Is NZF positioning itself for a 4th term National government?

Written By: - Date published: 12:08 pm, September 12th, 2017 - 33 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, election 2017, greens, labour, nz first, Politics, winston peters - Tags: ,

It was certainly interesting to see Winston Peters, the master of pre-election, ‘hold your cards close to your chest’ secrecy, coming out yesterday demanding that Labour tell the world everything they think about tax, before the election, despite Labour’s long held position of having a tax review once it becomes government. He appeared to be making a clear line in the sand of when he would refuse Labour and by implication go with National,

Winston Peters has set out a firm new condition of going into government with Labour – it must tell him what its tax plans are.

New Zealand First could not support any Labour government without knowing its true intentions, he told the Herald.

Peters later clarified on RNZ that this was about post-election negotiations, but that Labour should tell voters now what Peters wants to know. Exactly what was unclear, Espiner pointed out he himself knows what Labour’s tax policy is, and it’s not like Labour don’t have a fiscal plan.

It’s also anyone’s guess what the threat means, because what he wants is so vague, but given that Labour are unlikely to start acquiescing to pre-election extortion, this appears to be campaign posturing on Peter’s part. NZF are probably not any more committing to National than they already were (see below), but instead are doing their usual dance of power mongering.

It does beg the question though of what bullshit will be laid down in the week after the election. Listening to the RNZ piece, I almost felt sorry for Guyon Espiner having to navigate around the slippery double speak he was presented with (it’s possible to parse what Peters says, but you still end up not knowing what he means). One would hope that in coalition negotiations Peters is able to be straight, but I wouldn’t wish that kind of communication on anyone trying to form a long term working relationship.

The critical point here however is that 12 days before the election Winston Peters has just affirmed a coalition or Confidence and Supply agreement between National and NZF is still very much a possibility. If you want to change the government, a vote for NZF is a risk.

Meanwhile the Greens are steadfastly pressing the message they started 2 months ago – a progressive government requires a strong Green Party in coalition with Labour, not NZF. This is in part because the Greens have a strong and positive working relationship with Labour and don’t do extortion.

In response to Peters’ statements yesterday, the Greens put out this press release,

Winston Peters needs to show us how he plans to pay for his $10 billion of recent election promises before he attacks Labour on their fully-costed plan, the Green Party said today.

“It’s the pot calling the kettle black.

“Peters needs to be held to the same high standard Labour and the Greens have submitted themselves to by having his election priorities fully costed and independently scrutinised.

“The Green Party will release its independently analysed fiscal plan before the election.

“Peters has promised at least $10 billion of new spending this election, yet is still to reveal what new taxes he plans to raise or what public services he will cut.

“Once again, we see Winston Peters holding a potential new Labour Government to ransom. If voters are seeking a change in Government this election, which Winston Peters has not committed to, then the Greens can give that assurance,” said Mr Shaw.

It’s not just about the hypocrisy from Peters or the problems with doing this to a potential coalition partner. It’s also about policy and direction. While NZF has some useful policy from a left wing perspective, their overall approach is centrist and they have a long history of positioning themselves in the centre and actively working against parties left of Labour having power.

And to repeat myself, NZF are still definitely considering supporting a 4th term National government. That needs to be said over and over in the next 12 days.

Here’s a summary of the state of play:

  • Peters could easily choose National if that gives NZF the most power
  • Only Labour and the Greens have committed to changing the government
  • A Labour/Green government is decidedly more progressive than a Labour/NZF one
  • To get a Labour/Green government, the Greens need lots of MPs – to give them the power to form a coalition with Labour, to get the best deal in that coalition, and to keep a L/G coalition left once in government
  • Voting Labour instead of Green increases NZF’s chances of going with National or of forcing a Labour/NZF coalition

If you want a further reason to not vote NZF, there’s this.

33 comments on “Is NZF positioning itself for a 4th term National government?”

