PRIVATE BIN: Will Key’s 2nd term rest not on the shoulders of the economy – but on 15 burly men?

The last possible date for the next election is Saturday January 7, 2012. The Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand over September and October of 2011, with the final on October 23.

No one is going to look twice at any distracting electioneering materials during the Rugby World Cup – least of all the expected 70,000 rambunctious overseas visitors.

Given that an election is highly unlikely to be held over the Christmas / New Year period, New Zealand will probably go to the polls barely a month after the cup final in late November or early December, leaving about six weeks for Mr Key’s re-election campaign.

The indicators are that the economy should be in a healthier state than it is now – but predictions in this volatile environment have even less perspicacity than usual.

There haven’t been any one-term National governments, yet, but John Key’s bid for a second term will be heavily dependent on whether or not the All Blacks can shake their World Cup jinx and reclaim the William Webb Ellis trophy for the first time since they won the inaugural tournament at Eden Park in 1987.

(If they can’t, there’s a strong case for them to hang up their boots as a team and retire the brand).

Either way, if your correspondent was John Key, he’d be thinking hard about investing the full weight of government resources toward an All Blacks win ...

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