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National’s first strategic mistake

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, January 22nd, 2014 - 108 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, national, nz first, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Commenting on National’s strategy after the 2008 election, Steven Joyce said the first principle of campaigning was  ‘Don’t go fighting the last war.’ No re-run of the “teapot tapes’ fiasco is presumably the reason for John Key’s  early announcement of the parties National could go into government with, might go into government with, and would not go into government with. In doing so, I think Key and Joyce have made a major strategic mistake.

The have framed the 2014 campaign as a contest between two blocs; National and a raggle-taggle on the one hand, and Labour/Greens on the other, with Winston Peters’ New Zealand First as the swing player. In doing so they have given away National’s trump card for gaining Winston’s support.

“Support the largest party” was always going to be the strongest argument pushing Peters towards National after this coming election. But the situation in 2014 will be very different from 1996, when Winston previously played this role. He will give absolutely nothing away till the fat lady has sung, but he knows from bitter experience how slippery is the National Party welcome mat.

But if the election is between two different blocs, then the question for him becomes which bloc has the policies that are most compatible. New Zealand First’s economic nationalism is a much more comfortable fit for Labour and the Greens than National’s sell-it-away. And I don’t agree with others on this site that Winston and New Zealand First leads to instability.

In the first instance any arrangement is very unlikely to be a formal coalition as in 1996. That lesson will have been learnt. Also Winston and Labour in 2005 were much more stable than New Zealand First and National in 1996.

All the upcoming instability is likely to be on the other side. Seeing Peter Dunne and John Banks prop up unpopular policies like asset sales has not been edifying. Their replacements look no better. What this indicates however is that National is not that confident that its vote will hold up. And it assumes that New Zealand First will be back in Parliament.



108 comments on “National’s first strategic mistake”

  1. The Baron 1


    Surely the success of the LAB/NZF coalition in 2005 was due to “birds of a feather stick together”. In this case, it was that both Peters and you and your lot were unprincipled thieves at rorting funding sources. Dodgy donations on one side an pledge card fiasco on the other. What proud achievements you crow about.

    A pox on both your houses, thief.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      And all the while, the National Govt gifts hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars in fees and commissions to corporate banksters to sell off the nation’s family silver.

      • The Baron 1.1.1

        Yawn. All perfectly legal, regardless of what you think of the policy.

        Was that pledge card theft ok with you, CV? Why?

        • AmaKiwi

          “All perfectly legal.”

          Everything Hitler, Stalin, and Mao did was legal because dictators change the laws to make what they do “legal.” (GCSB)

          Fair. Ethical. Moral. Just. Are those words in your vocabulary, Baron?

          • The Baron

            Selling things that you said you would sell is fine on my moral compass.

            Is stealing $500k to help yourself get re-elected ok with yours?

            • AmaKiwi

              I can’t recall. I don’t remember. I have no recollection.

              If I ever shook hands with John Key, afterwards I would count my fingers to make sure they were all still there.

            • Colonial Viper

              So you’re complaining about small change (which was 100% paid back) but yawn while the banksters are walking away with hundreds of millions of tax payer funds?

              What a fucking apparatchik for the oligarchs.

        • Frank Macskasy

          It’s amazing how the Right can make all manner of rorts “legal”…

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

            @ Macskasy
            That is why the wealthy and aspiring-to-be wealthy vote the right-wing in, isn’t it? To make the rorts legal….the idiots omit to realise the degenerating effect this has on the ability of our system to function well -or at all.

  2. Ross 2

    “What this indicates however is that National is not that confident that its vote will hold up. And it assumes that New Zealand First will be back in Parliament.”

    I think the first comment is correct but am dubious about the second. Assuming Winston First will be back is a rather big assumption, and I don’t think Key is assuming that. He’s simply saying that if he has to deal with Winston, he’ll consider it but he’d rather not have to.

    Let’s face it, Key will do anything to hold onto power. I’d be surprised if he didn’t talk turkey with Winston.

