That was incredibly close. National plus Act plus probably Peter Dunne have scraped a small majority.
How close is shown in the election results table.
59 (nat) + 5 (act) + 1 (dunne) = 65. Less one for the speaker is 64 in a parliament of 122. That would mean that they have extra seats in hand for passing legislation after they get a majority. But because the number of seats are limited, it looks like a ‘waka’ jumping paradise because every MP is important. This feels to me like the scenario like the National/NZF coalition of the 1990’s.
The question is if a newbie politician has the skills required to maintain a coalition. Imagine if they do anything that Act objects to and will vote against. That is a hamstrung coalition because National would have to seek external support. Of course they can seek support outside of those two support parties, but there aren’t that many parties that they could work with on the ‘left’. Helen at least had parties within working distance on both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ of themselves.
It should make for an ‘interesting’ coalition agreement because Act has their own agenda. It will be a case of the “tail wagging the dog” as various right commentators have described this type of coalition. But without a alternative partner on particular legislation as Helen managed to do.
It is no wonder that the National politicians are trying to hammer the message of people moving in the same direction – they need the help. It is going to be quite amusing watching the National politicians contorting themselves to inoculate themselves against the dead embrace of Act. They need another party with enough votes to work with on the left of them – there really isn’t one that they can easily work with.
In the meantime it is time for the ‘left’ to start working on being the most effective opposition (in their unique ways) that they can be. I’ll probably blog on Helen standing down tommorrow after I get over the shock.
[Update: The speaker does get a vote.]