Editorial: Game on for next election

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 30/01/2013

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OPINION: Anyone watching the year's opening speeches in Parliament yesterday could be forgiven for thinking 2013 was an election year. Such was the gusto with which Prime Minister John Key and Labour leader David Shearer leapt into each other in their first comments in Parliament for the year.

Both men accused the other of failing to come up with any new ideas over their respective summer breaks.

They also spent large parts of their respective speeches attacking what ideas, as well as personnel, the other party did have.

Mr Key said Mr Shearer should get David Cunliffe a bell so that he would "see" him coming next time he plotted a coup.

Hopefully it's a big enough bell to be visible.

In reply, Mr Shearer said the only thing missing from Key's speech was a punchline "because surely that speech was an absolute joke".

New Zealanders wanted someone to stand up for them, not comedy, Mr Shearer said, and the Government had no plan for the future.

National had blown its chance, he said, and it was time for Labour to take power with, Mr Shearer's favourite line at the moment, a "hands-on Government".

What the speeches showed was that both Labour and National are spoiling for a fight.

They also suggest that, despite what Mr Key might say about Mr Shearer's popularity, he is starting to feel threatened by Labour.

Last year was not a good year for National and although Labour seemed to make little headway in the polls for much of the year, there was an upsurge for the party in the last few polls.

With coalition partners thin on the ground, National can ill-afford any further erosion of its lead over the Left. Hence Mr Key's attacks on Labour and the Greens as nay-sayers of anything National plans to do and references at Ratana to a Labour, Green, NZ First, Mana coalition.

Some 15 months after its worst-ever showing in an election, Labour is back to fighting form and the Government knows it. It's game on for the election in 2014.

ONE MORE THING...

You don't need to read the newspaper to know it has been hot this week.

But the warm weather is set to continue until Monday, according to the MetService, with highs in the late twenties each day.

With no rain scheduled until Tuesday, it's wise for people to be mindful of how much water they lose and aware of any fire bans or water restrictions in operation.

And don't forget to slip, slop, slap and wrap.

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- Manawatu Standard

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