Coalition building – deft politics from Little

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 am, March 3rd, 2017 - 87 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, greens, labour, leadership, nz first - Tags: , , ,

Helen Clark wrote the book on MMP coalition government, shoring up alliances on the left and the right. Looks like Andrew Little has read the book:

Little’s spy move gives big love to Winston

Andrew Little has just given big love to Winston Peters by nominating him to a role with oversight of the country’s spies. It is a cunning move that sends the message Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First are all working together.

Little has nominated Peters to the Intelligence and Security committee which assesses some of the most critical issues facing New Zealand in top secret briefings on the work of spies from the SIS and GCSB. The committee is made up of big players like the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition – although the Greens and NZ First have been blocked until now.

It is a plum job and Little is sacrificing a spot for Labour by nominating Peters to replace David Shearer. That’s what you call a big favour.

Clever. But the best part, Little has the Greens on board (bravo Greens!):

And the Greens backing the Winston Peters nomination is another big move: the Greens would usually be complaining about why they aren’t on it. Little has also promised to extend the committee to include the Greens and Winston as of right – another symbolic gesture.

Along with the clear signal that the Greens are Labour’s first choice in post-election talks, Little is showing both the pragmatism and the deft touch needed to win. In most polls Labour + Green + NZF = government.

87 comments on “Coalition building – deft politics from Little”

  1. Cold, cold shivers running up and down the spines of blue and yellow politicians.
    Edit: “spines?”, I hear you exclaim. What is it sharks have, gristle? Cartilage?

    • Anne 1.1

      I hear tell Cameron Slater and co. are advertising through the appropriate channels for prospective right wing trolls to attend an urgently arranged training session. It has yet to be confirmed whether a payment for their services will be made, but assurances (in writing) to the successful candidates that they will receive preferential treatment by the parental political body is definitely forthcoming. (satire)

    • Tamati Tautuhi 1.2

      Not many spines in Government these days, more like reptiles?

  2. Dot 2

    Good thinking, this is a committee where the senior MP of the house can diligently use some of his experience.
    The bets are high that Winston Peters will increase his options for influence at the next election.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    As Greg has rightly pointed out in his post, coalitions with NZ First end in tears.

    I can not for the life of me see how it would work in the first place, but in any case I will campaign strongly against ever including the bigoted Winston Peters in any progressive government.

    The message needs to be heard loud and clear. If you want to change the government, you must vote Green or Labour. A vote for Winston will more than likely result in Bill English being the Prime Minister

    We need a Labour Green Government. If we need support it must come from Mana and MP.

    • Keith 3.1

      I don’t recall Winston been a problem for Helen Clark, rather a good coalition partner.

      • Enough is Enough 3.1.1

        Do you recall them both losing the 2008 election after one term in coalition?

        That Keith is a problem

        • Tricledown 3.1.1.1

          That election was lost because Helen Clark was tired after 8 years in govt.
          John Key jumped at the same time.
          Politics is dirty business .
          Peter’s revels in it.
          He said he liked Labour better than National because Labour kept their word National were always changing the Deal.

          • mosa 3.1.1.1.1

            Trickledown if Helen was tired it was because she was having to fight fires being started by her enemies determined to make sure John Key won in 2008.

            And one the chief arsonists acting under the radar but working for Keys hatchet men was Cameron Slater who was only too happy to spread dirt and use under hand tactics to undermine her government.

      • red-blooded 3.1.2

        A bit of an embarrassment towards the end (remember the big (misleading) “NO” sign and the parliamentary enquiry?

      • Tamati Tautuhi 3.1.3

        Correct they worked quite constructively together compared to Shipley who reneged on the coalition agreements, I am sure Winston hasn’t forgotten?

        Once bitten twice shy.

