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Mike's Minute: This National coalition call is a mess

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 25 Sep 2023, 10:45am

Mike's Minute: This National coalition call is a mess

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 25 Sep 2023, 10:45am

This morning's call by National that they will deal with New Zealand First, if they have to, is exactly the sort of thing they should have been able to avoid if they took the advice of people like me weeks ago. 

The poll last week showing 82 percent of us wanted to know one way or the other shows how shockingly National misread the mood. 

By spending all that time and energy the way Chris Luxon did sticking his fingers in his ears, telling us he wasn't even thinking of it, he didn't want to talk about it, he wasn't above the threshold, he wasn't in parliament, it wasn't an issue, has all led to this.   

It's turned into a victory for Winston Peters and a break for Labour. 

The line that National had about the Greens and the Maori Party and the coalition of chaos is now null and void, as you look at the prospect of National and Act and Peters, with the latter two openly hating each other. 

I still maintain they should have ruled Peters out day one, which would have made him irrelevant. But even if they had said they could work with him, at least you would know where they stood. 

It was made worse by Hipkins when he ruled New Zealand First out, one of the few clever things he has managed to achieve in the campaign so far. 

The irony was he got full headlines for ruling out a party who had already ruled them out. He wasn't going to work with a party that had already said they weren't working with him but most people forgot that and he got the upper ground he was after. 

Cue Luxon, bumbling and stumbling his way through question after question, refusing to deal with an elephant in the room that was getting more and more embarrassing.   

So, this morning you get the back down where Luxon is forced to admit he will have to deal with him if necessary. 

My guess is it won't come to that. My guess remains that National and Act on the night will in fact have plenty to do it by themselves. 

But as you will also see today, the other prediction I made last week is already coming to pass; National will start to run the line about complacency. "Don't think it's over, don't take a National win for granted, you've got to vote". 

What National want at this stage of the campaign is ongoing momentum, they want to be controlling the narrative. By failing to deal with Peters early, they have strategically failed. 

It isn't the end of the world, but they never needed to be here if they had had a proper plan from day one.

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