Prime Minister and National Party Leader John KeyMedia Release28 July 2014National announces electorate intentionsPrime Minister John Key today made clear National’s position on accommodating support parties in electorate contests at this year’s General Election.The National Party and its partners have successfully provided stable MMP government over two terms of Parliament and through challenging times.“We will be seeking a further mandate on September 20,” says Mr Key.“In an MMP environment, the public determines the make-up of Parliament by voting in a combination of parties, and every election is a tight contest.”“After the election, political parties must work constructively to form and maintain a stable Government and voters want to know what party combinations are possible.”In January, the Prime Minister made it clear that if National were returned to Government this election, the preference is to continue working with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future as this has been a successful combination.He also made it clear it would be possible to add the Conservative Party and New Zealand First to this group.Today he outlined National’s position on electorate contests for the 2014 election campaign.“We’re seeking to maximise the party vote for National across the country in all seats. It is only through delivering the strongest possible party vote that National voters will return National to Government.”“For the electorate vote, we will encourage National party supporters to give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate in Epsom and the United Future candidate in Ohariu.”“We will continue to seek to maximise our party votes in those electorates and that’s what National party candidates will be working hard to do.”“In East Coast Bays, where the Conservatives have a candidate, the only option to accommodate that party would be to remove a sitting MP from the ballot paper and that, as I have said, is a bridge too far. So there will be no electorate accommodation with the Conservatives.”“However, we are happy to consider working with the Conservative party post-election should the public vote that party in to Parliament.”“As I have said previously we are also prepared to discuss working with New Zealand First if that party is returned to Parliament.”“In Epsom and Ōhariu, both ACT and United Future share a history of working with National and those are proven relationships that have stood the test of time.”“National doesn’t always agree with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future on every issue, but together our four parties have maintained a stable and successful Government since late 2008.”“Under the National-led Government, New Zealand is heading in the right direction and if re-elected, National will continue to work hard for all New Zealanders.”
It has been suggested that David Cunliffe could differentiate himself from National by categorically ruling out any deal with MegaMana. That's not going to happen; Barry Soper has just noted on Newstalk ZB that on current polling, Mr Cunliffe needs every possible option if he is to have any chance of forming a government.
So now we know where we stand. John Key will continue to be open to post-election deals with Act and United Future, if the voters of Epsom and Ohariu respectively give him that option. And he has categorically ruled out any deal with Colin Craig, either today, or nearer the election. He has told journalists at his post-Cabinet press conference a few minutes ago that he will not veer from this plan, even if the polls turn, and there is a risk of not being re-elected.
We are delighted that the Prime Minister has resisted the temptation to do a deal with the Conservatives. Mr Craig has shown himself to be - how can we say this politely? - temperamentally suited to politics. He has spent much of this year extracting his foot from his mouth. He may be a successful businessman, but he would add little to National's efforts to secure a third term in government.
The 2014 General Election is now only 54 days away. Let's get Parliament this week out of the way, then let the campaign begin!