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Big News: Lets talk about coalition, baby

Big News with Dave Crampton
Lets talk about coalition, baby, lets talk about you and me

While the smallest and largest parties in Parliament are in coalition, the newest one is snapping at their heels. It should be no surprise that a New Zealand Herald-DigiPoll last week noted that most Labour voters -and most Labour MPs - want United Future, rather than the Greens, to form a coalition with Labour - or at least prop the party up. In any case it reflects the vote on election night. But there's a problem: The Greens have threatened to bring Miss Clarks government down over GE, and United Future MPs are not really Miss Clark's kind of people. It's a bit ironic really, as Clark said she wants to be known as a tolerant PM. Tolerant of people despite their race or religious beliefs. She didn’t mention policy. What she also didn't say is that she is not tolerant of Christianity and actually warned voters of United Future MPs' Christian beliefs two days prior to the election. Now she is discussing how to build a united and progressive Government in future with the very people she would prefer to have outside Parliament.

Christians have the right to be represented in Parliament as much as pagans, feminists, homosexuals, Maoris, and dope smokers, all whom have been part of a Clark-led government. Clark has not ruled out - or favoured - a coalition with United Future or the Greens. Voters just want a stable government and they see United Future as having greater stability due to the Greens threat to bring down the government over GE. Both United and Labour voters prefer a United/ Labour coalition. Most Green voters want a Greens/Labour coalition. Right now Clark just wants to go skiing, hope she doesn't bump into any Christians, and forget about work until she returns on Tuesday.

A likely outcome will be a minority government - a coalition with the Progressive Coalition, with support from United Future and the Greens on confidence and supply. United Future should not be expected to prop up Labour over the Greens GM ultimatum any more than Nandor can be expected to vote against decriminalising cannabis. But the party appears to be ahead of the Greens in that them may have something formalised in writing that would give Dunne and his MP’s a hand in shaping policy.

Which brings me to policies. Helen Clark has publicly said that she doesn’t favour decriminalisation of cannabis, Dunne is totally opposed to decriminalisation and the Greens favour it. The big question is how many in Labour will vote for decriminalisation. I suspect many will and there is a good case for it. If I’m correct and cannabis is decriminalised,
that’ll piss off the teachers nearly as much as the current mess over NCEA. In fact NCEA are the four most hated letters among both teachers and students. They were also the four most hated letters when I was at school - except back then they spelled CANE. The NCEA will not only cane bright students, bringing their levels down to average, it will also caning underpaid teachers who have to work overtime to do extra NCEA work. NCEA should be given the same treatment as the cane, which is no longer used in schools.

But policies on cannabis decriminalisation, gay marriage, and prostitution law reform aside, the United Future want to progress this nation - change the nation as one MP put it - and the management of the economy, health, education and law and order will be the measure of this. All three parties share many views on these issues, its just that United future focus on the family as a benchmark for these policies. As Peter Dunne often says, " If families are working well then our country is working well".

But what is the definition of the family? The United Future website doesn't define the family unit, but I guess most of its MPs would prefer it to be Mum and Dad, (preferably married and living together) and the kids. This is especially the case with the party’s policy on income splitting for tax purposes, said to be restricted to married couples. Yet nearly half all children born last year were conceived outside of wedlock and their parents will not benefit by this United Future tax policy unless they get married. Helen Clark probably won't approve of the policy as it is biased toward married couples. Remember she got married to Peter Davis to avoid rumours, gossip and avoid disapproval of those who would not appreciate her living in sin. She is the only married woman I know of who has the honorific of Miss.

Anyway, former Alliance MP Laila Harre has the cheek to claim that the policy is discriminatory against working mothers. Yet her own $325 weekly paid parental leave idea is even more discriminatory. The United Future policy embraces those discriminated by paid parental leave - stay-at-home mums, the self employed, contract workers, and those who have worked for the same employer less than a year. Does paid parental leave assist these people? Not at all. Look Laila, you’re out of the House now, concentrate on becoming a working mother rather than criticising politicians.

United Future's tax policy could also assist women who work while the husband takes care of the kids, so it is gender neutral, unlike paid parental leave. But like minor parties like the CHP, the Outdoor Recreation party and the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, the Alliance is not represented in Parliament.

Some voters will say that minor parties - like the CHP - have put up many candidates for the past three elections, and as they have not got a seat they should get the message and give up. But how many rugby supporters will say that as the All Blacks haven’t had the Bleidsloe Cup since 1997, they should give up contesting it as they tend to lose in the last minute?

Oooooh it still hurts, doesn`t it?

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