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Final week of electioneering

Editorial

Will the two referendums take over more of the spotlight as the final week of the election campaign begins today?

All parties will make their last sprint to the finish line but, barring some unexpected developments, they seem to be largely in situ now.

The latest poll has Labour holding to a strong position on 47 percent, National well behind on 32, ACT on 8 and the Greens on 6 percent.

If the numbers hold around there then the only possible coalition government is a Labour-Greens one, with the other possibility Labour gaining enough support to govern alone. Things would need to change dramatically this week for any other scenario.

Another factor for this election is the large number of people who have voted early. That figure reached 586,000 even before the weekend and will continue to climb this week. People are responding to the advertisements urging them to vote early to avoid queues, something probably accelerated by Covid. Politicians have backed that message too, to ensure supporters do make their votes count.

This makes the task harder for National leader Judith Collins, who had a bad week on the campaign trail — thanks largely to leaked internal criticism over her call for a review of Auckland Council without speaking first to her Auckland Council spokeswoman.

However, Collins will continue to focus on the undecided voters, with the latest poll indicating they still made up 13 percent last week.

There was a dramatic development in the cannabis referendum last week with Sir John Key telling people to vote no.

He is right when he says it is a load of junk to say a yes vote will get rid of the gangs — although, who was saying that?

Key also said the Government will not make much money in the long term because it will have to spend more on things like mental health.

Countering that, proponents say cannabis legalisation doesn’t affect overall use much and has been shown to reduce use among young people, whose developing brains are most affected by cannabis.

This referendum looks set to be the big cliffhanger on election night.

The End of Life Choice referendum has seen a number of advertisements from both sides in the past few days weighing on people’s emotions. Despite a strong rearguard action from opponents, polls have consistently shown it will pass with a decent majority.

Get an early seat in the lounge for Saturday night.