I detect an interesting shift in the mindset of my Tory friends. There’s a growing acceptance that National are in trouble and a change of Government is now a real possibility. The bleating I hear more and more is that they can put up with Cunliffe, that Winston would probably be OK as a deputy PM and that the Greens even seem to be growing up a bit. The real fear is Internet/Mana.
I’ve lost count of the number of times in recent days I’ve had to tell my conservative friends and neighbours that Labour want to lead as simple a coalition as possible. 2 or 3 parties at most and certainly nothing like the 5 headed monster Key will need if he does scrape back in. I keep hearing questions about what Cabinet post Hone will demand and what if Laila Harre wants to be deputy PM? I smile and reassure them that Labour have already said that they don’t see Internet/Mana as a likely part of the next Government.
But there is a way Tories can guarantee IMP don’t make it to the cabinet table.
It’s simple really.
There is already a precedent for a Tory tactical vote. In 2002, when it became obvious that National could not win, a third of their party vote went elsewhere.
There were big gains for NZ First, United Future and Labour. A big worry for right leaning voters at the time was the possibility that the radical Greens would go into cabinet. Tory voters hedged their bets by party voting for alternative partners for Labour, who ultimately went with United Future as the major support party.
My belief is that we are going to see a similar phenomenon this election. When it becomes absolutely clear that Key isn’t going to make it back, I think that a significant number of votes will leak from National to NZF, Labour and the Conservatives. In the case of Colin Craig, probably not enough votes; he’s going to end up like Winston in 2008, close but no cigar.
NZ First are a conservative party, too. But most of their policies this election are aligned with the left. There’s hardly anything in their manifesto that couldn’t reasonably be agreed to by a Labour led Government. NZF Deputy Leader Tracey Martin is even openly talking of consulting with the Greens over climate change!
That makes a vote for Winston a risky proposition for thinking Tories.
No, it’s much simpler for National voters who don’t want to see Hone and Laila at the big table to party vote Labour. If Labour gets above the 30% mark, then they are able to form a relatively simple majority coalition with the Greens and NZF, or, as Helen Clark did in 2002, put together a minority Government with support on Confidence and Supply from other parties. That could mean either Labour+Greens or Labour+NZ First. I’m sure the latter arrangement would be preferable to the right, but either would be seen as as better alternative to having IMP anywhere near the levers of power.
Tories! Party Vote Labour for a slightly less awful future. You know it makes sense!
Te Reo Putake