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      Key has made another dumb error. He has made it plain he will talk to Winnie as a last resort, giving the impression he will be holding his nose as he talks. Peters will not like being treated this way.

      Key should have simply named the parties he is willing to work with, which is what Cunliffe has done-Cunliffe 1 Key 0.

      • Vagabundo 2.1.1

        Not only that, but there’s also a very high likelihood that he’ll lose the biggest weapon in his arsenal – his ability to appear not to be a typical politician. The fact that he’s pretty much explicitly stated he is open to talks with NZF after such strong repudiations 3 and 6 years ago, complete with the words “it’s a matter of political principle,” he’s ended up looking like just another craven power-hungry shit flailing desperately to stay in office.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    More interestingly I think was Key’s suggestion that they would “be transparent” about things this time and wouldn’t be having “cups of tea”.

    Can a leader of a party legitimately say “please vote for this other party in this electorate, not us”, which is something Key never said in 2011, it was all lame nods-and-winks instead.

    Or, perhaps National won’t stand a candidate in Epsom and potentially any seat Colin wants, as a “signal without saying anything”? But then National contest all of the seats except the Maori ones, so this also would seem like a bad look.

    • Will@Welly 3.1

      To fulfill the requirements to get your full entitlements to broadcasting, a party has to stand candidates in every seat. But hey, Bill English is “looking” for a seat – that’s what you do – you stack the seats you “want your allies to win” with list M.P.’s.

  4. Tracey 4

    Key has been pretending to be transparent since 2008.

    Winston was instrumental in the thaw betw usa and nz (regardless of whether you think that is a good thing or not)

    The glen donation and the pledge card… to the person above. I trust you wont be voting national… bretheren with joyce mccully and keys fingerprints on it…

    • The Baron 4.1

      Ah yes, I see more bashing based on religious intolerance huh.

      The left’s demonisation of the Exclusive Brethren for daring to participate in politics has been absolutely disgusting. I don’t agree with their methods, but the way you fine soldiers of socialism have carried on his truly shameful. Of course, the unions can collaborate with Labour in underhand ways as much as they like, but heaven forbid anyone else does it.

      oh, and nice try in trying to paint my stripes on me too, Tracey. Wrong as usual.

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        . I was referring to National’s deception about the Brethren… capitalism caused the 80’s crash and GFC, your reds under the beds makes you the caricature not me.

      • greywarbler 4.1.2

        ‘Absolutely disgusting, truly shameful.’ What fun. You’re back – trying to stir up a little stoush in a corner of the playground. And the rest of your idiocy. Blah blah. You just love it don’t you. Throwing imprecations and incendiaries around. Fireworks that go bang are so fascinating for the empty-minded.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.3

        The left’s demonisation of the Exclusive Brethren for daring to participate in politics

        Interesting comment. So why do you think the Exclusive Brethren decided to change and sully themselves with the worldly and amoral filth of political mechanations?

      • mikesh 4.1.4

        There are rules which limit how much political parties and their candidates can spend on electioneering. These rules don’t make much sense if an ostensibly apolitical person or group can spend large sums in support of this or that party.

        Religious intolerance has nothing to do with it.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          It does for me. Tory dogma is bad enough as it is without the addition of toxic religious drivel.

  5. Blue 5

    This is an absolute gift if Labour use it right. The country is faced with a choice between having a Labour/Greens/NZ First arrangement (which has worked before) or having National cobble together a band of loonies – Colin Craig, Peter Dunne/whoever the hell is left in Act and trying to combine this with Winston Peters as well.

    I think the public are smart enough to bet on a stable, proven combination rather than the coalition of right wing crazies from hell.

    • You_Fool 5.1

      Last election Key and mates used the 5 headed monster to drum up hysteria against a Lab lead coalition. This time Key is almost promising to be the one leading such a hydra, but instead of having 3-4 support parties with multiple seats and with support on the improve he will have 3-4 single seat dead parties, with long term Nat lover Winston and possibly a 2-3 seat conservative party. That just screams stability and ability to manage the country.