      • paul andersen 3.1.4

        yes quite correct, but many on the greedy side of politics will be flat out trying to drive a wedge between NZ first and labour. cue rodney hide et al

      • mosa 3.1.5

        Winston was only a problem for the National party and their supporters un nerved at the prospect of of another three years in opposition as the arrangement had defied predictions that it would last and as Don Brash had the 2005 election “stolen” from him the right and their friends in the media were going to mount a vicious campaign against anyone associated with the Clark government and make sure John Key prevailed in 2008 with the help of course of Mr Slater and his colleagues.

    • Greg needs to know New Zealand First was standing on principle when it quit the coalition with National. Our position was always “NO ASSET SALES”.

      So what did National do? They decided they were going to try to sell Wellington Airport which is an asset.

      Winston had no problems working with Helen Clark in 2005-2008. New Zealand First was a much weaker party in 2008 and that did not stop Helen from giving him a portfolio normally assigned to a Labour M.P.

      Greg also needs to know many people view National and Labour as flip sides of the same coin. Not New Zealand First. Our principles are what we stand on.

      And as for coalitions in 2017, Winston does not do deals until he knows how many M.P.’s he has to work with and how big the two major parties are going to be.

      If Labour does well at this election, every party including the Greens and possibly N.Z.F. will shed votes. But again, we will not know that for certain until the election.

      • Enough is Enough 3.2.1

        Thanks Robert for your comment.

        As you said “And as for coalitions in 2017, Winston does not do deals until he knows how many M.P.’s he has to work with and how big the two major parties are going to be”

        That illustrates my point. The only way to be certain that the government will be changed is to vote Labour or Greens because Winston will not make his mind up until after the election.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 3.2.1.1

          Winston is not the only person in NZF, I am sure the Caucus of NZF and the Board of NZF will be having discussions post Election, NZF could possibly get 20% of the party vote in the coming 2017 Election and will become a serious player in NZ’s futures. Labour and National are the same as Pepsi and Coke.

      • weka 3.2.2

        You appear to be speaking on behalf of NZF, perhaps you could clarify if you are part of the party?

        “And as for coalitions in 2017, Winston does not do deals until he knows how many M.P.’s he has to work with and how big the two major parties are going to be.”

        Yet we already know that National will have far more votes/MPs than Labour, but might not have more votes/MPs than L/G. Has Peters clarified what he would do in a situation where the L/G bloc was more than National? This is MMP after all.

  4. In most polls Labour + Green + NZF = government.

    In the n=1 poll of Psycho Milt’s mind, Labour + Green + NZF = horrendous clusterfuck. NZF are a small-c conservative party.

    • Enough is Enough 4.1

      Absolutely

      It will be an horrendous cluster fuck that no one should be advocating for.

    • Antoine 4.2

      The best way to keep NZF out of Government is to vote National

      A.

      • weka 4.2.1

        ha ha, a small c cluster fuck or a large C Clusterfuck. How about we reject both.

        • Antoine 4.2.1.1

          Feel free, but in practical terms, Labour/Greens will not be able to form a government in 2017 without NZ 1st support, unless things change remarkably in the next 6 months time

          • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1.1.1

            Actually in the last two polls they’ve been within the margin of error of having the option to form a government without NZ first, so they need somewhere between 0-6.8% (but most likely, around 3.4%) more of the vote to be in a strong bargaining position where they can flex between working with the independent Maori parties (if they get 3 MPs between them) and NZ First.

            That’s very achievable, and given recent bumbling doesn’t seem to have hurt Labour significantly, it’s quite possible that Jacinda’s popularity and her impending installation as deputy will actually make a Labour-Green coalition the expected outcome. I wouldn’t be surprised given that they’re running against the second most unpopular woman in NZ politics and Boring Bill.

            Besides, given most National voters are concerned about the economy, and National are demonstrably worse economic managers than Labour, if anyone should be considering shifting their party votes, it should be from the right to the left.

            • Antoine 4.2.1.1.1.1

              > Actually in the last two polls they’ve been within the margin of error of having the option to form a government without NZ first

              Can you explain this to me? How do you get Lab + Greens + Mana + Maori = 61 seats from a recent poll?

