Northland feels like a neglected spouse and has decided to sleep around a bit

…what a right royal mess Peters has kicked up in the sand for National. On Monday he was wooing the teachers. Tuesday it was the farmers in Dargaville. Wednesday was the ladies, at Ladies Day at the Whangaroa Golf Club. Peters’ man on the ground in Dargaville was Rob Stevenson, a farmer who had supported National.

He even sought selection for National for the seat after Sabin resigned. Now this farmer was Winston’s “for a range of reasons”. He wasn’t alone – Focus NZ was formed by farmers and its candidate, Joe Carr, has now endorsed Peters. When even the farmers are revolting against National, things aren’t going well. National also clearly knows that. Its candidate, Mark Osborne, said on Sunday he had not been privy to the party’s internal polling. The only reason for that is because it must be appalling.

Peters’ latest line is that voters are simply taking him on a trial basis. “I’m not asking for your loyalty for 77 years, or even seven,” he told them in Paihia. “I’m just asking for 2.5 years and if I don’t do better than the lot that’s in there already, you can kick me out.” He’s picked the right time and the right lines.

Everyone knows that Northland isn’t anything but True Blue.

But you can treat it like dirt for only so long. ? Given the chance to extend the middle finger to the National Party, they’ve not just dallied with the idea, they jumped at it.

National created hope. ?The first term everyone was just glad to be rid of Labour and herself. ?The second terms everyone was understanding of the fact that with a GFC and earthquakes, National couldn’t do too much.

But people, and electorates, are essentially selfish. ?They’ve had enough of National straddling the populist route. ?By the time your leader’s vision includes getting a flag changed, it shows that at best they are stuffing up their communication, and at worst they are disconnected from the people.

Polls give you answers to questions you ask. ? Moving around electorates and speaking with people keeps you grounded.

It will be interesting to see if National can learn and recover from this, or it is in fact the first overt manifestation of a public that gets tired of a government. ? National can only hope that the left doesn’t learn to present a non-threatening alternative over the next two years.

 

– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

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