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Biff Guevara: Election 2005

Biff Guevara's inclusive coverage of NZ's 2005 General Election

The Date Of The Election – MMP Has Failed

The date of the election
Saturday, July 09, 2005

Because we don't know the date of the election we know when it will be. That is - as it hasn't been called yet; it can only be late September.

The question is whether taking the term to the very end has been a good or a bad tactic. There was some talk that it should have been called in January around the time of the John Tamihere kamikazi run into his own career. Force him to go and then call an election. Labour may well have romped home then.

Since then it's got worse. The issue is - was not calling it for August a good idea? As usual there are two views
1) Waiting is better because- National and NZ First support will peakand level giving Labour time to pick up.
2) Waiting is silly because it has allowed National to build and set the agenda. Oh and perhaps Labour is in free fall in the polls and rather than National peaking and levelling Labour will just haemorrhage support.

Personally I think the smart National neo-con billboards and the budget were the turning point waiting to happen, after Labour destroyed the electoral support base it established in 02 bit by bit. National's billboards, the budget, the Benson-Pope situation were catalytic rather than causative of the switch.

Still it does show that despite being a sensible and cohesive government it's not the big wounds that can drag you down but a lot of paper cuts.


MMP has failed - Politics and the new era
Friday, July 08, 2005

MMP has failed.

Okay, I voted for MMP. It was a rush of blood to the head in an effort to do what parliament (well Labour in the 80s) had been doing to the rest of us, that is restructure them. Like all liberals I qualified my support, 'well it does make parties stronger, but it's still going to give more control to voters than we have now'. You know liberal bollocks stuff.

What I spose has surprised me is that it's not the parties that have been the problem with MMP but the voters. You see I mistakenly thought that people would think tactically. What I didn't realise, and I should have, is that people really don't care, so tactical considerations are really just irrelevant.

MMP has failed because every time a small party is constructive it gets it whacked. Voters insist on voting for these small, often pretend, parties but only vote for them again if they are noisy, oppositional, and generally negative. New Zealand First in 96, the Alliance in 99 and and United Future in 02 are suffering the same fate - voter approbation because they were constructive. (Yeah I know United isn't part of the government but supports Labour on confidence and supply, and yeah NZ First and the Alliance did misbehave at the end but only because they had disappeared to below 2 per cent in polls and the horses bolted.)

When MMP was coming in there was talk of either the German system, where voters congregate around 2 large and one small party, and the Italian system where, at the time there had been 51 governments since the war. I have these horrid middle of the night flashbacks where I wake up in a cold sweat recalling a passionate argument I had, at a particularly messy party, with an anti MMP person and I said the Italian system would never happen here,..... and on the basis of my persuasion they changed their mind and voted for MMP. I wouldn't be so horrified except that it's about the only time I've succeeded in changing someone's mind.

Now there may be those of you who read this and say... 'it doesn't matter'. And well it does. The economic growth and stability we enjoy is about stable reliable government. Clark and Labour, despite all their faults, and misguided policy have made a one vote majority on supply and confidence look stable.

And as we head towards Bad Decision 05 ....of course while the electorate is guilty, so too is Labour.

More on that later.


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