              A.

              • Through margins of error and giving each direction benefit of the doubt on seats likely to be won or lost. (right now, that basically means adding Mana winning an electorate in for the Left’s ideal scenario. I assume UF holds Ōhāriu in both scenarios) Basically, I go through, compute the margin of error for each party (because it gets smaller for smaller results, eg. UF has a .44% margin of error, but Labour has a 2.8% one) and add or subtract the margin of error to each party vote depending on whether they’re Right or Left, and see what Parliament would look like for one side’s ideal, then do it again for the other. I’m currently giving any votes left over to NZ First in that algorithm, but I may need to simply give them their normal share of the Party Vote instead, as they end up coming out about right in left-wing scenarious, and getting like 4% extra party vote in right-wing scenarios.

                I already have this analysis run on last year’s final Roy Morgan, which was a statistical dead heat between National, Labour, and New Zealand First controlling who formed the government. (ie. all three options were within the margin of error at that time, with NZ First, National, and Labour ranking in order of likelihood of a win (a “win” being defined as controlling who formed the Govt) if the poll was spot-on and had only sample-size related variance)

                If you pushed the margin of error as far as it would go left and assumed Mana won a seat, Labour and the Greens could choose between the independent Māori parties and New Zealand First. If you pushed it all the way to the right, National could govern with the MP, Act, and UF, but if you looked at the likeliest scenario, neither would be able to govern without NZ First.

                Basically, any potential coalition needs roughly a 3.4% lead to be the likely next government. Nobody has that yet, even in more up-to-date polls.

                It’s now set up so I can run it on the more recent polls too, which I should probably do to compare, but none of them are friendlier to National than that one was IIRC.

              • I’ve put later polling into the relevant spreadsheet now, and you’re right, excuse me, the balance has shifted somewhat recently, probably due to Labour’s recent bumbling.

                Taking an average of recent polling, it now looks jjjuust like the balance of probably is in favour slightly of National governing in coalition without NZF if they are the MP’s first preference, with the margin of error leaving a fair amount of room for New Zealand First to decide the government instead.

                • weka

                  Matthew what are the rules on who gets to form govt?

                  • You mean, what do I assume in my modelling of what’s likely, or what are the actual rules? I like either of these answers. 😉

                    OK, first, the actual rules. There are none, we never wrote them down. 😉 Not the answer you wanted? OK, we have something, it’s just not a solid rule. The constitutional convention is “secure the support of a majority of MPs in the House so you can demonstrate to the Governor General your coalition leader needs to be appointed Prime Minister.” Technically the GG could appoint any MP they wanted as the Prime Minister, as the Prime Minister is defined only as Serving At Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and all such powers have been devolved to the GG. (This is likely a relic from before the time of Responsible Government, when political parties weren’t yet a thing)

                    But if they did so without the support of the House, the government would soon collapse, necessitating either a new Prime Minister or a new election, so nobody has ever tried it in New Zealand. Fortunately. One GG tried it in Australia and it didn’t go particularly well. There’s also a convention that you don’t necessitate a second election, too, so politicians have been pretty careful to try and make reasonable decisions about who governs, even when those decisions have sometimes turned out bad in hindsight. *cough*Nation-NZF coalition*cough*

                    The actual number you need to command a majority is also somewhat variable since MMP thanks to our convention of overhang seats for parties with more electorates than party votes, as 61 is only the correct number when there are less than 122 seats in the House, and it’s entirely possible that won’t be the case in 2017 if Dunne, Seymour, and Hone all win electorates, which would likely give us a 122 or 123-seat Parliament, and a majority will be 62 MPs. And don’t get me started on what happens if we go nuts and actually elect an independent electorate MP.

