British Prime Minister Theresa May shocked voters this week by announcing a snap election.
I watched the announcement live on television in London but May's measured, rational delivery left a lot to be desired.

I'm of an age to remember Robert Muldoon's political bombshell of June 1984.
Now THAT was a snap election announcement.

The old tyrant had been in power for nearly a decade. But after finding himself coming under pressure from his backbenchers, worn down by the country's industrial and economic problems and having one of his political protegees Marilyn Waring cross the floor to vote against the Government on nuclear free legislation, Muldoon announced an election to be held in just one month's time.
He was hoping to put the opposition on the back foot and catch them unprepared.

The fact that Muldoon made the announcement seemingly under the influence of alcohol - he slurred his words and seemed unsteady on his feet - made it all the more remarkable.


In any event, his cunning plan backfired spectacularly and Labour, under David Lange, swept to power and changed the political landscape of New Zealand forever.
I doubt Labour's going to enjoy the same success in Britain.

David Lange was young, ideological and a brilliant orator.
You would hardly call Jeremy Corbyn particularly charismatic.

He seems likeable enough - the sort who would be the first to volunteer to man the Aunt Sally stall at the village fete - but hardly the sort of leader Britain is looking for to inspire confidence in these uncertain times.

Despite May vowing she wouldn't go to the polls early when she took office last year, she claims Opposition parties have made her negotiation of Britain's exit from the European Union untenable.
Buoyed up by her party's strength in the polls, May is seeking a mandate from the British people to negotiate the best possible deal for the country as the difficult process of extricating Britain from the European Union gets down to the gritty detail.

She claims she is concerned Tory rebels and Opposition parties will derail the process and leave her weakened in the negotiating room - hence her U-turn on an early election.

So confident is she of victory she has refused to participate in live television debates with other political party leaders - interestingly, Britain has only had live, televised political debates since 2010.

May should cruise to victory even though many voters interviewed by journalists in the wake of the announcement were incredulous and annoyed they would be going to the polls again.
I saw Brenda from Bristol live on the BBC and I'm not surprised she became an internet sensation after expressing her thoughts - and probably the thoughts of the nation - on the prospect of an early election. "You're joking! Not another one?! Oh for God's sake, I can't stand it!''

In the meantime, back in New Zealand, National has been running through the How to Be Re-elected checklist, one policy at a time.
Increasing police numbers - check. A nod to the regions with accelerated roading packages. Appealing to the caring Conservatives with policies for at-risk families.
And just this week an immigration policy that tried to please all the people all the time, and will ultimately satisfy very few.
It's an unimaginative, straightforward process that National and Labour are following - I don't expect any surprises in the lead-up to our September election.
But given the global events of the past year, given the high stakes in the upcoming British election, pedestrian politics is fine by me.