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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Good onya Prime Minister - now for fixed election dates

Another coalition with National?
Prime Minister John Key announced today that the general election will be held on Saturday 26 November 2011. It's great to see the Prime Minister announcing the date in February. By doing so he has prevented speculation about the election date (which we had to put up with three times under the last government) especially during the Rugby World Cup.

Equally pleasing is the decision to rule out any agreement with Winston Peters. Firstly because it means anyone voting New Zealand First will be voting for a coalition with Labour (I don't think NZ First voters actually want that - they want to "moderate" National). Secondly, because that has essentially kills New Zealand Firsts chances of getting back into parliament, save for an anchor seat.

That aside, if the Prime Minister really wants to prevent silly games with the election date, he should amend the Constitution Act to fix the date. Using the formula the Local Government Electoral Act 2001 implemented, the term of parliament (and therefore the election date) can be fixed on one day:
xx. Triennial general election
  • (1) The next triennial general election of members of parliament is on 26 November 2011. 
    (2) A general election of members of parliament must be held on the last Saturday in November in every third year after the general election referred to in subsection (1).
There. Done.