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The big win

Written By: - Date published: 11:22 am, December 12th, 2011 - 41 comments
Categories: privatisation, united future - Tags:

The new government comprises the same parties as the previous one: National, ACT, United Future, and the Maori Party. But this time they wield 64 votes, not 69. That’s due to less wasted vote and the governing parties’ combined vote falling from 51.84% to 50.41%. Even the narrower Nat+ACT bloc fell. National’s ‘big win’ was actually just one more seat.

And the most powerful man in the country now? Peter Dunne.

You see, the Maori Party agreement with National has ‘agree to disagree’ provisions, which will allow the Maori Party to vote against asset sales. The Maori Party has committed itself to that position, saying “We fought to ensure that partial asset sales did not become part of confidence and supply” and, if it is true to its own policies, the Maori Party will vote against the raft of policies that National is planning to pass under its agreement with John Banks.

So, that reduces the government’s numbers on asset sales and other big policies to 61 – a bare majority.

Dunne is now the most powerful politician in the country. He alone can stop asset sales and National’s radical agenda – like attacks on work rights . Will he?

41 comments on “The big win ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Dunne is now the most powerful politician in the country. He alone can stop asset sales and National’s radical agenda – like attacks on work rights . Will he?

    And the point is of course that Peter Dunne has consistently promoted his party as representing the “Sensible Centre”; that the whole point of UF’s existence was to act as a moderating influence.

    So if he can’t exert that influence now, when for the first time he actually has the power to do so… what was the point of UF again?

    PS.. And yes the constant harping on about National’s “Big Win” in the last election really is nothing more than a “Big LIE”.

    • Nail on the head, Redlogix.

      For the first time, Dunne now has to show whether or not he has any principles to speak of.

      To what extent will he ‘moderate’ National and Act’s agenda? 

    • aerobubble 1.2

      Like the big lie of pollsters who were 10% above the mark of the election (in favor of NaffAct).

  2. Bunji 2

    As stated on nine-to-noon this morning:


    (on asset sales at any rate)

  3. Macro 3

    You can bet your life he won’t!
    Dunne is only in it for himself.

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    Dunne is effectively in no different position from a number of other MPs. Votes don’t recognise parties. It seems that a few on the Left intend to spend the next 3 years vainly clinging to the hope of a defection or two.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      It seems that a few on the Left intend to spend the next 3 years vainly clinging to the hope of a defection or two.

      And why not? It’s happened before.That’s what you get when your majority is cut to such a slim margin.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1

        Jenny Shipley managed to score Alamein Kopu and the ALP in Australia swooped on Slipper before he was pushed out by the Liberals-Nationals-LibNats-Country Libs Coalition.

        Which just goes to show the governing party WILL make the first move.. as they have lots lots more to lose.

        Will they try someone or two from NZ First ? You bet

    • Armchair Critic 4.2

      Pansy Wong or Richard Worth? Phil Heatley? David Garrett? Ring any bells? Paula Bennett could have come unstuck with her disclosure of personal information early on in her term as a minister (what ever happened to the Privacy Commissioner’s report, btw?), who is to say it won’t happen again?
      There are a lot more National MPs this term, so the potential for the airing of dirty laundry (existing or yet to be created) is higher than last term. Add to that John Key’s hands-off management style, and anything could happen. The best outcome that National could hope for is to retain the seat in a by-election.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        The best outcome that National could hope for is to retain the seat in a by-election.

        And if they don’t its potentially off to the polls again, for the whole country.

        Which is why we need a Labour leader ready to enter the ring right now, not in 3 years time.

        Nothing in the next 3 years is going to go to plan, that we can be certain of.

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.2

        You are talking about something different from a defection / turncoat scenario. A scandal that brings down an MP (eg Worth, Darren Hughes) is far more plausible, however don’t forget that with MMP, a new list member simply slots in unless it is an electorate seat.

        • tc

          Espom maybe…..banks has plenty of skeletons and enemies willing to bring them out.

          • Armchair Critic

            Nah, Epsom would vote in whoever National put up, so it would make no difference to the overall number of MPs in the government. Hence the hypothethically available dirt on Banks is not likely to be of much use.
            What is needed is a list of electorates that:
            -are held by National, and
            -were won with a small majority, so could be swung to the opposition, and
            -have a scandal prone MP – the usual problems with financial ethics or zips will suffice.
            From there the work can commence.

