For the record i think Hone will win big in the by-election because he is back to what he does best - talking and connecting with people. He will really shine in this campaign and as he does, his enemies will get more and more desperate - expect some real slime to come out - all to no avail though. Hone represents the people and they know it.
Labour's Kelvin Davis will come a long way second and whatever his vote, his team will talk it up as some victory - probably because of the close win over the maori party candidate. Yes they will split the opposition to Hone vote and cancel each other out. I would have prefered labour to not stand a candidate for similar reasons to Eddie's excellent post on The Standard.
The maori party must be really concerned and they have good reason - they have had so many chances to listen but they stubbornly refuse to conceed, that is now set in play and their fate is sealed.They also have something else very serious for them to consider - their big friend mr key is starting to hit some very soft sand and he has a lot more to get through before the election. Brash will irritate him and ACT will start polling and labour will get some hits in. His thin persona will crack as the brand is eroded piece by piece - we have already seen how vacuous he is in this excerpt from a BBC interview - watch it and cringe (thanks irishbill and danyl). As things get tougher for mr key he will lose interest in his mates in the maori party - ACT will give him the numbers and the maori party will feel like a liability, a distraction, another irritant.
Especially as in their desperation to show their independence, they will oppose him, and argue with him and not vote with the right team - after all he's given them - bloody cheek, let them save themselves I've got bigger problems to worry about. Another aspect of key is that he is a short timer - a wheeler dealer - not interested in going for a second term especially if the going gets really tough and his nice guy image takes a bashing - which it will as they introduce more and more pain and suffering for those who need support and protection, those who are disadvantaged in our society. The next leader of the gnats might not be so fussed on the maori party.
Can the left stop the right getting back in - maybe, but not with labour the way it is and not with goff there. Imagine this scenario -
Hone announces a new political party that will focus on social justice and the disadvantaged in society. Values such as protecting the environment and equality are also there as well as a belief in maori self determination. Labour leader Phil Goff issues a statement welcoming this new political initiative that aligns with his party's beliefs and whilst he recognises that there are differences he fully supports and looks forward to his team working with the Mana Party team to fight the injustices and inequality initiated by the current national coalition government.Oh wouldn't that have been great, wouldn't that have shown courage and leadership - goff would have gone up in the polls and peoples estimation but no - we did not see that fictional scenario and that is why I only say maybe. I believe labour are going to get decimated this election and the Mana and the Greens will hold the balance of power and temper the worst excesses of the right coalition. Act will be there with the residue of the maori party and Winston will be nipping at their heels, back in the house.
The by-election is important but not as important as the General Election and the Party Vote - that is where the the power is wrestled. Join Mana and let's get the power back for the people.