Prime Minister John Key has indicated he will abandon election-year game-playing such as the Epsom cup of tea stunt, and instead will be more explicit with voters about whether he wants them to vote strategically in some electorates next year.
Asked whether Act leader John Banks could expect another "cup of tea" in election year after being told he must face trial over donations returns from his unsuccessful 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign, Mr Key said it was too early to say.
He then indicated he intended to abandon such stunts and instead set out a clear position on coalition partners well in advance, including possibly openly endorsing candidates from other parties in some seats.
He said decisions would be made over the next year, but National intended to be clear with voters about its coalition options.
I don't have a problem with parties saying "we want to work with this person", or with them refusing to contest a seat or standing in name only if it advantages them. But I do want them to be open and honest that that is what they are doing, so that voters can judge both the relationship and the tactic. Key's announcement is a positive step towards such honesty, and it is good to see.