      • Lanthanide 4.2.3

        National have got 1 more seat than they did than last term, so that’s not really “a lot more National MPs”.

        What we do have are a lot more inexperienced National MPs.

      • newsense 4.2.4

        Bennett still may have to face a human rights commission report or investigation or something right?

        • aerobubble

          Dont forget the giant in the room. Billion dollar fraud under National leadership.

          As for National party, how any of them can call themselves that when they are sell assets into a world pumped with governments printing money. Its a national security issue to sell off assets…
          …and then what the frack, by the time they do sell them will Europe have imploded under its debts, or americians finally got off their behinds over the chronic lack of employment???

          • dave brown

            And now they’ve OK Akl city selling bonds worth US$2.5 billion on Singapore market. Wow that’s a slippery slope to privatisation and Akld ratepayers becoming bondslaves.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Wow that’s a slippery slope to privatisation and Akld ratepayers becoming bondslaves.

              That’s what National actually want NZers to become – bond-slaves to the rich.

              • aerobubble

                Not sure they want that, I think more likely they are delusional over debt addiction.

                Like prebble who says smugly that (despite US taxpayers winning the space race) that the USSR neevr won by taxing its citizens (which is hilarious since the USSR was all about doing away with property rights and so taxation). Prebble means to say taxes are good? Wasn’t he in ACT?

                No, what’s happening the world over is the smart are paying off their debts (if they have any) and not taking on debt but growing organically. This will have a huge chill on the markets for decades to come, add in oil prices rising, and the whole basis of the rightwing propaganda is undermining, hey but that’s what the right have done by removing the undermining inspectors.

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          wet bus ticket

  5. tsmithfield 5

    Hmmm…What your charts are telling me, Eddie, is that National’s share of the vote is trending upwards. If that trend continues for the next election, they will be able to govern outright.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Eddie, is that National’s share of the vote is trending upwards. If that trend continues for the next election, they will be able to govern outright.

      Irrelevant and obsolete FPP thinking ts. And why did I not expect better from you?

      All that counts is the ability to form a government. On that basis, which is all that matters, the right-wing share has decreased.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        And its decreased in a year of miserable low turn out, a factor which usually worsens the Left vote.

      • queenstfarmer 5.1.2

        All that counts is the ability to form a government. On that basis, which is all that matters, the right-wing share has decreased.

        A bit contradictory there RL? Your first statement is correct. Following which, it doesn’t matter by what margin. A 1 seat margin is as good as a 20 seat margin – like Key said about the AB’s winning by 1 point. And like rugby, each new election is an entirely new game.

        • felix

          A one-seat margin is “as good as a 20 seat margin”?

          You should tell John Key that, he seems to think a 4-seat margin is better than a 1-seat margin.

      • dv 5.1.3

        Nope TS is right – Nats got 4000 more votes in total cf to 2008

      • In Vino Veritas 5.1.4

        Sheesh Red, why is it obsolete and irrelevant if one party makes the threshold to govern alone? Not that I think it will ever happen under MMP, but it is a possibility! And given the likely demise of UF and ACT over the next few election cycles, if a majority goverment was formed, its more likely to come from National than Labour, since the left wing vote is split amongst several parties.

        • RedLogix

          Sheesh Red, why is it obsolete and irrelevant if one party makes the threshold to govern alone?

          Well that isn’t the case here. And if you think that any government is likely to increase it’s vote share at a third election in 2014 then you are perfectly entitled, but history is against you.

          My point is simple; it doesn’t matter if one party gets 49% of the seats in the House, as long as a coalition of however many other parties it takes can form a government with 51%. That one party on 49% may have “won the most votes”.. they didn’t win the election.

          That is the reality of multi-party elections. Try getting used to it.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      If you look very closely, National + Act is now lower than the previous National + Act result.

      You can hardly say that the MP or UF appeal to National voters.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    NZ runs reasonably clean elections process wise. But not totally clean, some of the enrolment details letters sent out by elections nz relating to change of address were questionable as is the perennial situation of non enrolled voters being allowed at the booth to make what will be disallowed special declaration votes, usually into the 20,000s.

    What steps did the John Key government take to genuinely encourage fuller participation? Bugger all.
    They know the keenest voters are the self interested i.e. tory, and happy to leave it that way.

