Monday, May 16, 2005

Vote Brash, get Winston?

With the election less than five months away, the big question is whether Winston will be able to play kingmaker again, and if so, who he will support. Winston remains evasive as ever (his Agenda interview on Saturday was a classic example), and if he's true to form, will go with whoever creates the most impressive-sounding (but functionally pointless) cabinet positions for him and his mates. But there's another option - the Herald has raised the spectre of Winston becoming Prime Minister with the support of National, and National and NZFirst MPs are reportedly discussing it at an informal level.

IMHO this would be a disaster for National - the only thing worse than being forced into coalition with Winston is having Winston as PM. It would also be a disaster for the country - can you imagine what sort of kooky policies a government run by demagoguery and the prejudices of pensioners would develop? But it's an electoral godsend for Labour. I can see the billboards now: "vote Brash, get Winston!"

Update: National has issued a quick denial ruling out Winston as PM in a National-NZFirst coalition. Unfortunately, it's dripping with arrogant, FPP-thinking:

"This speculation is nothing but wild talk. This is a two-horse race National, or Labour, and this is an attempt by a small party to try and squeeze in and we're not having a bar of it."

MMP means that elections are no longer a "two horse race". While the large parties will form the core of any government, the smaller ones have a chance to gain substantial support, and thereby exert influence over the direction of any government they back. They also have the chance to fight the larger parties on an even footing, and possibly displace them if their public support grows. Brash seems to be denying that this is legitimate - which simply shows that he is stuck in FPP mode and out of touch with the modern, democratic New Zealand.


It would be a disaster for National, which is why it won't happen. Even if it was the price of power, National would walk away, because it would doom itself to minor party status.

Posted by David Farrar : 5/16/2005 10:15:00 AM

Oh, I agree they'd be dooming themselves to minor party status - but not because it would be promoting the competition. Winston is getting old, and even viagra won't keep him going forever. His party will likely die with him. What would doom national to minor party status would be the policies they'd be enacting.

But then, I suspect that would be the case if Brash gets in and they try to restart the Revolution...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 5/16/2005 10:51:00 AM

Oh, the fear. That would make me vote Labour.

On the other hand... let's see. What did Winston change or achieve when he was last in Goverment? In terms of policy, bugger-all. In terms of politics, helped destroy the prospects of future right-wing governments for a decade.

Hmmm. Maybe this isn't so bad after all.

Posted by stephen : 5/16/2005 11:01:00 AM

I don't think Labout should run off and order the billboards quite yet - because 'Vote Helen, Get Winston & Tariana & & Jeanette & Jim & The Other Peter' isn't that great either. Rather lame story — unsorced speculation based on a shonky hypothetical - that will be lining bird cages and kitty litter trays tomorrow, where it belongs.
I used to expect better from Audrey Young.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/16/2005 12:38:00 PM

I strongly suspect this country would see a true "grand coalition" - i.e. a coalition between Labour and National, not the silly idea floated around the time of the last election - before we would see Winston Peters as Prime Minister.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/16/2005 05:40:00 PM