    • alwyn 5.2

      Labour/Greens/New Zealnd First?

      • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1

        Sounds good to me, Alwyn. As others have noted, Winston was easy to work with in 2005. The Greens are clearly ready to be part of a government and what I heard Winston say on National radio this morning suggests strongly that he isn’t going to put a ‘me or them’ ultimatum to Labour this time round.

        And NZF’s stance on the Manufacturing enquiry also suggests a simple 3 way coalition is a runner:

        “NZ First joined with other Parliamentary Parties in conducting this Inquiry because we felt we had to put our political differences aside and act for the common good. ” – Winston Peters.

        • alwyn

          My full comment is just below. I don’t know why that stub was posted. I don’t think you will agree with what I was saying in full.

          • Te Reo Putake

            No worries, Alwyn, I’ve also accidently hit send too early using my smartphone and then had to edit in a hurry to try and make sense.

      • Paul 5.2.2

        Well on the positive side, that’ll mean the reversal of asset sales. NZ First have promised to buy power companies back; they and the agrees will add some steel to Labour here.
        Also there should be a tightening up on the ownership of land.
        And the nurturing of a NZ manufacturing base.

    • alwyn 5.3

      “Labour/Greens/NZ First arrangement (which has worked before)” you say. Pray tell me when that was, and 2005 -2008 isn’t the answer. The Green Party were not part of the Government between 2005 and 2008 and did not provide the Government with support on confidence and supply votes.
      That was mostly because Winston, and also Peter Dunne, refused to go into Government with them.
      To be fair I heard rumours at the time that the person pushing that behind the scenes was Helen Clark. I have no idea whether there was any truth in that theory.
      Now just when did the coalition you are talking about work as a “stable, proven combination”?

      Sorry TR. I’m not sure why the stub you replied to got posted. It was the start of this offering

      • Te Reo Putake 5.3.1

        “The Green Party …. did not provide the Government with support on confidence and supply votes.”

        Wrong, Alwyn. The Greens did give support on confidence and supply. Sorry to burst your bubble.

        • alwyn

          Wrong T.R.P. The Greens did not give support. Try looking at the Notes in

          In the bit on the 2005 election it states the Labour got support from New Zealand First and United Future.
          It then says that “The Greens signed an agreement to abstain on votes of confidence and supply”. That’s abstain not the support that NZF and UF gave.

          • Te Reo Putake

            Weird. This wikipedia article says they did give confidence:


            “The Green Party which had supported Labour before the election received no cabinet post (see below), but gained several concessions from the coalition on matters such as energy and transport, and agreed to support the government on matters of confidence and supply.”

            EDIT: The actual agreement allows the Greens to either abstain or support C&S: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Green.pdf

            • alwyn

              I see what you mean. I happened to check my belief about the support and got pointed to one entry in Wiki. It said what I thought was the case so I never looked any further.
              You happened to look elsewhere and got something that confirmed what you probably thought was the case, so you wouldn’t have looked any further.

              Technically, from the horse’s mouth of the actual document, I think I am correct. In practice of course I can’t see that it mattered that much although it theoretically might have limited Labour in upsetting Winston or Peter too much. If they lost them the Green Party would have been in a stronger position. Being allowed to support confidence is a bit pointless. I can’t imagine any Government going into an agreement that said another party wasn’t allowed to vote confidence in them!

              Actually paranoia is setting in. The ubiquitous Google has got so smart it can read our minds to find out what we want to be told. Then it only points us to things that confirm our views. Am I worrying to much? Are we all doomed? LOL

              • Te Reo Putake

                Ha! The commercialisation of confirmation bias; could be a real money spinner. If I get time, I’ll see if I can find the parliamentery voting records for 2005-8 and see which way the Greens voted. I’m still confident they voted for C&S, but happy to be shown they abstained.

    • Melb 5.4

      Winston hates the Greens. Will a condition of his support be that the Greens remain outside Govt (and any important Govt roles), again?