  1. Hongi Ika 1

    Would probably be the end of NZ First if they went with National as 75% of their supporters would prefer a Coalition with Labour however the NZ Caucus and Board Members will decide which direction the party will go.

    • weka 1.1

      Nevertheless, there is no way to know what Peters intends, so it’s a risk to vote for them. Maybe he thinks this is his last term and wants to be a Minister again.

      That the NZF caucus and board has a say doesn’t make me more confident 😉

      • simonm 1.1.1

        I’m sure Labour would be happy to make him a minister too. He did a reasonable job as foreign minister under Helen Clark as I recall.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Sure, it’s all a crap shoot though. The only thing we can rely on is that NZF could choose either party. Everyone has their own theory on what Peters will do or might do, but no-one knows. That’s the point.

          • Chris 1.1.1.1.1

            National’s the only party that’d be willing to give Winston his referendum on the Maori seats. He might see that as his legacy.

    • Tricledrown 1.2

      Shane Jones is NZfirsts liability.
      If Winston goes with Labour he could face a similar fate to 1998 when Tau Henere Tualeki Delamare betrayed Winston.
      Shane Jones can’t be trusted jumping from Labour to National now New Zealand first.

    • lurgee 1.3

      Would probably be the end of NZ First if they went with National as 75% of their supporters would prefer a Coalition with Labour however the NZ Caucus and Board Members will decide which direction the party will go.

      What evidence is the 75% based on?

      I’d assumed the NZ1st support would be conservative.

      But I also assumed Ardern would do well to raise Labour into the low thirties, so what do I know?

  2. garibaldi 2

    Yes weka. I have been saying this all along. Winston can’t be trusted.
    Personally I would far rather see Hone in govt than a conservative Muldoon-lite(Winston).
    Vote Green.

  3. Ad 3

    Whereas the Greens look to me to have been pretty dignified and measured – with most of their policies simply more radical extensions of Labour’s ones.

    They look in the last 3 weeks like model coalition partners in waiting.

    • weka 3.1

      I think that’s one the of the real values of having had an MoU (and the relationship building that goes with it).

      • Ad 3.1.1

        Agreed.
        While Little was tanking the party into the 20% range I would have been tempted by Peters.

        It passed😊

  4. John 4

    My work and recreation have always revolved around hunting, shooting and fishing. I have been appalled by the policies and action taken against firearms owners and the shooting sports by National, Labour, and the Greens. NZ First is the only party that has supported firearms owners against the persecution emanating from senior police policymakers that has found its way into parliament. NZ First spoke up for firearms owners as they were tried in a kangaroo court, called the “inquiry into how criminals get guns” and voted against the last nonsense amendment to the arms act in 2012.
    I intend to reward their behaviour and punish the others by voting NZ First.

    • weka 4.1

      Sure. There will always be NZF voters who are ok with a 4th term National govt.

    • the persecution emanating from senior police policymakers that has found its way into parliament.

      [Citation needed]

      • John 4.2.1

        I take it you are asking for the evidence. this current round of persecution started in 1997 with the discredited Thorpe report. police continue to use this report as a blueprint for the illegal policy they bully license holders with, insisting their policy is law. If you really want to know more, Here are a couple of places to look, https://kiwigunblog.wordpress.com/ , and https://www.facebook.com/firearmownersunitednz/photos/a.248889028783684.1073741827.248817982124122/438421283163790/?type=3

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          So, all you’ve got is a press release about a possible court action but not the findings of the court without any proof of connection between the police and parliament?

          Right, so you’re talking out your arse – got it.

