Monday, October 23, 2006

why Labour will probably lose the 2008 election


If Labour wants to be in power in 2008, either the electorate will have to reverse its rejection of Labour and Helen Clark will need to hand over the Labour leadership within six months or stay on to lead the party to the next election.Both appear to be unlikely to happen, but even if Clark does lead Labour in 2008, history shows that she is likely to lose due to a voter backlash which has already started.

An interesting pattern shows that preceding most changes of Government since 1950 - namely 1998/9, 1990,1984, 1975, 1972, 1960 and 1957, the governing party had a change of leadership within a year of a government change. Shipley rolled Bolger before her coalition broke down in 1998, then her new government lost power the following year. Between 1987-1990 there were three prime Ministers, with Mike Moore becoming PM shortly before he lost the 1990 election. Rowling became PM in 1974 before losing the election the following year to Muldoon, Marshall became PM in 1972 before losing the election that year, as did Holyoake in 1957.

The only exceptions were in 1984 and in 1960 (every third change of government after an election) when the electorate turned its back on the Govt both times, firstly due to the 1958 black budget and secondly to Rogernomics. The next time the electorate turns its back on the Government could well be in 2008 after the election spending and validating legislation, not to mention errant MPs, as the cycle is right for a change of government notwithstanding the probable rejection of the current Government, and even perhaps its leader.

It is interesting that of all PM's since 1972 that led a government change after an election, most also entered Parliament the year their party changed the goverment after winning an election. Bolger (1990) entered politics in 1972, the year National regained power, Muldoon ( 1975) did the same in 1960, Clark (1999) in 1984 whe Labour regained power. However Lange broke the trend, (1984), and won in a by election after Muldoon outed Colin Moyle for homosexual conduct - ironically Lange replaced Muldoon as PM. Also Jack Marshall in 1960 did not enter politics after a change of government,.

And neither will the PM after the 2008 election if the pattern continues - meaning John Key - who initially won his seat in 2002 - could be the next Prime Minister in 2008.

2 comments:

bomber said...

Dave - I'm not sure we can rule Labour out to win the next election - NZ simply doesn't have enough farmers and business men to prop National up any longer - with the Greens and the Maori Party showing the only strong third party standings - Labour has the real chance to redeem itself with a step to the left in a coalition with those two parties. All is not yet lost!

Jordan said...

This is pretty shallow stuff, Dave. If you look at other three term governments that have failed to win a fourth you are looking at a pretty thin sample: Shipley 99, Muldoon 84 are about it in recent times.

In 1999 the Nats had run out of ideas and their vote was too low to maintain power - Labour just got in instead.

In 1984 Muldoon had destroyed the economy and had the whole of liberal New Zealand lined up against him.

Neither of these situations is relevant to Labour in 2008. The economy is singing, and the government shows no signs of running out of ideas.

Nor is Clark's leadership an issue. You are looking for things that do not exist if you're trying to find a sustained dip in her popularity - or in Labour's support, which has been very durable at the top end of the 30s for a number of years now.

The chances for Labour next time are looking good, except for the always-there prospect of self-inflicted screwups. There's no real way to argue otherwise.