The trend of polls last year was encouraging for those of us who want a National-led government after this year’s election.
With the dire state of the economy, education and health systems, employment, immigration and crime, it ought not be hard to get beat Labour.
However, MMP complicates matters.
Among the complications are the wee parties.
One of those is the Maori Party which could win more electorates than its party vote total would give it, causing an overhang.
That would mean the new government would need more than 61 seats to gain, and hold, a majority.
If the poll trend continues that wouldn’t matter, National and Act together would be able to form a government.
There’s far too much time for events to change that so while my heart would predict that combination in power, my head persuades me to be more cautious.
However, there is one prediction I am confident to make and that is that National’s Rangitata candidate James Maeger will win the seat from Labour.
He earned the selection through his personal attributes and work in the electorate and he’s been working even harder since he became the candidate.
He, like all good candidates, knows that non-partisan community work is an important part of the role.
Sometimes that work goes unnoticed, sometimes it pays off with unsolicited praise like this report on Timaru’s community Christmas dinner :
. . .Talking about the 30 volunteers who helped before, during and after the dinner, Rankin said some “really interesting people turned up” to help most of whom were new volunteers.
One volunteer was National candidate for Rangitata, James Meager, who helped out with preparations on Christmas Eve
“He was a stand-out for me because of how humble he was, and I didn’t know who he was until I saw his car. He even came on Christmas Day to help.” . . .
Humble isn’t a trait often associated with politicians but it’s one voters appreciate.
That’s not just publicity a would-be MP couldn’t buy, it’s genuine and unprompted appreciation of his character and values.
There has already been a lot of that in the way he’s working and there will be more.
That’s why I’m confident that he’ll turn Rangitata blue again.
I’m also confident that he won’t be taking it for granted and will be working hard and well to earn the trust, and votes, of the people he seeks to represent.