The Herald and John Key are whining that National will have a ‘moral mandate’ to govern after the next election if it is the highest polling party, even if it can’t form a majority and the Left can. Of course, there’s no such rule in MMP (in fact, it’s a desperate attempt to make MMP work like FPP). But the Herald and Key don’t answer the critical question: how? How would a National Party that can’t secure a majority in Parliament govern?
The unspoken assumption is that Labour or the Greens would either give support on confidence and supply to a government of National and whatever is left of the zombie parties, or would abstain. Why would Labour and the Greens vote for budgets that go against their core principles when they have the opportunity to, instead, form a government and pass budgets that they, you know, agree with? Because of this mysterious ‘moral mandate’, apparently (a concept that, incidentally, doesn’t exist in the home of MMP Germany, where the largest party has missed out on government several times).
And, even if that were to happen, then what? A government that can’t form a majority unless its political opponents let it isn’t going to be able to pass any legislation that those parties oppose. I guess Labour and the Greens are just meant to vote for National legislation that they oppose, too. You know, because of the ‘moral mandate’ that a single party which has secured fewer votes than they did combined so clearly wields.
What the Herald and Key are proposing is a radical revolution in our democracy, whereby the largest party gets to govern no matter how far off a majority of genuine support it has and then all the other parties vote for its legislation, like some dictatorial Greek chorus. It’s a delusional attempt to reinstate the rule of FPP in the MMP era. They couldn’t do it by referendum, so they want to do it with dipshit logic, instead.
In reality, the only moral mandate any political party has is to fulfill the expectations of the people who voted for it. A political party most certainly does not have a moral mandate to support or acquiesce to a government that does the opposite of its policies. So, I say again, how?
This won’t be the last whinging that you hear of the ‘moral mandate’, bullshit though it may manifestly be. Polls are moving from showing National and Lab+Greens neck and neck to the Left clearly out in front since labour got a leader that people can see as a PM in Cunliffe. Expect the whinges to get louder with each poll that shows National in the low 40s.