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No Mates National

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, July 15th, 2018 - 68 comments
Categories: conservative party, election 2020, greens, internet party, labour, mana, national, nz first, Politics, TOPS, united future, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

In a week where angry old white men have dominated the news, it’s refreshing to find a rejected right wing MP talking some sense. Peter Dunne, for it is he, has written a short, informative and quietly damning piece on National’s biggest problem. And no, it’s not Simon Bridges. It’s their lack of potential partners.

Writing about the demise of TOP, Dunne makes the point that many parties have been formed in NZ by wealthy individuals keen to show voters the One True Path. However, as Dunne notes:

The common threads of all these moves are that political parties formed and funded by wealthy business leaders do not last, because those who form them quickly lose enthusiasm for the vehicle they have established …

In short, if the instant parties don’t deliver instant results, their owners move on to other projects. Bob Jones’ The NZ Party, the Colin Craig led Conservatives and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Mana mashup have all not only failed to make it to Parliament, they have significantly harmed the chances of their preferred coalition partners.

So you’d have to wonder why Simon Bridges is so confident that he’ll have other options at the next election:

“We will need to have friends, whether it’s NZ First imploding and half of them coming over to us, whether it’s a country party… or a real Green Party – not a watermelon party that’s green on the outside and red on the inside – there will be options.”

If Simon thinks he’s got friends, facebook says otherwise. Plenty of room in the Te Atatu roadshow meeting if you want to hear what Simon says!


The simple fact is that the there are only two ways National can lead the next Government; win outright or hope Winston Peters retires and Shane Jones takes NZ First to the right. Neither option seems likely; Winston is fit as a fiddle and loving life and for the Tories to get the 48 or 49% needed to gain 61 0r more seats NZ voters are going to have to go off Jacinda Ardern in a big way. And that ain’t going to happen.

So what can National do?

I suspect that they will try to white ant the Greens and NZ First, infiltrating and influencing those parties in a bid to make the idea of joining a National led Government more palatable. However the Greens are probably wise to the possibility of a rash of disguised ‘blue/greens’ joining up before the next election.

In NZ First, the Tories have already got their man at Winston’s right hand, however I reckon Shane Jones will not be taking over until 2021 at the earliest. And he’ll then bore NZ First out of existence at the following election.

So what does the left have to do to keep Simon in opposition?

Be vigilant, be active, be prepared for the fight. This Government is almost certainly going to be re-elected exactly as it’s constituted now. However that still needs eyes on the ball, feet on the street, and a determination to keep the change agenda in charge.

The current unbottled flood of industrial discontent isn’t really an issue for the Labour led Government. After 9 years of enforced neglect by the Key/English government, there was bound to be a sense of liberation in the public service. Give ’em what they want now, so it won’t be an election issue in two years.

In two years there will be KiwiBuild houses to show off, there will be more nurses, more teachers. There will be more money in the pockets of the lower paid. Change will be visible.

Labour and the good folk in the Greens and NZ First need to keep focussed and keep an eye out for offers that are too good to be true from the right. We need an election 2020 vision that continues to deliver for the majority.

Simon Bridges and No Mates National aren’t the problem; only our own complacency can cost us the next election.

Lets show Simon what real mateship looks like.

Lets start the campaign for 2020 right now.

What’s your vision?



68 comments on “No Mates National”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    “What’s your vision?” Same as yours.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    I’ve been watching this space since I saw the election result last year. The key to the future was revealed by James Shaw during his campaign for the Greens co-leadership, when he revealed a huge number of voters told exit pollsters (2014 election) that they’d considered voting Green but didn’t. Think it was 18%.

    That’s on top of the 10.7% who did. I advised the GP to find out why they didn’t. I presume that such market research is too expensive, because they haven’t informed members of any result. Maybe they did commission it but didn’t like the result. Since Labour was flat-lining on bedrock traditional support at the time we have good reason to assume this 18% of the electorate is blue-green – yet TOP only pulled 2.4%.

