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The Letter - 22 September 2014

Broke the mold

John Key’s win is historic. In the history of MMP elections – worldwide – ever – no government has won an absolute majority. MMP was imposed on Germany to make sure that country never had another Hitler. It is designed to make sure no party does what John Key achieved on Saturday.

Best of the best

The Letter has been saying for some time that John Key is the best politician we have ever seen. We remember meeting Walter Nash and we served in Parliament with Holyoake. Key beat Labour’s best, Helen Clark. He has increased his majority three elections in a row. Seddon, Massey and Fraser got three terms but they did not get increased majorities. Key has had the Global Financial Crisis and the Christchurch earthquake. John Key is in a class of his own.

We need an inquiry into the news

TVNZ, TV3 and state radio called this election wrong. The credibility of our news services has taken a huge hit. Night after night TV and radio told us John Key was a liar. First “Dirty politics” and then claims of mass surveillance were given not just top billing but saturation coverage. The news blogs are going to be the big winners.

Where did the four million dollars go?

Internet/Mana received from Dotcom, together with funding from the state, $4 million. It would have to be the worst value for money ever. Start with one reasonably safe seat and an established party, add four million dollars and Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto, and end up with no seat and no party. The Dotcom deal has set the left back a generation. But where did the money go?

Terror attack

The Letter believes two very late developments, too late to be picked up by the polls, were very influential. First the thwarted terror attack in Sydney. We learned from TV that a plot to execute in the street a member of the public was prevented by the intercept of a telephone call. John Key’s claim we live in a dangerous world and we need interception capability was justified. The Letter believes that news story caused a significant swing to National. It also explains other results. The Greens did not do as well as was predicted. The Greens had called for the GCSB and the SIS to be abolished. Labour and Winston Peters both did worse than the polls indicated and both joined calls for inquiries into the security services. It is very dangerous to run a campaign against the nation’s security services because a single security instance can prove you wrong.

Secretary resigning

Having your press secretary resign on election eve cannot have helped Colin. We know nothing but that is the issue. If you leave an event unexplained that creates a vacuum. The Conservatives’ sole achievement was to split the vote in Napier.

Remarkable win in Epsom

David Seymour increased ACT’s majority in Epsom. He had no cup of tea. There was a popular National MP on the ballot. Old fashion door knocking does work, especially when you like the person you meet on the door stop.

It is a lot more than zero

In polls taken early this year the pollsters claimed they could not find a single ACT voter. The party was dead. Members were resigning, donors had abandoned the party and the party’s leader was the first serving MP to be facing a serious High Court trial. The party made a decision to rebrand and refresh. It worked, but John Banks’ conviction on the eve of the election was a body blow from which ACT’s Party Vote never recovered. The Letter thinks John Banks is innocent and we have hopes for his appeal. But there is no doubt what caused ACT’s low vote. Any other third party would not have survived the conviction of its leader. ACT has come out stronger, with more members and in the black, an appealing leader, increased majority in Epsom, good policy and a credible slate of candidates.

It is a strong brand

ACT survived because like the Greens, ACT has a strong brand. ACT is the only party advocating that individuals, not governments, are the best to decide their lives. ACT alone advocated less tax, less regulation and more personal responsibility. This election shows how strong ACT is. In an election dominated by scandal then the parties who say everything is a scandal – like NZ First and the Conservatives – will do well. Policy-based parties like Labour, the Greens and ACT will be squeezed. As Jamie Whyte said, next year we will have “moved on” from Kim Dotcom and Mr Hager, but problems like housing affordability for which ACT had practical solutions will still be there.

The missing million

David Cunliffe failed to mobilise “the missing million”. The enrolled vote is down one percent. In the key South Auckland Labour strongholds the vote is as bad as 2011. What is different is the 100,000 right/centre ACT voters who stayed at home in 2011 voted this election. They were not going to let foreigners steal our election. They double ticked National. The next election will be decided by what that 100,000 right/centre voters do. ACT can win them back and we could have 12 years of centre/right government. Now that is good thought to end with.

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