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.