    Elsewhere I’ve diagnosed this as abysmal marketing expertise. Using the brand is elementary, and Morgan’s economic track record makes his decision inexplicable. Unless he got legal advice that the Nats have copyright on the brand, due to commercial law being extendable into politics. But too much of a stretch, I suspect…

    • Anne 2.1

      It’s highly conceivable some of those considering a vote for the Greens were soft Labour voters Dennis Frank. During Labour’s leadership stoushes between 2012 and 2014, I seriously considered voting Green and I could be described as hard Labour. The chances are some of them voted NZ First.

      When Jacinda Ardern took over the reins last year she re-captured many of those voters. The sticky bit will be retaining them through to the next election which could explain their rather softly, softly approach.

      I do accept the Greens are between a rock and a hard place at the moment, but if this government is able to retain its current support and improve on it over time then there is room for both to gain.

      Hence the Simon Bridges Show which is coming to my part of Auckland town next week according to all the bill boards that have sprung up all over the electorate. I’m sick of the sight of his rather bland face!

    • Dukeofurl 2.2

      What exit pollsters?
      As far as I’m aware they don’t do them at polling booths here. Sounds more of a focus group question

    • swordfish 2.3

      Nothing new, Dennis.

      The New Zealand Election Study always finds a large minority of voters considered Party-Voting Green, “liked” the Green Party and “preferred” them as a Coalition partner in Govt.

      Largely (though by no means exclusively) Labour voters sympathetic to our Hippy chums.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    In NZ First, the Tories have already got their man at Winston’s right hand, however I reckon Shane Jones will not be taking over until 2021 at the earliest. And he’ll then bore NZ First out of existence at the following election.

    Ah, I see that you’re an optimist.

    Simon Bridges and No Mates National aren’t the problem; only our own complacency can cost us the next election.

    Yep. Need to start talking development. The Regional Fund is a good start but it needs to be more than just doing more of the same. It needs to actually develop our economy and so far I’m not seeing that. A billion per year could do a hell of a lot to develop our industrial capability to supply our armed forces for example.

    • Kat 3.1

      “Yep. Need to start talking development. The Regional Fund is a good start but it needs to be more than just doing more of the same…………..”

      Yep! And what better move to make than announce the reinstatement of a 21st Century MoW. Training like NZ used to do in all major industrial avenues. No more “market driven” unemployment for a start.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Well thought out and expressed TRP. I particularly agree with your sentiments in the last paras.

  5. Ad 5

    The Labor-led government is doing fine.

    The government combination of short and longer-term gain is pretty well placed for 2020 + 2023 electoral delivery.

    The Working For Families increases solidify the working family voter base in the short term.

    The first year free tertiary policy gains short term inroads into youth that don’t proportionally vote as much.

    Their medium-term Defence and Police spend could make minor inroads into that otherwise tough National base.

    Their Kiwibuild and housing support policies will deliver votes by the end of this term.

    And for the second term there’s some glamourous luck:
    they get to open Sky City National Convention Centre, waterfront Auckland including Precinct, Americas Cup, all remaining Roads of National Significance, APEC, and a whole bunch of juicy hospital and school builds.

    Plus, having enough in Treasury to really roll the chequebook out for the inevitable recession.

    For the third term win, something like promising a good old fashioned first+second threshold tax cut would do it.

    Plus even more housing and infrastructure builds to soak up anyone still unemployed. And in the third term they get to open City Rail Link, and most sections of light rail across Auckland.

    • KJT 5.1

      Tax cuts. Are you talking about Labour or National.
      Labour need to reverse the great tax switch of the 80’s and 90’s.
      And go back to the progressive taxes that delivered the highest standard of living in the world.
      Left wing voters know that tax cuts are just rearranging who pays. Usually us.

    • Koff 5.2

      Tax cuts? NZ’s tax system is one of the most regressive in the OECD. How about making the first 10,000 of income tax free for tax residents, as in OZ or the UK, but increase the tax take at the highest levels to compensate. There is still a problem that those who continue to not vote still aren’t sure why they should vote.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        Can’t you read?

