Today is the last day the media can publish anything which might influence the election and some papers have used their editorials for a final political pontification.
The ODT says voters aren’t facing an easy choice and has faith the electorate will look for a higher purpose:
The government to emerge from tomorrow’s poll must be capable of managing the nation’s affairs in hard times, principled enough to make unpopular but necessary decisions for the long-term future of the nation and not the short-term ambition of staying in power, and capable of converting our dependency economy into more productive purposes – without destroying the state’s safety-nets or driving overseas our human capital.
The Press says it’s the economy:
What must not be forgotten, however, is that a National-led government, with ACT New Zealand as a key partner, would be a distinctly different beast to another Labour-led administration with the Greens on board.
A government headed by Key would be the more likely to answer business concerns about the Resource Management Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme. It would also make employment legislation more flexible and, although it would retain the KiwiSaver scheme, it would trim the employer and the minimum employee contributions. National also has higher personal tax cuts on offer than Labour, despite Key being forced by the financial crunch to water down his party’s tax relief.
Many of the changes proposed by National are not dramatic. But, put together, they would foster an economic environment which is business-friendly. The question, then, is whether that would address New Zealand’s labour productivity, which remains stubbornly low, and reduce the number of our best and brightest who take their skills overseas.
The NZ Herald asks, do we repeat or refresh?
The economic context of this election could not be more challenging. New Zealanders need to deliver a decisive mandate, one way or the other, so that responses to the recession and credit crisis can be emphatic. Second-guessing MMP by flanking major parties with second-tier partners might not be the best answer now.
The “ask” is simple: Is there still benefit for the country in drinking one more time from the cup of Labour, or is another source, National, needed now for economic and political revival?
Update: The Dominion Post says it’s a weighty decision:
Those thinking of voting for Labour must ask whether its experience in managing the economy outweighs the fumbles and arrogance of nine years in office. Those inclining toward National must judge whether Mr Key’s energy and promise of a new approach are matched by an ability to make tough decisions and say no when he is in government. Those wanting to support the minor parties need to consider whether the country can afford the cost of the boutique policies they insist upon as the price of coalition government.
It is up to voters how they answer those questions. The important thing is to ask them before they cast their ballots tomorrow.