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What would a National win mean in 2011?

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 pm, December 6th, 2010 - 48 comments
Categories: act, greens, maori party, national, nz first, Politics, united future - Tags:

The 2011 election may not be the fait accompli for right-wing doctrine many predicted after Labour’s demise in 2008.

National vs Labour is always a hard fought battle no matter what. And there is a real chance Labour could get over the line. But even if National manage to secure victory for a 2nd term the influence of a coalition partner may be profound.

If National attain government, which is the more likely outcome, (though far from certain e.g. I wonder how glowing those cables are about John Key?) who National governed with would determine the actual ideological direction of NZ for the following three years.

The outlook is certainly better than many right-wingers would like.

Polls at this stage in the electoral cycle are uncertain at best. But judging on existing trends National is bound to get the lion’s share of the vote. At current polling National is at 50%. I’d say that’s a pretty unlikely election result. If history is anything to go by what’s far more likely is something in the low to mid 40s. Securing a majority in Parliament is likely to rest on at least one, maybe two, support parties.

Different support parties will mean different things for a National-led government. How is our government’s ideology likely to be influenced by different parties?

ACT: I’m picking even if ACT are in Parliament next election they won’t be a major force. Influence will only come if their 2 or 3 MPs are needed for a National-ACT majority. Otherwise, they’ll be sidelined and ignored. An ACT-National majority is likely to lead to a continuation and acceleration of our path towards economic liberalisation.

ACT in government is a bad outcome for social liberals, and the worst possible outcome for socialists. It means an accelerated push for crazy criminal talk and right-wing economic doctrine.

NZ First: If Winston Peters makes it into Parliament it’s bad news for the economic liberals in the National Party. If Peters is there, it is very likely that National will need him to govern. Ideologically, it kills the right-wing economic project for the three years (or however long the government lasts). The economic liberals in National would likely shut their mouths and try hold the status quo, while the social conservatives in the party may take the chance to push their agenda.

NZ First in government is not a good outcome for liberals, economic or social. The consolation for socialists would be a slowdown of the right-wing economic project.

Maori Party: If ACT and National together don’t make a majority next election, the Maori Party will get some hard influence for the first time. Make no mistake, despite Turia’s deep dislike of Labour and the Maori Party’s apparent support for tax cuts for the rich, there is a strong pro-Maori and pro-dispossessed ideology amongst a majority of MPs. The real impact of the Maori Party’s ideology has only been held at bay so far because they’ve had no choice. National has always been able to turn to ACT, so there was no gain for the Maori Party by voting against the government. That would’ve just dented their internal influence. Expect more from the Maori Party if in an influential position in 2011.

The Maori Party has the potential to exact real gains for Maori, the poor, and working people. Don’t expect a stop to free trade or some economic liberalisation, but if National has to rely on the Maori Party for support you can bet your bottom dollar the beneficiary bashing will all but cease. How far the party pushes will be determined by how much influence Hone Harawira manages to wield.

Greens: Don’t rule this out. National will be hungry to keep power, and if there’s a choice between Greens and NZ First it may well just go to the hippies. The new Norman-Turei dynasty is likely to be more comfortable about a support arrangement with National than the previous leadership. And the fact is, the Greens may get enough out of National to make it worthwhile. They may have to opt for (and get) the status quo on economic doctrine, but there are serious possible environmental policies that National could be willing to compromise on.

Greens supporting a National government is probably the best outcome for socialists after a Labour loss. Right-wing doctrine would be slowed incredibly, and there is the potential for the Greens to reap environmental policy rewards.

Peter Dunne:
Hopefully he’ll be gone. Otherwise he’ll just blow whatever way the wind goes. Dunne will only be useful to National if he’s needed to get a majority along with ACT.

Dunne is likely to have very little influence on the ideological direction of a National government. Let’s hope Ohariu get rid of him.

Likely outcomes?

