DUNCAN GARNER: National's now officially scared of losing


National has clearly misjudged it.

Winston Peters is ahead in the Northland by-election and could win it.

We could be nasty and say what has Northland done to deserve this – but I wouldn’t go that far.

John Key is now so worried about losing this seat that he’s racing to Northland this weekend to campaign with candidate Mark Osbourne. Who? Exactly.

Key said Peters was too old and had no chance . Last night’s 3News Poll has Peters leading and makes a mockery of the PM’s claims.

Peters is relishing going up against two rookies – he’s making mincemeat of them already. He’s a master and an opportunist.

Mark Osbourne also says he has no idea why Mike Sabin stood aside – I don’t believe him.

He’s a former insider in the Sabin electorate camp.

To voters it appears not to matter that Peters never stood a candidate in the electorate in the past three elections.

This electorate can send a protest vote to the Government, pick Peters as their local MP, but still keep National in power. It must be tempting for voters.

But here’s the truth.

If Peters wins it will only serve to strengthen Peter Dunne’s hand – he will renegotiate his deal with the Government. And the Government will continue to govern – and ignore Peters.

If Peters wins – then NZ First gets Ria Bond in off the list who campaigned in Invercargill last election.

If Peters wins then he becomes the Northland MP – sitting in opposition.

If Peters wins will he leave his St Mary’s Bay mansion?

The truth is Northland will lose its voice in Government. Even if it was a weak one.

Although, what it will gain is a high profile and stroppy voice in opposition with the power to achieve, well, not much over the next two years.

Then again – maybe National has taken the North for granted. Unemployment is 9.1% in Northland and in Kaikohe- it’s 10.8%.

The roads are awful, and the jobs are scarce.

Maybe, just maybe, National has taken its support for granted in Northland.

Maybe the voters feel like they have been dismissed for too long.

Northland may be about to send Wellington a message that a loud showman with a voice in opposition may be better than a weak, muted, ineffectual one in Government. 

Duncan Garner hosts RadioLIVE Drive - 'where content is still king' - weekdays from 3pm. 

source: data archive