      • Paul 5.4.1

        What is your evidence for that?
        He and Russell Norman shared a stage together at the GCSB protest meeting in the town hall and the 2 parties share many similar policies, especially On topics like Asset Sales.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.4.2

        No. Winston’s position 9 years ago is hardly relevant to today. I know this coz John Key said so yesterday afternoon.

    • AmaKiwi 5.5

      Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party is the wild card in the election.

      I would not be surprised if they are in the next Parliament and NZF are not.

  6. Bill 6

    Wondering how many people voted for Winston just because it was a given that Labour wasn’t going to form a government. What did the prospect of parliament being a dull, dull grey area where Goff would be habitually unable to make a monkey out of Key do for Peter’s…ie, a sort of protest vote…it’s all down the tubes, so we might as well have somebody in there who might at least make that bastard Key uncomfortable from time to time?

    Anyway. I’m picking that NZ1st won’t make it over 5% this time around.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Certainly in the day before the last election, a lot of people on TS, including regulars, said they were going to vote for NZ First because they knew Labour didn’t have a chance if NZ First didn’t get over 5%. And it very nearly worked (despite what MSM and National would like you to believe).

      Will they get over 5% this time? I’m on the fence.

      I don’t buy Lynn’s continued statement that there’s a big bloc of NZFirst voters out there – I think last election’s result were a combination of desperation from the left and the teapot tapes blowing up on Key’s ass. Without those two factors I think a result hovering somewhere around, above or below, 5% is likely.

      • lprent 6.1.1

        I don’t buy Lynn’s continued statement that there’s a big bloc of NZFirst voters out there…

        I often run across them. Typically they tend to be the older voters who can’t stomach either main party, are unwilling not to vote, think that the other minor parties are full of nuts, and are (in my opinion) protest voting for what NZ used to be. If you look at NZ and Winston, this is exactly the message that they go for.

        I know that these days my grey hairs make me part of the “club” because I literally didn’t run across many NZF voters until I was in my late 40s and my hair went grey. They usually only start talking about politics after you’ve been talking about the state of the world for a while.

        Have a look at the distribution of NZF party votes across the electorates. They are in small numbers across every electorate mostly without large variances.

        1403 Auckland Central
        4569 Bay of Plenty
        1278 Botany
        1391 Christchurch Central
        1801 Christchurch East
        1556 Clutha Southland
        3813 Coromandel
        1706 Dunedin North
        2522 Dunedin South
        2536 East Coast
        1657 East Coast Bays
        959 Epsom
        1786 Hamilton East
        2475 Hamilton West
        1648 Helensville

        etc… Usually between 1k and 2k with a few electorates with larger Maori population pushing the total up. It has been the same with varying base levels in EVERY election I have looked at their numbers for – back to 1996

        What is the bet that you are simply too young for them to talk to 😈

        • Paul

          Yes, I meet old NZers, who voted National in the days of Muldoon and earlier, vote NZ First because they see it represents the old National Party before it became converted to neoliberalism.
          Old school conservatives not Randists.

          • karol

            It’s pretty obvious from NZ First’s policies that this is what the Party represents.

          • lprent

            Some of that is true. However I meet a few people who are my age – early 50’s who used to vote Labour or National and have started voting NZF at some time over the last couple of elections.

            Bearing in mind my usual anti-social behaviour, I’d say that there are enough incoming for to keep the well of voters from emptying. Certainly you can’t see any real trace in the voting record by electorate over the last decade of a big dieback based on the age demographics…

      • PapaMike 6.1.2

        Winston got in last time as result of the Teacup saga, supported at the last minute by the Herald particularly.
        I doubt he will make 5% this time unless some sudden National media discretion occurs – it will not be a Teacup Ambrose saga this time.

        • Paul

          OK, assuming your hypothesis is correct, who will 3% of NZ First’s vote go to?

          • The Baron

            The rubbish bin?

            I’m not being facetious – they’ll be wasted votes. This isn’t any sort of transferrable system that allows them to go elsewhere.

