Key gives Hauiti transparency the finger

National list MP Claudette Hauiti has withdrawn from standing in Kelston and from the election. Whether she walked or was pushed it doesn’t matter, she had to go.

She hasn’t been in Parliament long, replacing Aaron Gilmore off the list last year, but she has tripped up badly twice.

Earlier this year Hauiti employed her partner in her office which is against Parliamentary rules.

Last week Fairfax reported…

… former broadcaster Hauiti surrendered her charge card after using it for unauthorised spending.

At first she blamed her staff, before admitting she’d used it to pay for a Christmas trip across the Ditch.

Since then she announced she would be withdrawing from standing again, but it’s unlikely she would have got a winnable list position and she wasn’t expected to come close to winning Kelston.

While National have dealt with her exit quickly and efficiently (one the credit card spending went public) they have been far less willing to be transparent about the level of spending, as Andrea Vance reports in Hauiti protected to the bitter end.

What she hasn’t admitted to is how much personal spending went on that card.

Incredibly, National leader John Key and party Whip Louise Upston say they don’t know.

They knew enough to get rid of her.

Insiders say the party was worried more would leak out and Key took charge when he returned from his Hawaii holiday.

But the party is refusing to answer questions about further allegations of misspending and Hauiti has gone to ground.

The episode has made a mockery of Key’s boasts about being transparent on MPs’ spending.

Yes, it’s very poor from Key and National – first for allowing a new MP to make two such basic mistakes, and now for hiding the details.

Hauiti and the National Party are exploiting an obstinate interpretation of the Parliamentary Service rule which prevents the release of information about MPs.

This is reasonable when it applies to private details such as pension schemes, phone records or that would identify constituents. Where it should not be applicable is the use of taxpayer cash, particularly where there are irregularities.

It ignores the reality that we, the taxpayer, are MPs’ employers – not the back-office Parliamentary Service.

Both National and Hauiti have not responded to a request for a privacy waiver to allow the records to be released.

This creates the impression there is something more to hide.

Whether Key has something else to hide or not if he is not prepared to be open and transparent on this he leaves himself and National open to speculation – and most likely more media digging.

This sort of secrecy would be poor at any time but it is a bad look coming into an election campaign, particularly one where National are deliberately risk averse. If this blows up into a bigger issue Key can only blame himself.

Cunliffe and the Labour blokes

Different columns on Labour, one from Rachel Smalley claiming David Cunliffe is trying to attract the female vote, and another by Duncan Garner on Labour blokes disregarding party interests and trying to shore up their electorate chances.

Rachel Smalley: Cunliffe courting the female vote

The most recent policy announcements suggest to me that David Cunliffe is not cutting it with women. You’ll remember Helen Clark lost the support of women in her final term, and I don’t think Labour has ever claimed it back. During his leadership challenge, remember that Cunliffe wasn’t popular with women in his own party. I suspect that’s resonating in the wider public too.

According to polls this year both Labour and Cunliffe have lost support from female voters.

So he’s going after the female vote. Women are more likely to bounce between parties. Men tend to vote for what’s right for their own wallets, but women are more likely to consider issues beyond personal wealth and economics.

A particular problem Cunliffe has is that women are more adept at reading body language and don’t like it when it differs from verbal language.

Even his “sorry I’m a man” speech, which was obviously targeting women, had suggestions of a lack of authenticity.

Meanwhile Duncan Garner posts Three Labour MPs say ‘stuff the party – I want to win my seat!’

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

He has left Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene out.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Davis is a staunch promoter of Northland interests and has put this before the party.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That has been a bizarre sideshow. Cunliffe initially responded “the moa is not a goer” but Mallard has kept on going on about his pet project of the future.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

Tirikatene also voted with the Government on the tree bill.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

O’Connor, Tirikatene and Mallard are relying totally on holding their current electorates in order to stay in Parliament, they don’t feature on the Labour list.

Davis is in a doubtful list position and to put a bob each way on his chances he needs to keenly contest Hone Harawira to try and win Te Tai Tokerau off him.

