Brits look to NZ for coalition know-how

Written By: - Date published: 12:52 pm, May 8th, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags:

In the wake of an uncertain UK election outcome, the BBC’s Nick Bryant writes that Britain could learn from New Zealand in the art of forming coalition governments.

The article is fascinating from a Kiwi perspective, because it shows just how far we’ve come in our constitutional arrangements since the introduction of MMP in 1996. Our electoral system was very much identical to the UK  before then.

It’s clear now, however, considering  just how miffed the Brits are of this idea of coalition government, what progress we’ve made in creating accountable and stable representative government.

(I also greatly enjoyed the captioned Winston Peters photograph noting “Winston Peters, kingmaker in 1996, may have overplayed his hand”.)

New Zealand, which switched to proportional representation in the 1990s, may be able to teach the UK some useful lessons in coalition government.

It is a far-flung outpost of the Westminster system, with a capital that bears the name of a former British Prime Minister and a parliamentary chamber adorned still with the British coat of arms.

But Wellington, New Zealand, deviated from Westminster in the mid-1990s when it adopted a system of proportional representation, known as the Mixed Member Proportional system or MMP for short.

Since the 1996 election, the first under the new system, no single party in New Zealand has been able to command a majority.

So Kiwis have come to regard elections as a two-phase affair: first, the voting; and second, the period of government formation that follows afterwards which often takes weeks.

So are there are lessons to learn from New Zealand if the UK election fails to produce a clear-cut result?


At the next election in 2011, New Zealanders will also get to vote in a referendum whether they want to persist with the present system. The expectation at the moment is that they will.

In the meantime, the common-heard message from New Zealand in the event that the UK election produces no clear winner is curiously British: Stay calm and carry on.

Full article here.

45 comments on “Brits look to NZ for coalition know-how”

  1. ianmac 1

    Somewhere in the news about a week ago was a report that a working party was already coming to New Zealand to have a look at MMP.

  2. Nemesis 2

    I expect David Cameron will look to John Key’s experience of gathering a broad governing arrangement with parties that are interested in stable government, rather than the narrow majority and buy off of baubles that Helen Clark gave us.

    • gobsmacked 2.1

      Who’s Cameron’s Maori Party? Sinn Fein or Plaid Cymru?

      • Noodles 2.1.1

        The BNP?

        • Lew

          One of the few things the Tories have in their ideological favour is that they hate the BNP almost as much as everyone else does.


        • Jenny

          Noodles, (if that is your real name), I think comparing the Maori Party to the fascist BNP, as well as being purposely insulting, is extremely sectarian, therefore unhelpful in getting National out.

          I notice that Labour Party supporters rarely sling such extreme epithets at National or even ACT.

          Though there has been a bit of a softening of the anti-Maori Party rhetoric of late, one could gain the impression that Labour supporters see the Maori Party as the main enemy.

          These displays of sectarian hatred against the Maori Party if continued by Labour strategists would probably consign Labour to the opposition benches much longer than necessary.

          No matter how much I loathe old Squiddy, I would agree that he is the consummate coalition maker over Labour strategists any day.

          Weirdly to me, Labour supporters do not show the same sectarian antagonism to other past and possible future coalition partners such as New Zealand First or United Future.

          Maybe someone could explain this to me?

          • lprent

            You should probably look at who you’re talking about. I’d guess that less than half of the regular commentators (and for that matter the authors) here support the Labour party, and those who do seldom “sling such extreme epithets” at the Maori party. However we do write critical posts and comments looking at the policies and actions of the Maori party, as we do of all parties – including Labour. I get quite uncomfortable with some of the posts that Marty, Zet, and Irish (for instance) do on Labour, as much because they contain some elements of truth.

            I suspect that everyone is sensitive about criticism or epithets of the parties that they fully or partially support. In this case I suspect Noodles was pointing out that both parties have a core of cultural basis.

            • Jenny

              I wonder Lynne, what, “core cultural basis”, you “suspect Noodles was pointing out” that, “both” Maori Party and the BNP share?

              Care to clarify?

              As far as I know the Maori party is not anti-immigrant, does not harbour open supporters of Hitler and the KKK in its top ranks, and does not try to restrict it’s membership to certain races as the BNP does.

              Unlike the BNP, no members of the Maori Party have ever been convicted in court of, or even been involved in violent attacks on their political opponents or racial minorities.

