National needs a friend

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, December 12th, 2017 - 43 comments
Categories: act, bill english, election 2017, greens, Judith Collins, labour, maori party, MMP, national, nz first, Politics, same old national, united future - Tags:

MMP elections are always tight.  It normally boils down to a couple of seats.  In 2005 for instance when Labour won perhaps its most outstanding election victory a coalition of the unwilling could still have formed a new government.  If the Greens or New Zealand First had done the unimaginable and sided with National then Don Brash may have become Prime Minister.

And in 2014 during National’s high point it still relied on the Maori Party and two life support parties, ACT and United Future to get safely over the line and provide it with a buffer.  Those puppet parties were really helpful.

National was that confident of its dominance that it sacrificed seats to puppet parties just so that it could cling to power.

And onto this election where apart from ACT National ended up with no friends.  It appears that the stench spread around by association with it was too much for electors.

And so it is starting the search for new puppet parties.  From Claire Trevett at the Hearld:

Politik has reported chatter in some National circles about “sponsoring” a new conservative party on the right as a future support partner for National after NZ First leader Winston Peters sent National to Opposition by choosing Labour.

English said it was inevitable there would be discussion about future partners, given the demise of United Future and the Maori Party left it with just the one-MP Act Party of its old support partners.

“But I think any attempt by a major party to start or sponsor a small party would be regarded with some scepticism by the public and we don’t intend to spend any time on it.”

I wonder how he felt about the reverse takeover of ACT by National?

He said it was too soon to start speculating about the 2020 election because a lot could change.

“But I think it would be a fairly speculative exercise to think someone could start any kind of party now that was going to be viable in 2020. You saw with TOP [The Opportunities Party], even with very extensive funding it got to 2.5 per cent.”

Note English did not disagree with the speculation, but denied a third party may currently be doing the groundwork.

The Politik report said Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor was being talked about as a possible leader of a new party and Judith Collins would have the profile a new party would need. Both hold safe National electorates.

Both O’Connor and Collins told the Herald such a step was not in their plans. Collins said it was “someone blowing smoke”.

I can’t imagine Collins jumping ship.  She is focussed on the big prize and it must appear to be so close.  And the conjecture is interesting and not helpful for English.  Someone clearly has a personal agenda running.

Meantime O’Connor may be a candidate to jump ship.  But only if he is allowed to keep his electorate seat.

Interesting times.  My impression is that the electorate is neatly divided in half and National knows what buttons to push to maintain its support.  But it has cannibalised parties that used to support it and burned off relationships with any party who could support it.

43 comments on “National needs a friend”

  1. ianmac 1

    Is it odd that National depended on United Future and the Maori Party and one-MP Act Party as its old support partners/coalition, yet hammers the news now with how terrible the Labour/NZF/Green coalition is?

    • Andre 1.1

      No, not odd. Just shamelessly opportunistic.

    • red-blooded 1.2

      I think from their point of view, it was OK to rely on minor parties because they were so clearly overwhelmed by the Nats and some weren’t really independent parties at all. The Nats never had to manage a real coalition. This government is made up of 3 separate parties, all of which have some policy overlap but all of which have their own constituencies, none of which exist on a nod and a wink, and all of which would continue to exist without the others. It is different from previous governments for that reason.

      Even thinking back to the Clark governments, they included UF (barely a party) and New Labour (were they called Progressives by then?) – split from Labour and by that time, with Labour moving away from the excesses of the 80s, pretty bloody good friends again. Clark did have to manage a relationship with NZF during her last term, but that was pretty much analogous to Nat+UF+ACT+Māori Party: only one small ally that was really a party in its own right.

      Some (eg Chris Trotter on Stuff today) see the fact that this is a genuine coalition as a weakness of this government. I would ask, is MMP really delivering if it only ever delivers quasi-coalitions?

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/99734505/lack-of-postelection-bounce-an-ominous-sign-for-new-government

    • OnceWasTim 1.3

      Which is why any new Tory party needs to be riddled with hypocrisy, cronyism and without principle.
      For example, they need to be able to lie -straight faced, and as grubby little pots, they need to be able to accuse the kettle of being black. ( https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/12/12/so-throwing-money-at-poverty-does-work-according-to-national/ ).
      They need to be able stack appointments to boards with their mates, to learn the mantra of ‘fishinsy and fektivniss and personal responsibility’, and to feed at the trough then pull up the ladder after themselves.
      Preferably they’ll also have a lot of mates in the media.
      Yes, perhaps another Conservative Party – although the last one didn’t work out too well

  2. Sanctuary 2

    I wonder how the shock jock opinionistas of the MSM media would react to National sloughing off an astroturf party that picked up, say, 8%? Because then National would trail Labour, which means as far as Bazza and Hoskings are concerned Labour should be the natural party of government.