While Cunliffe is struggling to woo the women voters some of the strongest male presence in Labour is going their own way, disregarding the wider party interests, and as Garner says, putting self preservation first. This suggests they don’t hold much hope of the party doing well.

Cunliffe is struggling to appeal to women and failing to appeal to his own caucus for unity.

It’s hard to see how this can work out well for Labour.

Unless Kim Dotcom sinks National, giving Labour  a shot at forming a Government despite their shambles.

 

Key coy on Conservative accommodations

Will John Key and Colin Craig arrange a manky marriage?

Key was pressed by Patrick Gower to give his views on Colin Craig and the Conservative Party yesterday on The Nation.

Key emphasised that if National gave Conservatives any assistance they would be “transparent with New Zealanders and up front” (later in the day he indicated it would likely be advised about the end of July).

Patrick Gower started the interview by asking, given the level of opposition, does he really want a deal with Colin Craig?

John Key: First thing I’d say is we want to be the government post 2014 election. And I think New Zealanders do understand that involves doing deals or accommodations and actually cobbling together 61 seats. So in terms of will we specifically outline a deal with the Conservatives or United or Act, well we’ll announce that in a few weeks’ time you know, some grace time.

Patrick Gower: So yes or no to the question. Do you want a deal with Colin Craig, yes or no? Because even your own voters, one in every two National voters does not want a deal with Colin Craig.

John Key: Well I truthfully can’t answer that question. I can say there’s merits for both sides of the argument and we’ll take it through a process which will obviously include the president and the sort of kitchen cabinet. And we’ll do that relatively soon. But I can’t be absolutely sure of a definitive answer, I don’t want to mislead you but – but what I can say is realistic enough to know despite the fact that we are polling well a lot can change in an election campaign and we are likely to have to do a coalition deal.

When pressed by Gower to tell him “one good thing that he’s done this year”  Key avoided the questions.

Let’s look at it this way then. Colin Craig, tell me one good thing that he’s done this year?

Well I don’t want to critique his performance because that’s just simply not my job.

No, but it’s not a critique it’s, what’s one good thing you’ve seen him do?

Well not so sure that’s really the answer that I need to look for I mean the answer is –

But it is if you want to do a deal with him you’ve got to be able to say this is – here’s something good that he’s done.

Well he has a legitimate voice for some New Zealanders. It might be a position that’s quite a far away from me when it comes to social issues but there are plenty of New Zealanders that would support his view on smacking or gay marriage or whatever it might be. It’s not where I’m at personally but I understand that position.

But you can’t actually name something that you’ve seen and then you’ve gone ‘hey that’s pretty good’.

I don’t follow everything he does but what I’m saying to you is that we live in a world where we have to put together 61 seats. Realistically could we work with him if we go into Parliament? Let’s just argue, he either wins a seat or he gets 5%, the answer is yes I think we could because we’ve worked with lots of other different parties as well.

Gower then stated “it’s not about what the Conservatives can do for New Zealand, it’s about whether they can help you win”.

Key replied:

But that’s true of every major political party.

In the end whether you’re Labour or whether you’re National, you’ve got to work out how you get that race of 61 seats. Now in putting together those groups you have to answer the obvious question, do we have enough in common or do we believe we’re malleable enough to actually work together for the betterment of New Zealand.

Because the other alternative is everybody gets stubborn and we say oh no, we don’t have 50-percent so guess what we’re going back for another election. Well New Zealanders don’t want that, that’s for sure. There’s a couple of problems in doing that.

Negotiating after the election to put together a workable Government is much different to gifting a safe National seat to the leader of another party who otherwise has little chance of getting into Parliament.

It’s not just on social issues that Craig is ” quite a far away from ” Key. His anti-asset sale stance and some of his other economic policy ideas would be quite far from National’s. As would Craig’s (anti) Treaty of Waitangi policies.

It’s also likely the Conservative binding referendum bottom line is quite far away from what National would agree to.

Key hasn’t given any reason how National and Conservatives would be compatible.

The Conservative web page highlights:

It’s Time To Stand for Something

Had a guts full of National’s abandoning their principles? Had enough of their arrogance? Had enough of them ignoring referendums; like the one on asset sales and the one on anti-smacking? Had enough of Bill English’s borrowing habits? Had enough of the two waka Government?

