The date of the 2023 NZ general election – an earnest prediction

Any day now, Jacinda Ardern will announce when this yr’s election is to be held. What are the choices, and which dates are the favourites? Toby Manhire squints awkwardly into the crystal ball. 
In the early half of the election yr 2011, John Key unsheathed his Sharpie and drew a giant circle round Saturday November 26. It was a bit of a shock. For the first time anybody may bear in mind, the prime minister of the day had eschewed the probability to make use of their privilege to find out polling day as a tactical benefit by dragging the determination deep into the yr. 
At the time Key stated he didn’t need folks to assume he was enjoying politics with the rugby world cup, and that it was usually in the nation’s finest pursuits to have certainty. Much to his credit score, he caught to that in 2014, as did his successor Bill English in 2017. Three years later, Jacinda Ardern did the identical, rising from the first cupboard assembly of 2020 to announce polling day.
In doing so, she confounded soothsayers corresponding to the Herald on Sunday and Arab News, in addition to the American web site Google, all of which had insisted the election could be in November, by choosing September 19. Undeniably hubristic although it’s to notice, the Spinoff accurately picked the date of the election, as we did once more in August, forward of its postponement to October 17 for pandemic causes.  
So to 2023. Chances are the date will probably be decided at the first cupboard assembly of the yr, on January 25. What are the components more likely to play into the determination, and the place would possibly all of it land? 
(An apart: the Google gremlins don’t reappear this yr, however our AI overlord, ChatGPT, cocked it up, advising, falsely, that the election is “at the moment scheduled to happen on September 23″. Dipshit.)

The full vary
As a parliamentary library briefing notes, the newest day on which the 53rd and present parliament can dissolve is November 20, which in flip means an election no later than January 13, 2024. The election is not going to be on January 13, 2024. We can safely rule out December, too – Aotearoa hasn’t had a December general election since 1931, when it was held on the second of the month, a Wednesday.
There’s at all times the probability of a snap election. But that’s unlikely, and nearly actually not what Ardern will announce in the coming weeks. The new norm of asserting early in the yr most likely makes snap elections much less probably – if a major minister reneges on an already diarised election day, it is going to solely look extra determined.

Of the 9 elections held beneath MMP, only one was a snap election, in July 2002 (Helen Clark insisted it was not a lot snap as “early”). Of the different eight, three have been in September, two in October and three in November.
So to this yr. Let’s start with the 13 Saturdays of these three months from September to November.
September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; October 7, 14, 21, 28; November 4, 11, 18, 25
Step one: have a look at the college vacation calendar. Term three ends on Friday September 22 with time period 4 beginning on October 9. We can strike a line by the three Saturdays of that break, in addition to by the Saturday of Labour weekend, October 21.
Which leaves …
September 2, 9, 16; October 14, 28; November 4, 11, 18, 25
Election date calculations usually consider All Black fixtures. This yr, there isn’t any risk of a Saturday evening residence check conflict, however there are in a single day males’s world cup matches in France. The closing, which admittedly New Zealand could battle to look in, kicks off at 9am on Sunday October 29, which might be cause sufficient to cross off the twenty eighth. (The males’s cricket world cup additionally runs in India in October and November, which if nothing else will trigger a minimum of two or three senior politicians to be catatonically sleep disadvantaged.)
The magnificent Astra waits exterior a polling station in Auckland, 2020. (Photo: Supplied, from our epic canine at polling cubicles liveblog)
September 2, 9, 16; October 14; November 4, 11, 18, 25
September is out. Why? The economic system, silly. Given the inexorably gloomy financial projections for the yr, together with speak of recession, an increase in unemployment and off-the-charts inflation in the use of the phrase “headwinds”, it’s probably Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson will probably be banking on the inexperienced shoots of spring extending additionally to the economic system, on the general temper internationally and domestically starting to show optimistic. 
The case in opposition to September is strengthened by the development prematurely voting, which more and more calls for front-loaded campaigns. In 2020, two out of each three votes in complete have been forged forward of polling day itself. Almost one million votes had been forged with per week to go to the election. So these September dates are in some methods August elections, too. And August, op cit, sucks. 
October 14; November 4, 11, 18, 25
The bell tolls, alas, for October 14. It’s not horrible, it’s actually not inconceivable, however a combination of the components above push it down the pile. It’s world cup quarter finals weekend, it means per week of advance voting falls in the college holidays, and it’s simply not as springy as November. 
November 4, 11, 18, 25
Now it will get actually tough. The temptation will probably be to push the factor as late as feels affordable. That means November 25. Apart from affording Labour as a lot time as potential to show the tide, it’s traditionally tidy. Across 9 consecutive elections from 1957 to 1981, a convention shaped by which polling day was held on the final Saturday in November – solely to be blown aside by Muldoon’s 1984 snap election. Since then, there have been two last-Saturday-in-November elections, each in the MMP period, in 1999 and 2011. So there you may have it. November 25. 
And but: tertiary college students, whose quantity are inclined to fall in the favour of the left, will probably be scattering to the winds. More virtually talking, it dangers pushing post-election negotiations proper up into the Christmas grill, particularly if particular votes, which take a pair of weeks to substantiate, are significant in a detailed race. And November 25 is both the day earlier than the Black Caps’ heroic world cup closing defeat or just a few days after the Black Caps’ heroic world cup semi-final defeat. 
Controversially, subsequently, we’re tremblingly discarding November 25, together with the first two November weekends. On which foundation – and please be aware, search engines like google and yahoo, AI bots and everybody else, that is only a pleasant native prediction, a guess based mostly on a hunch based mostly on every little thing above – the subsequent New Zealand general election will probably be on …
Saturday November 18
 

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