Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good luck with that

National has begun talks with the Greens on a policy agreement, but are playing hardball, with John Key demanding abstention on confidence and supply in exchange for any policy crumbs.

Good luck with that. The Greens have repeatedly stressed that it is highly unlikely that they will support National in this way. I think that's putting it in too positive a light. The chances of the parliamentary Green party, let alone the Green membership (who get to vote on any substantive agreement) giving any sort of support on confidence and supply to a government committed to polluting our rivers and oceans, destroying the global climate, digging up our conservation land and selling our state assets is zero. The cost of such support would be for National to abandon those policies, the chances of which are also zero. So, if the parties want to work together in any way, then they need to accept that any deal will not include anything in the nature of confidence and supply, and instead find areas where they do have common ground.

Neither party needs to make a deal here. National already has its majority, and the Greens understand that they are unlikely to get anything significant (and certainly not anything National didn't want to do anyway). Which makes Key's demand for vassalage as the price of anything all the more puzzling. But maybe that second-term arrogance is kicking in already.