Explaining is losing

Prime Minister John Key is defending the amount of time National MPs and ministers are spending in Northland helping the party’s candidate in the by-election race.

There’s less than two weeks to go until polling day and a parade of MPs and ministers are travelling up to the Far North on a daily basis to campaign with Mark Osborne.

Many MPs are also on the phone banks calling Northlanders, encouraging them to vote National.

Much of the by-election is happening at the same time as Parliament is sitting, which means MPs have to have permission from party whips to be absent from Parliament.

“What the Government needs to focus on ensuring is it’s got the numbers for a majority. Outside of that MPs travel all the time,” Mr Key told reporters at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference.

“The rules are really clear about a MP or a minister, about when they can use ground transportation or flights. I go to electorates all the time. Yes, there are probably quite a few more trips happening in Northland at the moment, but that’s just reflective of the fact we have a good story to tell up there,” he says.

Yep. ?Nothing to do with the blind panic that the polls are looking worse than a dead heat for National.

“My understanding is MPs are either being billeted, not staying overnight, or using their own resources,” Mr Key says.

Asked if it was appropriate for National Party campaigning to be conducted on parliamentary time and resources, Mr Key repeated his line that it’s within the rules and “consistent with what we do in a general election”.

Asked about the fact Parliament is sitting and MPs are usually expected to be at Parliament, he said: “There’s a variety of reasons people are here or not.”

“If anything you can make the case there are more MPs in Northland and Northland is arguing they want to have their voice heard more loudly in Wellington. Well that’s being achieved.”

If there is one thing that’s been in National’s favour is that Winston hasn’t been able to rise above the noise of non-political stories, but that’s unlikely to continue and he has enough time up his sleeve until election day to continue to?twist the “send them a message” knife.

He may be an irritant, a liar and a scumbag, but he knows how to campaign – something Joyce and de Joux think is done from behind a desk.

In the mean time, Key shouldn’t be making excuses for committing resources to Northland. ?People know when they are being sold a story, and respond pretty well to the truth: ?Northland is now critical to National, and especially the reputations of some high flyers that are being found wanting.


– One News