    • Andre 2.1

      There would be a brief moment of confusion while the new line was worked out. Then they would shamelessly plug the new line while either ignoring that they ever said anything different or straight up lie that the new line was exactly what they’ve always said.

  3. Sabine 3

    oh dear

  4. Carolyn_Nth 4

    I guess, if a party wanted a new party they could align to, but don’t want it to be seen to be started by the existing party, maybe they could leak speculation on this.

    Then hope someone at arms’ length from the existing party would take up the idea as outlined.

  5. Takere 5

    Well maybe the Nat’s have learned a lesson? Not to take anymore campaign advice from a “Dildo”, cause youre bound to get fucked.

    Trying to run a FPP campaign in the MMP race was high risk, needing 50%+. Killing off potential partners was the only way they thought of to get there which in itself was just pushing up the risk factor to a ‘win or lose’ scenario.

    Bill being the jinx carrying the title of the most unelected National party PM probably didnt help neither.

    The only way the Nat’s will get back in, in 2020 is if Labour carry talking & back peddling on pre election promises & commitments with bullshit excuses like, “we didnt say that …. per say” shite! Shifty Tywford had better up his game too because the ole switcharoo with house building numbers per year are already behind the 2010 target figure, so coming up with a figure less than that is simple arithmetic. The target is 30 builds a day and climbing!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      The target is 30 builds a day and climbing!

      Did you vote National? No? Then why are you parroting their lines?

      In the coming three years, KiwiBuild aims to gradually ramp up to 10,000/year high-quality affordable new residences for first-home buyers, half in Auckland, to build 100,000 residences in a decade.

      Twyford said it would take about three years for the programme to kick into full-strength, starting out at a few hundred or possibly 1000 residences in the first year.

      Source.

  6. millsy 6

    They could have had a friend, had they given the Conservatives a clear run at a seat in 2014.

    That is something that we should really be thankful for, as we head into what looks like it is going to be a long hot summer.

    Being spared the prospect of McVicar, Rankin et al in cabinet was the only good thing for the left in the 2014 election.

    • gsays 6.1

      To be fair, I was giving thanks for dunne being out of power.
      A positive from the last election.

  7. Ad 7

    For the most boring and lazy three-term government we have ever had, I wish that that closest every National MP gets to a friend is to have their eyeballs pegged open and required to watch Coronation Street 23 hours a day.

    The remaining hour they can rest listening to the edited speeches of Helen Clark.

  8. Ad 8

    Is TOP going to come back?
    Anyone heard?

    • ianmac 8.1

      TOP is about (next day or so) to announce a comeback but without Gareth as a leader, he said. Not sure that TOP is a natural fit with National though.

      • mac1 8.1.1

        “Not sure that TOP is a natural fit with National though.”

        If an on-line questionnaire before the election placed me with TOP as the closest fit. So, if such a rough guide can posit me with TOP, then TOP would be nowhere National!

        Not unless it becomes the Opportunists Party; and Bob Jones, Don Brash and Tukuroirangi Morgan have another political epiphany.

        National are friendless. The obvious dislike of Winston Peters and Ron Mark especially of National so tellingly displayed at Question Time in the House points out that National have a lot of humble pie to be consumed with NZF.

        And humble pie would be appropriate since National have acted as they have- eviscerating, shark-like, carrion eaters.

        National at the moment are typified by the Auckland one percenter who wants to bend the rules allowing him only three helicopter landings a week at his beachside house boat shed because he needs to go at least twice a week to play golf in Taupo. FFS!

  9. tc 9

    “…Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor was being talked about as a possible leader of a new party and Judith Collins would have the profile a new party would need. Both hold safe National electorates…”

    You can bet pounds to pennies this is exactly what national are considering as they infected Maori/UF to make them unfashionable at the polls so time to create another. Easy with their level of resources.

    IMO a few labour MP’s should consider this so there’s a proper socialist option rather than dodging traffic in the middle of the road as it’s been since Rogernomics.