              And no matter how much talk-back radio callers and other right wing loonies try to paint them, the Maori Party are not Racist, or Maori Supremacists, or, as a lot of their critics maintain, even Separatist.

              Lynne in your opinion, what possible basis does Noodles have to make such an outrageous and malicious accusation?

              Could you care to list them?

              Maybe Noodles might like to enlighten us as well?

              Lynne do you think that groundlessly comparing the Maori Party to fascists and racists should go unchallenged and unexplained?

              So how about it?

              Can you explain what possible grounds there could be for making such a comparison, except to be abusive?

              And Lynne if you can’t explain this comment from Noodles except as being abuse, would you tolerate it, if it was directed at any other parliamentary party?

              • lprent

                Comparing political parties to just about anything you want to name is an occupational disease around here.

                The BNP’s basic premise is that they are for Britons, actually more specifically the English and supporting the English culture. The Maori parties premise is that they are for Maori and supporting Maori culture. In that respect they aren’t too much different. In both cases they perceive themselves to be protecting and even enhancing a culture that is not mine.

                Personally I don’t really give much of a toss for either of them, in much the same way that I ignore Mormon missionaries. If they interfere in what I’m doing then I’ll get interested enough to find out what they’re on about and make a decision on where I stand.

                Which is what I did decades ago in supporting the process of the Waitangi tribunal. However my support wasn’t done for any cultural reason. It was done because of the appalling stats of people in that cultural group and something had to be done to change the operating basis of a group in my society. I could see the problem written in my cousins, who are now largely in aussie because of it.

                It isn’t much different from my support for feminists and my antipathy towards racists (I swear it is a disease). Or for that matter with my routine slagging of Microsoft operating systems – which I’ve been working on for almost 30 years and I swear that haven’t fixed some of the flaws I saw in the first year (8.3 filenames being good example or the 261 character MAX_PATH length).

                However, noodles was quite correct in his short and very concise argument. The ideological basis of the BNP and the Maori party are not that dissimilar. You can argue if it a good or bad thing. But as far as I’m concerned it largely shows the rise of a burgeoning Maori middle class, and that I consider to be a good thing. But they’re just another political party acting on the behalf of those they feel are their constituency.

                The rest of your argument is invalid (fascists, etc), because neither noodles or I mentioned those aspects – you did. You really are a bit defensive about it – perhaps you should read what people write, and less of what you read into it.

              • Jenny

                The thing about the BNP is that is fascist. (whether you mention it or not). In that they come fully equipped with a mythology of race superiority, and a history of street violence. Like Mosely’s Black shirts they like to engage in triumphalist marches through immigrant areas, that degenerate into street violence.

                The death of Blair Peach was at the hands of police tasked with guarding just such a triumphalist BNP rally. Transcripts from interviews with the police revealed that racist attitudes promulgated by the BNP had penetrated into the police force. And in particular the Special Patrol Group which had to be disbanded for that reason.

                This is the tragedy of fascism, that it permeates throughout society.

                How on earth could the Maori Party be equated with the BNP?

                No matter what labour spin meisters claim, the Maori Party is in no way comparable.

                Again I don’t see such extreme comparisons being made against National or Act.

                I feel that people need to refocus.

              • Jenny

                BNP routed in East London

                “Amid jubilant scenes at the count, Labour’s victorious candidate, Magaret Hodge, increased her majority and said the fight against the far-right party was the most important and moral of her life.
                “We turned a threat into an opportunity to really smash this wave of fascism,” she said.”

              • Jenny

                The Guardian on the BNP

                In Stoke, the senior BNP councillor Alby Walker decided to stand as an independent because of a “vein of Holocaust denying” within the party. “They’ve still got senior members of the BNP who will be candidates in the general election that have Nazi, Nazi-esque sympathies,” he added.
                The party is being investigated by the Electoral Commission and has been embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over its “whites-only” membership policy.

                The Maori Party are nothing like this. I am upset that you think Noodles comparison is “quite correct”. I am worried that if this view is widely held in the Labour party, then I am afraid, things are quite hopeless.

                However, noodles was quite correct in his short and very concise argument.


    • Michael Foxglove 2.2

      You’re not much of a thinker are you Nemises? Do you have any clue whom John Key copied in his strategy for coalition arrangements?

      And no. The answer’s not Jenny Shipley.

    • Were you around in 1996 Nemesis?

