The Dim-Post

January 25, 2014

No! That’s just what they’ll expect us to do!

Filed under: too fucking crazy to count as politics — danylmc @ 1:11 pm

John Armstrong’s column in the Herald floats the idea that John Key could do a deal with Winston Peters in which Peters goes into coalition with Key and in return Key steps down in the last year of his third term and makes Winston Peters Prime Minister:

Peters has been consistent from election to election in stressing NZ First – should the party hold the balance of power – will talk first to the party with the most seats in Parliament.

That party will almost certainly be National. It is an advantage that National will not squander. The big question is whether National will be willing to trade the one bauble of office which Peters has never enjoyed (and which Labour cannot realistically offer) to secure his signature on a confidence and supply agreement.

Peters has been a finance minister, a foreign minister and a deputy prime minister. That leaves one large and obvious gap in his CV.

Will National seek to find ways around the significant constitutional obstacles to enable the leader of a minor party to do a stint as prime minister – obstacles such as could he realistically sack a Cabinet minister from the majority party?

There would be some benefits for National beyond the retention of power.

It is assumed that Key will quit politics some time in National’s third term, assuming it gets one. Knowing he might get up to a year or so in the top job would be a huge incentive for Peters to ensure – unlike its predecessor in the 1990s – a National-NZ First administration actually goes the distance.

I have a pretty good track record of predicting what Key will do, all based on the simple premise that Key is not stupid or insane and will do things that are sensible and advantageous to himself and his party. So I’m gonna go on record and predict that this will not happen; instead – if he does decide to stand down – Key will announce that if re-elected he will serve his full third term but not stand for a fourth term.

Although I don’t really think Armstrong thinks any of his will happen either. This is probably a bad faith column furthering some not-immediately-apparent agenda of his own.

18 Comments »

  1. That tactic would be good all around because National would get a third term, which is what they want; Winston Peter would become PM, which is what he wants; and the voting public only get two more years of Key, which is what they want or what they will quickly come to want.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — January 25, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

  2. @Daniel – Yes, the voting public would get what they want, which is clearly and obviously Winston Peters as PM.

    Comment by alex — January 25, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  3. I’ve often heard people entertain the possibility that Key would step down – some predicted it as early as 2013 (silly them). I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Holyoake, he quit in advance of certain electoral defeat, but while 2014 looks to be his toughest election yet, it is a long way from certain that the Nats will lose.

    As for a member of a minor party becoming PM… that happens sometimes in Europe, but usually only if the major party has some kind of massive scandal hanging over it. And I think NZ isn’t ready for it yet – we’ve still got a lot of relics of the FPP mindset, and one of them is the horse race idea of the election as a contest in which the winner gets to be PM.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 25, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  4. If Winston Peters became PM, it would result in a very crowded Labour leadership contest.

    It’s total bollocks, of course, but if it makes Patrick Gower ask Key “Will you rule out Winston as PM?”, or ask Collins “Would you serve under PM Winston?”* then I won’t mind.

    * (to be followed by a “rumours are swirling” opinion piece …)

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — January 25, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

  5. FFS its about getting Tracey Martin in. Thats the Auckland deciding issue, anything else is wellington wankery.

    Comment by Grant — January 25, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

  6. It’d certainly be a precedent to confuse large sections of the voting public about what they’re going to get in the following election. If the present government is majority National but has Winston as PM, what are people voting for if they vote National?

    Personally I think Winston Peters would be most likely to settle for a knighthood to decorate his retirement.

    Comment by izogi — January 25, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  7. “This is probably a bad faith column furthering some not-immediately-apparent agenda of his own.”

    I thought the media’s long-standing bad bromance with Peters was blindingly obvious, but it’s been a long time since I could muster the energy and enough painkillers to parse Armstrong’s servings of word salad.

    Comment by cranapia — January 25, 2014 @ 9:16 pm

  8. Is this satire?

    Comment by Purple Scottie — January 25, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

  9. What are “the significant constitutional obstacles to enable the leader of a minor party to do a stint as prime minister” that Armstrong speaks of?

    Comment by RJL — January 26, 2014 @ 2:55 am

  10. What are “the significant constitutional obstacles to enable the leader of a minor party to do a stint as prime minister” that Armstrong speaks of?

    There aren’t any. He’s conflating “political” with “constitutional”.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 26, 2014 @ 8:19 am

  11. I can’t see Peters taking a Knighthood. It makes sense but it’s one of those things that just won’t happen due to the stubborn attitudes of the two parties involved (the Queen’s camp won’t want to give him one; he will feel an urge to refuse it anyway, though it would boost his already inflated ego).

    Comment by Daniel Lang — January 26, 2014 @ 10:07 am

  12. >I can’t see Peters taking a Knighthood.

    Ouch. Coffee just came out my nose.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — January 26, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  13. @Daniel: The “Queen’s camp”?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 26, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

  14. I think Danyl has now demonstrated conclusively that ‘Daniel Lang’ is a satirical construct.

    Well done!

    Comment by Gregor W — January 26, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

  15. @kalvarnsen “The “Queen’s camp”?”

    You hadn’t noticed?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 27, 2014 @ 9:35 am

  16. Hang on, why would Key do the full third term? That would mean campaigning for the 2017 election as basically a lame duck – vote for the party I lead, even though I won’t be leading it after the election! Surely the sensible thing would be to resign about a year beforehand, so the successor has time to get up some steam?

    Comment by helenalex — January 27, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

  17. @Pascal: Oh, very droll.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 27, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

  18. “Surely the sensible thing would be to resign about a year beforehand, so the successor has time to get up some steam?”

    Exactly. The deal will be Judith Collins PM and Tracey Martin deputy pm in the last 2/3rd of the term.

    #pragmatists

    Comment by Grant — January 27, 2014 @ 7:57 pm


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