I blogged on this before. Previously it appeared to be possible that National would try and gift East Coast Bays to the Conservatives to make sure that Conservative party votes were not wasted. But then Colin Craig’s unusual position on matters such as whether or not man had actually been to the moon caused Key to review things. Now it appears possible that the Conservatives may break the 5% and National is again eyeing them up as a potential coalition partner.
Why have the Conservatives surged? Basically because Dirty Politics has shaken some support loose from the main parties. Voters are heading towards the Conservatives and NZFirst. National’s unjustified attempt to brand Labour as also being involved may be working to a limited extent. And the lack of media oxygen for David Cunliffe is not helping.
Act appear to be terminal. I am not sure why National is bothering. Of course by gifting ACT the Epsom seat and by ACT absolutely tanking in the party vote the right’s interests are being served. Unless ACT can get other MPs through on the coat tailing provisions then the best result is no party votes and one electorate MP. Then the right gets a disproportionate boost. This may explain why ACT’s campaign is so dire.
National has had a short term boost in the polls from the sacking of Judith Collins. I do not expect this to last and the next round of polls will be interesting.
National’s recent policy releases show a pattern. It has resources coming out of its ears and it uses focus groups extensively. In the past few weeks two policies have been released, the first proposing clean rivers by paying large amounts of money to the polluters and the second proposing plentiful fishing spots by paying large amounts of money to the commercial fishers. With both policies we get a feel good environmental policy with a good dose of corporate welfare. We have what Crosby Textor would call a win win because farmers and the Tally Brothers will not be upset and National get a bit of environmental plausibility although not much.
But the reality is that National is going to need friends if it wants to form the next Government. I would be very surprised if it was able to poll as well as it did last time and I would think that it would be below 45% once all the party votes are counted. It will need friends. And not the ACT sort.
Obviously New Zealand First will be considered. But Key’s options will obviously improve if the Conservatives make it into Parliament.
The prospect should have us all very afraid. A National-Act-Conservative-Peter Dunne-Winston Peters Government would be scary at many levels not to mention unstable.
And imagine the effect that the Conservatives would have on policy formation. Responses to climate change would become even more dire, the women’s movement would be set back a decade, the education curriculum would be seeded USA like with creationist ideas, Criminal Law would become even more reactive and punitive and the thought of any further advances in gay and lesbian rights would be a pipe dream. After all in the Conservative top five are such enlightened liberals as Garth McVicar and this guy who thinks that the anti smacking law had caused an increase in youth suicide. The only problem is that the youth suicide rate is going down, not up. Using evidence to design policy is such a drag sometimes.
The best result would be for the Conservatives to fall short of the 5% threshold thereby wasting a large number of right votes. The election result may depend on whether the Conservatives make it or fail to make it into Parliament.