Any of the above are possibilities at this stage. What’s particularly interesting however is that an unlikely National majority aside, only ACT will provide support to continue on the existing footing.

At this stage I think if National wins government, the overall balance of power is likely to lay with the Maori Party. This will mean National will be forced to change direction at least a little. Expect the Maori Party to flex its muscles a bit more and not vote for every piece of right-wing economic legislation. Expect beneficiary bashing to be scaled back. And watch Hone Harawira. He may very well hold the key to how successful or unsuccessful National are in pushing their agenda.

At the other end of the spectrum, if NZ First or the Greens’ support is needed then the right-wing project in NZ becomes seriously dented. It’ll be a serious setback for economic liberals and could change force change in the economic orthodoxy of our major conservative party.

2011 is going to be an interesting year in NZ politics. No matter the result, don’t expect the ideological direction of the government to stay the same. Even if National are re-elected there’ll be change. And though because of other commitments this will be my last post, I shall be watching with a very keen interest.

48 comments on “What would a National win mean in 2011?”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    ACT in government is a bad outcome for social liberals, and the worst possible outcome for socialists. It means an accelerated push for crazy criminal talk and right-wing economic doctrine.

    Yeah this is just perfect writing. Thanks irishbill. Great counterfactual scenarios.

    The fact that a second NAT term is not a given is already a huge victory of morale for LAB (although more credit is probably due to the NATs in this than LAB).

    Fight hard, 2011 😀

    • Marty G 1.1

      really nice piece, foxy.

      gave me a heart-attack when the by-line was Irish – losing two at once would have been a blow. Good luck with next year

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Yeah I should have that bug in the post system fixed soon. I’m just trying to make it so that I don’t have to fix it every time that word press puts out an update.

        Foxy – good luck with what ever you’re heading off to do. Thanks for all of the interesting posts. It will be interesting if any of the above scenarios is required. But I suspect that you are right if National does manage to form a coalition, the question becomes which group of thir disparite supporters are they going to piss off the most.

        Time to start recruiting more authors

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Darn I meant nice writing Michael Foxglove.

  2. IrishBill 2

    My mistake. Mike asked me to put up his last post and I forgot to change the author tag.

    Foxglove, it’s sad to see you go.

  3. swimmer 3

    It will be an interesting race, maybe NZF will make a comeback. 🙂

  4. I’d say Greens/National is more likely than Greens/NZ First

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Well, I know one thing. If NACT get back in next year NZ will be sold so fast you’re head will spin. It is, quite simply, something that we can’t actually afford. Unfortunately, I can’t see Labour as being much better yet.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      LAB: No. Privatisation. Of. Any. State. Assets.

      (there is the possibility for considering specific and narrowly targeted new ventures in association with the private sector though – not that I want to restart that flame war)

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        No renationalisation of critical assets such as telecommunications, nor any move to a more rational monetary system, no move of critical banking services such as EFT-POS to state ownership. They’re keeping the same system and fiddling at the edges.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          None of those things will probably be considered unless there is mass movement support pressurising pollies to look at options seriously.

          I personally am not in favour of the renationalisation of key assets unless benefits to the public were high and could not be achieved any other way. The risk of tech and innovation flight from NZ is too large IMO. Further, Govts have been known to use their ownership of key assets to milk a monopoly position for revenue. Electricity comes to mind. And of course, sooner or later a right wing govt is going to get back into power. Once you have nationalised all these assets, what is going to stop them from selling them off at mates rates all over again? The only way I can see is if every single NZer is educated on the important role of government and of efficiently run, effectively operated publicly owned assets.

          You mentioned EFT-POS: these systems are integral parts of certain banks. Why and how would you nationalise them. What could the Govt afford to pay for them? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Why not simply apply a windfall tax to banking profits, and regulate the fees banks can charge? There is no way that Westpac should be taking $6.2M in profits out of the NZ economy weekly.