                    Technically, you can do whatever you like to get that majority, too, so it’s all about who you can get to agree to be in your majority. MMP is still new enough that there are no real conventions on what can and cannot be given away in coalition deals, although thus far, interestingly, the line has been drawn at Finance Minister, (understandable, as the Finance Minister essentially is the gatekeeper for all policy) but not at Foreign Affairs or Deputy PM.

                    As for my modelling based on polling, if you’re interested, I essentially group the parties on an adjacency system as to who they’re likely to work with, and then make the assumption that New Zealand First may end up leapfrogging the Māori Party. That order looks like so:

                    Mana – Green – Labour – Māori – NZF – UF – National – ACT

                    Set the thickness of each band to correspond with the number of seats, (or make a pie graph, or a donut hole graph if you want to compare two scenarios) put a pole in the middle to indicate what constitutes a majority, and reorder the parties if necessary. (It’s normally the MP, UF, and NZF that cause trouble, as there’s no neat way to represent that the MP and UF will both work with either type of government, but have a clear preference for left-wing or right-wing policy respectively, wheras NZF is undeclared for political reasons) If the pole is in the middle of any one party, they’re likely the ones with the most negotiating power, because they’re the least sold on that specific coalition arrangement. In that sense, it’s simply a matter of getting to 61/62 with the most stable political arrangement you can, which means as few parties inside the actual coalition as possible.

                    The MP is honestly the trickiest to work out at the moment. NZF is at least honestly unpredictable in what they’ll do. The MP have never worked with Labour before, but have publicly said they could, and in terms of ideology are actually closest to Mana and the Greens, so you would expect them to favour a Labour coalition if they were the deciding vote, but the history between the two parties has never been particularly co-operative.

                • Antoine

                  Right, that sounds reasonable. The scenario of Lab+Greens governing without NZ First looks far fetched at this point (although obviously polls can change).

                  A thing I often wonder is, what will happen to the vote breakdown when Winston dies or leaves politics – presumably collapsing NZ First support to near nil? (Not that I wish harm on him or anyone)

                  A.

                  • Depends if the current trend is short-term or long-term of course. If the numbers reverse (which I expect them to at the moment) then it’s entirely possible for L+Gs to close the gap.

                    I expect Winston retiring or dying will hurt NZF support but not immediately kill them off if it happens close to an election. The public is going to want to see at least one term of them being ineffective without dear leader to ditch them, and there’s always the policy they’ll pull up in time.

          • bwaghorn 4.2.1.1.2

            shit if i was a right winger who was scared of the greens , i,d vote labour nationals days are over with reckons bill in charge

            • weka 4.2.1.1.2.1

              Lol, that would be a great move. I think we need to do whatever we can in the next 6 month, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there is a sharp move away from National come the election.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 4.2.1.1.3

            If you really don’t like Winston and NZF make sure you vote National at the next Election, it is quite simple?

  5. Whispering Kate 5

    Personally I think Winnie may suffer at the polls because of his stance – unknowing how he stands will put anybody off who is determined to change this Government. Why would anybody want to gamble their vote for him and then see him do a deal with the encumbants we now have. We need those who genuinely want change to vote Labour Green for their party vote and leave Winnie to his own devices. Winnie does have NZ at heart but he is a conservative to his bones and being near to retirement the temptation will be huge for him to go over to National and get the best deal he can – which will be a big deal as National will prostitute their own mothers to get into power again.

    • Bob 5.1

      “unknowing how he stands will put anybody off who is determined to change this Government”
      Do you really think that a significant number of people actually vote to ‘change the government’?
      People vote for all sorts of reasons, policy platforms, personality, the prettiest name on the voting papers, for the person that is going to keep the others ‘honest’, for religious reasons, for the party that looks to prioritise a single issue (environment, cannabis, euthanasia, housing, welfare etc), but I would suggest very few people vote purely to ‘change the government’, so I doubt Winston First will suffer much at all on that front. In fact, I would go as far as to say the only people voting purely to ‘change the government’ were already Labour / Greens voters anyway, with a few Internet Mana scattered in there for good measure.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 5.2

      Highly unlikely he will go with National as they shafted him and nearly destroyed NZF after the first MMP Election, he may go with them if they offer him the PM’s job and he has control, however it is more likely he will go into a coalition with Labour if the two parties can get enough votes, or a Labour + Greens + NZF Coalition.

