Storm clouds are gathering over international markets but Finance Minister Bill English has returned from the United States with a lesson for New Zealand:
“We mustn’t get psyched out by all of this. We have to hold steady, stick with our policy mix, put even more emphasis on sharpening our competitiveness to sell abroad.” NZ needs to do more work on supporting the export effort offshore. English told Trans Tasman “we are positioning ourselves to crank up that effort after the election.”
That’s a very simple recipe which requires National to be in government after the election.
There is a high probability of that but no certainty. The election is eight weeks from tomorrow and the opposition will spend it grasping any negative statistic to try to persuade voters to vote for a change.
However, successive polls and the latest update from iPredict suggest the public generally accepts that National has managed well in the face of an unprecedented series of natural and financial crises outside its control and are prepared to give the blue team a second term.
The high level of support is based on several factors, including the popularity of Prime Minister John Key.
Trans Tasman’s view is: While Key’s popularity is a phenomenon which will have a crucial influence in the election, voters have decided National are better economic managers, and they are convinced it’s not sensible to change direction in the middle of a global financial crisis.
Support for national is also helped by the lack of a viable alternative owing to Labour’s disunity and poor performance.
Another lesson for New Zealand is that a party which doesn’t manage to do a credible job of leading the opposition can’t be trusted to lead a government.