Aggressively attacking National and highlighting major policy differences doesn’t sound like it’s standing for anything positive.

National and Conservatives colluding in an electorate jack-up and colluding in coalition with such significant differences would be very cynical politics. It would look like an arranged love-less marriage between incompatible religions.

Will voters stand for this?

An interesting scenario – if Craig gets voted into Parliament after being gifted a safe electorate, but National don’t need Conservatives to make up the numbers, would Key still include Conservatives in a coalition and make Craig a Minister?

And would Craig abandon his principles and stand for nothing except getting into Government?

Craig needs more than pay and pray

As widely expected Colin Craig has announced that he will stand in the East Coast Bays electorate. Stuff reports:

Colin Craig to face a McCully showdown

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig will contest the East Coast Bays seat at the election, pitting him against Foreign Minister Murray McCully – unless a deal is done.

During the week, Craig said he expected a deal with National to give him a free run at a seat in September’s election but that has not yet been confirmed by Prime Minister John Key.

Craig expected the Conservative Party, currently polling about 1.5 per cent and well below the threshold for seats in Parliament, would be thrown a lifeline: “I think National will stand aside somewhere.”

Greg Presland has jumped to an assumption at The Standard.

Colin Craig to run in East Coast Bays – McCully sacrificed

Well it is official.  In the pursuit of continued power and political expediency it appears that National will sacrifice Murray McCully so that Colin Craig and the conservatives can be in Parliament.  The particular form of sacrifice has not as yet been determined.

Both Craig and Presland seem to be thinking wishfully. Murray McCully has been quick to state his position.

@mcquillanatorz

McCully: Craig’s run in ECB “changes nothing”. Will be “campaigning strongly” to win. Stronger rhetoric than earlier in the week.

@kimbakerwilson

McCully: Craig’s announcement changes nothing. This year I will be campaigning strongly to seek electorate’s support again.

Obviously that could change if National get the jitters closer to the election but it sounds like more cold shoulder for Craig.

Bizarrely:

@mcquillanatorz

Colin Craig says he’ll “politely decline” a cuppa tea deal with John Key, because “voters didn’t like” the 2011 stitch-ups.

And:

@LIVENewsDesk

Colin Craig says he didn’t hold any conversations with the National Party about which electorate he would stand in.

Craig wants National to stand aside without being asked because voters don’t like seeing what Craig wants and needs?

He seems determined and persistent, having spent three years and millions of dollars.

But Craig must wake up to the fact that politics requires far more than paying and praying.

Thinking outside the Green square

The Green Party has virtually led the opposition this term. It looks the best organised party apart from National, and it appears to be well funded. Green leadership looks secure and sound.

Greens are overdue for being in government and are ambitious to finally get a share of real power.

But they have a major problem, not of their own doing but a serious impediment to Greens achieving what they want. Labour have seemed an essential part of Green plans but David Cunliffe look like a dead leader walking.

Apart from a weak Labour making a left wing Government look increasingly unlikely the Greens are also hurt by Labour being weak – many voters are sympathetic to some Green input but are wary of too much Green say and too may Green policy. People are uncertain about what a Green dominated coalition might do.

Greens could just resign themselves to being reliant on a Labour recovery and wait. And possibly wait and wait.

But Greens have proven to be smart and also willing to read the political wind and adapt. Green leadership seems well aware of the political need for pragmatism and compromise if a party is to make progress.

They attempted to initiated a campaign partnership with Labour but were rejected.

Will they consider the ultimate in political pragmatism – a coalition with National?

Currently the Green position on working with National is something like “very very unlikely”. But that was determined when Labour+Green looked an electoral possibility. Labour have moved this towards “very very unlikely” and don’t look like changing direction.

They will surely be reassessing this. It’s known that Green activists are not keen on working with National but political pragmatism – and the fear if another three years in the opposition wilderness not knowing if even then Labour will get their act together – must be tempting some in the Green Party to go for a bit of something rather than a lot of nothing.