      • Bob 5.2.1

        Highly unlikely he will go with Labour, NZ First couldn’t even reach the 5% threshold after last time that happened. More likely he would choose to be the second largest party in a coalition than the third wheel.
        See how that works? Winston will play either angle depending on who offers him the best deal after the election.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 5.2.1.1

          Winston and the NZF Caucus will decide what is best for the country and will make that decision post negotiations, his policies are more aligned to Labour and the Greens than the neoliberal free market Natzis.

          • Bob 5.2.1.1.1

            “Winston and the NZF Caucus will decide what is best for the country”
            Winston will decide whats best for Winston.
            “his policies are more aligned to Labour and the Greens than the neoliberal free market Natzis”
            His policies are more aligned to Labour and National than the Greens, and there in lies the issue with a Labour, Greens, NZ First coalition.
            Winston is ex-National, the two things that he doesn’t agree with are Asset Sales and Immigration policy, considering there are no asset sales on the cards for National at this point, he seems pretty aligned to National to me. Immigration policy and a cushy Ministerial role as Minister of racing or Foreign Affairs, possibly Deputy PM and he will jump all over a National coalition.

            • Tamati Tautuhi 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Unfortunately the country hasn’t got any Assets left to sell, the country has been asset stripped, apart from our State Housing Stock which has been run into the ground.

              The country has been run like a dog’s breakfast for the past 30-40 years, with declining health, education, housing and record overseas indebtedness, as John Key stated we are becoming “tenants in our own country”, NZ is being gobbled up by Asian Immigration and top end purchases by the Global Elite.

              • Anthony Rimell

                But there’s the point: National is looking to sell our State Housing stock. For this action alone we need to ensure there is a decisive change of Government come 23 Sep 2017.

                HNZ housing stock is over 70 years in the making. This government must not be allowed to hock it if for a song to overseas interests masquerading as social housing providers.

            • reason 5.2.1.1.1.2

              Bob ….. your proclamation seems based on a very faulty or selective memory.

              You missed the Key/National elephant of tax havens….

              Did you drink all of the wine … out of the box ? .

              Winston … apart from the wine box …. had many confrontations with Key in Parliament over his tax haven/Economic Apartheid laws that Johnny pushed through.

              It’s part of the reason National hate Winston so much ….. he is a thorn in their side …..over their close alliance with the rich criminals and bent lawyers who profit from and run this dirty money laundering industry.

              Just because Johhnys made-off …. like a has been rock star who has trashed the hotel room and done a runner.

              It does not take that dump he took on New Zealand away …. that shit of turning us into a Tax Haven needs to be cleaned up ( and Cook islands, Niue, Samoa ) ….. Winston would enjoy taking a bottle of dettol and toilet brush to it ..

              Finally, Here’s some shit jokes and lies…. that was the Nacts response in Parliament ….. when the Panama papers had caught them out, informing New Zealanders and doing the job our media decided not to.

              “David Seymour: In what century did the wine-box inquiry take place?

              Rt Hon JOHN KEY: One so far back I can hardly remember it.”

              and …” JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm whether the Bahamas is a tax haven or not—I simply do not know.”

              “Bahamas is known around the world for being a tax haven and an offshore center. Offshore services in the Bahamas gained momentum in the early 90’s when the Bahamas as a tax haven dominated the world of tax havens.

              In fact tax haven Bahamas was referred to as one of the ‘big three’ offshore financial centers.

