Bill Ralston reports on speculation that the election date will be 18 October 2008.
My consistent position has been that the last date is the default date and no other date has been decided on, but that any time after the budget, Clark could tactically go early if the polls close enough or the Government gets some momentum.
The last five election dates are recorded as:
September 17, 2005
July 27, 2002
November 27, 1999
October 12, 1996
November 6, 1993
These are a bit misleading though. November is the traditional date, and I believe the date should be fixed for the last Saturday in November. Anyway we had November in 1993. The reason 1996 was early was because Michael Laws was forced to resign from Parliament in early 1996 and Bolger had to either allow a by-election or name a date within six months. If not for that, would probably have been November also.
1999 was November. Then there was a snap election in 2002 when Helen Clark used the preposterous excuse that Parliament was unmanageable because of points of order over the status of the Alliance. This was revealed to be around 11 minutes a day on average, so Clark has a history of going early purely for tactical reasons, with the flimsiest if excuses.
2005 was held on the last possible day, or close to it. Each election can be three years and 50 days or so after the previous one, so we have the chance this time to get it back to the traditional November date.