It is smoking gun hypocrisy. National’s combination of bribes and threats, throwing all of their vast resources into the campaign after 18 lacklustre years of holding Northland as an electorate seat to ward off a genuine breath of fresh air, is frankly incredible. So scared are they now that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters might take the seat, Prime Minister John Key has cut short a state visit to Japan so that he can campaign in the Northland seat. So, with 10 campaign days to go before Northland goes to the polls, let us have a look at some of the hypocrisy.
It started with the resignation of incumbent Member of Parliament Mike Sabin in January. At the time New Zealand was still largely at summer break and somewhat disengaged from politics. Initially National thought that they were just fighting another by-election, that Labour and the Greens and maybe one or two other parties might stand candidates in the electorate and that on the whole it would be a fairly staid affair. Few political by elections could have been further from this description.
The decision by Winston Peters to stand has galvanized National into top gear. This was especially so after a poll from a normally National-supporting pollster showed Winston would win the seat comfortably. National’s alarm was then further exacerbated by not so subtle hints from Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little that Labour Party supporters should consider tactical voting in support of Mr Peters.
National’s ally A.C.T., the one man band of Epsom Member of Parliament David Seymour, is also scared. Last week Mr Seymour threatened New Zealand First with legal action. Mr Seymour said there is no legal precedent for a seat to change hands from being a list seat to an electorate seat.
It is really just a smoke screen to hide the fact that effectively A.C.T. is threatening legal action to stop the balance of power changing in Parliament.
Suddenly out of nowhere Minister for Transport Simon Bridges promised 10 bridges on state highways would be two laned. He said that there would be $69 million made available to do so. That was in response to Mr Peters promise to funnel more shipping through the Port of Whangarei. Rather rich to suddenly throw money at an electorate that one has held for 18 years if you ask me.
And even richer to suggest that Mr Peters would take that promise away if he is elected. Given Mr Peters long association with Northland, all of these are hallmarks to me of a party petrified being beaten and having its apple cart upset.
And so what if the election of a New Zealand First M.P. in Northland entitles the party to bring in the next on its list? The candidate in question has family in Northland, owned a hair salon in Invercargill, raised two children down there and is a member of the Invercargill Rotary Club. When the background of a party member not even in Parliament suddenly gets thrust into the spotlight to make that persons party look bad, it is not only desperate measures, but dodgy ones too being employed.
Yep, National’s scared.