As others have commented the Prime Minister seems to be in a state of genuine denial over her parties position in the polls; it seems incredible that a politician as experienced and formidible as Clark is going to lose (and lose massively) to John Key and National, a barely competent party with no policies and no direction with a mediocre underperforming leader with no government experience.
It’s almost as strange as the situation in the US, in which its becoming more apparant that John McCain, a popular, well liked war hero with decades of experience is going to lose (possibly badly) to a relative novice with no military background and the last name of Obama.
The media narrative in both countries is that people want ‘change for change’s sake’. I think this is patronising. People do want change but what they want to change is their goverments, which are bad, for another one that they hope will be good.
If Mr Obama is victorious then he will owe his place in history to the Bush Administration, which has not so much governed badly but failed to govern at all. On the contrary, New Zealand suffers from a surfeit of over-government and leaders for whom the solution to every problem is more (taxpayers) money, more regulation, more civil-servants and still more money.
Not only will Clark lead her party to a humiliating defeat, I suspect she has damaged its brand for the forseeable future. Just as National’s catastrophic failures of the 90’s still harm the party today, a competant National government will be able to enjoy at least ten years in power by darkly warning that a vote for Labour will plunge us back into the ‘nightmare of a Clark-like nanny state’. Of course, we are unlikely to enjoy a competant National government, even for three years but the opportunity for long term hegemony is there for Mr Key if he can seize it. Clark has given him that much.