Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Once bitten, twice shy

Back in the 90's, New Zealand First got badly burned when the National Party they had gone into coalition with changed its leadership, leading to a change in policy direction which ultimately saw the coalition - and NZ First - fragment. Now Winston is faced with the prospect of potentially having to go into coalition with National again - and this time round, he's being a lot more careful, demanding that any deal be agreed to not only by National's leader, but by every single National MP as well:

We could work with either Helen Clark or John Key.

But, we do have a proviso about National because of our past experience.


And before we could go with National, we would make every single MP in the National caucus sign up to whatever agreement was reached.

That includes all the right wingers and Act look-alikes that lurk in the shadows.

It's good theatre, but I think the most important purpose is to provide Winston with an out to his promise to support the largest party if National's policies prove too unpalatable (OTOH, support on confidence and supply doesn't necessarily mean support on legislation - something that should be stressed a lot more).

Of course, all this is predicated on NZ First staying in Parliament. And on current polling, that's not looking too likely.