    Leave a genuine legacy by creating a party most 40+ year old kiwis will identify with and once you get their support it’ll be a permanent fixture under MMP.

    We were a fantastic country prior to neoliberalism, it’s not too late to return to that.

    • gsays 9.1

      It bears repeating.

      “IMO a few labour MP’s should consider this so there’s a proper socialist option rather than dodging traffic in the middle of the road as it’s been since Rogernomics.

      Leave a genuine legacy by creating a party most 40+ year old kiwis will identify with and once you get their support it’ll be a permanent fixture under MMP.

      We were a fantastic country prior to neoliberalism, it’s not too late to return to that.”

      Well said, tc.

    • red-blooded 9.2

      tc, I’m no fan of neoliberalism, but don’t let’s get carried away with the “fantastic country” mantra. We were a country with really high unemployment, dominated by a bullying PM, in which homosexuality was illegal and women could still be legally raped by their husbands (‘cos once the ring was on the finger, there was no such thing as rape), neck-deep in debt and teetering on the brink of having that debt called in, dealing with this with the insanity of a wage-price freeze, ripped apart by the fact that our rugby union ignored international obligations to boycott apartheid state South Africa and our government refused to intervene, which hadn’t even begun the move towards recognising the status of the Treaty or the importance of our indigenous culture, tied to the US so tight that we had no independent foreign policy… I could go on, but you get the picture. Don’t let’s romanticise the past, eh? some things were better, some things were worse.

      • tc 9.2.1

        I’m no romantic and most of what you put forward has been mitigated for and transparency exists now to prevent hidden debts piggy rode up….we’ve moved on from that world IMO.

        Return our utilities and essential services to public ownership, reduce corporate welfare (there is always some needed somewhere) and reform our tax system to spread burden and collect more equitably.

        Requires guts and a lot of work to unwind decades of selling off/outsourcing but then legacies don’t often come easily. You can imagine the smears the corporate media would throw constantly at anyone attempting it.

  10. Enough is Enough 10

    I have never really understood this sentiment that National cannibalised its potential coalition partners.

    Their job, as it is for all parties during a campaign is to maximise their own vote. Which they did more successfully than any other party. At the same time they did electoral deals with ACT and United Future (“Dirty Deals’) by attempting to give them a free pass into parliament by not competing in elections.

    They also offered the Maori Party Ministerial positions, when they didn’t event need them for the numbers.

    I am just wondering what you think they should have done differently.

    Where did Labour’s big increase come from in the 4 weeks of the campaign. Almost solely from NZ First and Green to the point where both parties would have been panicking as the votes were counted. Did Labour cannibalise its potential coalition partners as well?

    As it ended up both Labour and National both went begging to Winston. Until we see the coalition agreement we have no idea how much was actually given up.

  11. Anne 11

    It is interesting to speculate how they might go about creating a new coalition party for themselves but we know from experience they are a party of deal-makers where principles and beliefs – in the interest of money and power – can change with the wind.

    My pick is: they will do an up-front deal with a group of like-minded individuals in the same way they did the Epsom deal with ACT. They know most people neither understand nor care about the intricacies of MMP and whether the deal making is principled or not. It’s even possible the remnants of ACT will be a part of the deal. Bear in mind ACT still has some rich backers who donate generously to both parties so they will have the resources to set themselves up from the start.

    This is exactly how ACT was formed in 1994/5 in preparation for upcoming MMP, although it was presented to the public as a new “independent” political party. Initially they sat on the cross benches, but they generally supported National in the House so to all intent and purpose they were a coalition party from the start.

  12. McFlock 12

    The problem for the nats is that the people they want to be friends with are disliked by 96-99% of the country. Having a few sycophant MPs in rotten boroughs like epsom still means the nats need to be within a hair’s breadth of a majority, each and every time, or end up in opposition.

  13. greywarshark 13

    Caption for the bus image?
    Split personality.

  14. Michael 14

    If the Nats need a friend they can always buy one. That’s worked for them before.

  15. Hmmmm,… Rebel Son says it all about National . Just replace some of the characters in the song with Joyce , English , Bennett and the rest of the crew.