          Out of all the things you mentioned the more rational (debt free, sovereign issued) monetary system is by far the most fundamental and the most crucial. But this is a huge break with international convention. It would take some amazing public movement to get the pollies to seriously consider it.

          By the way, do you know of any major country in the world which currently issues its own debt free sovereign currency?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            I personally am not in favour of the renationalisation of key assets unless benefits to the public were high and could not be achieved any other way. The risk of tech and innovation flight from NZ is too large IMO.

            Why would there be tech flight? i.e. Telecom doesn’t make the products it uses – it buys them from offshore companies because we don’t make them here. Technically, such renationalisation could be used to boost innovation and tech here by actually buying from local firms.

            Further, Govts have been known to use their ownership of key assets to milk a monopoly position for revenue.

            It has been known, it’s also been known to leave any profits that the monopoly made to the monopoly so that the service could be improved (Which is how the phone network got it as good as it was when it was sold). The governments demands of dividends from electricity was actually really stupid and hurt our electricity generation as well as putting prices up due to the dead weight loss.

            Once you have nationalised all these assets, what is going to stop them from selling them off at mates rates all over again?

            There’s these things called “laws” – perhaps you’ve heard of them?

            The only way I can see is if every single NZer is educated on the important role of government and of efficiently run, effectively operated publicly owned assets.

            That needs to happen anyway to counter the lies that the RWNJs spread that only private companies are efficient.

            You mentioned EFT-POS: these systems are integral parts of certain banks.

            EFT-POS is actually separate from the banks and the reason why I’d nationalise it is because it has become ubiquitous and maintaining the dead weight loss of profit on it is harming the economy. Everybody uses it and a customer facing business probably can’t function well without it.

            But generally speaking what I’d like to see is a government depositor. It pays no interest and charges no fees (supported through taxes) and deposits are guaranteed. It also makes no loans except possibly a 0% interest mortgage on primary residence (which would actually be money direct from the RBNZ). It is, of course, an on call account that is utilised by the nationalised EFT-POS. To get interest bearing accounts you would need to go to the private finance companies where you can’t pull you money out if it’s being loaned out and you have the possibility of losing the money. ATM people seem to think that just because they loaned put their money to in the bank/finance company it’s a guaranteed return. This “faith” in banks seems to have come about by the use of the fractional reserve banking system as the banks can show your money as being “in the bank” rather than the fact that it’s loaned out.

            Out of all the things you mentioned the more rational (debt free, sovereign issued) monetary system is by far the most fundamental and the most crucial. But this is a huge break with international convention. It would take some amazing public movement to get the pollies to seriously consider it.

            It is and probably would. To get such a movement would require that people be taught how the present system works and how the banks game the system to their own benefit and everyone else’s expense.

            By the way, do you know of any major country in the world which currently issues its own debt free sovereign currency?

            No but I can point to historical instances such as the Greenback and Colonial Script as used in the US.

  6. Gooner 6

    ACT in government is a bad outcome for social liberals, and the worst possible outcome for socialists.

    It should be a good outcome for social liberals, but the conservatives in the party win the day unfortunately. But at least the conservatives and the liberals in the party agree socialism is ghastly.

  7. outofbed 7

    and if there’s a choice between Greens and NZ First it may well just go to the hippies.

    Fucking stupid stereotyping normally only undertaken by the msm.
    I must personally know 200 Green Party members and only 3 of those would I describe in anyway as a hippie

    • They all smell like rotting watermelons. Only a hippie could light up in the great hall. Shame on the scum greens.

    • toad 7.2

      I would know about 200 too, and only 3 of those would support the Greens being part of a National-led Government.

      • Foolsgold 7.2.1

        Damn right. Greens go with the Nats, the activist base will leave to form a new party. Besides look how the Greens in Ireland faired, its dangerous going into coalition when you know the bigger party is desperate.

      • KJT 7.2.2

        I hoped there was none. I thought we had more brains and principles.

