Can National pick up electorate seats?

Normally when a Government is seeking a third term, they’re not looking to pick up any seats, just defend them. For example Labour in 2005 lost 10 to .

But Stuff reports it may be different this time:

National is gunning for vulnerable Labour MPs in four seats in a move that could further rattle its opponent.

Hundreds of National Party faithful are gathered in Wellington this weekend for the party’s annual conference, where Prime Minister John Key will attempt to talk them down from a buoyant mood by warning that complacency could see National turfed from power.

With a string of polls showing National around 50 per cent, Key will warn them that voter turnout could be the decider and not to assume the election is a done deal.

‘‘I will reiterate the message that while National is doing very well in the polls in reality this is going to be a very tight election,’’ Key said yesterday.

‘‘This is a race to 61 seats and despite the fact Labour is polling very poorly it could still hold hands with the Greens and NZ First, potentially Internet-Mana, and form a government. So there is no room for complacency within National.’’ 

In a sign that National is taking nothing for granted sources say it has also targeted four Labour MPs in seats it thinks it can win – Trevor Mallard in Hutt South, Ruth Dyson in Port Hills, Damien O’Connor in West Coast and Iain Lees-Galloway in Palmerston North.

The first two seats have big boundary changes, and the latter two have Mayors or former Mayors standing for National.

National’s strategy could disrupt Labour’s efforts to maximise the party vote, given that the survival of those MPs could hinge on them campaigning for the electorate vote instead to keep their political careers afloat.

Dyson and Mallard are not on the list, so if they lose they’re gone.

O’Connor is 22 and Lees-Galloway 24 on Labour’s list. If they lost their seats then they’d only make it back if Labour gets around 29% to 30% party vote.

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