Friday, May 31, 2013

The end of Peter Dunne?

United Future has been deregistered after failing to attract 500 members. While the party claims it is "temporary" and that it can re-register any time before the next election, no party has come back from de-registration yet. And while Dunne will still be able to contest the Ohariu seat, unregistered parties cannot contest the list vote - which means that there is no prospect of him bringing anyone along with him, and therefore no reason at all now for National to stand aside for him. In other words, we may just have seen the beginning of the end of Peter Dunne's political career.

But while it brings a warm feeling to my heart to see Dunne's demise, the political landscape is now looking a little thin. All told there are now only a dozen registered parties, and three of those - the Alliance, Democrats for Social Credit, and Libertarianz - do not look long for this world (having each received just over a thousand votes last election). While one party (FocusNZ) might possibly gain registration this election cycle, overall we are looking at a pattern of long-term decline. Which isn't exactly healthy for our democracy.