Sunday, November 06, 2011

Killing Labour's dream

Winston Peters has announced that he will not back either main party on confidence and supply, and will refuse to support any arrangement involving the Greens or Maori Party. So, that's it then. Labour's dream of cobbling together a coalition government if it does well enough (already a forlorn hope) is now dead. The issue now is not whether John Key or Phil Goff is Prime Minister, but whether Key gets to rule with an absolute majority.

This isn't something we should allow to happen. As we saw back in the FPP-era, absolute majority government is constitutionally dangerous. It turns our country into an elected dictatorship, allowing a single party to run roughshod over everyone else and abuse the Parliamentary process to impose policies for which it has no mandate. MMP's (thus far) enforcement of coalition and minority government prevents that from happening. It means the government has to negotiate for policies, convince other parties (and by extension the public) that its policies are acceptable. In other words, it keeps us safe. And that's something we need to preserve.