Personalities vs policies

Dene Mackenzie writes that personalities will overshadow policies in the election campaign.

University of Otago political scientist Chris Rudd fears policies will be sidelined during the election.

Miss Clark’s opponents would try to portray her as a “weak leader”, who should have sacked New Zealand First leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters a long time ago, he said.

There was likely to be a return to the scandals that had haunted Miss Clark, such as Paintergate, Speedgate and Doonegate.

The “Petersgate” saga was the pinnacle of those incidents.

National would urge electors to vote for a change, but for the negative reason of a vote against the Government.

“John Key needs to focus on the fresh start and the new faces representing the X generation – whoever they are,” Dr Rudd said.

“Already, he has been reaching out to young voters and women. He needs to push the message that voters ‘can rely on me’ and that he can lead.”

Miss Clark was likely to focus on National’s “secret agendas” and that Mr Key was inexperienced in politics, Dr Rudd said.

You don’t have to be a political scientist to work that out.

Miss Clark yesterday declared the election would be about trust.

“It is about which leader and which major party we New Zealanders trust our families’ and our country’s future with.

“This election is a choice between a government which has shown it can make the tough choices and an opposition which flip-flops on almost every major issue which emerges.”

Oh the irony – coming from someone who can’t be trusted to make the easy choice to sack a minister who can’t be trusted either.

Mr Key said the election was the chance for voters to choose a brighter future for New Zealanders.

“The election is about New Zealanders having the opportunity to choose a government that is focused on what matters to them.

“It is about being able to turn a fresh page and put all the political distractions and intrigue of the past three years behind us.”

Not just a fresh page, we need to write a whole new book about a happier, healthier, better educated, more prosperous, more secure country.

When announcing the election date, Miss Clark took a swipe at Mr Key, saying he could not be trusted with the future of New Zealand.

“New Zealanders have everything to lose from electing a party which won’t tell the truth about its policies and wants to put the clock back. National’s evasiveness, flip-flops and secret agendas show that it can’t be trusted.” 

It’s she who has turned the clock back to last century, its problems and the solutions which didn’t work then and won’t work now.

Mr Key showed yesterday that he might be prepared to focus on policies, when he said National intended running a positive, forward-looking campaign that focused on issues facing New Zealanders and their families.

“I challenge the Prime Minister to do the same.”

Please keep with that, John. Mud sticks to the hand that throws it so leave the others to play in their own dirt.

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