      Talk about Baubles of office. And I know wingnuts like to paint Peters as a leftie but he was always a conservative, elected initially as a National MP, a National cabinet minister in the 1990s and someone who always was conservative. He learned his finely honed troughing skills from the nats that he spent so much time with.

      Helen gave the country 9 years of stability with a variety of coalition partners.

  3. Nemesis 3

    Key rewrote the book on coalition building. Funniest thing I’ve heard all day, that Key copied Helen Clark.

    What did Clark do? She excluded the greens and called the maori party “the last cab off the rank” and jumped into bed with the most poisonous man in new zealand politics, winston. She then propped him up for three years defending his corrupt party. She did just enough to get a bare majority in the house.

    Key came along and rewrote the book, building a broad coalition across the maori and act parties. That’s why we’ve got good, stable, balanced government now.

    • Michael Foxglove 3.1

      There’s so much spin in Nemesis’ comment I’m getting all dizzy.

      Key is using all the constitutional conventions developed by Clark: Ministers outside Cabinet, Confidence and Supply support, Multiple allies.

      It’s quite clear and I’m sure any intellectual from the left or right would agree. Maybe Nemesis, you should try engaging in critical thought sometime, as opposed to partisan drivel?

      • Nick C 3.1.1

        Agree with Michael.

        The system works best when the governing party can go to more than one partner to pass legislation. I.e. Labour had the Greens, NZ First and United Future. National has Act and the Maori party. If one support partner doesnt like a piece of legislation then the other probably will.

        I fear however that Britian will end up much like NZ in 1996; with only one coilition partner to turn to Cameron will struggle to pass any legislation that the Lib Dems dont like.

        The other thing to consider as well is that Labour are likely to be far from stable in opposition.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.2

        Exactly, broad coalitions?
        Jim Anderton AND Winston Peters, plus agreements with the Greens but no Cabinet posts
        Are people like Nemisis complete Dolts?

        • Tigger

          Mostly I love how Nemesis thinks ruling for a bumpy 18 months or so constitutues ‘stable’…

      • Jenny 3.1.3

        Nem is right. At the time LECs up and down the country were calling for Clark to choose the Greens as a coalition partners. Clark ignored this grass roots call from her own party and chose to make conservative alliances with more right leaning parties instead.

        This was justified at the time as keeping Labour “Centre Left”.

        Foxy, the only one guilty of spin here is you. Either that, or your practising that old trick of wilful forgetfulness.

        • lprent

          Not exactly. Labour + Greens wouldn’t have been able to pass government acts because they didn’t have the MPs. The Maori party wasn’t a particularly viable option based on the campaign waged in 2005, even if Turei wasn’t her usual intransigent self and it wasn’t a brand-new party (everyone remembers the 1996-1999 coalition).

          NZ First and Dunne said they wouldn’t work with the greens in a coalition, but were enough to govern with.

          The greens needed more seats to be a viable coalition partner on their own. Helen did the best with what the election threw up for seats in the house.

          I think that you’re rewriting history.

          • Jenny

            Sorry Lynne but it is my fault for not being clear.

            I was actually referring to the election result of 2002, not 2005, where Labour could have had an absolute majority with the support of the Greens, and had no need to form a coalition to its right.

            My clear recollection of that time of LEC meetings was that most of the membership were strongly in favour of a coalition with the Greens. And that everyone was surprised with the coalition agreement that excluded the Greens and went with a right leaning coalition instead.

            Interestingly the wikipedia comment on this election mentions similar sectarian language and insults we now see directed at the Maori Party,by Labour, at that time being reserved for the Greens.

            The question I have, is what is the difference between the Maori Party and all other possible coalition partners that singles them out for this sort of sectarian attack?

            In particular why is the Maori Party attacked so strongly for not ignoring coalition with National? (especially as it wouldn’t change the result)*

            After all both NZ First, and United Future have been in Coalition with National and even the Greens have floated the idea, ( in response to their spurning by Labour). and have not suffered quite the same level of vitriol. (though according to wikipedia, the verbal abuse of the Greens in 2002 comes pretty close).

            In fact the poor result for the Greens that you mentioned for them in 2005 could be, and has been, attributed to how they were ignored by both Labour and National as potential coalition partners. Meaning of course that Greens voters realised their wishes would be ignored by both Labour and National in forming a government.

            This reinforces my view that Labour is terrible at coalition politics, spurning potential long term allies and driving them to the other side. While at the same time cosying up to parties that naturally would be more comfortable on the right side of centre.

