With the latest poll results boosting Labour and with confidence in the economy so clearly starting to tank Labour will be bringing forward the election date before the news gets too bad to hide its incompetence.
Things we know. The Budget is May 19. The election period is 6 weeks. The last Lions test is 9 July and the AB's are looking good.
The government would leave itself 2-3 weeks after the Budget to gauge reaction before announcing the election. If reaction is bad they still have the option to defer for a few months if necessary. But we all know that the budget will be a spend up. That gives us 8-9 weeks from May 19. This gives us 16 July or 23 July. Labour are sufficiently cynical to try to benefit from a test win against the Lions despite their leader hating the sport.
My prediction is thus an election date of 23 July 2005. Time will tell.
UPDATE: We even have some agreement across the political spectrum on the election date. Greg Stephens at New Zealand Political Comments: Early Election also thinks there will be an early election. He makes the good point that Maori require time to organise. On the other hand span disagrees with her comment.
i don't think they will go early - last time they had a semi-credible excuse (which actually wasn't credible at all, but anyway) this time they won't have anything. i'm picking early Sept but i'm not overly good at picking these things.
Requiring justification has never troubled this government before and I am not sure why it would now. helengrad is smart enough to choose some manufactured reason as they did last time. The electorate are also smart enough to understand why they would go early and I really doubt whether anyone would be so upset by the election being brought forward that they would change their vote. In my case 2 months less of a helengrad government would certainly be reason enough to praise them ;)