I’m around a week behind with blogging from the blogmobile, so will be doing a series of catch up posts over the next two days.

It is lots of fun out on the road, but fitting in time for driving, work for my business, blogging the national stuff, meeting and interviewing locals and then actually blogging about them has been hard.

Anyway back to Rotorua. which was the weekend before last. Rotorua as a city tends to be Labour voting, but on the new boundaries is marginally National. It has a high Maori population and at the local markets I would have said it was 50/50 Maori and non-Maori.

So it was interesting to observe the warm reception John Key got there – lots of people wanting to chat to him, even sing to him.

John was a good enough sport to give us a quick interview, above. He cited the economy as easily the biggest issue for NZers. He also endorsed parts of the NZX plan (and this was prior to him announcing the NZ Super Fund policy which was in there) except for capital gains tax. John said 2002 was his first ever election – he was a prefect at school but that was “selected by the Gods higher up”.

He was cautious on McCain vs Obama but did say McCain was a strong supporter of NZ, but sure Obama will be also. He didn’t rule out offering Sarah Palin a role in his administration if she didn’t make it to Vice-President in the US. His tax cuts did go on the legendary block of cheese and for the final question he chose Goff over Cunliffe – but did predict Goff would not be there long.

Todd “Boris” McClay is the local candidate – and also cooks up great bacon and eggs at midnight! He was born in Rotorua and returned to NZ after many years in Europe, including representing several Pacific states to the European Union.

Todd picked crime as the biggest local issue from his door knocking. I asked Todd how a non Cook Islander ended up as their Ambassador to the European Union. Todd artfully pointed out he was made an Honorary Cook Islander a few years ago in gratitude for his services, so he may be our first Cook Islands MP!

Internationally Todd is backing Obama as he is about the future. On the tax cuts he,like many candidates, is without income so gets nothing from tax cuts but if he was working would invest them in KiwiSaver. And finally he picks Michael Cullen ahead of Goff and Cunliffe for the future!

Steve Chadwick was there also. Sadly Steve wasn’t keen to take part – a pity because this is all light hearted stuff – nothing tough or nasty. Anyway Cameron got some footage of Steve refusing.

Rotorua has been held by Chadwick since 1999, winning it off Max Bradford with a 4,978 majority. In 2002 she extended that to 7.744. This got knocked back to 662 in 2005 and on the new 2008 boundaries it is marginally National by 366 votes.

This is one of those seats National would expect to win if it becomes Government. Chadwick is No 30 on Labour’s list and would come back in on 32% of the vote, so should be back regardless. McClay is 54 on National’s list and would come in on around 45%.

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