Picking John Key will not return to parliament after the Christmas break citing ongoing family reasons, triggering an earlier than expected general election next year.
If what John Key says is true, he might not have much left in the tank, but politically he has left the National Party with plenty in theirs – for now. They will need to use it wisely or they could face running out of steam in the next twelve months and find that capital is not there when they need it most. Better to kick Key to the curb now when he can bow out with relatively not much fuss after Christmas, giving the new prime minister a a fair suck of the election sav’.
A costly by-election can be avoided if a general election is held within 6 months of a minister resigning, and the writ (the notice of the election date) receives 75% support of the parliament. That could mean an election could be held in the first half of 2017.
If there really is a Santa in the House, they’d bring me this for Christmas.