Tim Watkin writes:
Is that the whiff of ideology in the wind? The National-ACT supply and confidence deal will lead John Key’s second term government off the first term’s more pragmatic road and down some very rocky by-ways indeed.
The plan to trial Charter Schools and pass spending cap legislation ties the government to action and moves this government two steps to the right. I’m intrigued that these are the battlegrounds John key has chosen to fight on.
I don’t think this is right. My theory behind the ACT-National deal is this:
In 2014 National faces up to four competitors in the far-right/conservative vote-space: ACT, whatever liberal party splits off from ACT, the Conservatives and New Zealand First.
But they don’t want to be fighting on the right – they want to be in the centre, preventing soft Labour voters from deserting the John Key Party. And they don’t want to risk a large volume of wasted votes on the right going to the Conservatives and the as-yet-unnamed classical liberal party, who are unlikely to make it to 5%. And they don’t want to give either of these parties an electorate seat.
What do you do? Well, National’s decided to rebuild ACT. They’ve given Banks all these policy concessions, so now National’s army of paid shills can cluck and coo over what an incredible leader of the ACT Party John Banks has turned out to be. And picking charter schools was a genius move. It upsets the left! It gets unionists and education experts angry! It must be awesome! This makes it almost impossible for a ‘credible’ new classical liberal party to split from ACT. It keeps the party alive for another electoral cycle. Which will probably turn out to be a huge, HUGE mistake, but I never said it was a good strategy.