% threshold thanks to fraudulently-enrolled pet voters.
The Progressive's Matt Robson will be re-elected on the specials by one vote: that of New Zealand's newest citizen, Ahmed Zaoui.
Don Brash's recent fudging over the Exclusive Brethren issue will destroy his credibility in the eyes of the electorate, permanently and completely.
National would of course never stoop to releasing desperate, unworkable and senseless last-minute bribes to enhance their polling. Yet their vote will receive an unexpected boost as a last-minute leadership coup replaces Don Brash with a more credible potential Prime Minister, such as John Key, Gerry Brownlee or some recently-introduced invasive algae.
This new, dynamic, modern leader will continue to promise tax cuts without making it clear what else he or 'it' might do if elected. This will be enough to return the lead to National by a narrow margin.
The Maori Party can expect a significant four-seat swag, and this is good for Labour. Tariana Turia does have personal history with Helen Clark. But anyone who thinks the Maori Party could side with National - who are campaigning on the summary abolition of the Maori seats and, in their famous 'Iwi/Kiwi' billboards, the idea that the Foreshore and Seabed Act is too soft - frankly needs their head examined.
Rodney Hide will lose Epsom, because I don't want him to win it.
National's win will lead to negotiations with United Future, which can only help Peter Dunne. It will spare him the embarrassment - if Labour leads - of doing something petulant on election night to alienate the whole country and then admitting that Mr "50 per cent one way, 50 per cent the other" really wanted to go with National all along.
Winston Peters will once again hold the balance of power. He has promised to support the party with the most seats. He has undertaken to vote for them on confidence and supply if that is what it takes - and abstaining will almost certainly not be enough. His pre-election promise will leave him honour-bound to actively support the government - and he can ask for nothing in return.
Having placed his party in this ignominious position, Mr Peters will have only electorate work in Tauranga to occupy what will surely be his last term in Parliament. He will also have to face the wrath of former Green MP turned Herald-on-Sunday columnist Nandor Tanzcos, who will lambast Peters for joining a centre-right Government when he's such and obvious protectionist left-winger.
Similar provocative comments from Tanzcos during the Government-formation period will be recognised by all media outlets as the baseless and inconsistent raving of a sore loser, and ignored.
The election result will reveal a previously hidden division in the New Zealand electorate. A shocked nation will discover that about half of the voters are on one side of the middle, and about half of the voters are on the other side. In the face of this near civil war, political leaders take a moral stand and renounce the divisive campaign methods used by the other side.