              Today the Bahamas is still the offshore tax haven of choice among investors from the United States, Europe and other developed countries of the world.” http://www.taxhavens.biz/caribbean_tax_havens/tax_haven_bahamas/

          • solkta 5.2.1.1.2

            Lol, I laugh every time you speak of Winston First’s caucus making a decision.

  6. fisiani 6

    Labour + Greens <50%
    Labour + NZF <50%
    Labour+ Greens +NZF = never going to happen.
    Winston hates John Key and the Greens. John Key is gone yet National polling is largely unchanged. If Winston reaches 23rd September then he knows this is his final term. He will never accept being second cab off the rank.
    Here's the scary reality Labour + Greens might be 39%
    National +NZF might be 59%

    • Alan 6.1

      plus the Shane Jones factor in the background

      • Fisiani 6.1.1

        The Jones boy will be the candidate for whangarei and the next deputy leader and leader when the emphysema cripples him soon. He will always go with National.

        • Tricledown 6.1.1.1

          Shane Jones has no political pulling power.
          Going blue would not be a good move for him.movie I meant not.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 6.2

      …or even scarier for the Tories Labour + Greens + NZF = 49 % with Winston as PM, the right wing trolls would go absolutely beserk?

  7. Corokia 7

    Ticking New Zealand First at the ballot box is not voting- it’s gambling.

    • Bob 7.1

      That’s a very FPP mindset you have there. By your logic people should only vote Labour or National, remembering that the Labour/Greens MOU expires on election day, so no guarantees what will happen after that…

      • weka 7.1.1

        Labour have just said that they will talk to the Greens first post-election. That along with other things going on is a pretty clear indication that the Greens are their preferred partner. But you are right, there are no guarantees. It doesn’t serve Labour or democracy for them to form a coalition beforehand, how would that work given they don’t know the numbers?

        What we do know is that neither Labour nor the Greens will support a 4th term National govt. NZF on the other hand is likely to, and it’s fundamental position is that it will work with either side depending on who gets the most votes. That’s the gambling for left wing voters. If you want a change of govt, you are gambling if you vote NZF. Better to just be honest about that. If you don’t mind whether we have a left or right govt, then it’s not a gamble but I’m pretty sure corokia was talking about people that want National out.

        • Corokia 7.1.1.1

          Thanks weka. If you want to change the government then a vote for NZF is a gamble. Who knows which way Winston will go.

          • Tamati Tautuhi 7.1.1.1.1

            At least Winston will keep National honest, a vote for NZF is cheap insurance especially if Labour + Greens don’t get the numbers?

            • red-blooded 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Since when has Winston ever been “honest”? Again, remember his issues with campaign financing (and evasions about this)?

              • Tamati Tautuhi

                SFO found nothing just another example of National’s Dirty Politics leading up to an Election. False narrative and unbalanced reporting by MSM.

                • weka

                  No-one can keep National honest, and voting for NZF instead of L/G is gifting National the election. So kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy you got going there TT.

            • NewsFlash 7.1.1.1.1.2

              If Winston went with National after the last debacle, then his credibility would be shot to pieces and probably the last time his name would be mentioned in a general election, pretty much the end of his political career.

              The loss of the 2008 election was the result of false allegations made against Peters by his good friend, John Key, his party (NZF) only just missed out in the party vote by only 0.4%, even though Peters lost his seat.

              One thing that is certain (with NZF) is that there is no certainty, so if you really do want to change the Govt, a vote for NZF is very risky, to say the least.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 7.1.1.2

          Voting NZF there is a good chance you could get a Labour + NZF or a Labour + Green + NZF, the worst case senario is a National + NZF coalition, however Winston and NZF will keep National in check, Winston worked constructively with the last Labour Government with Helen Clark and held the position of Deputy PM. If you aren’t sure vote NZF it is cheap insurance.

          • weka 7.1.1.2.1

            I just don’t see any justification for risking a 4th term National govt sorry.

    • Ad 7.2

      Vote NZFirst and you really keep people on their toes.
      If that’s what you want.