        “…first+second threshold…”

        • Anne

          Might be an idea to spell out what you mean Ad. Not everyone is used to beltway-type language.

          • Ad

            They can learn.

            Anyone else not understand what a tax threshhold is?

            • Anne

              Yes, they can learn but not by way of suggestions they can’t read. Great way to encourage new commenters – not.

              • Ad

                Neither of them were.

                You are an offense-a-holic.

                • marty mars

                  Bullshit – Anne was polite and you were rude imo. You seem to like being rude to some people – wonder why…

                  • Ad

                    Anne’s sad swoop-in defence of ignorance was weak.
                    You just felt gallantry would help.

                    • marty mars

                      KJT isn’t ignorant, Anne isn’t weak, and I’m not gallant.

                      but hey at least you got your point across didn’t ya lol

  6. Roy Cartland 6

    A faux split by NAT righties like Judith Collins and Mark Mitchell, leading to a new NeoCon party to ally with? Get those “free-speechers” and Trump-lovers and act-remnants aboard.

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      From a branding perspective, it would need to be called The Alt-Right Party. TARP. Dyslexic voters would suspect a trap. But Judith wouldn’t go for an extreme right minority pitch, so they’d have to signal centrism somehow. How about the Centrist Right Alternative Party??

      • roy cartland 6.1.1

        Yeah maybe. Judith blowing the centrist horn within NAT and Mitchell off to TARP?

  7. Dennis Frank 7

    Re “the Greens are probably wise to the possibility of a rash of disguised ‘blue/greens’ joining up before the next election”. I expected Kennedy Graham to join TOP, Gareth to stand down as leader so he could take over, then he’d negotiate with the Nats to rebrand TOP as The Blue-Greens on the basis that they’d become the missing coalition partner. With Maggie Barry & Nick Smith and Vernon Tava as part of their leadership team it would have done the job perfectly.

    The failure of this to play out, plus John Key’s prior failure to eject the bluegreens from the mother ship, proves that the right in Aotearoa is in deeper shit than they think.

    Whether blue-greens do join us doesn’t really matter. We still outnumber the leftists in the GP substantially, as Russel Norman’s conference straw poll in 2015 showed. When Winston vacates his position in control of the center, no other party will be able to occupy that political ground to form left/right governments as far out into the future as the eye can see.

  8. Ad 8

    Hang in there Simon the country needs you right where you are.

  9. patricia bremner 9

    20 20 vision. Love that… good slogan.

  10. Wayne 10

    Parties can’t be artificially manufactured. There has to be an authentic reason for them to exist. So National can’t realistically split in the current circumstances. But if those circumstances exist, well the game changes.

    In my view for 2020, the only current credible path National has to power is for NZF to go under 5%, which in fact is quite likely. It happened in 1999 and 2008.

    In that case 46% to 47% National vote probably gets a National led government. The reason being is that there will be around 5% to 6% wasted vote to be reallocated to the successful parties.

    Also Act should be good for 1 or 2 seats. In particular, Act getting 2 seats would pretty much guarantee a National led govt in such circumstances.

    So given that National absorbs the great bulk of the centre -right vote, being “no mates” is not necessarily a fatal disadvantage. Of course if the soft National vote shifts over to Labour (meaning National going down to 42% or 43% of the vote) it has no chance of forming a govt.

    However, as the Key/English govt shows, having 2 or 3 small parties (Act, United Future and Maori Party) is what did work in practise. Only one of these survives and admittedly it is on life support.

    Still I would have thought under the right conditions, Act should be able to get 2% to 3%, instead of the less than 1% it currently gets. For most of Act’s life (1996 to 2011) it did quite well, with between 3 and 7% of the vote. It is only in the last six years that it had faded.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Still I would have thought under the right conditions, Act should be able to get 2% to 3%, instead of the less than 1% it currently gets.

