Digger rips hole in Nats’ agenda for final push
It has reached that part of the election campaign called the consolidation period, for National at least.
That is a fancy way of saying that the major policies have been announced (except for the odd local roading project) and it is time to wheel out the old policies in a repackaged form to ram home whatever messages matter most.
Yesterday National MP Jami-Lee Ross organised a whole lot of families to show up at the Lone Star restaurant in Botany Town Centre for Bill English to “consolidate” National’s family focused-policies.
On Saturday Todd McClay had organised an event in a Rotorua retirement village for Bill English to consolidate National’s seniors policy.
It is also time each party hopes that the mistakes that inevitably happen in campaigns occur in the enemy camp, not your own.
No one quite reckoned on the campaign being affected by a man in a digger looking for kauri up north breaking a pipeline.
The moment that Labour leader Jacinda Ardern got wind of it, she was raising issues every other Kiwi was asking, about security of fuel supply — in this case aviation fuel — whether the law had been followed regarding reserves, and whether the Government had managed fuel security properly.
In an election in which National is selling itself as the best and proven managers of the country, this was a particularly unwelcome mistake.
As an MP with a nearby electorate, Judith Collins, who is also Energy Minister, was on hand with English in Botany.
They did not reveal anything about the fuel shortage until asked by reporters.
Clearly they had planned for this to be a problem of the private sector, not Government.
And every response was about offering help.
As luck would have it for English, the “mistake” of the day on which he seized was that of Greens Party leader James Shaw who, in an interview on Q + A, said the Greens would try to negotiate for a capital gains tax to be introduced in a first-term LabourGreens Government.
It showed pressure between the opposition parties, he said, and while Labour was delaying the tax, they may still have to negotiate with the Greens to be in Government and the Greens had more extreme views than Labour.
“The choice is pretty clear — if people vote for National there won’t be any extension of current taxes. If they vote for Labour, they could end up with a discussion with the Greens for all the taxes Labour tried not to talk about . . .”
Ardern was quick to scotch any suggestion the Green Party would get its way — saying her late decision not to implement a capital gains tax in a first term was “non-negotiable”.
English began the day’s campaigning at Cigale Market with Epsom list MP Paul Goldsmith, who is campaigning only for the party vote.
Bill English on the campaign trail at La Cigale Market in Parnell.