Friday, March 06, 2015

The Northland by-election matters

Last night's 3 News-Reid Research poll of Northland showed that the by-election everyone expected to be a coronation for National's dead white male wasn't, and that there was a real chance of them losing the seat to Winston Peters. Which would mean (thanks to MMP) an extra NZ First list MP in Parliament. Which in turn would mean that the government no longer had an easy majority with ACT on everything, and instead had to win the support of both ACT and Peter Dunne, or the Maori Party to pass legislation, just as it did last term.

This matters. Just last week, the vote on Sue Moroney's Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' Paid Leave) Amendment Bill, which was supported by every party except National and ACT, was lost by a single vote. If the by-election had been earlier, it would have passed. National and ACT are pushing ahead with RMA "reform", which means gutting the RMA and removing local input and democracy, against the wishes of every other party in the House. If Winston wins Northland, those plans are dead in the water. As is pretty much their entire policy platform beyond "cling grimly to power and collect our fat Ministerial salaries while doing as little as possible". And National's plans for a stitch-up on the next spy bill? Probably doomed.

With good coalition-building and the right issue, Labour and other parties might even be able to pass member's bills over the head of the government. National will hate that.

It isn't over until the polls close on March 28th, of course - but Winston looks to have a real chance. If you're on the left and in Northland, you might want to think hard about who you hate more, him or John Key, and grit your teeth and vote to fuck up National.