            *(In fact the Maori Party said at the time that they would have done a coalition with Labour if it could have had any chance of forming a government. Though coalition with Labour would not made the slightest bit of difference because Labour didn’t have the numbers. The irony is that such a coalition could have been possible if the Labour Party had come to an agreement with the Maori Party before the election similar to the one National came to with ACT.)

            • lprent

              The issue after the 2002 election (from my recollection) was the greens negotiating position. They wanted to effectively put a stop to any genetic research by the restrictions that they wanted, and that was what they’d largely campaigned on. That was largely against Labours campaign position of having a moratorium on the use of genetically engineered products, but not effectively stopping research. That was their position after the royal commission reported on the risks.

              Referencing Wikipedia (because I can’t be bothered typing).

              Arguably the most controversial issue in the election campaign was the end of a moratorium on genetic engineering, strongly opposed by the Green Party. Some commentators have claimed that the tension between Labour and the Greens on this issue was a more notable part of the campaign than any tension between Labour and its traditional right-wing opponents. Helen Clark had called the Greens “goths and anarcho-feminists” during the campaign.

              Labour expressed a preference for an “agreement” rather than a full coalition, hoping to establish an arrangement similar to the one that existed with the Greens prior to the election. Three realistic choices existed for a partner – the Greens, United Future, and New Zealand First. Labour had repeatedly ruled out deals with New Zealand First during the election campaign, and reaffirmed this soon after the election, leaving just the Greens and United Future as candidates. After a period of negotiation, Labour opted to ally with United Future, being unwilling to change their genetic engineering policies to secure the Green Party’s support.

              That pretty well agrees with my recollection of what Helen discussed with us. It wasn’t a agreement done on the left/right spectrum but more one done on the basis on the greens bias against a technology. In particular a hammered out semi-consensus inside the party and outside on how to handle genetic research in NZ. She could get support from Dunne and co without having to change a largely established policy.

              Incidentally, I agreed with it – probably largely because of my scientific and tech background. At the time, I had quite a considerable antipathy for the type of scare-mongering that the greens were into during that period. The safeguards in place appeared to be more than sufficient to allow the continuation of the required research. To put it bluntly, the greens were pushing too damn hard without a reasonable basis apart from sensationalism.

              Probably the secondary reason is the same as for the Maori party in 2005. The greens had just come out of a reasonably messy divorce with the alliance disintegrating between 1999 and 2002. Parties with that kind of recent disruption in their history aren’t the easiest partners.

              • Jenny

                Hi Lynne, with stories like this, you gotta wonder if the Greens weren’t right to be concerned about GMO releases after all:

                From the U.S.

                I also beg to differ with you on whether this was a left right split, or not.

                If you accept that the Right is about serving the corporates and the elites that they support. And the Left is about the saving the rest of humanity and the environment from reckless exploitation by those same elites, then definitely, this was a left right split.

                In my opinion the Greens position wasn’t extreme at all. As I understand it, the Greens were not opposed to GE research per se. (And Particularly in regard to medical research the Greens were in agreement with the need for this research to be done.)

                But when it came to genetic manipulation of crops and livestock for the commercial gain of agri-business interests, the Greens were opposed.

                The clash between the Greens and the government began when the Greens supported the continuation of the Moratorium, which to that point kept these sorts of GMOs in the Laboratory. While Labour wanted the Moratorium lifted to allow commercial GMOs to be released into the environment.

                The Greens were not opposed to genetic research. The Greens official position was to keep such genetic research in the Laboratory and oppose the release of GMOs into the environment.

                Your interpretation of this dispute is that,

                They (the Greens) wanted to effectively put a stop to any genetic research by the restrictions that they wanted, and that was what they’d largely campaigned on. That was largely against Labours campaign position of having a moratorium on the use of genetically engineered products, but not effectively stopping research.

                If all that was wrong was the interpretation of what constituted “effective research”, then with the political will there was no reason why the Green’s hesitations could not have been accommodated.

                Of course this risked Labour antagonising the right and big agri-business interests who wanted no restrictions at all.

                I suppose this could explain why Labour could find coalitions to their right more comfortable and alliances to their left problematic.

                [lprent: Fixed the link again. You are using a closing anchor of <a> rather than the correct </a> So you’re starting another anchor rather than finishing it. ]

                • lprent

                  The moratorium on outside trials was put in place to allow a review of the risks. That was the royal commission. The greens singularly failed to present a valid case there. In fact I’d say that their arguments verged on religious rather than rational. They certainly didn’t manage to show there were significant risks, just presented speculations. So the moratorium was lifted in line with the policy that was setup when it was established.

