National wants a 45 percent election outcome, which leader Christopher Luxon calls a “very stretch goal.”
The party has been stuck in the mid-30s for most of the past year, last reaching the mid-40s before Covid-19 under Simon Bridges.
The 45 percent aim was accidently revealed during the National Party meeting in Wellington this weekend.
Sir John Key’s National won 45 percent in 2008, ending Labour’s three-term administration. However, Labour was polling far lower in 2008, whereas National and Labour have been in a standstill since the start of this year, with the left and right blocs close.
Luxon likes setting key performance indicators for his MPs, but he would not risk his position on meeting the target or improving his poor favored prime minister ratings.
A Luxon replied it was a campaign team internal objective.
When I become prime minister on October 14, my desired rating is. No number needed. “All that matters is October 14,” he continued.
I simply want to win government. Simply put. Winning government on October 14 is everything.”
Luxon said he admired the Crusaders “because they win” and wore a red jersey to the conference. They win, good or ugly.”
“I just want to win,” he added when asked if he wanted National to “win ugly”.
He reminded party members how far the party has come since 2020 and advised them to strive harder.
Let’s push harder in the next weeks. Power doesn’t give up easily.”
If National seeks to win back support from Act, the 45 percent objective might put them in conflict.
Luxon would not disclose if it was a strategy, but its objective was to get every party vote. “I relentlessly pursue National Party votes.”
However, National’s recent attempt to delay taxes on farm emissions until 2030 and its loud resistance to ethnicity factors in prioritising some health services have created suspicion that National is seeking to prevent rural and race votes from going to Act.
Luxon spoke to members without mentioning Act, Labour, or Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.