10 November 2013

Dunne takes desperate measures

As I commented two posts ago, the pre-electoral positioning and campaigning is already well under way, and no-one illustrates this better than Peter Dunne. His party, United Future, is a one-seater in Parliament with a history of supporting whichever major party is able to form a government. But Dunne is now fighting desperately for relevance and indeed for survival.
Winston Peters inflicted severe damage on United Future when he accused Peter Dunne of leaking the Kitteridge report into the activities of the GCSB. The subsequent inquiry led to Mr Dunne's resignation as a minister. Now Dunne has made it plain that he wants National to give clearer pre-electoral signals to voters next time around about who will be its preferred support parties. Indeed, Key himself has suggested he will do exactly that. Cuppa-tea meetings are no longer the done thing, it seems, and the voters should get clearer messages.
So Dunne is angling to be one of the parties that National says it wants to work with after the next election. And without such a clear pre-electoral message to that effect, fewer voters in Dunne's electorate will support him. I'm sure he would even kiss John Key's proverbial if National would decide not to stand a candidate against him in Ohariu.
But just to make sure that no-one can have any doubts about where he stands, Mr Dunne took political rhetoric to new heights of absurdity and compared the Green Party to the Taleban. I hope the Greens aren't taking it to heart that a fellow MP has compared them to Islamic fundamentalists who carry out suicide bombings, prevent girls from getting an education and destroy ancient Buddhist monuments. Has 'Mr Commonsense' taken leave of his senses? But Dunne has a history of allergy to the Greens. He announced before the 2005 election that he would not support a Labour-led government if it included a coalition deal with the Greens. Because Winston Peters said the same thing, between the two of them they managed to lock the Greens out of any role in government for that term, while securing for themselves 'the baubles of office.'
Some punters talk at the moment about Key calling an early election after the May 2014 Budget. So, should we be prepared to go to the polls, say, in August rather than November? In 2011, Key announced the election date very early on, timing it after the Rugby World Cup final, and preventing speculation. Will he again end the speculation early in the new year, or will he keep his opponents guessing and, in mid-year, call a snap election?


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