                  Why would any governing party allow a group to fail to present any valid reasons against a technology, and then allow them to re-litigate it using political leverage – when they didn’t have to. Quite simply your argument is as much bullshit as the greens objections to controlled testing that they failed to present a decent argument against.

                  Sure there are risks. The same kinds of risks as there were when electricity was pushed to households, when hunter-gatherers shifted to farming, when people started going on the water to fish, etc. But basically there still hasn’t been established that there is a significant viable risk.

                  It is better to have genetic manipulation done in a controlled way than it is to leave it to an uncontrolled black market IMHO. It is a lot safer being controlled rather than being banned. There isn’t anything magical about genetic manipulation. It isn’t too much different than selective breeding (have a look at rotweillers sometime) except in timescale. Like computing, the cost to perform it will keep dropping. It is safer to control than it is to ban – because it will get done anyway.

        • lprent

          2005 election
          Labour 50
          National 48
          NZ First 7
          Greens 6
          Maori Party 4
          United Future NZ 3
          ACT NZ 2
          Jim Anderton’s Progressive 1

          Requirement was 61 seats.
          Labour + Greens + Progressive = 57 seats
          Labour + NZFirst + United Future + Progressives = 61

          The only other real alternative would have been to add the MP – but that would have been pretty damn fragile given the past history with how the MP was formed.
          Labour + Greens + Progressive + Maori Party = 61

          Personally I think that Anderton would have balked at working with the Maori Party.

          It was simply a matter of seat numbers given the negotiating positions of the parties. Helen picked the best combination amongst an unpalatable selection.

  4. Here are some rough, unscientific calculations that are interesting figures for thought:

    Conservatives = 8.5 (1.3%) seats per 1% of nationwide vote
    (306 seats/36.1% votes)

    Labour = 8.9 (1.4%) seats per 1% of nationwide vote
    (258 seats/29% votes)

    Liberal Democrats = 2.5 seats (0.4%) per 1% of nationwide vote
    (57 seats/23% votes)

    Democratic Unionist = 13.3 (2%) seats per 1% of nationwide vote
    (8 seats/0.6% votes)

    UK inderpendance party = 0 (0.0%) seats, 3.1% of nationwide vote

    So, in the best case scenario = 0.3 (0.0%) seats per 1% of nationwide vote
    (1 seats/3.2% votes)

    If trends continued, then in the best case scenario:
    Democratic Unionist get 2% of the seats (13) with 1% of nationwide vote.
    UK Independence get 2% of the seats (13) with 43.3% of nationwide vote.

    • prism 4.1

      It would be important for them to have a threshhold for representation apart from winning an electorate. Small one-focus parties getting a foothold through slipping through a wide net tend to pursue this and don’t advance democracy or assist in decision making.

      I think we in NZ have to keep our threshold high and electorate winners should be able to bring in only one list MP (on the basis that this would result in a more effective output. I don’t see how individuals can adequately cope with the work alone.)

  5. Lew 5

    All this prognostication about likely outcomes under PR assumes that peoples’ voting behaviour won’t change with the system. That’s a bollocks assumption. It has in every single case. At best you can make a rough argument that the LD and minor parties will be advantaged at the expense of the Big Two.


    • Michael Foxglove 5.1

      Agreed Lew.

      Though still, it’s an interesting theoretical exercise.

  6. Name 6

    The reason both Labour and the Conservatives in the UK have resisted PR is that both are themselves uneasy coalitions of groupings. Under PR those groupings are more than likely to split off to form separate parties, just as ACT split out of National and the Maori Party split out of Labour following the introduction of PR here.

    I’d venture that since 1960 onwards in the UK the party gaining power in a General Election was put there not by people voting FOR its policies, but because they were seen as the least worst of the two options. And there were only two options.

