Worse economic outlook and no way Labour gets traction.

This years budget deficit is $79 million larger than expected, and John Key is warning that the promised surplus next year may be delayed. Normally this might be a problem for a third term government, but the nation is far from tired of the Key government.

It could happen that the media turns on him out of sheer boredom, I thought they would’ve been more impatent than they are. Perhaps it is simply comfortable for them to pursue relationships with ministers that last a long time. They don’t have to do as much work, and in an industry that faces a cloudy future that is understandable. The torrent of clichés that spews out of Fairfax and Media Works every day is enough to cause serious environmental harm through an excess of stomach acid.

It is not just formulaic headlines. It is the usage of terms like ‘bloodletting’ or ‘shambolic’ to describe the Labour leadership contest. It follows the same laziness that leads entertainment reporters to write of ‘troubled’ actress Lindsay Lohan, and reinforces a media party line rather than actually trying to tell the public anything new.

However, I have learned to not expect high standards from the media, and instead await the new leader of the opposition to sent a blanket email to all Labour affiliates with the claim that the government is ‘tired and out of touch’. Go figure. The governments focus on housing and national security seems perfectly attuned to the collective pulse of NZ. After three successive election losses it is pretty clear which party is out of touch.

Annette King has been doing her best to lead question time as the acting deputy leader of the opposition, really the de facto acting leader of the opposition, and has kept the Prime Minister under pressure. But he is still able to bring out Helen Clark’s tenure as PM as a club to bash Labour about. They should make it clear to everyone that Labour in 2014 is a very different beast from its 1999-2008 incarnation. Successfully doing this would deny John Key the use of one of his choice weapons.

It is interesting to note the lack of media coverage garnered by the current leadership contest and the one last year. In 2013 the charade was used as a siren call to unite the bleary left, keep your own judgement on how well it did that. If the left did unite it only shows how small a political force it is. The new leader may emerge from this media blackout the better for it, and I am really past caring who it is. What matters is what they do from here on. Do they move to the centre and a fighting chance of governing again, or do they go further left and stumble, with neither grace nor apology, into their freshly dug grave.

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