Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Gordon Campbell on National’s election fling with NZ First

Gordon Campbell on National’s election fling with New Zealand First

By Gordon Campbell

22 January 2013

Anyone who felt surprised by yesterday’s announcements about who National sees as being its compatible coalition partners after the last election would have to be either naive, or asleep at the wheel. United Future Act and the Maori Party may be the preferred partners of the Key government but the fortunes of all three have been ebbing away to an extent where each may bring only a solitary MP to the post-election bargaining table later this year. It has long been evident that National needs new partners, and the Conservatives and New Zealand First are its only fallback options.

Unfortunately for National, all of its erstwhile coalition partners look more like sock puppets than genuine political parties. Electorate deals will almost certainly be needed to get Peter Dunne back in Ohariu and the Act Party candidate back in Epsom ( probably that will be former MP John Boscawen). The newbies seem no more able to get into Parliament on their own merits. Further electorate deals will be required to get Colin Craig and a few more Conservative MPs across the line. And if that amount of gerrymandering doesn’t prove enough to deliver a working majority for the centre right, then Peters will be waiting in the wings, keen to enter the frame. The handy rationalisation for Peters will be that the party that wins the biggest share of the vote will get first crack at forming a government. No doubt, that will be among the arguments he uses to let down gently any of his supporters credulous enough to believe that Peters opposes the National Party on principle.

In fact, yesterday’s announcement served mainly as a reminder that a vote for New Zealand First is in effect, a vote for the Key government. None of this is rocket science. Peters’ criticisms of the asset sales programme, the hostility to Peter Dunne etc have been intended primarily to tap into public outrage and maximise the NZF vote. In the coming months, one can expect to see similar shadow boxing between NZF and the Conservatives pre-election, given that Colin Craig poses a genuine threat to Peters’ core support among elderly voters. All for show, ultimately. All through 2013, the criticisms that Peters voiced about Key government’s actions and policies always did have a hollow ring to them : simply because it remained inconceivable that Peters would ever follow through on them, and choose to become the third wheel in a Labour Greens centre-left government. From now on....any jousting between Key and Peters pre-election should be viewed as a pantomine ; as the form of play fighting and arm wrestling that boys habitually do, but which doesn’t obscure the bromance bubbling away below the surface. They love each other, man. It is a mutual need thing.

This apparent readiness to deal with each other post-election should begin to clarify what Key may have to give away in order to form a government, once the votes are counted. To woo Peters, Key will have to flag any attempt to make tough decisions on the eligibility age for National Superannuation. With Craig, National and the Conservatives can agree to flatten the tax scales, and deliver New Zealand a far more regressive tax system. Moreover, having Peters on standby also means that National can afford to drop down close to 40% in the polls this year, and still have a realistic expectation of forming the next government.

For some, the road ahead will now look a lot steeper for the centre-left after yesterday’s announcement - but it was only wishful thinking to imagine that Peters’ opposition to the current government has ever been anything more than a theatrical illusion.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Stuart Littlewood: What More Horrors Are In Store For Gaza?

I wonder what Hamas and Israeli leaders are thinking as they survey the devastation in Gaza and review the death-toll and casualty figures? Or course, neither has to live among the ruins and clamber over the devastation. More>>

ALSO:

Michael Hammerschlag: The Battle For Lysychansk; Ukr On The Move

I reached my friend Andre Samobarona (self-defense militia from Maidan) at the front Sunday- where I didn't know he was till last call 5-6 days ago, “I'm in a battle- can't talk”. He was out of touch till today, when he was on R+R from the National ... More>>

Shobha Shukla: Prevention Technologies For HIV And STIs At AIDS 2014

Women of reproductive age have a need for prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and family planning methods. More importantly, women need prevention tools/methods that are under their control and do not leave them at the mercy of ... More>>

Gary G. Kohls: The Hiroshima Myth And The Glorification Of American Militarism

This coming Wednesday, August 6, 2014, is the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since war-weary Americans celebrated V-J Day on August 15. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Gaza’s Resistance Will Not Be Crushed

On the 13th day of Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, stories of entire families collectively pulverized, women and children keenly targeted by Israeli soldiers saturate the media. Until now, 430 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and ... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Anderson: Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic? The Labour Party And MANA

Early in July this year, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe made headlines by apologising for being a man. Stoked by capitalist media sensation, Prime Minister John Key responded that “not all men” abuse women. More>>

Shobha Shukla: Break The Silos: Drug Use, HIV, HCV, TB, Laws And Funding

Viet Nam is one of the countries in the world that has made remarkable progress over the last decade in not only making harm reduction and HIV services available and accessible for people who use drugs but also reforming laws for supportive health ... More>>

ALSO:

Fiona Gordon: Illegal Wildlife Trading: The Global Response

At the closing session of the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi last month, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We need to act decisively to change humanity’s relationship with our planet.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news