      The right conditions for ACT were back in the early 1990s.

      The majority of people have realised since then that their policies are bad for our society, our community as they simply don’t work.

    • Grey Area 10.2

      There has to be an authentic reason for them to exist.

      So how do you explain the Keep Seymour in Epsom Party, Wayne? Just asking.

      • mauī 10.2.1

        lol, forget about authenticity they have to actually exist first – the bow tie and captain Colin.

      • Wayne 10.2.2

        Because Act already exists, and won Epsom off National in a hard fought contest in 2005. Admittedly these days National has to help Act win the seat, but that wasn’t the case in 2005 and 2008.

        So the one seat Act gets is a “”plus” seat. Two seats (1.4% of the vote) would be a lot more useful.

    • Robert Guyton 10.3

      “Also Act should be are good for 1 or 2 seats nothing”

    • rhinocrates 10.4

      Typical Colonel Blimp – always fighting the wars of the last decade.

    • Tricledrown 10.5

      Wayne your twerking mad if you think ACT will ever get above °.5%.
      If so those votes will come from National.
      ACT are on welfare budging off the taxpayer.

    • AB 10.6

      Wayne’s solution to the problem is to make the Epsom rort even more egregious by increasing ACT’s party vote to a level that triggers the coat-tailing provision in MMP. i.e. coat-tailing triggered by a gifted electorate.
      The gifted electorate already gives National one extra disproportionate vote, the coat-tailing would add more.
      The anti-democratic instincts run deep in him.
      Or put another way – he is happy for NZF and Greens to be subject to the 5% hurdle, while approving of National providing ACT with a way to slither under it.

      • Wayne 10.6.2


        If NZF gets a seat, they won’t be affected by the 5% cutoff. They had Northland until the last election.

        I would be surprised if the Greens go under 5%.

        Note that Act had already won Epsom. That is really the only circumstance where a major party can work with a small party to help them. The same situation applied in Wigram at the end of Jim Anderton’s tenure. A major party can’t (in my view) gift a seat that the small party does not already hold.

  11. R.P Mcmurphy 11

    saw an innterview with MIck Jagger on youtube and he was asked if he would like to go into politics. He said no. it was too hard and demanding and exacted a dreadful toll on its practitioners.
    True but there was no mention of philosophy.
    Psychologically the left are givers while the right are takers.
    One lot is there for the public good while the other lot is in there for the main chance. no prizes for guessing who they are.
    Looking back at the ascension of John Key and his backing by drongos like simon dallow who shamelessly used their positions to barrack for the right it is easy to see what the main thrust of that government was.
    privatise state assets. let the right wing nutbars loose on the treasury grabbing as much patronage as possible for their crazy schemes like charter schools and novopay till the people had had a gutsful.
    maybe the pendulum will swing back someday but there are too many problems on the horizon like global warming, species extinction, groundwater pollution to let the right crazies loose again any time soon.

  12. Cynical Jester 12

    The next election is no slam dunk for labour.

    You forget that Labour has left their tax conversation until 2020 and after the local elections the petrol tax will go nationwide and will anger everyone.
    the next election will be a referendum on tax and Labour has proved in election after election including 2017 that they cant win a tax debate and Jacinda doesnt even follow the offical cash rate.

    Labour also was elected thanks to a lot of non voters and first time voters who were hoping for a govt of change are disappointed with this government if tweaks and probably won’t vote again.
    Many are still smarting over the tppa being the first thing this govt did and feel labour lied to us while marching with us and then there’s this incompetence with members like Tamati, Curran and Kelvin Davies and the at times the free party coalition looks wobbly.

    Seeing as Ardern is modeling her administration on Justin Trudeau who is going to really struggle to be reelected I doubt the relentless positivity and sunny ways will work a second time if labour doesn’t pull finger, Jacindas now seems less like a rock star and more like the lesser of two evils especially if they do a couple more budgets like this! I think I was banned for being really negative when it looked like labours inability to debate finance and tax and bringing back policies little had promised labour wouldn’t persue had cost us last year’s election, they kinda did in a way. Labour needs to pull finger and get on with transformation of nz or the Nats will win because the right always shows up to vote. Cheers.

