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Political Animal_1409National: 48%

Sorry #teamkey, they won’t get 50 per­cent. But only just. This is National’s elec­tion to lose, and John Key doesn’t only hold all the cards — he’s deal­ing… in his casino. Nation­al, with sup­port from United and Māori, should bring it home, albeit with vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies. Just as Labour’s 2011 par­alleled National’s 2002, look for this to be a reverse 2005. It will be tight­er than punters are pre­dict­ing, but the safe money, along with all the oth­er money, has to be on John Key and his many Merry Men.

Labour: 31%

Too harsh? Many would say too optim­ist­ic. It’s not that Cun­liffe has been ter­rible — quip for quip, he’s up on Key. It’s more that, as with Goff, Nation­al have played man-to-man defence, where­as Labour needed to go for an open-style game. Don’t write them off, because as Win­ston Peters proved in the last elec­tion, polls don’t account for good grass­roots cam­paign­ing. That said, ‘Prime Min­is­ter Cun­liffe’ looks increas­ingly like a birth­day sur­prise from his wife.

Greens: 15%

Stay your cries of “ya must be dream­ing” and bear in mind that the Greens have stead­ily increased from 5.7 per­cent in 2005 to 11.1 per­cent in 2011. Their MPs have been heav­ily act­ive in Par­lia­ment, but the more suc­cess­ful they get, the more the depth of their list will be chal­lenged. Fif­teen per­cent is a stretch, but it also con­tin­ues the left-vot­ing trend in the post-Clark era. What could stop them? Laila? Win­ston? Dol­phins?! They wouldn’t have it any oth­er way.

New Zealand First: 5%

Of course, 5 per­cent — New Zea­l­and real­ised last elec­tion that without Win­ston (70 next year) there’s noth­ing much to be inter­ested about in polit­ics. That said, his party has always been shaky and there’ll be many voters who will feel they’ve made their point with the last elec­tion. But he’ll be back — because voters can’t res­ist their guilty pleasures.

So there’s hope for the Left(ish) — with 51 per­cent against Nation­al (no pres­sure, Greens)… but this is where it gets com­plic­ated. Let’s look at how the minor parties can shake things up.

United Future

Yeah. He’s still there. Like a her­mit with a bowtie, Peter Dunne will cede you Ohariu from his cold, dead hands. What does he have to do to be unseated? Even Key doesn’t know. So sleep easy, John­son­ville: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Māori Party

The retire­ment of Pita Sharples and Tari­ana Turia, and Parekura Horomia’s untimely death, mean there’s a dis­tinct lack of kaumātua in Par­lia­ment. That should see Te Ururoa Flav­ell main­tain his seat, but might make it pretty lonely. At 59, there’s still time for him to rebuild.

Internet-Mana Party

The chances of Labour’s Kelvin Dav­is upset­ting Hone Har­awira are about the same as Mana’s Annette Sykes upset­ting Te Uruoa Flav­ell. If the party that loves to party find them­selves miss­ing their quota, they might as well look at Kim Dot­Com, who should have kept a lower pro­file and filtered things through the excel­lent fil­ter that is Laila Har­ré. At least the elec­tion-night enter­tain­ment should be great.


Per­haps it was Dav­id Seymour’s puppy-dog face that finally swayed John Key, but no party can claim to be as lucky as ACT, since Paul Gold­smith could eas­ily have won Epsom if Key had just let him. Jam­ie Whyte and co. have, in a word, been ‘weird’, but weird is still less embar­rass­ing than any­thing Brash and Banksy brought. In that sense, Nation­al may view this as an upgrade. Strap in, Mr “Hi!” is going to Parliament.

Conservative Party

No. From every­one. You have to admire the bullish way Colin Craig has ignored the immensely poor decisions he’s made. Although a house­hold name, his air time hasn’t exactly instilled con­fid­ence. An apt les­son, per­haps, that money can only take you so far.

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