          • John 4.2.1.1.1

            No! unfortunately, you haven’t got it. There are about 250,000 license holders, along with their family, friends and workmates, who are very much aware of police usurping the power of parliament, and producing policy which they call law. When firearms owners look at political party policy, and see that they are under attack from the Greens, National and Labour, it is only to be expected that they will try to overcome their programming, and think about giving their vote to NZ First. While not without concerns, NZ Firsts policy has more appeal to firearms owners, lets say, than the Green’s who would remove all privately owned firearms, as they state that “only the police and the armed forces should have access to firearms”. Much the same policy as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. That worked out well for their citizenry. Alienating a group of voters, and then criticizing them for turning to an alternative, is bizarre.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Winnie lives up to his name, that’s what it is all about. He has done some things I approve of, but now it’s baubles mainly. And he doesn’t seem to have a strong commitment to Maori, takes a RW approach if any at all it seems. It’s not useful in getting to a better place with Maori realising all their potential and not having to be put through hoops to get a normal life.

    We have had enough of Maori who have gone to the white side, and set on enjoying the advantages of superior position and from there find it annoying to be lumped in occasionally with the lesser individuals and whanau. They are just seat fillers, and have joined the middle class, that dangerous group who imagine that they are the epitome of style, and a model for us all.

    So Winnie. I give him the horse laugh. That’s my theme for a while when looking at the RW.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    The trouble is that nearly everyone who would vote for Labour or the Greens wouldn’t consider voting for NZ First anyway. The backbone of NZ First voters are disgruntled National voters and other conservatives who are don’t consider that by voting for NZ First they might as well be voting for another term of National anyway – their counter-argument being that they will keep them honest.

    • Ad 6.1

      If that was the case, you would see NZ F rise when National goes down. Not always the case.

    • weka 6.2

      Hmm, not sure about that. My understanding is that more than half of NZF voters prefer NZF to go with Labour. I think a chunk of them are soft Labour, another chunk are people who can’t bring themselves to vote Labour because of the 80s, another chunk are swing voters, some vote on competency etc.

      What I had hoped for was that Labour would position itself on top of some NZF policy e.g. foreign land ownership, and thus earn back some of those voters. I’m not sure that is happening as much as it could.

      • alwyn 6.2.1

        You state that “My understanding is that more than half of NZF voters prefer NZF to go with Labour” and Hongi Ika went even further with “as 75% of their supporters would prefer a Coalition with Labour”.
        Do you have a citation to justify your view? I haven’t seen anything myself.

  7. greywarshark 7

    ‘their usual dance of power mongering.” About the 4th para in Weka’s post.
    I take that term a bit further and call it ‘power mongreling’.

    It is past time for
    Winston to come right out and declare what he is up to. He want to slink away
    after snaffling the good bits of the media appearance, without avowing he will do do his duty ensuring good governance for those who vote and work for him who must have some expectations of mature rationality from him.

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    I thought that together Nat + Nzf are bigger than any other coalition, meaning they effectively control what gets passed or not, even if Labour wins and Greens are still around (??)

    • weka 8.1

      if there is a L/G coalition that doesn’t need Peters e.g. with the Mp, then it’s conceivable that the left can pass legislation without Peters. Hence the push to vote left. It’s getting really close to that being possible.

      If there is a L/G coalition that needs other votes to pass legislation then yes, NZF can vote against anything it doesn’t support. Afaik only the govt can put up legislation (apart from the ones that get drawn from the ballot box). So it would make governing much harder. Again, a very good reason to vote Labour or Green.

      The other possibility is L/G/NZF coalition.

      • roy cartland 8.1.1

        Have a look at Gordon Campbell. He suggests a Left sans NZF is possible too:
        http://werewolf.co.nz/2017/09/gordon-campbell-on-the-likely-path-of-hurricane-jacinda/

        “While Winston Peters may yet prove to be the kingmaker, this is less certain now that’s he’s at only six or eight in the polls than when he was riding high in double figures…

        Ditto for Labour, which could yet find itself with options other than a reliance on Peters: that’s if Labour can get to 44 or 45 without sending the Greens below five and out of contention entirely. A Labour/Greens/Maori Party combination might just be enough. On current polling, the Maori Party appears likely to win at least two seats: Waiariki (Te Ururoa Flavell) and Te Tai Hauauru (Howie Tamati) … Even at three seats though, the Maori Party could be a possible kingmaker for either major party in a tight overall outcome.”