        • Bearded Git

          But PapaMike this time Winston/NZF have been in parliament for 3 years unlike at the last election. This gives them more profile and more dosh. Also Mike Williams says that Peters is working at well attended public meetings around the country. He will get the 5% I reckon.

          This is ok-he dislikes Key, will go with Cunliffe.

          • Colonial Viper

            You gotta love Winston. He works those community hall meetings like no one else can. He’s great to watch in action.

          • JK

            Oh yeah – Bearded Git – Gordon Campbell over on Scoop has another opinion

            ” …….. it (is) only wishful thinking to imagine that Peters’ opposition to the current government has ever been anything more than a theatrical illusion….. ”

            and I’m inclined to agree with him. Peters is a National boy through-and-through

            Remember how in 1996 (was it 1996 ? can’t remember) that Peters dillyied and dallied and we all thought he’d go with Labour, but surprise surprise, he went with the Nats instead.

    • You_Fool 6.2

      I think some of it was soft NZF supporters being upset on the whole 4.5% in 2008 and no seats, but Act getting 3 (?) seats on ~3%

    • Will@Welly 6.3

      I think NZF will, driven mainly by ex-Nat’s who can’t stand the Nat-Act coalition, but who will never vote left, but feel compelled to vote regardless. Winston’s appeal is that he represents what National once stood for, and forget all the hypocrisy, that’s what John Key detests the most – Winston represents what John and National once believed in. Like taking a knife and wedging it in your own stomach – in this case, absolutely divine !!

      • Paul 6.3.1

        Many Nats I know are old school conservatives and they’ve been totally switched off them this term because of Asset Sales. Winston Peters and NZ First is their most likely place to register a protest vote.

    • Skinny 6.4

      I was one pulled the pin on being a LP activist. I couldn’t support Goff, Labour were performing woefully in the House. Mine was a protest vote and I knew Peters would add fire power to the opposition benches. Back to the LP as soon as Goff got the bullet. Not impressed Goff is sticking around though, his TPPA cheerleading is a annoying distraction.

  7. Auskew 7

    Key being transparent? Waahaa haahaa. He has not got to where he is today by being transparent. And he is not starting anytime soon or ever!

    Interesting post. Am with my good friend visiting from NZ at the mo and, coincidentally, we have been talking about the greedy, power-hungry and sell-out Key together with his dishonest lot.

    Will some of the Left activists here in Sydney or Australia help organise greater publicity to encourage some of us to cast our votes this year? We would love to return home if the opportunities exist. And hoping things will look up so we can think about retiring in NZ with our Australian dollars.

  8. Tracey 8

    Interesting that at a time key is being praised by his followers for refreshing the party and government he promotes dunne a politician for how long?

  9. Clemgeopin 9

    The Maori party is highly likely to implode in their vote too, with the Maori support sky rocketing for the Mana and the Labour party, which is a very good thing.
    So, Key will have three dead/dying parties: ACT, UF and MAORI to dance around their graves and eagerly pray for the birth of confusing Craig’s Conservatives and hope for the good grace of wise old Winston to give the panicking Key some much needed mouth to mouth resuscitation to keep the Nats and Key alive!

  10. Policy Parrot 10

    Nary a surprise here. Does anyone actually believe that John Key would not have gone hat in hand to Peters if he needed him last time, or for that matter in 2008 if he had made it back?

    The only real reason why Key has ruled Peters in this time is that he figures that there is more votes to be gained (i.e. that of NZF supporters in kind) than lost. The other potential narrative is that Key thinks anti-Key/Labour-friendly voters might be scared off Peters if Key contenances a deal.

    Just reinforces that principle (which has been the same every election since 1996) that a vote for NZFirst is potentially a vote for National, and that the only way to oust John Key is to vote for a party which has explicitly stated their opposition to supporting National (i.e. Labour, Greens, Mana).

    TS did some great (although ultimately unsuccessful) posters and voting guides in the leadup to the last two elections, and I hope that this meme “only a vote for Labour/Greens/Mana will change the govt/Oust Key” forms a part of the campaign.

