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Not with a bang but a whimper

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, July 17th, 2012 - 21 comments
Categories: act, elections, maori party, national - Tags:

There’s some interesting speculation that the Government could collapse within months. The theory goes that the Government could lose its majority due to 1) the Maori Party walking away over the water rights issue and 2) John Banks being forced to resign over illegally anonymised donations in the 2010 Auckland mayoral election. I don’t see it happening, yet.

Let’s take the Maori Party. They will resist walking at all costs. Which means up to the point where National legislates over the top of court decisions giving Maori proprietary rights to water (which, by the way, it now turns out Key used to acknowledge Maori had until it became politically advantageous to use the issue to create racial tension). That will take a long time. I can’t imagine a High Court decision until the end of the year at the earliest. Then, an appeal, probably right up to the Supreme Court could take us well into next year (although, if they’re losing, the Government might skip straight to legislation). Then, there’s drafting time etc. It took a year from the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Ngati Apa case (which had first been taken to court six years earlier!) for legislation to be introduced and for Tariana Turia to resign. Even if the Government starts drafting early in the process, I can’t see legislation introduced until mid-next year.

Similarly, in what seems to be the likely event that John Banks is charged with offences under the Local Elections Act, I doubt he would resign immediately. That would be an admission of guilt and Banks is constitutionally incapable of that. He will fight to the end and he will seek to delay the hearings, all while saying he wants these ‘ridiculous charges’ dealt with as soon as possible. Again, I think it will be mid to late next year before Banks’ seat is vacated (interestingly, reading the Electoral Act suggests the vacancy happens on conviction at the first court, whether there are appeals or not).

And if either of these scenarios doesn’t play out (and Peter Dunne’s hair doesn’t gain sentience and strangle him as a gift to humanity), then National would still retain the numbers – at least on confidence and supply. If both those events do happen, then it’s still late 2013 before National loses its majority in the House – and that is assuming the Maori Party votes against the government, rather than abstain. I tend to think they would abstain. And that loss of a majority would be temporary – about 3 months – as Banks’ replacement would almost certainly be from National. A confidence vote instigated by the Opposition in a scenario where the Maori Party has switched sides and Banks’ seat is empty would fail on a 60-60 draw.

But I don’t think it’s all bad news. If an election were held now, National might profit from Key’s playing of the race card. Far better that court action delay the asset sales for a year at least, and the Government stumbles on, unable to do anything, bleeding support at around 0.5-1% a month as it has over the past year (I’m not sure why people are calling that a gentle decline, btw, that decline adds up over the months and this is a government that has a one seat majority on rightwing policies).

If I was the Greens and Labour, I would be preparing for an election in late 2013. But I don’t think it will actually happen. This Government is more likely to hobble all the way through.

(PS. Key has just said he will “listen in good faith” to the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal on water. A week late, mate. You just spent a week dissing the Tribunal and intimating that you would ignore its findings)


21 comments on “Not with a bang but a whimper”

  1. I agree about Banks holding on to the bitter end.

    But presuming he is charged Key will have to stand Banks down as Minister and the pressure then will be enormous.  Banks will not like this one bit.

    And I am not sure about the Maori Party.  Manu Paul, co leader of the Maori Council has urged the Maori Party to walk away from the coalition while its mana is intact.  On radio he used the word “kupapa” meaning collaborator, in describing those who continued to support the Government.  He said if they had mana they would walk. 

    I guess it is a hard choice for Tariana and Pita.  Do they keep the limos or do they keep their mana?

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      Once upon a time, Tariana would be on the media and frequently invoke the expression “my people”. How can she, with integrity and authenticity, say that these days?? So what is in it for her now: people or baubles of office?

      Re “This Government is more likely to hobble all the way through” – taking a spiritual and religious approach, and with a comment from a Feng Shui Master, there are some things not within human control (and there is no intention here to wish illwill on them): mortality.

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      More likely that Banks is not charged on the basis that there is insufficient hard evidence to secure a conviction, and that the baubles will prove too alluring for their mana-enhancing collaborators. Business as usual. This is Tory politics Key-style, remember. The quaint old rules do not apply. The test is what can you get away with. Besides, they have a few juicy distractions in the pipeline.

      • Dr Terry 1.2.1

        Yes, Tom, I think this is fairly realistic.Let’s wait to see how Key greases Sharples and Turia back in to line!

        • jack

          Yes, he’ll grease them with our taxpayer’s money or assets and we will be left paying the bills AGAIN!!! Key is such a generous man with my hard working money. Not to get off the subject but I heard on the news 2/3 of the army is thinking of quiting because of low moral. Key is such a leader, isn’t he? Every time I hear him speak my stomach turns and I have to change the channel. He’ll go down as the worst Prime Minister.

      • deuto 1.2.2

        More likely that Banks is not charged on the basis that there is insufficient hard evidence to secure a conviction.

        The ‘ironic’ thing about this, if it is the case, is that it would not surprise me if Dotcom with all his IT saavy and equipment etc did not have recordings, CCTV evidence etc of the wheeling dealing on the conversation re splitting the donation – BUT where is any such evidence? Taken by the Police during the raid …………..

        • Lanthanide

          Dotcom seems to be very anti-Banks and anti-National, lately. I’m sure if he had any such evidence, even if it had been confiscated, he’d have made it public. He’s the likely source of the scans of the cheques that John Campbell got hold of.

