Bill English has announced he will instruct the Governor General to hold the next general election on September 23rd.
It’s worth quickly pointing out that it is utterly bizzare that the Prime Minister gets to control the election date in any way other than their government falling down. I sincerely hope that the next government, whoever it is, will pass a law that gives us a fixed date for general elections, and preferably make it a public holiday rather than simply setting it on a weekend. (because it drives turnout when people don’t have to ask for time off to vote, and many people do work on weekends. Besides, getting a holiday the years we don’t vote will actually, you know, give people an incentive to enjoy election day when it does happen, and not feel like it’s a chore)
There were the usual noises from a Government declining in popularity that it’s “untrue that we don’t not dislike New Zealand First,” as Bill English may need to suck up to Winston to make his coalition numbers. This is an advantage the Opposition gets because they’re not as likely to be asked about coalition composition unless polling indicates they’re looking very likely to unseat the Government, and the last polls were a statistical tie between the three relevant outcomes: Labour and the Greens decide who govern, National decides who governs, and New Zealand First decides who governs. We can all only hope that it’s one of the first two, as we don’t need our own take on white nationalists getting more negotiating power in the era of Trump.
The responses to the announcement sound confident from everyone. It’s anyone’s game at this sage, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trend start up in the next political poll, which we should probably expect to be published within a week or two, but that concession to New Zealand First should probably be seen as a sign that Bill English is not as optimistic about his internal polling as Labour and the Greens are.