        • alwyn 8.1.1.1

          That is probably exactly what Winston is thinking about to.
          He is probably happy that National cannot form a Government without his support. He is going to try and make sure that Labour can’t do it either. You can expect Winston spending the rest of the campaign attacking both Labour and the Green Party. Hold Labour in the low 40s and get rid of the Green Party altogether and Winston can take his choice of the offers.

        • DS 8.1.1.2

          Rather overlooks that the Maori Party prefer National.

  9. chris73 9

    Much as I’d like to think that I think its more likely Winston is trying to get as many votes as he can so he has greater bargaining power with whoever can give him the best deal, I really don’t think hes bothered going either way

  10. mosa 10

    The argument for a change of government has ended and Jacinda has settled the argument , but what type of changed government will it be post September 23rd.

    It does not look likely it will be Corban influenced in its direction otherwise it would not be getting an endorsement from the neo liberal boardroom.

    The only insurance policy will be the Greens and their policy concessions at the cabinet table.

    Without them in government ( which was the point all along in the attack waged against them ) then what will we end up with as a government that is expected to rule for the next decade ?

    I want a new government but i want to make sure it is well insured with a Green party policy that has full coverage in case something goes wrong.

    The Green party and its exceptional front bench deserve to be there.

  11. mary_a 11

    Winston Peters is a secretive hypocrite and an arrogant self serving one at that. He’s full of so much hot air, it’s a wonder he isn’t levitating and floating by now!

    Anyone who is thinking of voting for Peters to instigate a change of government, should be very cautious, because IMO, a vote for NZF is similar to throwing the dice, hoping it will go in your favour. It’s a gamble not worth taking, given his subtle hint of not supporting Labour if it doesn’t reveal its tax policies! That’s as good as saying he will take NZF to National!

    And if challenged on that statement, he will undoubtedly say it’s not what he said and then proceed to abuse whoever is questioning him!

    I’m really sick and tired to the back teeth of Peters now! I’ve said this before, but he’s been around too long in politics and is as stale as yesterday’s news!

  12. alwyn 12

    There are two problems with the final part of your post. You say
    ” This is in part because the Greens have a strong and positive working relationship with Labour and don’t do extortion”.
    It is foolish to say that you have a strong and positive relationship with any other party. These only last as long as they are totally necessary for the parties concerned.
    All politicians are interested primarily in themselves, secondarily in their party, then in their country. They have no interest at all in promoting the interests of another party unless it helps the first or second of these.

    The Green Party and its supporters should remember a line from John Key’s valedictory speech.
    “Roger also gave me another lesson in the peculiarities of the place when he added, in the very next breath: “And by the way, John, just because I talk to you, it doesn’t mean I like you.”
    The Labour Government will not include the Green Party in any Government the might form because they like you. They will do it because they have to.
    If they can form a Government with a respectable majority on their own they will probably do so. Why give up Ministerial jobs to another party when their own members want the baubles? The most dangerous thing for a party in Government is the festering unhappiness of back-benchers who don’t feel they are properly recognized.
    If they can form a Government with either the Green Party OR NZF they will pick the one that will cause them the least trouble, just as Helen Clark did in 2005.
    The less parties in a coalition the better. With two parties you can only have one argument. With three parties there are three squabbles that can go on.

    The second statement is that the Green Party don’t do extortion. If they have any power they damn well should do so. Look at how Donald and Fitzsimmons sat there quietly after 2005. What did that get them? They probably don’t have the strength to try it now, given that NZF will certainly end up with more seats than them and the Greens probably won’t even be in the House after the election but they should have earlier. Why allow themselves be treated as a wall-flower by Labour. You have to demonstrate that you really exist by behaving like Winston. Never, ever allow yourselves to be taken for granted.

    It’s probably too late of course. They can’t change and demonstrate independence now and people will see they might as well vote Labour this election.

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