    On one level, technical democracy, the bare numbers have to be respected. However so does the “tyranny of the majority” argument. The parliamentary seats may have been pretty much allocated but that does not mean that there is not going to be a hell of a fight back from those of us that do not support mining on conservation land or asset sales. The weirdness is, our ranks will one way or another include some people that voted for ShonKey.

  7. Afewknowthetruth 7

    Just enough clowns for the circus operator to put on a few more performances before the elephants in the room [that ‘everyone’ is ignoring] start to run wild and trample everything.

    Pita Sharples 2005: We need an inter-party commission to investigate the potentially dire impacts of Peak Oil

    Pita Sharples 2011: Well now that Peak Oil is history and starting bring everything to a halt we don’t need to talk about it. By the way, how much are you offering per vote?

    Peter Dunne 2005: Policy doesn’t matter. It’s whether the lies are convincing or not that counts.

    Peter Dunne 2011: Policy doesn’t matter. It’s whether the lies are convincing or not that counts.

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      You seem to all be forgetting the vote for the Conservative Party. National could have done a deal with them similar to Banks and Dunne. Then the graph would look very much in the rights favour.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        You in turn forget about the very similar 2.2% something Mana Party vote that was equally ‘wasted’ on the left.

        And of course the probability that in the next election Turia and Sharples will both retire… and with that the Maori seats might well return to the left as well.

        • Colonial Viper

          tsmithfield also forgets that the Conservative Party is deadset against asset sales.

  8. gingercrush 8

    Certainly makes 2014 difficult for National. Though I’m not sure Hooten’s hilarious screaming needs to be taken notice of either. Yes looking ahead to 2014 its difficult to see how National would govern. But 2005 could be a clue. Labour lost just 1-2 percent of their vote from 2002 while National grabbed the swinging centre-right vote back. Turnout was up from the low of 2002 and Labour with United Future, Progressives and NZ First was able to govern.

    2014. I see National reaching out to whatever remnants there are of the Maori party, Peter Dunne (Until National voters shut shop on Dunne I see Dunne continually holding Ohariu) and whatever is left of Act. There is also N First and while John Key will have to back-track. Considering Labour has back-tracked on so many things I think Key and National can do it. Therefore, its not impossible for National to govern after 2014 its just very difficult.

    The worse thing for Labour and the left is for Labour to simply re-take the vote that deserted them in 2011.

    Anyway I’m so off tangent.

    • tsmithfield 8.1

      GC, I am not so sure it will be too difficult for National.

      I doubt that Peters will see another term, which will make it likely that NZ First will drop quite a few votes. Those could well be picked up by the Conservative Party which may allow them to get across 5%, or do a similar deal with National as per Act and UF. That would give National quite strong coalition possibilities on the right, along with the MP.

  9. (A different) Nick K 9

    I just emailed Peter Dunne and no he won’t stop asset sales, I asked him to explain the benefit of them and how the maths add up to make the case for sales, he didn’t address that.

    I asked him why Radio New Zealand, water and Kiwibank were so important that they should not be sold (which I agree with) but four power companies were not. He didn’t address that either except to explain that everyone knew he was going to support National and National promoted asset sales.

    Hopefully enough other people around Ohariu and the country put pressure on him. He doesn’t seem to have a strong will to sell assets, just a strong will to do what National says and get what he can in the process *cough* $217k *cough*

    I wish our politicians were stronger willed. What would John Banks have done if Key had told him charter schools were a no go? Nothing, it wouldn’t put Key’s prime ministership in any jeopardy and would’ve shown that he can be strong on a issue no one campaigned on that has the potential to undermine our education system. Instead he shrugged said ‘That’s MMP for you.’ and gave Banks what he asked for. He might as well have shrugged and said ‘I’m weak willed and easily led, that what’s you get for voting for me’.

    What would Key have done if Dunne told him asset sales were off the table, or if UF and the Maori party had talked to each other and said we have common ground on this issue, lets stick to our guns and make a difference. He would’ve had to budge, the election is too close for him to refuse support from UF and Maori. Instead Maori get a token issue to be principled on (vote against asset sales) as it will make no difference and get to sell out again, would be surprised if they manage three seats next election.

    UnitedFuture support a policy they ‘don’t really’ agree with in return for reducing the number of families commissioners that only exists because UF put them there in the first place?! Would be surprised if they get any seat next term.

    Grow a spine, everyone.

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