    Rebel Son- Out of my Face – YouTube
    rebel son get out of my face▶ 3:23

  16. Tanz 16

    With New Zealand First now near the threshold, only a few weeks in, Labour will need other mates also. Kiwiblog predicted that there is a good chance National can knock both the Greens and NZ First out of Parliament at the next election. Winston is goneburgers already. He has backtracked on most of his pre election promises and is now blaming it on voters, for voting National. FFS, the guy has no shame.
    Ardern should have sat this one out, she could have been PM in 2020, without the need for Winston, and with a true elecition win. Oh well.

    There is every chance that the Nats will be able to form a single-majoriity govt at the next election. Their polling is awesome; as of right now they are still the preferred large party. Even Chris Trotter is questioning the legitimacy of the Coalition. govt (re Opinion on Stuff). What a fool system MMP is, but of course Labour love it, since it stole the result not only off the majority of voters, but off National too. ‘People voted for change’. What a complete lie that is, since the incumbent govt received the most votes!

    • Ed 16.1

      Dull.
      We need better trolls.

      • BM 16.1.1

        There’s no one duller than you Ed.

        He’s dull, he’s duller than Dull Paul Mc Dull winner of last years Mr Dull Man competition.

    • Macro 16.2

      “There is every no chance that the Nats will be able to form a single-majoriity govt at the next election.
      FIFY

    • Chris 16.3

      “Kiwiblog predicted that there is a good chance National can knock both the Greens and NZ First out of Parliament at the next election.”

      Guess the left should be shittin’ themselves, then.

      • Incognito 17.1.1

        Because it is an area or political corner, if you like, where traction (read: votes) can be gained by National.

        • Ed 17.1.1.1

          Nick Smith….a blue/Green.
          What a laugh!

          • Incognito 17.1.1.1.1

            Blue-Green alliances and coalitions have been tried in other countries with mixed success. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand did not ‘entertain’ an agreement with National and it may stay this way in the foreseeable future but there’s nothing to stop National to wheel the Trojan Horse into the hearts & souls of people who are concerned about the environment and climate change. Neoliberalism is not dead yet, not by a long shot, and it still has a mesmerising hold over many people. National has got the skills & resources to pull off something devious like this if it increases their chances of winning and regaining power again. Don’t ever make the mistake of underestimating or laughing them off or we will pay a too high a price. Be vigilant and expect the unexpected.

            • Ed 17.1.1.1.1.1

              National have destroyed our environment.
              Waterways, dairy farming, conservation…..
              They are owned by lobbyists like Federated Farmers.
              Only fools would believe they care.

              • Incognito

                All true and yet 44.4% of the voters voted for National in September. Now, please don’t insult my intelligence by suggesting than none of those voters cared about the environment, waterways, conservation, etc. And certainly not all farmers are bastards whose only desire is to rape & pillage the land. All that demonising from both sides only serves to entrench status quo.

        • McFlock 17.1.1.2

          “Blue Greens”, if we take them to be environmentalists who are socially conservative and oppose things like poverty reduction, are still in conflict with national’s effluent at all costs environmental approach. And that’s even if there’s a significant group of people who want to preserve native trout habitats while not caring about homeless humans.

          Similarly, chasing the pink vote was futile, because the out and proud folk who were prepared to ignore the nats’ conservative like blinglish were likely already voting national.

          And that’s basically the same with every wedge sector the nats dream about using to leverage a likely coalition partner that I can think of, anyway: either the nats are in direct conflict with that group, or they’ve already converted the people in that group who were prepared to look the other way.

          Or the group ends up being so small they make Rimmer look like the leader of a mass movement.

          That’s howe I figure the situation, anyway. Looking through the current overton window, the nats have boxed themselves to the right-wing third of the population, and most other parties likely to get over 5% are to their left. The closest one to them is NZ1, and the nats need a major dose of humility to build that particular bridge. I suspect that the next election will be another all or nothing deal for the nats, regardless of who leads them.

          • Incognito 17.1.1.2.1

            Good comments, thank you.

            Internationally, not all Green parties are the same; ours has integrated the three pillars and taken it to a new level. However, we here in NZ are not immune to the things happening elsewhere by any means, no matter how much we like (and want!) to believe this – hubris always leads to downfall.

            Like every political party worth its salt National is constantly trying to move the Overton window.

            In 3 years a lot can happen & change and NZ1 won’t stay the same either; that’s a given too.

            Neoliberals care first and foremost about themselves and winning (power); everything else is subsidiary to this.

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