There would be a number of benefits for Greens going into coalition with National. They would be in a better position to promote some of their policies. They would get some experience at operating in Government and some of their MPs would get experience in ministerial positions.

Their lack of Government experience and their numbers relative to National – something like 55-15 – would mean they wouldn’t be able to claim major roles but they would gain valuable experience and would achieve far more than they could alongside Labour in opposition.

They could prove they can be responsible on Government. This would enhance their chances in 2017.

What about Greens as ministers? Alongside National they would have to accept minor rolls, but this would help easy then into the next level.

Russel Norman with an associate finance role and Metiria Turei in an associate social role – or even Minister of the Environment – would look fine. And Kevin Hague would slot easily into an associate health role.

National would gain from this arrangement as well. They’ve worked successfully on policy with Greens before with insulation schemes, and some more environmental and sustainable influence would be positive.

And it could be easier and safer to work with the principled Greens than Winston Peters or the unknown quantity of Colin Craig.

The country would benefit too from a stable governing arrangement, more social and environmental influence. And once Greens eventually get to be a part of a left leaning government they will be far better experienced.

How would voters see this? I think in the main they would see it as a positive. Swing voters may be far for willing to support Greens if they saw they would be moderated by senior National influence compared to Greens alongside a weak Labour, where voters have some worries about how Green it would be.

Prior to the last election 3 News Reid research polled on a National-Green mix.

We asked voters that if John Key opened the door to a formal coalition deal with the Greens – should the Greens say yes.

  • 55 percent said yes
  • 30 percent said no

Many of those saying no are likely to be Labour supporters who wouldn’t like to be cut out of any deal.

Amongst Green voters:

  • 60 percent said yes
  • 27 percent no

Amongst National voters:

  • 63 percent said yes
  • 25 percent said no

With the current state of the parties, especially Labour’s weakness and fears of the possibility of Labour+Green+NZ First+Internet+MANA or even of National+NZ First then a National-Green alliance may seem even more attractive and less scary to voters.

If John Key saw benefits for National and for the country he should support working with Greens.

Some of the more idealistic in Greens may take more convincing, but the key to successful politics is finding ways of achieving something. Intransigent idealists tend to be impotent. There is far more power in pragmatism.

One of the biggest limiters on Greens increasing their vote is a fear of them having too much influence with their more extreme policies.

National is well supported in the polls but voters are very unlikely to want them to rule with a majority on their own.

Voters may see Greens alongside a much larger National as a much safer bet than most of the current alternatives and they would probably pick up votes that are disillusioned with Labour.

To me National+Green seems to be by far the safest and most sensible choice for the country this year.

Both parties would need to signal there willingness to work together clearly prior to the election. It would likely help both their chances.

Fairfax/IPSOS – National 56, Labour 23

A very grim Fairfax IPSOS poll result for Labour:

- National 56.5% (+8.9)
- Labour 23.2% (-6.2)
- Greens 11.9% (-0.8)
- NZ First 3.2% (-0.5)
- Mana 1.2% (+0/7)
- Conservative 0.9% (-0.7)
- Maori Party 0.7% (-1.2)
- Act 0.7% (-0.2)
- United Future 0% (-0.1)

Internet-MANA combined – 2.1%

This sort of extreme poll result would normally be expected to come back into line later but polling was complete before yesterday’s news on Cunliffe and Liu.

National won’t be expecting to stay that high through to the election but Labour will be getting very worried.

Keycat and Craigmouse

The cat and mouse continues over what help if any National might give Colin Craig’s Conservative Party.

Craig must be getting anxious about what electorate he should stand in with a distinct lack of any public signals from National except negative ones.

John Key remains vague, non-committal and in no apparent hurry on any possible deal with Craig From an interview with Leighton Smith yesterday:

We think we could work with the Conservatives if they make it, and we’d be prepared to have discussions with Winston Peters if he wanted to.

