Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has changed the date of the 2020 General Election to 17 October 2020
The change in the election date follows pressure from National, A.C.T. and New Zealand First to move the election to November so that the political parties would have more campaign time in the current COVID19 environment.
There are numerous good reasons why the change happened in the manner it did:
- Auckland cannot participate whilst in a LEVEL 3 lock down as no facilities would be open to enable voting and candidates and parties would not be able to campaign effectively
- Pushing back four weeks will give candidates time to get around their electorates and “Meet-the-Candidate” sessions to be held in each electorate, where the public can ask questions of them
- The Government would want to be sure that the current COVID19 outbreak has been resolved and New Zealand is once again operating relatively normally
- In terms of timing, the Government could afford to allow some leeway – the latest Parliament could have continued prior to yesterday’s announcement was 12 October at which point it would dissolve automatically.
And yet, the conspiracy theorists are out. To them this is another indicator of some sort of conspiracy to deprive New Zealanders of their freedoms. Despite the numerous articles written by Stuff journalists such as Henry Cooke and Luke Malpass among others, New Zealand Public Party seem convinced that something improper is afoot.
But despite the conspiracy theorists being at work, the parties in Parliament all welcomed the move and generally believe that the Prime Minister got the timing about right. I believe it is a fair call to have made. It would not have been proper for 2/3 of New Zealand to plunge ahead with election campaigning and leave Auckland behind, especially when its electorates are some of the key ones to watch in 2020.