Senior Cabinet minister David Clark is reportedly about to announce his intention to stand down before the next election. That’s the first one down for me to win my $1000 bet.
My wager is with a government MP that at least 8 cabinet ministers and 12 Labour MPs will make identical announcements before the end of June next year.
The announcements will be accompanied by the claim it was always their intention to pull stumps next year to “pursue other options.” Some may even be true but most will reflect their awareness that the government will be landslided out of office next year and understandably with the cabinet ministers, after a stint in cabinet, reverting to opposition is deeply unappealing.
They will face the charge of rats leaving a sinking ship. I don’t see it that way. Political parties are not sacrosanct institutions and an MP’s first duty is to himself and his family, aside from which genuine pre-election resignations by MPs who’ve had enough are normal. What will be unusual this time is the number of them. But whether they resign or not they’ll be out anyway.
I’ve even got a $100 bet that Jacinda loses her seat. There’s a close to home precedent for this. When a government falls from grace to the degree Labour now has, the opportunity to target the leader is seized upon.
This is what occurred with John Howard who after 11 years as Prime Minister, saw his government rolled, but doubtless the biggest shock was he himself losing his normally solid Liberal seat.