Obviously the particular issues are Epsom when it comes to Act, Ohariu when it comes to United, and whether we find some way of accommodation Colin Craig

Leighton Smith: It would appear as far as Colin Craig is concerned that you’ve run out of options…

John Key: Not necessarily…

Now when it comes to the Conservatives, they’re in a bit of a different position to United and Act. You’ve got to remember both of those parties won their seat in their own right at times where National pretty heavily contested those seats. That’s not the case with the Conservatives but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t find a way through but I wouldn’t necessarily guarantee that we would.

But I just wouldn’t jump to conclusions there because we’re a long way away from that position really with the Conservatives.

Stuff reports: Craig confident – just a matter of which seat

Craig is set to announce which seat in little over a week. It’s unclear whether he will have had a nod from Key before then.

Key has been careful not to tie himself to a timetable, while Craig is “awaiting the results of polling”.

Craig must be getting anxious and a tad impatient, but Key keeps playing him along.

Ask Craig, and he will say the party will break the 5 per cent threshold to make it into Parliament without an electorate seat and that it will have more than one MP and National will have to work for his vote.

Craig will have to do a lot of work before he is in a position to make National work for his vote.

In the meantime the Conservatives are running a bizarre campaign. This poster ( posted on Whale Oil) attempts to ridicule the very people in National who could decide to help Craig – or not.

Conservative back in the coop

And the Conservative Party are running this graphic on their website:

Conservative son of NationalThat has been widely ridiculed and modified, with an obvious connection being made at The Standard.

Conservatives son of god

National will no doubt be doing private polling on the potential benefits and risks of getting close to the Conservatives. Perhaps they should check these out with their focus groups.

Keycat may prefer to take risks with different mice.

 

National, Conservatives and democracy

Reposted from Politicheck.

National, Conservatives and democracy

In There Will Be No Deal in Rodney Cameron Slater details at Whale Oil what he knows about or wishes will happen with an arrangement between National and Colin Craig and the Conservative Party.

For Colin Craig though he can forget Upper Harbour, there is no way that Paula Bennett will give up that for Colin Craig. Likewise in Rodney. Mark Mitchell has stared down terrorists, thugs, drug dealers and general scum so a knock out fight is something he would relish.

He rules out any chance of helping Craig in the North Harbour or Botany electorates.

That leaves McCully, frankly he is in his last election, and if he doesn’t bail before hand with the promise of Washington then he should go list only and East Coast Bays can be gifted to the Conservatives.

While East Coast Bays could be “gifted” to Craig that would be dependent on the voters of the electorate.

And as far as democracy goes it would stink.

One comment at Whale Oil:

But if leading up to the elections and the Nats and Conservatives keep telling us how to vote, I will dig my heels and might go off in a tangent or not even vote.

Another:

If National offer a deal to Craig, I am unlikely to vote for either.

And another:

Gifting a seat is not giving democracy a chance, its a cynical manipulation of a flawed MMP system. Being told to vote for a party I don’t support in order to play the system is not democracy

Despite debate and expert recommendations National have chosen to not change the way our MMP works. This leaves in place a 5% threshold that favours large established parties and makes it extremely difficult for small and new parties to get representation. The initial recommendation in 1986 was to have a 4% threshold. That was increased by politicians. Last year’s recommendation was to put it at 4% and that has been ignored by National.

(I believe for fair representation the threshold should be much lower or removed altogether.)

National also chose to leave the coat-tailing provision in place.

The Conservative Party failed to make the 5% threshold last election so failed to get representation for those who voted for them.

A gifted seat would (if voters allow) give them representation that in itself would seem fair to voters – but only Conservative voters. Other small parties who fail to win an electorate and fail to make the 5% threshold would be unfairly excluded.

It would be reprehensible if through self interest National gifted an electorate seat to a selected party to avoid the threshold and enable coat tailing when they have left in place a very high hurdle for other parties.

It would be an outrageous abuse of democracy.

I hope John Key and the National Party will rule out giving themselves a blatantly unfair advantage in the upcoming election.

Pete George

Craig’s Conservatives cold shouldered

While Colin Craig is still hopeful National will help him win an Auckland electorate there’s no sign of it happening. National will be wary of an electorate deal after last election’s cup of tea debacle, and they will be wary of potentially negative effects of an association with Craig.