    • Ad 12.1

      Tax is the one big thing National can defeat Labour on in 2020 – but they will need 50%+ of the vote to do it since Act are done.

    • Bewildered 12.2

      Likewise labour and coalitions management of industrial environment will start to annoy a lot of people, billion trees, 100k houses etc all plum stuff for an opposition to ridicule, likewise winston will go feral in election year, god help coalition if economy starts to tank, Nationals 9 years of neglect will be looked back as the best of times

    • Bewildered 12.3

      Likewise labour and coalitions management of industrial environment will start to annoy a lot of people, billion trees, 100k houses etc all plum stuff for an opposition to ridicule, likewise winston will go feral in election year, god help coalition if economy starts to tank, Nationals 9 years of neglect will be looked back as the best of times

  13. Infused 13

    The rate labour are going an outright win isn’t off the table.

    • marty mars 13.1

      Yep but Labour work well with others so a coalition is more likely than governing alone after the next election.

  14. Timeforacupoftea 14

    A strange thing to slip Bob Jones into this lot
    Written By: TE REO PUTAKE – Date published: 1:10 pm, July 15th

    ( In short, if the instant parties don’t deliver instant results, their owners move on to other projects. Bob Jones’ The NZ Party, the Colin Craig led Conservatives and Kim Dotcom’s Internet Mana mashup have all not only failed to make it to Parliament, they have significantly harmed the chances of their preferred coalition partners. )

    Had Jones been in the same environment as MMP not FPP he would not of bothered as his road show progressed through the South Island he was really worried that he would be in parliament. I was helping out the back at a couple of road show events and heard him mutter while doing his boxing warmup, look at all these bastards out side can’t even get in the building I don’t want to be a bloody idiot politician we are so close to getting a couple of seats.

    His Party 1st and only time up got 12.25% the Greens highest ever is 11.06% in 2011.

    So rich people do things to interrupt elections, the Russians do it other ways now.

    Lets hope we never have voting on line.

  15. BM 15

    Having no mates is a good thing going into 2020.

    The lefts vote is getting split 3 ways, 9.9999% of the vote could be wasted in 2020.

    Having three options for the left compared to the one option for the right means
    an outright win is on the cards for National in 2020.

    • In Vino 15.1

      Yeah, but the cards you are talking about are the rejects, the throw-outs. If the 3-way split get higher numbers combined than National, they still win, don’t they?
      And are you sure you meant exactly that strange percentage?

    • Dennis Frank 15.2

      Only true to the extent that the current government performs poorly in the run-up to that election. So when you say on the cards, we don’t get to see those cards for a long time yet…

    • Sabine 15.3

      and then the parties with mates form a coalition.

      the end.

    • It’d be tricky campaigning for an outright win on the basis of it being the most straightforward kind of government. The Simple Simon jokes kinda write themselves.

      I reckon your scenario is unlikely because of the Jacinda factor. Labour’s vote is going to hold up fine and if one support party failed to meet the threshold, as long as Labour plus another party match or better National’s vote, the Tories can’t govern.

      That applies even if Act win a seat. So if it ended up National 45%, Labour 39, Greens 6, and Act 1 seat, that would be a 60 seat each draw.

      If Labour get to 42% and have a coalition partner, even one at just 5%, Ardern is re-elected Prime Minister.

      I like the odds.

      • BM 15.4.1

        I reckon your scenario is unlikely because of the Jacinda factor

        The Jacinda factor is nothing but a shallow facade.

        Let’s be honest, no one here rated her at all until she took over for Little and the left wing element in the media pumped her for all she was worth.

        All of a sudden she was the messiah and the greatest thing since sliced bread.

        She is not a leaders arsehole, she is operating miles above her pay grade and her popularity is built on sand.

