Rob Salmond at Poliity has a post here on how he sees the next government.
David, Winston, and the Greens up a tree. G O V E R N I N G.
Some of the commentary over Easter has focused on a supposed strategic conundrum for the Greens. If Peters is in a position to decide the next government, pundits argue, he would only agree to a deal with Labour if that deal keeps the Greens outside the Cabinet. Otherwise he would go with National, because being the junior partner is much grander than being the junior junior partner.
I think the pundits misjudge Peters. I think he wants a major, polity-based legacy in the 2014-2017 term, as well as baubles. Only the left can offer this. With the left, Peters can be The Man who Saved the Power Companies. National cannot compete with that. Which gives everyone on the left, including the Greens, some leverage.1
Think about a simple hypothetical: New Zealand First has 7% and the balance of power. What then? Here are my picks:
First, Both sides offer Peters pretty much whatever baubles he wants, including:
Remember, both sides are likely to be offering this, which makes it pretty much a draw.
Then the left offers an additional policy gain. A big one. One that all the parties on the left agree on. A long-term, fiscally responsible strategy for returning the recently pawned state assets to public ownership. Peters likes that idea, we know that already. And National can’t match it directly. Does National have a similarly large-scale legacy project it can offer for New Zealand First? I can’t think of a good one.
I expect at that point Peters would have some further conditions for Labour and the Greens at that point, such as not technically working “for” a Green, which means no Green Deputy PM.2 In the name of changing the government, I think a left-leaning consensus can be forged along those lines. And I think this deal is more attractive to Peters than a two-way more-of-the-same deal with National.
So count me out of the consensus that Winston in Cabinet means no Greens in Cabinet. I see a feasible three-way deal on the horizon.