Radio NZ report that Craig is still sending out hopeful signals in Craig expects National will stand aside.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig says he expects the National Party will stand aside for him in a seat in Auckland’s North Shore.

The National Party itself has not said it will, but Mr Craig said on past record it is likely National will reach an accommodation with him.

The Conservative Party has been touted as a likely coalition partner with National, if ACT can’t make it over the line following the resignation of John Banks.

Touted by Craig but there hasn’t been much sign of touting from National, in fact the opposite, all they seem to be showing is a cold shoulder.

Stuff reports that John Key has deliberately avoided being seen near Craig in PM’s wife to blame for Fieldays no-show.

Prime Minister John Key says a late change to his schedule meaning he will miss Fieldays at Mystery Creek in Hamilton on Friday was under the orders of his wife, Bronagh. Key was to visit Fieldays on the same day as Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Things could have got awkward if Key and Craig had spent the day dodging each other rather than risk sending the wrong signals about their [political] relationship. 

Despite Craig waving frantically trying to attract their attention Key and National continue to avoid any sign of interest.

Conservatives really need some indication they can be seen as a serious contender in the election. They are not making any impression.

But National are obviously not in any hurry. And they need to be cautious.

So the Key cold shoulder continues to cool Conservative ambitions.

UPDATE: From Steve’ link in comments:

The Prime Minister could find himself hosting a tea party in the coming weeks – revealing he plans to name all the support partners that National wants to work with, in a single day.

John Key’s already indicated ACT, the Maori Party and the Conservative Party are the likely partners.

But instead of individual cup-of-tea-style deals, he’s planning one big announcement of who’s in and who’s out.

“Id like to be a bit more transparent about that because I think that maturity is now there in the New Zealand public that they think it’s better to know.

“We’d like to deal with them all at one time.”

That’s non-committal regarding helping the Conservatives in an electorate (although it doesn’t rule that out). ACT and the Maori Party have had seats this term and have established electorate presences, something the Conservative Party doesn’t have.

It sounds little more than has been said before, that National could work with Conservatives if they get any MPs into Parliament.

“In the coming weeks” could be leaving it very late for Conservatives to set up an electorate campaign. It’s now less than fifteen weeks until the election and Craig’s electorate options are still appear to be in limbo.

More from NBR in Coat-tail deals ‘a few weeks away’, says Key.

“Whether we do any, all or none of them, is a few weeks away,” said Key of the potential deals, which he only offer meaningfully for Act, United Future and the Conservatives as National is weak in the Maori electorate of Waiariki where the Maori Party leader, Te Uruora Flavell, must win.

Asked whether he was willing still to do an electorate deal for Craig, Key said “he hasn’t approached me”, but believed Craig was not seeking such an arrangement, citing public comments earlier this year. 

That is not sounding very hopeful for Craig.

Similar quandaries for Key and Cunliffe

John Key and David Cunliffe both have tricky electorates where any perception of arranged coat tailing with other parties could be very risky.

National needs coalition partners like ACT, and Labour may need Internet-MANA to make up their numbers. Epsom and Te Tai Tokerau may be pivotal electorates.

John Armstrong explained Cunliffe’s quandary in Te Tai Tokerau this morning in Cunliffe’s tough stance on coat-tailing could backfire:

Of more immediate pertinence, Labour could yet need Internet Mana to secure a majority in the next Parliament. But bringing more MPs into Parliament alongside Hone Harawira will likely require that the new umbrella party’s leader hold his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

If Harawira lost, Internet Mana’s party votes would go down the gurgler to the huge disadvantage of the centre-left in what is shaping as a very close contest.

But Cunliffe is now hamstrung. If he drops even the slightest hint – even a coded one – that Labour voters should opt for Internet Maori in Te Tai Tokerau, Cunliffe will be deemed an absolute hypocrite.

And after John Banks was  found guilty a similar quandary confronts John Key in Epsom.

After the cup of tea debacle last election National will have been wary enough of making any sort of coded or open signals in Epsom this campaign. Now there’s an added taint from Banks hanging over the electorate.

Key and National will be taking risks being seen to be associated with Epsom other than having a normal candidate campaign.

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