The shadows fall across our summer earlier this year.
One unwelcome sign that this must be election year is that politicians who are normally still at the beach until the dog-and-pony show in late January at the Ratana Church, are instead already cluttering up summer news broadcasts with pretentious, confusing, and probably disastrous election promises – promises and platforms they each hope will set the tone for this election year.
A few years ago Russel Norman was telling us we needed to retrench and change our ways, because “peak oil’ was upon us. Now however that oil continues to be found despite Russel and his predictions, he’s skiting this morning that the Greens are now the only party opposing oil drilling off New Zealand.
So I guess this signals a(nother) year of dog whistles to the deluded and self-contradictory.
Another clear sign it’s election year is Labour producing their tri-yearly magic money pot – this time be taking back a tax cut for the poor, something they once claimed to be for. Making a virtue out of what they calculate has become an electoral necessity, they are talking about “freeing up” $1.5 billion of tax revenue by abandoning what I thought were sensible plans to cut low-income earners some slack by exempting their first $5000 of income from tax. As PM of NZ says however, “that fabled money pot is not 'freed up’' it is already being used to service the black hole of a 'decade of deficits' left by the last Labour magicians' smoke and mirror act.”
Labour are clearly gambling that the sleight of hand won’t be noticed, and that there are more votes in higher impact “game-changing” election bribes to be announced closer to the election date – their voters, they think, having short memories.
Meanwhile, instead of going to Orewa John Key is going to smile and wave at a school – which he obviously hopes will be a winning battleground for him this year.
And Kim DotCon, first out of the blocks this election year by virtue of Martyn Bradbury’s sterling work at launching DotCon’s party by leaving his strategy document lying around for Cameron Slater to pick up, is perhaps hoping the launch of the new DotCon album in all formats will generate the momentum they need to get them into parliament and hopefully into coalition. According to reviewers however, the music doesn’t even have enough momentum to glue itself together. “If indeed Good Times is to be taken seriously, then good luck to it, but don’t expect it to steamroll the charts,” says one.
Or to help steamroll Mr DotCon’s team into parliament. If he still has one.
And what of the Zero Percent Party? ACT acolytes hope the sharp and literate Jamie Whyte can lift their support several-fold and make them a game player again, using the publicity of a bogus leadership “race” to help catapult him to media prominence. The problem for the acolytes though is not any lack of smarts in the new man, it is the toxic environment of their own party – which, instead of being raised last time to the levels of electoral support achieved by Don Brash when leading National, managed instead by feat of arms consisting of an orgy of internal backstabbing to drag him down to theirs.
It will be an entertaining election year, that’s already started way too early. But a crying shame at the end of the day that you and I will be paying for it all.