This election isn’t about whether National can beat Labour. It’s about whether National can win enough seats to cobble together a nice manageable government for its third term, or whether they’re going to spend three long years dependent on United Future, New Zealand First, the Conservative Party, Te Ururoa Flavell and some ACT Party doofus to pass any legislation. That means maximising turnout, not alienating probable voters to stay at home on election day or to cast a protest vote for Colin Craig or Winston Peters.
So I think this Williamson resignation is a pretty big deal. Superficially it resembles the case of Nick Smith resigning after intervening in an ACC debacle. The big difference is that Smith intervened on behalf of a friend who was struggling in her dealings with the agency, while Williamson intervened on behalf of a National Party donor who assaulted his wife and her mother by informing the police that the accused was very wealthy. Smith looked like a Minister who abused his position. Williamson looks like a horrible, hateful crooked scumbag who obviously doesn’t accept that he’s done anything wrong: he’s given a ‘sorry if I caused a perception of wrongdoing’ non-apology and insists he’s going to stand again in September.
National can’t do much about Williamson. But putting forward two tobacco lobbyists as candidates in one week seems like another vote-suppression technique. Maybe I’m wrong, an out-of-touch liberal, yadda yadda yadda; but running this twenty-three year old tobacco shill in Southland just seems like its designed to provoke voters down there into saying, ‘Screw you guys! I’m voting for Winston.’