I would have thought that all the Nats’ recent talk of selling off state assests would have seriously put the brakes on these kinds of gestures. After all it was National’s privatisation of Auckland International Airport in 1998 that was the catalyst for Winston’s departure from the National-led government in 1998. And presumably much of the Nats’ policy is pure poison to the Greens.
Tracy Watkins has been giving potential coalition arrangements a little thought over at her shiny new blog too – concluding with a question about whether we’re ready for a situation where the party that wins the largest share of the vote doesn’t have enough friends to be able to put together a government, but one or more smaller parties does.
I can’t see that we wouldn’t be accepting of such a setup. After all isn’t this precisely the kind of thing that a proportionally representative electoral system like ours aims to make possible, thus giving meaning to votes that in the bad old days would have been wasted? Think of the Alliance’s 18% back in 1993.
National appears to have recognised since the last election that shafting all your potential partners isn’t a smart strategy, though it’s hard to imagine that Steven Joyce would ever admit it. Key’s ‘changing their tone but not their policy’ might work with some of the electorate, but I doubt that it will be enough to court a coalition partner.