There are some indications that the economy could be on the improve after an extended sluggish period.
The housing market has been improving for some time. Retail spending has been improving too. And the Canterbury earthquake rebuild is starting to crank up.
If some of these trends continue through to next year, if at least some of National’s MOM asset floats are successful, and most importantly if unemployment finally starts to trend downwards, then National’s relection propspects will improve considerably.
Labour and Greens have put a lot of effort and resources into the anti asset sales petition, hoping that the referendum will be a posituive lead in to the election. Greens in particular have used the petition/referendum as a means of campaigning between elections.
But if the MOM floats go ahead regardless, as is likely, and if they are reasonably successful, that will negate one of the opposition’s main weapons.
There are other significant factors:
- Whether Shearer and the Labour caucus can look cohesive and deserving of a shot at Government
- How Shearer will perform in the election campign, presuming he stays as leader
- How much scrutiny Green policies are given
- How much consideration voters give to the prospect of a government significantly influenced by the Greens
- Whether NZ First makes the threshold and survives the election
- What mistakes National may make
- How much perception of arrogance of power there is of National
- Whether any viable coalition partners for National survive or emerge by the election
But the three most important factors will be:
- The economy
- The economy
National will be hoping that emerging positive trends will convert into sufficient jobs in time to make a serious dent in unemployment numbers.