The Dim-Post

January 17, 2014

More small party stuff

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 3:09 pm

DPF argues that John Key should rule Winston Peters out as a coalition partner after the election.

The logic of the rule-out is this: some of Peter’s voters are soft-National voters while some are soft-Labour voters. If National rules him out then the soft-National voters will desert him and vote National while the soft-Labour voters stay with him, but he drops below the 5% threshold so their votes are wasted.

Which seemed to work in 2008 but failed in 2011. I think National would be foolish to try it again. DPF’s case is that without Peters National would probably only spend one term in opposition while going into a third term with Peters will probably lead to a subsequent nine years in opposition.

Well I think any political strategist who tries to think like that is crazy. The goal is to get into government and stay there while you implement your policies. What if National rules out Peters, goes into opposition and David Cunliffe turns out to be a really popular, effective leader? What if there’s three years of sustained economic growth? What if the National Party disintegrates into civil war as soon as Key steps down?

On top of everything else, any coalition deal with Peters will probably involve a knighthood and posting to St James at the end of the term, and I think he’d work pretty hard to keep the government on track and make that a reality.

~

John Boscawen has put his hand up to be the ACT leader. Well, fair enough. He’s put plenty of time and money into the party. I would like to know if he was approached by National and asked to stand. He is, after all, a known quantity. Someone they’ve worked with in the past. Someone who will make a ‘good coalition partner’, ie someone who will keep their mouth shut and do as they’re told and not take any votes off National.

Pretty sweet job, ACT leader. National gives you an electorate and a Cabinet position paying about $260,000 a year, along with a limo and a leaders’ budget, all paid for by the taxpayer based on the total fallacy that you’re the ‘leader’ of a ‘political party’.

~

Lots of ink spilled about Kim Dotcom’s Internet party, including lots of speculation about who will vote for it. Young National voters! Young South Auckland voters! The 800,000 non-voters!

I haven’t seen any actual data but my assumption is that if Kim Dotcom attracts any votes at all it will be from the Green Party. If he has any impact on the election it will probably be here: pulling votes from the Greens and then wasting them because he doesn’t reach 5%, and thus ensuring a third term for National. But based on the last few days I’m more confident than his impact will be negligible. Politics is hard! It is, to quote Weber ‘The strong and slow boring of hard boards’. I might be wrong and Dotcom might release some Android app that effortlessly harvests votes from young South Aucklanders that care about data caps and digital privacy but I just can’t see it.

19 Comments »

  1. Who is to say that the promised rewards for Winston (knighthood etc) require a coalition?
    If the numbers support it would think that it is much more palatable option for both Winston and National to strike an agreement whereby NZ First abstain on confidence and supply and vote issue by issue thus allowing Winston the freedom to grandstand on issues as he sees fit and allowing National to continue to govern and pass budgets by turning slightly less than 50% of seats into a majority.

    Comment by Richard29 — January 17, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

  2. Who is to say that the promised rewards for Winston (knighthood etc) require a coalition?

    Because in the scenario you outline, there’d be an alternative potential governing arrangement that would give Winston his end of term baubles and a ministerial post in the interim. Why would he pass that up for another term on the opposition benches?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 17, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

  3. Why would he pass that up for another term on the opposition benches?

    Dislike of the Green Party? His stubborn belief in the existence of the constitutional convention that the largest party gets the first opportunity to govern?

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — January 17, 2014 @ 4:21 pm

  4. Interesting about Boscawen, though ultimately not that surprising. Wheher he was specifically asked by National, who knows?
    I suspect it was more that there were no credible alternatives for the reasons you have identified, therefore it was a degree of self selection to sustain the Act vehicle and pull in lib votes.

    An acqaintance of mine who travels in the same orbit mentioned that Boscawen genuinely wants to create a viable and appealing classic liberal party. Did make me wonder how much dead rat swallowing there was oing on to slot Banks in there.

    Comment by Gregor W — January 17, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  5. @Richard29

    After the election, once MPs are sworn in, they can jump or be dumped by their parties (Horan, Hone, Copeland, C.Carter etc). So any “abstention” deal between leaders cannot be binding on their MPs. In the very unlikely event that such a deal was reached, it would only be a matter of weeks before carrots were being offered by National or Labour, and eventually accepted (selflessly, of course, for the good of the nation and “stable government”).

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — January 17, 2014 @ 5:25 pm

  6. “Pretty sweet job, ACT leader. National gives you an electorate and a Cabinet position paying about $260,000 a year, along with a limo and a leaders’ budget, all paid for by the taxpayer based on the total fallacy that you’re the ‘leader’ of a ‘political party’.”

    Just for the record, I know it’s old news, but this is basically exactly the attack line the Nats used to run on Jim Anderton. Did you agree with that?