    • Rosie 1.3

      “Do they keep their limo’s or do they keep their mana?”

      It would show dignity, empowerment and their integrity would be left in tact if Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia walked away and left the Govt without one of it’s partners. By walking away and not, yet again, bowing to the Nat Govt they would be showing solidarity with their voters and possibly the whole of Maoridom.
      How likely is it though? Both Sharples and Turia seem to be clinging on with their fingernails. Sharples, when questioned on Maori TV last year by a skeptical Julian Wilcox, has always come back to his determination to stay “inside Government to benefit our people”. This is a line he has repeated in recent times too in other media sources.
      Perhaps it would take a great change in thinking or some genuine and deep belief in what Maanu Paul is suggesting for them too walk.

      In the meantime I will continue with my daily affirmation that some disaster will befall this most vile National Govt.

      • felix 1.3.1

        That whole “inside govt to benefit our people” was a reasonable – if naive – position in the first couple of years, but surely Pita knows this is the maori Party’s last term.

        This is their final chance to “benefit our people” and they’re turning away from it.

        And for what?

  2. bbfloyd 2

    Taniara Turia is hoist far too high on her own petard to be able to climb back down now….Pita has been trapped to securely to be able to wriggle out without doing a “hone”…. Sad really…

    So much good will, and support wasted….

  3. vto 3

    As I said long times ago – Key will fail at the pinnacle. It is written in his being.

    And now we see it beginning, the long slow fall. You could see it yesterday on his face when he admitted that the asset sales will falter.

    It is written in the ground he walks on, the air he breathes… He got his plan not quite right, not quite perfect, he relaxed at the last, or rather, didn’t think as carefully when penning his last chapter.

    it’s over

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      See these golden rules of banking, from none other but them thar radical leftits at the Economist:



      There is a survivorship bias in both fund management and trading. If your career starts with some bad losses, it will quickly come to an end. So, by definition, veteran traders will have had initial success. But that could be down to luck, not skill.

      Successful fund managers attract more clients and thus manage more money. This will keep happening until they have a bad year, when clients will desert them. Their worst result will thus occur when they have the most money to look after. They may end up losing more client money in cash terms than they ever made.

      Similarly, successful traders will be given more responsibility, first heading their departments and then leading the bank itself. They will gain a reputation as the kind of person who can handle risk, and they will believe their own publicity. The likes of Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers and Jon Corzine at MF Global seemed to regard caution as a quality for wimps.

      This is a variant of the Peter principle, which holds that managers get promoted to their level of incompetence. The trader-cum-executive will make the biggest mistake when he is in charge of the whole bank. By this stage, he will be personally rich and will remain so even if the entire bank fails

    • Dr Terry 3.2

      Agreed vto, but regretfully, the fall is so slow and so long in happening. Key does not think, he schemes and is faltering even there (or so it appears).

  4. Bored 4

    Peter Dunne’s hair doesn’t gain sentience and strangle him as a gift to humanity and PG cant even answer back today. Ouch!

  5. lcmortensen 5

    A 60-60 draw may not be a threat to confidence, but it is to supply – if any bill concerning supply fails, then that is treated as a successful vote of no confidence.

    • Zetetic 5.1

      They would move heaven and earth to make sure the vacancy didn’t coincide with the budget

  6. vto 6

    Down here in the South Island we can hear from Wellington the cries of men in the rigging, “all hands on deck” and “man the bilges” as HMS Failing bears down on the hard reefs of Maoridom……. lashing rain, cold and dark, creaaakk, grrooooaaannn, yells and rats jumping….

  7. bad12 7

    Our Slippery Prime Minister cannot deny that Maori have ‘rights’ over fresh water in rivers lakes and streams, and, after Paki V Crown at the Court of Appeal He can hardly deny that Maori have ‘rights’ to the ownership of river beds,

    The 2 faced abusive little twat we currently,(and hopefully not for much longer), have as Prime Minister has been for the past four years conducting negotiations behind closed doors with the ‘Iwi Leaders Group’ over the very issue of those rights Maori do have to fresh water and to attempt now to deny such rights exist and always have is sheer hypocrisy from the little shyster,

    I just wonder when the Crown will begin to behave like human beings and not craven cowards when dealing with Maori over the present water issues and other ‘take’ put befor the Waitangi Tribunal,

    To say the least it is fitting that those who first gained ‘ownership’ of lakes in this country through a decision of the Native Land Court in 1883 were behind the Paki V Crown challenge in the Court of Appeal which recently stated that the same people the Crown ripped off after the 1883 Native Land Court ruling have ‘ownership rights’ over the river bed at Pouakani, (which is now Lake Maraetai),

    Our Slippery Prime Minister can spit abuse at the Waitangi Tribunal and the claimants befor it all He likes, but, justice will be done and justice will seen to be done and the sooner that f**king little shyster wakes up to that fact and begins to negotiate openly in good faith with all the stakeholders over Maori rights to fresh water the sooner we all will see that justice done…

  8. Poission 8

    The problems (with regard to Banks) arises from when he is charged.

    1) Does he still frequent parliament and vote ?

    2) Does he step aside (with leave from the speaker)

    3) Is his proxy valid ?

    4) Will the government use the proxy of a suspected criminal?

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