The National Party has announced that it will not be endorsing any third party anti-Government advertising campaigns. Their announcement is mainly in response to the appearance of a marginal campaign group entitled 'Give NZ a Fair Go'. National’s statement is somewhat of a damp squid in the sense that National is simply announcing that they will be doing what they always do – which is not to endorse other interest groups or campaigns. Political parties generally don’t. But what the statement does point to is just how ultra careful and open the National Party are attempting to be. National’s campaign course is clearly all about safety. This year’s general election is their election to lose. So they won’t be taking any risks at all, and they’ll be doing everything they can to appear squeaky clean. No party – especially National – will want to be seen as being involved in anything untoward or covert. They’ll play the game by the book. And they’ll do their best to disassociate themselves from anyone seen as extremist. Instead of a bitter campaign – I think the parties will be falling over each other to be seen as nice. Negative advertising may actually play a more limited role than in other recent elections. I was briefly interviewed about this on Radio NZ National this morning. You can listen to the MP3 podcast of that here – I’m about half way through the item. For an alternative view read the Greens’ Russel Norman’s attempt to make logic fit his view that National will indeed be associating themselves with religious extremists. The post suggests that the Greens are stuck in 2005 and have failed to actually comprehend the huge damage that the Exclusive Brethren campaign had for National.