    • wobble 7.3

      Harden up outofbed. I’m a Green supporter and it’s clearly just tongue-in-cheek.

      • Gotham 7.3.1

        Agree! Chill out outofbed! While I also get a bit sick of people describing Green supporters as hippies, it’s mostly when it comes in venom-spitting tones from the likes of people who post on Kiwiblog. Sure there was no offense meant from this blog.

        And also, I agree with frog – out of all the people I know in the Greens, pretty much none of them would support a formal coalition with National. Even less if we had to powershare with NZF. Eww.

        • KJT 7.3.1.1

          Agree. Don’t mind being called a hippy actually. In my youth they were largely harmless flower children who lived in communities like Wilderland and packed demos with us against wrecking Manapouri.

    • swordfish 7.4

      @ outofbed

      Yeah, but if you divided the population into ‘The Young Ones’ personality types, then I think it’s reasonable to assume the Greens would have more than their fair share of Neils.

      • felix 7.4.1

        Labour: Rick
        National: Mike
        ACT: Vivian

        • swordfish 7.4.1.1

          Mind you, for all his supposed right-on radicalism, Rick (or should that be “Wick” ?) emerges through the series as a closet Tory…Or is that your underlying point, felix ? 😉

          • swordfish 7.4.1.1.1

            Incidently, I suspect more than a few Greens have written Neil-like letters to their Bank Managers: “Darling Fascist Bully-Boy, give me some more money you Bastard. May the seed of your loins be fruitful in the belly of your woman (Boomshanka) – Neil.”

          • felix 7.4.1.1.2

            Ha – I didn’t intend to imply that, but…

  8. ghostwhowalksnz 8

    If this is the last post , why even bother. Its a white wash of the Maori partys double dealing. As though ‘national made me do it’ will cut the mustard. They have a confidence and supply agreement. All the rest is voluntary. Its laughable that you rate Hones influence. They virtually expelled him remember? And hes going to swing them to the left? National will have the legislation to repeal the Maori seats prepared and tell Turia and Co , to take their coalition deal or else

    • wobble 8.1

      Realpolitik is a tough concept for some to grasp.

    • Akldnut 8.2

      “National has always been able to turn to ACT, so there was no gain for the Maori Party by voting against the government.”

      Thats rubbish Foxy – you don’t show your values by voting with another party unless you’re in-line with them.

      The gain would have been to vote against them to strengthen your position – not snuggle up to them like lap dogs.

  9. Bored 9

    What would a National victory mean in 2011? A poisoned chalice, it is a very good time NOT to be in government. The world financial markets are again in slow meltdown, look at the “bail outs” moving like dominos across Europe, and the flaky state of TARPs in the USA. Add that to oil going through US$90 a barrel, and and we are in for a very rocky ride.

    The real dangers of a National led government over the next few years are that our remaining asset base (mainly infrastructure) of this country will be privatised, financial debts socialised and the true costs transfered as debt to the citizens who will end up as indentured labour in a very real sense.

    The world is going to hell in a handbag, “growth” and economics as we know it are now in a steady state of long term decline. The risk we really face is our inability to see the reality and to build a new paradigm. The vested interests of the old economy are desaprately trying to prop it up and to establish their new position as neo-feudal overlords.

    • A 9.1

      Good point.

      There’s also the problem that none of our political parties contain any decent politicians. In fact, the dearth of smart, capable people in politics appears to be the case across the first world.

      Seeing the “young politicians” on the telly last week just made me despair. They were nothing more than a pack of incompetent, self-serving dimwits (particularly the leader of the young nationals).

  10. millsy 10

    I suggest you all go and google Mr Kinnock’s 1983 ‘I warn you’ speech for some idea of what threat we are facing.

    • billy fish 10.1

      Powerful stuff, he was a good orator

      “If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can’t pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don’t notice and the poor can’t afford.
      I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don’t earn, they don’t spend. When they don’t spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

      If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.

