Predictably, Patrick Gower has put the boot in to Labour over Andrew Little’s comments on the Northland by election:
Dirty deal in Northland between Labour and Peters. Labour can never criticise "Cup of Tea" deals now. Another sad day for democracy #digrace
— Patrick Gower (@patrickgowernz) March 7, 2015
Now, to be fair to Mr Gower, has has very consistently opposed “dirty deals”, and laid into National strongly over Epsom. But he’s wrong to compare Labour in Northland to National in Epsom for three reasons.
(1) National in Epsom were throwing an election they would otherwise have won. Labour can’t win in Northland.
(2) National in Epsom sealed a deal with a symbolic cup of tea. Labour has not made a deal with Peters, and has held no special event to send a signal to voters.
(3) National in Epsom are keeping alive a sock-puppet party with all of the resources and funding of a real party, in the full knowledge that ACT’s vote and effectively all its funding are working for National. Again there is no such parallel with Labour and NZF in Northland.
So, despite Mr Gower’s excitable tendencies, Andrew Little’s comments that Northland voters may wish to vote to send a signal to the government is not a “dirty deal”. It is just a bit of long (long, long) overdue realism on voting in an MMP world.