John Key is warning voters there is no "free lunch" in the Northland by-election, as National claims major roads and free-trade deals will be in doubt if Winston Peters wins.
Speaking to Turners & Growers in Kerikeri yesterday, Key said "all the other parties [were] ganging up on National" making the contest difficult.
If National lost the seat it had held for more than half a century, there could be consequences, such as throwing into doubt the South Korean free trade agreement (FTA) he is due to sign in Seoul this month, because it would require a vote in Parliament.
"If we lose Northland, it's not costless," Key said.
Osborne, who has risen from electorate treasurer to potential MP in just weeks, even warned a flagship National roading project to extend State Highway 1 as a motorway further into Northland, could be derailed if Peters beat him.
"If the people of Northland want the Puhoi to Wellsford motorway extension, which is vital to open up Northland to our biggest market . . . if we want that, there's only one choice, and that's to vote for me," Osborne said.
The message is clear: if Northland doesn't vote for National, they won't get their roads (or probably their bridges). Its outright bullying of the sort you expect in a banana republic. But isn't it so very, very National?