You know that old saying about how generals always prepare to fight the last war? That’s National and their FPP election campaign.
You can see it in their tactics. How they treated their coalition partners. How they attacked Peters and NZF at every opportunity, leaking his super details, urging voters to “cut out the middle man”. How they gambled on driving NZF below 5% and benefiting from the wasted vote. The goal was always to govern alone.
You can see it in their advertising, the creepy blue joggers refusing to help anyone.
You can see it in their reaction on election night, in their FPP minds they won! Paula Bennett:
“On Saturday night I was on the euphoria of 58 seats and here we go – but now we’ve got some work to do… it could go any way. Until you’ve had those conversations you can’t pick it.”
It isn’t 58 seats (count the votes). And your seats aren’t enough (you need 61). It is only after the election that the reality is dawning. You fought a FPP campaign and you didn’t make the post.
Contrast with Labour. They acknowledged and worked with the Greens in a formal memorandum of understanding (finally!). They presented the public with a clear choice between left and right blocks. They didn’t attack or insult Winston Peters and the block of Kiwi voters that he represents. They ran a positive, aspirational, inclusive campaign.
So here we are with the democratic process of counting the votes in progress, and the MMP process of coalition formation still to come. It has slowly dawned on the Nats and the bombastic right wing journalists that they haven’t won after all. There will be a certain poetic justice played out if Labour’s MMP campaign is the winner in the end.