        I doubt she’ll even be around in 2020.

        • Ad

          The useful thing with Prime Minister Ardern is that you get communicative power, a growing mastery of symbolism, the luck of being young, and the capacity to inspire.

          Even Key only had the first two.

          “All of a sudden she was the messiah…” is simply your admission that elections really are popularity contests. She was and is way better at it than anyone in the National Party caucus.

          You don’t need to worry.

          • BM

            The useful thing with Prime Minister Ardern is that you get communicative power, a growing mastery of symbolism, the luck of being young, and the capacity to inspire.

            Must say, it’s always hard to know when you’re taking the piss.

            If the economy holds up, the fluff that is Ardern will win it from Labour in 2020.

            If it turns to shit Ardern will be found seriously wanting and probably hand the reins to Little, thus handing power to National.

            House of cards = this government

            • Ad

              Not surprising you can’t figure out when your urine is being extracted.
              With Bridges as leader, neither does the entire National caucus.

              There is no sign that the economy will falter in any Treasury or bank forecast.

              So you can just settle in as this Labour-led government keeps rolling policy out through to at least 2023.

        • Robert Guyton

          She’ll be front and centre, BM, winning hearts and votes, loved by all but the bitter. Had dinner tonight with someone from the print media who met Jacinda at an event and was astonished by the shear power of her personality; he didn’t expect to be, but was; charisma, he said, raw, sweet charisma. Beat that (you can’t).

          • Blazer

            David Shepherd had ‘shear’ power Robert.
            Jacinda radiates’sheer’ power .
            Ewe should be feeling quite…sheepish.

          • Grey Area

            Heard her at a provincial meeting last year with Andrew Little when she was deputy leader. I’m not fan of personality politics per se but I was impressed. From the moment she got up to speak she had most of the audience totally with her.

            I could tell she had the X factor and since then she’s showed she has the substance to go with it.

            Still not left wing enough for me but she is doing an excellent job as leader. Anyone who sees her as flakey isn’t paying enough attention.

  16. The idea that A.C.T. is good to pick up more seats is as finished as the A.C.T. Party itself.

    David Seymour only holds on to Epsom for the duration of the time National decide not to stand a candidate there themselves and seriously expect that candidate to take the seat. The moment they do that, the charade of the last decade put up by David Seymour and those who have preceded him, will be over.

    • McFlock 16.1

      ACT are a 1.4% buffer for the Nats between opposition and governing alone. For this, ACT get half a percent wasted party vote.

      Basically they’re 0.9%, which takes the nats from needing 48-odd percent to govern down to 47ish. Which is fine if they’re a close run thing, but I suspect they’ll be either 49 or 39 in 2020.

    • Stuart Munro 16.2

      But somewhere out there a bunch of sad old fools think they can make it sexy again.

      Thinks Brash: Nazis! That’s what we need! Like Southern!

      Seymour: Sprinktime for Hitler and Chermany, Vinter for Poland and France…

  17. Puckish Rogue 17

    I totally agree with this post, National is toast and no one should even worry about them at all. The current government should just keep on keeping on and everything will take care of itself.

  18. Lucy 18

    Always thought that the reason TOP got nowhere was that Gareth got so few votes was that if you insult people they are unlikely to vote for you. He thought NZ was populated by cat loving fools who didn’t understand economics. We like cats and don’t like pompous prats who spend their time writing books about the cool journey’s they can afford to take! If you show people how much you despise them don’t ask them to vote for you.

  19. Sacha 19

    There’s still a sizeable christian conservative base without a proper political home currently, and they bring deep pockets and strong networks. Might be ‘authentic’ enough for Wayne’s tastes?

  20. Morrissey 20

    Te Reo?!!!?!?!?!?

    Welcome back, son! I thought you’d been exiled.

    You’re back??!!??!?!?

  21. Ken 21

    At least watermelons are supposed to be red on the inside.
    I am yet to see one that’s blue on the inside.

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  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
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