Cunliffe plays politics as he denies playing politics

David Cunliffe has mixed messages about the Royal tour, according to this article by Vernon Small. One the one hand, Cunliffe comes out swinging against John Key:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has taken a swipe at John Key over the royal visit, suggesting the prime minister is milking the extra “facetime” with Prince William and his wife, compared with his own limited meetings.

He also described a possible visit to the White House as “pre-election PR from the prime minister ” who was “stage managing the calendar of the year as it suits him”.


Asked why Key had so many events with the royals Cunliffe said, “I guess he likes the camera time.”

Yet on the other hand, he says:

“We are not going to play politics with it,” Cunlifee said. He would  “leave it for New Zealanders to decide” if there was sufficient gap between their visit and the election.

Seriously? If you use the Royal tour to make attacks against your opponent, then you are playing politics with it. Why bother pretending otherwise?

Of course, the more interesting question is whether the Royal tour will in fact have any impact on September’s election result. Unfortunately, I’m the wrong person to ask. As a fervent republican, the flood of politicians lining up for a photo with William, Kate and George leaves me utterly cold.

Will the fawning devotees of William, Kate and George (who also happen to be swing voters) feel inclined to vote National, simply because National leads the current government in power during the Royal visit? I wouldn’t have thought so. I’d imagine there might be a slight poll spike in favour of National in the week or so following the visit, but that it won’t have any lasting effect. Just as with victories in major sporting events, the initial glow of happiness fades quickly in terms of political support for incumbents. At least, I certainly hope that’s the case – I’d be very disappointed in my fellow voters if people vote for National in September simply because National organised the Royal tour…


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