The election campaign has started already? When did that happen?
Name calling, cheap political shots, hundreds of millions of dollars being sprayed around – you could be forgiven for thinking the election campaign is well and truly under way. But the pollies aren’t even out on the campaign trail yet – or at least not officially. Parliament is sitting for one final week before they’re unleashed on the campaign trail and the gloves really come off.
But isn’t the election still six weeks away?
Yes. Brace yourself. It’s going to be a very long campaign.
Everyone said it was going to be a boring election. Are they right?
Not this time. This election has had more twists and turns than the Rimutakas. This time last year National was sleepwalking to an election victory but the “Jacinda effect” has got it well and truly rattled. Prime Minister Bill English got the ball rolling early on Monday calling Labour lazy, ignorant, bumbling and blundering.
Is there no way for National to counter the Jacinda effect?
National thinks there is – it has reached back into its 2014 tool kit to announce a new boot camp for youth offenders at the Waiouru Army camp.
It’s also got parents in its sights, with new powers for the police to issue instant infringement notices to parents of children under 14 walking the streets without supervision between 12am and 5am.
Will that work?
They say no conservative party ever lost votes by getting tough on law and order.
What about Labour?
Ardern hit the campaign trail hard in her first week with a promise to tax companies that bottle water. Labour says a royalty is the fairest way to charge for water and it would work the same as royalties on gas and oil.
That should be popular?
Maybe. National has clobbered the policy and says it will push up prices for fruit and veg. Farmers and horticulturalists are also up in arms and there have been some wild claims floating around including a suggestion of $18 cabbages. That claim has been comprehensively debunked but it’s the sort of thing that might stick with some voters. National is also claiming that it will open the door to Maori ownership of water, which has long been treated as belonging to everyone and no-one. But Labour says that’s nonsense and it’s no different to charging royalties on minerals.