An earlier election?


It’s election year and one of the topics exercising the media and political tragics is the election date.

Electoral law dictates the last day on which an election can be held, there is no legal barrier to an earlier one.

The Herald says parties are preparing for an early election:

. . . Sources say Key wants to hold the election before November’s G20 leaders’ meeting in Brisbane and Apec Summit in Beijing.

He will also want to avoid clashing with home All Black games in August and early September, the final Bledisloe Cup test on October 18, and Labour Weekend, the final weekend of October. . .

Pundits are betting on September 27 or one of the first two Saturdays in October.

The All Blacks play Argentina on the first of those dates – although it will be in Argentina which will make it a Sunday morning game here.

But those dates are all in school holidays. The last day of term three is September 26th and the first of term four is October 13th.

More people are likely to be away from home during that time which would necessitate more special votes or make it more likely people wouldn’t both to vote at all.

Three years ago Prime Minister John Key announced the date in February, a welcome change from the game-playing which previous governments usually indulged in over the announcement.

Whichever date it is, an early announcement puts all parties on an equal footing and makes it much easier for the Electoral Commission which runs the election and has employ and train staff, and book venues for polling booths.

Back to the Herald story – the only people interviewed are Labour leader David Cunliffe and Kim Dotcom.

The former is already admitting that his party won’t be as popular as National:

. . . Cunliffe said he would be happy to be sworn in as a Labour prime minister with fewer seats than National, relying instead on the support of the Greens.

“The prime minister should be the leader of the governing coalition. The governing coalition should have the most seats in Parliament. That is the constitutional position and the proper one.” . . .

Ignoring all other party leaders and going for one whose party isn’t yet registered and whose attempted launch turned into a farce says more about the media’s fascination about Dotcom than it does about the likely election date.

Setting the date


It’s about 12 24 months since Prime Minister John Key announced the date of  last year’s the 2011 election.

The early announcement came as a surprise and a pleasant change from the usual game-playing and point scoring which the party in government usually employs around the announcement of the election date.

Across the Tasman Prime Minister Julia Gillard has followed his example. She announced a couple of days ago that the Australian election will be on September 14th.

Our PM has signalled he is likely to make an early announcement next year too.

Mr Key said on Thursday he will consider his options over this year’s Christmas break, but is once more likely to announce the election date earlier rather than later.

It might give away a slight example for the government but it’s better for the people tasked with running elections, candidates, party volunteers, other political tragics and the public to have the date set well in advance.

A fixed term is one of the options being considered by the constitutional review which is being carried out.

It is one I favour and I’d also support the suggestion of the fixed term being a four-year one rather than three.

No silly games over election date


 Prime Minister John Key has announced the election will be held on November 26.

“I believe it is in the country’s best interests to know the date of the General Election early in election year,” says Mr Key.

“It creates certainty for New Zealanders and allows people to plan accordingly. This is particularly true this year when the Rugby World Cup, the third largest sporting event in the world, is being hosted by New Zealand.

This is a refreshing change from the political game-playing which the ruling party usually indulges in over the date, keeping it quiet for as long as possible to maximise its advantage and disadvantage the other parties.

This time it’s the interests of the country, not the ruling party, which come first.

One group who will benefit form the early announcement is officials who are responsible for organising polling places and employing staff.

Now everyone knows the date, it  also means everyone  knows when the rules over what can be spent in the last three months before election day take effect.

Election date at 12.30


Helen Clark has called a snap press conference for 12.30.

Stuff reports that she’s expected to announce the election date and that it will be November 8th.

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