  11. McFlock 11

    The have framed the 2014 campaign as a contest between two blocs; National and a raggle-taggle on the one hand, and Labour/Greens on the other, with Winston Peters’ New Zealand First as the swing player. In doing so they have given away National’s trump card for gaining Winston’s support.

    In doing so they have also done away with national’s trump card of 1:1, presidential-style, key-vs-labourleader televised debates.

    There’s no point in questioning the two larger-party leaders by themselves, as anything might be negated by the six-headed beast. So even if it’s parliamentary leaders only, it’s key+banks/bosc vs cunliffe+turei/norman+harawira, with dunne+peters vacillating between the two camps. Unless one of them smells blood and goes on the attack.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      In doing so they have also done away with national’s trump card of 1:1, presidential-style, key-vs-labourleader televised debates.

      Which sorta makes you wonder what their internal polling has been saying about Key of late…

  12. captain hook 12

    Donquixote is going to make a lot more mistakes this year.

    The main thing for theNZLP is to let poeple know how much the ordinary cost of living has increased since his gang of profiteers took power.

    • AmaKiwi 12.1

      No, the main thing for the Labour Party is to deflect/counter Key’s snide remarks and change the public’s perception of Key as a nice, ordinary, trustworthy bloke.

      Personalities decide most elections. If Kim Dotcom is not extradited, he will be a major force in this election.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Yeah, people have tended to write him off due to the IP’s bumpy start, but this stuff happens and his team are on a steep learning curve. 10 months to elections – that’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge and anything could happen.

  13. karol 13

    The righies are trying to spin Key’s back down on Peters as a strength, but few are really convinced (even Gower last night called it ey swallowing a few dead rats).

    Tim Watkin at Pundit:

    This is like no election year Key has faced before and he no longer has the luxury to espouse the sort of principles that saw him rule out a coalition with Peters in the past two elections.

    All four parties have lost support this term and can expect to receive fewer votes than in the past election. So to command a parliamentary majority he’s going to need another friend or more wasted votes (and he can’t risk relying on the latter).

    Key’s hope will be that the Conservatives can do the job for him and that its leader Colin Craig doesn’t over-reach between now and November. Talking about repealing this law or that in January only serves to box in National and the Conservatives and is unhelpful in the extreme. It just goes to show that he can’t gamble the House on Craig alone, and so he has to swallow a dead rat and refused to rule out his nemesis, Winston Peters.

    This shows just what lengths he’s willing to go to in his desire to stay Prime Minister. Because let’s make no bones about it, Key will have hated opening the door to Peters. Hated it.

    • Paul 13.1

      Even Hosking on ZB and Plunket on Radio Live didn’t sound too comfortable about Peters.
      Nats spinning like crazy.

  14. karol 14

    Always interesting when the rightie commenters and distractors are out in force – shows where they feel vulnerable.

  15. cricklewood 15

    I’m going to side with it been a strategic move in that a large enough portion of Winston’s vote last time came from Left supporters voting strategically. I’m betting that they have looked at the numbers and between Kim Dotcom and Crazy Colin competing with Winston for airtime as the election nears thus denying him momentum in the lead up, have taken the punt that if they can scare off some strategic support they may be able to keep Winston a snitch under 5% on the day.
    Slightly risky but I’m not sure it’s a mistake.

    • Tracey 15.1

      isnt there a danger that more will vote NZF because they think he will govern with key than who previously voted for national rather than risk Labour?

      • McFlock 15.1.1

        I reckon he’ll take more national voters than labour voters, but I’m not certain he’ll be in a position to hold the balance of power.

        Although to some degree it depends on the swings and roundabouts of the campaign and the polling horse race.

    • Skinny 15.2

      Yes well if your right they must surely know any attempt to knock Peters back out of the House will fail. All Winston has to do at any stage is right Key off stating any number of reasons like assets sales, Craig, Dunne, ACT, Banks, monetary policies, policies in general too far apart. Peters would have a field day grandstanding like the last election.

