- 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: simon o'connor
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.