  8. Michael 8

    Symbolic gestures – by your own words. Winston will have had dealings with the intelligence community, so he should know what to look for while serving on this committee – if he can be bothered. However the Greens are more of a challenge to the Deep State (although I think Shaw is probably the one Green MP the spies can find the least fault with). If Labour’s agenda was really to hold the spies to account, and make them justify their intrusions into our lives and freedoms (which all spy agencies do just by virtue of their existence), Little would have appointed a Green to the committee (Kennedy Graham would almost certainly do a good job). The fact that he appointed Winston, in Parliament for almost 40 years, indicates it would be “business as usual” under a Labour government. I don’t think that’s what voters want to hear from Labour; I’m even more certain that it’s not what New Zealand needs from its purportedly alternative government.

  9. Bill 9

    A brand new party with no presence in parliament achieves just under 5% in a by-election. That’s got to be significant and possibly pointing to a +5% at a general election given the opportunity to get a message out there.

    Based on some Green Party responses to tops policies on the environment that came across as ‘sour grapes’ (they’re stealing our policy), and the utter dearth of commentary or acknowledgment of their existence, yeah…I’m picking a bit of panic in the air.

    Tops have said they will sit on the cross benches and pressure who-ever is forming government. So they ain’t up for grabs. The question then is, assuming they break the 5% thresh-hold (and I think they will) at whose expense is that 5+% achieved? The Greens and Labour? Or National?

    And how does that factor into the various deal makings we’re seeing?

    • weka 9.1

      I’m sure the Greens are at least rolling their eyes in frustration. It’s not like they haven’t seen this before. I wouldn’t call it sour grapes so much as ffs, here we go again.

      A brand new party with no presence in parliament achieves just under 5% in a by-election. That’s got to be significant and possibly pointing to a +5% at a general election given the opportunity to get a message out there.

      They got 4.5% in a candidate vote in a by-election with probably a small number of RW voters in it. There were lots of things about that by-election that make it hard to compare to other voting patterns in that electorate or outside, including making comparisons with a party vote. Voting TOP in Mt Albert was essentially risk-free, lots of voters won’t see a party vote for them in a GE as that.

      Tops have said they will sit on the cross benches and pressure who-ever is forming government. So they ain’t up for grabs.

      Do you have a link to back that up? Because I’ve not seen them say that definitively. I have a feeling that the Mt Albert candidate expressed a preference for National (will see if I can find a link myself).

      The question then is, assuming they break the 5% thresh-hold (and I think they will) at whose expense is that 5+% achieved? The Greens and Labour? Or National?

      If they intend to stay out of coalition debates until after a govt is formed, then I guess it won’t make any difference, because the govt is formed on proportionality. That 5% won’t be reallocated and will just disappear for that time. Someone with a better head for maths should figure that out. Pretty big if though.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Very first sentence on the ‘about’ page – http://www.top.org.nz/about_top They don’t seek to be in government.

        What I can’t recall, and they did mention it at some point in the past, was their approach to confidence and supply. I’ll see if I can find it.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          “They don’t seek to be in government.”

          Actually the wording is “TOP does not seek to be the government, we seek to substantially influence the policies the government of the day implements”

          Which isn’t quite the same thing. And yes, this is NZ under MMP, post-Peters fucking with that, so parsing every little detail is necessary. There’s only one way that TOP become a safe vote (against National) and that’s a definitive statement that they won’t support them on C and S. In the absence of that, their statement above quite easily reads as them choosing a side.

          But even if they do come out pre-election saying no C and S and no coalition deal, for either side, that 5% could still be the number that costs the left the election, or means that Labour can’t govern without NZF.

          I don’t see anything thus far about TOP or the policy or their internal processes that makes them worth that.

          • mikesh 9.1.1.1.1

            Even in the absence of a C&S agreement, TOP’s presence in parliament may encourage English to form a minority government, since he will be the first to be asked by the GG to do so.

