Hamish McKenzie - reiner-inner, London, Ontario

Friday, August 12, 2005

It's not over until Parekura Horomia sings

Wooo back Keith. It's too early to decide that "Labour is going to win this election".

For a start, this is not an election that Labour will 'win'. It's an election that will be decided by blocs: centre-left-left (Labour/Greens); centre-left-centre (Labour/NZ First/UF); centre-left-all-over-the-place (Labour/United Future/Greens/Progressives/Maori Party); centre-right-centre (National/NZ First/UF); or, less likely, centre-right-right (National/ACT).

You tell us, Keith, that "The overwhelming mood of the [leaders debate] crowd was positive, and this does not bode well for the opposition. It's that simple".

Well, sorry, but it's not.

The election is still more than a month away. It's not going to be decided by a televised debate with a dodgy worm graphic and poor ratings (I'm guessing at the ratings bit).* It's not even going to be decided by what voters think are the major issues now, or what the mood of the country is now. It's going to be decided by what the mood of the country is on September 17, and which parties have the ascendancy then. Certainly, to a large extent it could be decided by National's proposed tax-cuts. That tax-cut policy could well be the disappointment it's now being built up to be; but it could also be National's ace-in-the-hole.

It's a truism that people don't have very long attention spans or memories. Whatever's fresh in the mind will have a large role in determining which party voters favour. While such a debate may catalyse support growth for minor parties, it's probably not going to have much of an impact on who will 'win' the election. That's because people will forget it. Simple as that.

And anyway, Keith, I distinctly recall you putting a lazy tenner on John Kerry winning the 2004 Presidential election. How can I ever trust your predictions?

* I still contend, however, that such debates are vital to the smaller parties' prospects. Will be interesting to see how UF does in the polls after Dunne's strong performance -- or, more tellingly, other media reports on his strong performance.