    Unfortunately there is much that is unattractive about MMP as a PR system which I think will not appeal to the UK voter – particularly the non-elected, drone, list system – and I hope the UK will choose another PR system, and that New Zealand also will in 2011.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      ACT didn’t split out of National Name. United Future had some Nats in it, but NZ First is the only baby the Nats have had as far as I can remember…

      • jcuknz 6.1.1

        From the origins of the ACT party I would suggest that they were the sensible members of the Labour Party who wanted common sense in government and it was the stupidity of the media echoing the crys from the left that pushed ACT away from the centre into the far right position. Though really it is not that far right of centre in world terms only in little old NZ’s.
        As one who was strongly involved with ACT’s birth I remember all the previous Labour ministers who were our leaders, most of them have dropped away unfortunately as I have.
        So I suggest that ACT was yet another off-shoot from Labour, like Jim Anderton, Alliance Greens etc. The problem being the split between the die-hards and the sensible folk in Labour that doesn’t seem to be present in National with the possible exception of Winston Peters.

        • jcuknz

          When MMP and ACT arrived on the scene my personal debate was between which was likely to do most good for people … Jim Anderton’s Alliance or Roger Douglas’s ACT. Both seemed to have similar wishes and ideas for the good of people, but Jim’s seemed a bit unrealistic as I listened to him. I agree that Douglas had/has a few wrinkles in his book that I didn’t like but who agrees with all the policies of any party?

      • Jenny 6.1.2

        Yes PB, Name is guilty of trying to rewrite history as much as old Foxy is. But PB, dare I say it, because even you apparently can’t.

        ACT sprung out of Labour.

        • lprent

          Mostly, but not completely. There were a few rejected national ex-MPs in there as well as the ones from Labour.

    • Daveosaurus 6.2

      The suggestion that list MPs are unelected is a fallacy. The only way for a list MP to get elected that way is for people to vote for that party list. While the system could be improved (most obviously in giving the voting public a greater say in party list rankings) it is still head and shoulders above the fundamentally flawed system it replaced.

  7. Bill 7

    Funny how everybody approaches this stuff as though England was Britain.

    You cannot transplant NZ MMP to Britain. There is no ‘Britain’. There are three distinctly different countries and the general election reflects the difference. The Tories only got 20% in Wales and an astounding 2% in Scotland.

    Does anybody seriously propose that the Tories should claim a mandate to rule in Wales and Scotland? If Labour have no mandate to rule in England, then why does that same argument not carry through for the Tory cause in the other two countries?

    Time to be done with the British fiction once and for all. Might a federal solution be the way to go?

    • Andreas T 7.1

      Good point. I also noticed the Tories only got one seat in Scotland (though 16.7% of the vote, not sure where you got 2% from).

      Another interesting point is that while Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have some devolved power that England stays out of, all three of those countries have a say in England’s affairs ie. there’s no devolved parliament for England.

      Perhaps it is time for federalism (though I might admit an ignorance of the general complexities in the UK).

      • Bill 7.1.1

        ITV has it as Labour 69…Con 2…Lib Dem 19…SNP 10

        Had a quick look through the broken down results though and can see that the 69/2/19/10 is b/s. Fucking media!

        edit. I take it all back. %age of seats is 2%, not vote. Maybe

  8. Lazy Susan 8

    Completely agree Daveosaurus. The anti-MMP brigade always drone on about the “unelected” hopeless MPs that it allows into Parliament. Hopeless MPs get into Parliament under FPP, they get given safe seats! Filling up the list with hopeless, unpopular candidates is not the strategy of any party that is serious about getting elected.

  9. jcuknz 9

    I could suggest that List MPs have more right to a seat in Parliament becuase they get there from the votes of ALL New Zealanders who get their fingers out and vote, not just those in one area of the country. If a party doesn’t get members equal to the votes it gains at the time of election then that is not fair …. like when around 20+% of voters voted for a party and only got two seats a few decades ago here in NZ.
    The current system means that List MPs have to work harder becuase they cover greater areas for their parties, particularly down here in the south of the country. If all MPs were list MPs they could be allocated to serve the country much better. Seat MPs are a relic, a bad relic, of FPP.

  10. Key came along and rewrote the book, building a broad coalition across the maori and act parties. That’s why we’ve got good, stable, balanced government now.

    1. Key’s government stable? Only last year a leadership coup in a minor partner was headed off by a non-party member. Mumorings of dissatisfaction amongst National membership.

    2. No baubles? What the hell is Whanau Ora then? TPK’s World Cup bid? Rodney and Roger’s trips to the UK?

    Nemesis – there’s taking the piss, and then some.

  11. Jenny 11

    British people are asked:

    Would you put up with what is being asked of the Greek people???

  12. Irascible 12

    The Guardian’s opinion on the outcome of the UK election makes interesting reading away from the Times style headlines.

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