      • Bill 9.1.2

        From Gareth Morgan on his view on C&S before the release of any policy

        “Despite not having announced any policies, and saying that I would work in a supply and confidence agreement with any governing party or coalition, The Opportunities Party was variably described over the weekend as ‘left wing’ and likely to appeal to the ‘blue-green’ vote.”

        http://www.top.org.nz/whose_corner

        Whether he would actually get the say on any potential C&S (we know his personal take) or whether it would get thrown out for membership to decide is open to question I guess.

        It would definitely be the measure of their commitment to internal democratic decision making processes.

        • Carolyn_nth 9.1.2.1

          See my links on this TS comment:

          Includes TOP saying they are blue green, radical centrists, pro business, and would work with the government of the day.

          Also says, if Geoff Simmons is elected in Mt Albert as TOP MP, he will work with Nat government, at least until the election – and would presumably work with which ever group of parties get to take the govt benches.

          So, not my idea of left wing.

        • weka 9.1.2.2

          It’s pretty clear in that link that Morgan is saying that TOP would offer C and S to one of the parties. Given he is positioning TOP as not left or right, it’s reasonable to assume they could support National. So one question is how would they decide? And, when would they tell the electorate? Before or after the election?

          If it’s not before the election then we are in the same situation as with Peters, a vote for either NZF or TOP is risking enabling a 4th term National govt.

    • red-blooded 9.2

      Bill, what (apart from your hopes) makes you believe that TOP will achieve 5+%?

  10. james 10

    “And as for coalitions in 2017, Winston does not do deals until he knows how many M.P.’s he has to work with and how big the two major parties are going to be.”

    Indeed – this is most important. Because (I always thought) Winston has said he would talk to the largest party first – he has never spoken about dealing with “blocs” – National are going to have a lot more votes than Labour – and Winson is not going to be seen taking labour who would be a easy 15% (on a good day) behind National and making them the government.

    The fact that labour would be propped up by the greens would not come into it – only Labour or National can lead the government and labour is a distant second.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 10.1

      Winston would be stupid to align himself with either National or Labour pre Election, they have both supported the neo liberal ideology for the past 30-40 years and we as New Zealanders have been shafted.

      Winston and NZF have always been anti State Asset Sales and have promoted a New Zealand First philosophy, we need to stop thinking left and right, red and blue etc, shift the paradigm and start thinking outside the square.

      Most of the people commenting on this site have probably never read NZF policies?

      • Tricledown 10.1.1

        TT Winston was in govt 2×
        He did F/A gold card racing and threw his toys out of the cot.

    • Tricledown 10.2

      MMP Seymour &Dunne.
      James pathetic

  11. Fisiani 11

    If TOP get 4.8% then that equates to a redistribution of over 2% to National. If they get 5% then National get an extra 5%.

  12. mosa 12

    All this Lab-Grn-NZF talk is nonsense when you have Labour in the 30s.

    To have a changed government Labour must be the largest party after September 23.

    That means a larger share of the vote than the National party currently has.

    They must have the authority and confidence of the parliament to lead a strong government ,pass legislation and survive a full three year term.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 12.1

      If Labour can get to 30% and NZF get 15-20% you will have a change of Government, you heard it here on TS.

  13. saveNZ 13

    NZ First, Labour and Greens are a good mix. Working together they increase their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. With that coalition MMP will come into age when political groups really start working together but still keeping their own identity.

  14. Upnorth 14

    There is a very real possibility that labour may poll the sams as the greens and nzf.

    If Winston polls more on preferred prime minister and arden above little…then seriously guys that is a disaster for the country. 3 peoplw no winners.

    I dont want my country run by 3 people spending all their time saying im the leader.

    Banana Republic…get serious.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      Very real. I’m concerned about how real it is. Sincerely. What ever should we do? After we provide Upnorth with a clean dry pair of pants, that is.

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