The worst thing about National winning a majority of the seats in Parliament and being able to govern alone, is that it would give John Key the unbridled power he so desperately craves.
Key is no student of history, and he appears intent on ensuring New Zealand repeats many of the mistakes it made in the 1980 and 1990s. That means more asset sales and more deregulation.
As a result the gap between the richest and poorest will increase over the next three years, if National is re-elected. I would put money on that.
John Key has managed to convince a large number of voters that he is a political moderate, and that he won't do anything sudden or frightening. However, Key and his cabinet have only contempt for the state sector, a contempt that comes out whenever they begin talking about the public service. It's a fair bet that we'll see more moves in the next three years to gut the public service, and to deregulate. Indeed, if National secures a majority the temptation to take radical measures will be irresistible.
John Key has promised not to sell any state assets during the next three years, if re-elected, other than the four he's said will be part-sold. This will be a difficult promise to keep, and I expect we will see a move to put plenty more of our SOEs on the block during that time. This broken promise will be justified in the same way that the "no GST-rise" promise was. We'll be told that Key's plain words actually meant something else and that a lie is no longer a lie.
Key will also have the benefit of an economic crisis to justify extraordinary measures. Europe remains at the point of collapse, and internal pressures continue to mount within New Zealand. The massive insurance problems in Christchurch, which National has no interest in helping to resolve, are looking like they will delay the rebuild by potentially years. And National has announced no new policies to turn around the four decades of economic slide our country has experienced. National's answer is for us to sell more dairy and meat, but we are in the midst of a commodities boom and yet still find ourselves going backwards. What's going to happen when the boom times end?
The 2011 election is not yet lost, but even if National is pulling ahead that's no reason for voters on the left to give up and stay home on election day. Labour supporters who may be feeling discouraged need to remember that the election is just one battle in a larger campaign for the future of this country. A heavy defeat will prolong the campaign, so if Labour supporters stay home and don't bother to vote, they may be dooming New Zealand to six more years of National rule, not three.
If Labour is hit hard in the polls this time, it will be more difficult for Labour to present itself as a viable alternative to National in 2014, because the party will potentially lose a lot of good talent. So it is critical that Labour supporters don't sit at home this time round.
If you don't like the direction this country is going in you have two main choices. You can leave and go live elsewhere (as thousands are doing), or you can vote for a change.
You don't have to vote on Saturday, and you are perfectly entitled to just stay home and opt out. But if you don't like the direction this country is going in you can take a stand and vote for a change of government. Deciding there's no point in voting will just keep things as they are.