The Press editorial:
Politics watchers expect a fresh election in September 2017. But there are increasing reasons for English to call an early election. Testing his leadership is just one of them. Labour MP David Shearer is resigning to take up a role with the United Nations in South Sudan in the new year, which would trigger a by-election in Mt Albert.
Under normal circumstances, the by-election could happen in the early months of 2017. But these are not normal circumstances. There was a by-election in the neighbouring electorate of Mt Roskill this month. By-elections are expensive, with the $947,000 cost of the Northland by-election in 2015 being typical. An early election would avoid the expense of a new contest in Mt Albert.
What a silly argument. General elections cost in excess of $40 million, so you spend $40 million to save $1 million! Having the election earlier may mean over time we have more general elections than otherwise we would have had.
Also a June election in 2017 would mean the 2020 election would be no later than August, causing two winter elections in a row – which won’t help turnout.
A better thing to do is change the law so that by-elections are not necessary for say nine months before an election instead of six months.