  16. middxkea 16

    Because the numbers will be closer you will not get the Lab people voting NZF to get them over 5%
    I nearly did it myself as the best strategic voting option ( but couldn’t actually do it in the polling booth)
    You may have the opposite and get a few Nats doing the same.
    The hope is that enough of the Nats do it to get Winston to 4.9%.
    KDC is interesting ,depends on who he takes votes off.. probably everyone.
    National probably need to ignore the Greens but National are going to get down and dirty and throw everything at them. They have already started .
    This won’t be a bad thing as it will increase the Greens profile .

    Looking very like a Labour /Green/ Mana Gov to me.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      You just can’t write off Winston, he’s the man who did the Parliamentary near-impossible and came back from the out-of-parliament electoral dead, even with a stack of deeply placed blue knives sticking out of his back.

  17. cricklewood 17

    Thats true but he has the out that he said he could work with him prior and Winston has said he will talk with the party which has the greatest vote share first. After that it all depends on Wintson on balance one more term is likely all he has left in him so he will either take a plum roll offered and say a cosy retirement post or he will look axe Key as his final meaningful act in NZ politics. Its hard to imagine him getting his preferred role in a lab green coalition as there will be plenty of negotiating around roles.
    Not to mention if he his kingmaker he could well prevent a large number of more progressive policies.
    Bloody hard to pick what he would do…

    • Jim 17.1

      “Its hard to imagine [Winston] getting his preferred role in a lab green coalition as there will be plenty of negotiating around roles.”

      Jim Bolger said that the ideal role for Winston was treasurer, because he delighted in saying no to other ministers, whereas if he was in a spending portfolio he would demand extra money to fund a spree.

      If Winston gets 5% (and I suspect he will, from social;y conservative Keynesians) then he could have stronger bargaining power with Labour than the Greens. It may end with the Greens outside again with only confidence and supply. What else are the Greens going to do? Bring down Labour and provide de facto support for the Nats?

      • cricklewood 17.1.1

        It’s possible but then you could well end up with a centre govt by proxy with the greens propping it up, Better than status quo maybe, but it makes it likely that nothing will really change (Wintsons hardly a leftie)

  18. gobsmacked 18

    January polls mean even less than usual, but here it is anyway:


    I suspect National’s internal polling has been telling them for months that Craig only makes headlines, not headway … Winston is a safer bet to bring the numbers they’ll need.

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      Funny they say the polling period was 6 Jan – 19 Jan, since I got called on the 3rd of Jan.

      Wonder if that wasn’t counted or if their reported starting date is wrong?

    • lurgee 18.2

      The conservatives have a very smart looking office here in Palmerston North, up on College Street. The premises used to be a mushroom shop, of all things. I’m sure there is some telling significance in that. Colin Craig is fun guy?

  19. RedBaronCV 19

    Thinking the othr night that JK is like Imelda Marcos without the shoes. Same MO, runs the coutry into debt and the proceeds are stuffed into the bank accounts of the already wealthy, then he sods off leaving us suckers to pay it back. And we don’t even get to look at a closet full of shoes.

  20. lurgee 20

    Let’s be honest – whatever Key had done, it would have been decried as a “strategic mistake” here.

    I’m not sure that reminding everyone that any Labour lead government is almost certain to have at least one more partner than any National lead government is such a bad move. I’m not sure Winston can work with the Greens, and the Greens would be pushy partners in a coalition – rightly, as the would make up a quarter of it – and Winston wouldn’t like that. Can you imagine the ghoulish pleasure he would experience, ripping into Russel Norman? At least in a National led government, the hangers on would know their place, as they would be single MPs or little more.

    I’ve said before that the Greens might be very wary of a formal coalition with Labour – they don’t want to be Lib Demmed down to 3% of the vote – and I suspect a coalition that includes Winston will be even more dubious to them. Coalitions tend to destroy minor parties, and with two biggish minor parties in a coalition, it would be a fight to see which one sustains the least damage – probabl by inflicting more on the other.

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