      • ZeeBop 10.1.1

        Thatcher had a good reason to smile, middle east oil would dominate markets for decades, she had the ability to loosen monetry policy and economic good times began. People, even the left leaning, knew this. Now middle east oil is drying up, demand is going to new highs. The policies of Thatcher are now dead. Its a shame the right doesn’t understand this, that many who got rich didn’t know why. The left seems to be hearing the message, that growing the pie isn’t maintainable, managing the pie fairly which keep the pie bigger than fighting over the crumbs.

        So Kinnock was right, but his prediction came true, but he didn’t have the policy right at the time, he would still have had to loosen finance like Thatcher did. He was basically saying he wouldn’t. Today the right adherence and loyalty to liberal economics similarly declares them incapable to deal with the new economic ordering, if if they are right or wrong.

  11. jcuknz 11

    People are so preoccupied with Black and White, or in this case Red and Blue, that they do not consider another scenario.
    If as seems possible because of the timidness and ideological blinkers of the right that both Europe and the United States turn to custard then it is possible we will have war … hopefully not with guns but economic warfare.
    Then with the future of the country at stake, as in previous wars, there needs to be a government of national unity … Labour and National, with each of their hangers-on maybe in or out.
    This might well suit the majority of the general public even if the world doesn’t turn to custard.

  12. Pathetic discussion, why fuck around with centrist petty bourgeois vaccilating parties like MP, NZF and the rightmoving Greens. Either Labour stands up strongly for the working class to win a clear majority or we will have another no show from it’s core voters, another betrayal of the working class, and a patchup centre right government that takes us further down the road to the US colonial police state.

    • wobble 12.1

      I also find it funny that people on this blog want to discuss the real world. Maybe instead we could discuss pointless abstract Trotskyite theory – that really helps improve the lots of Kiwis.

      • anarcho 12.1.1

        when we’re basically quibling about whether to drink pepsi or coke why the fuck not just pushing the whole fucking vending machine over? I’m with Dave on this one.

  13. Jeremy Harris 13

    National and the Greens..? They’d be an exodus of hard right Nat Party members if that happens methinks…

    I personally don’t think that’s very likely… I see Labour, Greens, Maori before National, Greens…

    • Gotham 13.1

      I hope the membership sends a clear message to the leadership that this is the case. Although it is a tricky subject to maneouver around…I disagreed with the hardline stance from the Greens at the last election when they catagorically ruled out National, and I suspect as many do it cost us getting 10%. But then I both agree that we should be honest about our intentions about preferable coalition partners; and I would be insensed (as I would think almost all Green supporters would be) it if we entered into a formal coalition with the Nats. Even I know all those stances aren’t mutually co-habitable…

      I think there has to be a lot of discussion by the membership on what our priorities are: gaining a position of power within a government at any cost, or choosing to turn down power in order to be faithful to our political principles. Or if there is a way to fashion an outcome which combines the best of both…I guess what I am saying is I hope the members are open and active in the discussion around the political positioning post-election and I look forward to hearing arguments from all angles. I am open-minded enough to be able to change my opinion if there is a compelling enough reason to do so.

      But I still hate the Nats 🙂 I don’t think I will be changing my opinion on that.

  14. Dancr 14

    Hey Mikey, sorry to see your observations are going. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. It’s been awhile since I’ve said much myself and you’ve got me thinking that maybe it’s time for me to hang up the pen – well for now at least. But I won’t be far away. Festive season to all.

  15. Jenny 15

    A Maori Party coalition that keeps National in power, will be the end of the Maori Party.

    capcha – “DISASTER”

  16. randal 16

    it would mean seeing john key plastered over the daily newspper every day for another three years.

  17. Jenny 17

    Michael, I think you are being ridiculous trying to claim that Hone Harawira could bring such an administration left, tempering some of the its worst excesses.

    By pushing this fantasy are you just trying to encourage the Maori Party to throw in with National, so that Labour has an excuse not to talk with them?

