For all the sideshows and media circuses around particular policies, people and events, when it comes to elections what really matters most to most voters are the economy, education, health, welfare and security.
The ability to make significant progress in the last three depends on the first.
The economy really does matter most and, as Rob Hosking points out in the print edition of the NBR (not online), economic policy will be crucial in the election and that’s an area of tension for the opposition.
While attention has been on likely tensions between Labour and the Greens, there are also tensions within Labour – tensions between those who kind of get the importance of economic growth and those for whom it is more an academic exercise.
This group is never exactly anti-economic growth; they just view the policies required to produce that growth with a degree of disdain and, by and large, they would rather talk about climate change and taxing things more.
And Mr Parker is definitely from this wing of Labour.
With a preference for talking about climate change and taxing more, that wing has a lot in common with the Greens.
The phalanx of economic spokesperson-ships Mr Cunliffe announced on Monday is not, if labour were to form a government, just there to form a human shield around Beehive photocopiers so Russel Norman doesn’t go berserk with the currency.
It is also to balance out Labour’s own tensions.
A party with internal tensions over economic policy isn’t one best placed to run the economy.
Against this, National will have the known quantity of Mr English, who should be able to offer a return to surplus and, no doubt some election sweeteners (probably on savings and investment policy) and a track record of having got through the worst economic crisis since the 1930s in what is actually quite remarkably good shape.
That is going to be as important a match up as the John Key/David Cunliffe battle.
John Key and Bill English against Davids Cunliffe and Parker with Russel Norman wanting a major role too?
That’s sound economic policy that is working against a lurch to the left that has failed every time it’s been tried.