Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ruling themselves out of power

National's playing of the race card has produced the expected response from the Maori Party: they have now ruled out any post-election deal which would see National take power. Declaring that abolishing the Maori seats is a bottom line is also likely to cause trouble with New Zealand First, who have ruled out such an extreme measure. The upshot is that National is rapidly running out of coalition options. By offending the Maori Party and deliberately placing a barrier in the road to cooperation with Winston, they have narrowed their potential support bloc down to ACT (who won't be in Parliament) and United Future (who are polling between 1 and 2 % and so will get at most 3 MPs). Which means they have effectively ruled themselves out of any chance at power.

I know it's been said before, but I'll say it again: National doesn't understand MMP. They think that they can win an election alone, or that other parties will just obediently fall into line because of their "natural right to rule". But it just doesn't work like that anymore - and hasn't since 1996. I know they're a conservative party, but you'd think National would have woken up to this, having had nine years to get used to the fact. But instead, they seem to have spent those nine years living in denial, hoping desperately that this messy experiment with democracy will go away, and that we'll all snap out of our "silly infatuation" with representative government. But I don't think that's going to happen - which means National will stay in the political wilderness until it finally begins to understand the fact that it needs friends and must compromise on its agenda, rather than enjoying automatic support simply because they're old and bald.


If you saw Gerry last night on TV you would have seen someone who doesn't really see the need to understand anything...that smirk, those flippant remarks. How did this person get to represent anything?

National are throwing this election to see how far right they can go in 2008...National, as a party in their current iteration are sunk.

They will need to totally re-invent themselves for 2008.

Posted by Unknown : 8/30/2005 10:56:00 AM

A saying about there being no harm in estimating public intelligence springs to mind here ... National's one policy (tax cuts) is currently good for about 40% of the vote. For all of National's incompetence, including yesterday's non-announcement by Brash, their ship is sailing rather well.

Posted by dc_red : 8/30/2005 11:31:00 AM

Craig: the Maori Party's announcement may very well hurt them - but the fact remains that National is however many seats further from power due to their inability to compromise. As for Winston, he may change his mind - but on current polling that would still leave national a long way from government.

As for the second paragrah, maybe I didn't make it clear, but with NZ's voting demographics, the broader representation given by MMP virtually guarantees permanant minority government. Which means that parties must find common ground or be able to compromise with one another in order to form a government. And its very clear that National isn't very good at that game at all, still being stuck in "born to rule" mode.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 8/30/2005 02:28:00 PM

National is a pro busisness party playing to a base "Pakeha" mainstream to supplement a tax cut appeal to the middle income group.

While it's impact is minor - a two or three % swing from Labour adds 2 or 3 seats which Labour then loses. Thus a 4 to 6 seat swing.

The Maori party is unlikely to have any more than 2 or 3 seats - they lead in 2 races at present and would take 2 or 3 seats on their party vote of 2%.

National's policy is therefore plausible in the electoral sense.

The problem is their need for NZ First - who have opposed the Working Families programme incorporated by National and which has also called the tax cut programme inflationary.

National's strategy seems to be to unite the right around itself - both now and in 2008. On current polling they cannot do this in 2005, thus will need NZF.

But a coalition with NZF could result in a compromised programme and/or a one term government.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/30/2005 08:45:00 PM

If National gets 37% or 38% of the vote, ACT is knocked out, and there is an uncomfortable Labour-led government which is clumsy, then you'd have to say Brash done a successful job to position National ahead of '08 under John Key with allies in United Future and, if Peters hasn't retired, NZ First.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/30/2005 08:58:00 PM