    As for Dotcom, I think the last few weeks have established him as a disaster at electoral politics, whatever his other talents. And I’m not even talking about the cancelled party – the fact that he is targettng electorate votes shows that whoever is advising him is not being listened to, or is a total novice. (Or both!)

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 17, 2014 @ 6:39 pm

  7. Dislike of the Green Party? His stubborn belief in the existence of the constitutional convention that the largest party gets the first opportunity to govern?

    Maybe. But I guess the operating assumption is that this will be Peters last 3 years in Parliament. Are these factors really strong enough to make him spend them on the opposition benches (even if as a veto over National’s legislative programme), when there’s the option of spending them in ministerial office?

    Of course, we should remember that the baubles of office have never been of any interest to him in the past.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 17, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

  8. “Just for the record, I know it’s old news, but this is basically exactly the attack line the Nats used to run on Jim Anderton. Did you agree with that?”

    And just for the record, and also old news, but that obviously false equivalence is pointed out every time.

    If Anderton hadn’t left Labour, fought Labour tooth and nail, and eventually reconciled with Labour it might have merit. If Banks had left National, fought National tooth and nail, and eventually reconciled with National, then it might have merit. If Anderton had told the people of his electorate to support his successor, and then the one after that, and the one after that, regardless of who that candidate might be, and generally treated the voters with contempt, instead of serving them himself for decades, then the comparison might have merit.

    But none of that happened. So, no.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — January 17, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

  9. @sammy: I agree, but having scanned through some of Danyl’s back posts, it seems he does feel that Anderton was a fake party leader.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 17, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

  10. > If National rules him out then the soft-National voters will desert him and vote National

    As far as I can see, most Peters supporters voted NZ First as a protest vote because they were ticked off with the major parties.

    If National rules Peters out then NZ First becomes a more effective protest vote and is likely to attract more votes.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 17, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  11. “What if National rules out Peters, goes into opposition and David Cunliffe turns out to be a really popular, effective leader? What if there’s three years of sustained economic growth? ”

    Thats entirely plausible as neither National or Labour want to destroy the economy- unlike the Green wrecking ball- ie true minor party hell.

    Comment by Grant — January 17, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

  12. As far as I can see, most Peters supporters voted NZ First as a protest vote because they were ticked off with the major parties.

    Based on what, Antoine? Judging by election results since 1993 there seems to be a pretty dedicated core of support, certainly more so than ACT or United Future. Do you regard them equally as ‘protest vote’ parties?

    Comment by Gregor W — January 17, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  13. > Do you regard them equally as ‘protest vote’ parties?

    My view is that United Future is the polar opposite of a ‘protest vote’ party – UF voters want their candidate to be part of a government, any government

    My view is that 2011 NZF voters typically wanted to give the finger to the Government, not support it

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 17, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

  14. @Gregor W: I think it’s partly true. NZ First has a solid core of supporters who really believe in the party, like Winston, etc etc. But they alone are not sufficient to get them over the threshhold, not at this point, so for that they rely on right-leaning protest votes.

    In 2008 Key’s ruling out of Winston certainly didn’t help their vote share, although it might be an exaggeration to say he killed them off with his disciplined moral stand. But Key in 2008 had a gravitas that he doesn’t really have now.*

    *Not to associate myself with the “Everyone hates Key now” crowd, but some of the lustre has worn off.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 17, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  15. I think Peters will go with Cunliffe for two reasons. 1. He dislikes and does not respect Key. On the other hand Cunliffe’s obvious intellectual ability is a far better fit with Peters’ character. 2. Peters will enjoy keeping the Greens out of government, knowing full well that they will support a Lab/NZF coalition on confidence and supply because they have nowhere else to go.

    Comment by Julian — January 18, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

  16. David Farrar has a very material rationale for his no-to-Winston-at-any-cost analysis. Namely the fact that Winston would personally finish David and his polling company if he were to get the chance. And getting into Government with National is that chance.

    Farrar was one of the group of right wingers (which included a couple of winebox ratbags) who colluded in the campaign against Winston in 2008. You come at the king, you better not miss…

    Comment by Gurrrraffe — January 19, 2014 @ 12:27 am

  17. Somebody coming in to argue with the “Greens have nowhere else to go” argument in 10… 9… 8…

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 19, 2014 @ 4:27 am

  18. Farrar was one of the group of right wingers (which included a couple of winebox ratbags) who colluded in the campaign against Winston in 2008.

    Remember the immediate aftermath of the 2005 election, and “Please please Winston, say yes, I’ve got such a stiffy!”? Farrar does.

    Comment by Joe W — January 19, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  19. Anderton was the most fake party leader New Zealand’s ever seen. Apart from the guy who started the Pakeha Party.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — January 19, 2014 @ 11:17 am


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