    Just like the Liberal Democrats in the UK the Maori Party by becoming partners to an austerity tory campaign targeting their key supporters would never make another showing in a general election again.

    Everyone knows this, Even you.

    The National Party have made it clear, the flax roots supporters of the Maori Party along with all other working people will be viciously attacked by a another tory administration. The Maori Party will never be able to hold their supporters with them during such attacks and will never recover.

    Surely this is obvious.

    The present agreement that the Maori Party have with the Government was brought about by the fact that the Maori Party were considered beyond the pale by Labour, described as “Haters and Wreckers” which is just a tad short of labeling them as ‘Terrorists’, (which was the inference).

    The Maori Party have proven through their coalition with a conservative government, that this is just so much racist bullshit.

    The Maori Party have proved that they are no more extreme than any other parliamentary party, (Arguably less extreme than some others, like ACT or NZ First, for instance). Something that could not have been demonstrated if they had been kept on the margins were Labour tried to order them to go. If the Labour Party had been successful in keeping them in the margins the Maori Party would have been easier to malign, deride and be ignored by the Labour Party, and the rest of parliament.

    The coalition with National was a necessary tactical response to Labour’s antagonism, the only other choice was to accept Labour’s judgement of themselves and be consigned to parliamentary irrelevancy forever, which would have been a betrayal of those who voted them into parliament to make a difference.

    Of course this accommodation with National comes at a cost. This is the right wing gravitational influence that a major party Like National will exert on any smaller satelite party.

    Can the right wing course of the Maori Party’s orbit be reversed?

    That depends a lot on whether the Labour Party can get over themselves and make the effort that National has to accommodate Maori.

    And this all depends on how much Labour want to lead the country in 2011.

    It will all be much easier for Labour to just sit in the opposition benches and never have to face the hard questions brought on by the recession, or big business plans to rape the seabed and foreshore, or climate change, or the deficit, or unemployment. All these problems that Labour continually claim from the safety of the opposition benches that they have better answers too than the Nats do.

    Like the metaphor that Voice of Reason continuously and crudely likes to make when deriding the Maori Party as being motivated by political opportunism:

    – Sitting out the next term, will enable Labour MPs to keep their bums in the back of government LTDs with the added benefit of never being in the hot seat.

    Michael with this post are you suggesting that the Labour Party MPs, like Pilot wipe their hands from running the state, by forming this poor excuse for not forming a broad Labour led coalition government, so Labour MPs can sit safely in the opposition benches and blame others while their support base is crucified by the Nats?

    • Pascal's bookie 17.1

      Did you even read the post? What specifically are you responding to?

      There is a theme running through your comment that, if it is reflective of mP thinking (and I’m not at all sure that it is), would suggest that the mP needs to stop defining itself in regard to it’s relationship to the LP. If it is doing that, then National will continue to eat it’s lunch.

      It is not the LP’s doing that mP is in coalition with Nat. The mP owns it’s decisions. It is an autonomous party in it’s own right. If the LP and the mP cannot come to an arrangement, then both parties, not one, are responsible for that.

      You make a number of good points, don’t get me wrong. But there is a defensiveness there that clouds them.

      • Jenny 17.1.1

        I agree Pb the two need to get their act together, for the benefit of both their constituencies.

        There have been (small) noises emanating from Labour that this may be possible, as you rightly point out there, has not been heard anything similar emanating from the Maori Party.

        As in any relationship it is the reluctant party that needs to be wooed and the interested party to do the wooing.

        Don’t worry if the Labour Party ever offer the Maori Party an olive branch that benefits both their constituencies and it is rejected I will be coming down hard on them.

        As with any courtship it behoves the partner with the most power and the most to gain to make the first move, the less powerful partner with the most to lose then needs to reply.

        I wait with interest to watch this courtship begin.

        As for being defensive about the Maori Party which clouds my judgement of them, you are probably right, I am a leftie and I can’t help rooting for the underdog.

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