The Dim-Post

April 5, 2015

Explain this to me slowly

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:27 am

The latest idea to sweep Parliament is that Winston Peters will use his victory in Northland to transform New Zealand First into a ‘country party’:

With his talk of “two tiered economies” and “second-class citizens”, Peters is already looking well beyond Northland’s boundaries to sell his message of Government neglect to the inhabitants of other regions, such as Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, eastern Bay of Plenty, Wanganui and the West Coast, who – rightly or wrongly – feel they too have been chucked on the economic scrapheap while metropolitan New Zealand prospers.

What will really be troubling Key, however, is that Peters’ repositioning of New Zealand First as some kind of “Country Party” will see him wreaking havoc behind National’s well-fortified frontline – territory previously considered to be impregnable.

That is Key’s nightmare. Not that he will be allowed to sleep in peace anyway.

The fall of Northland means there will be sleepless nights for nervous National MPs who thought their seats in National’s supposed “heartland” were safe forever.

The National MPs representing all of these heartland seats aren’t likely to resign in disgrace en masse, so Peters will have to wait until 2017 to campaign in them. And let’s say people in those provinces are as excited about Ron Mark and Tracey Martin as they are about Peters himself. And let’s say that Labour doesn’t stand candidates in those seats, or signals that their voters should vote strategically for the NZF candidate. And say that ceteris paribus, Peters wins NINE electorate seats, an astonishing victory. Surely nothing really changes, because he already qualifies for nine list MPs?

Okay. What if he uses these electorate battles to campaign for list votes. ‘Two ticks New Zealand First’. That might be a big deal. But, based on the Northland outcome, the majority of those list votes would come from Labour voters. Labour’s collaboration is vital to the success of Peters’ ‘Country Party’, but in a General Election they’d be the big losers. Wouldn’t they? How would this plan actually work?

30 Comments »

  1. I did not take that article as that NZ First is going to try an win rural electorates. That indeed would be rather silly and counterproductive.
    But I took it that NZ First will campaign as a party standing up for the regions and try to get more list votes of National.

    That is not necessarily that far-fetched.

    Comment by eszett — April 5, 2015 @ 8:04 am

  2. This has the makings of an Easter play, doubt, betrayal, sacrifice and public hand-washing.

    For he is risen.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  3. It’s ‘paribus’ btw, ironically, I’d suggest given Peter’s election strategy.

    Comment by Lee Clark — April 5, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  4. It would be a great move. And give National a well-deserved kick in the pants! paleo

    Paleo Martin

    Comment by paleomartin — April 5, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  5. 1996 redux. Labour loses. Harder for him to win the Maori seats this time because of his record last time but I guess most of his voters in those seats last time have passed on to that great polling booth in the sky where the votes don’t get counted anymore.

    By the way, a much better post than your last one which I took to be a belated April 1 effort.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 5, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  6. “Harder for him (Peters) to win the Maori seats this time”

    It would be even harder since NZF dont stand in Maori seats ( see endorsement of Kelvin Davis).

    Their policy is that they are ‘separatist’….mmmm that would suit a country party as well. ?

    National doesnt stand in Maori seats either, as it has a proxy doing that

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — April 5, 2015 @ 11:40 am

  7. In the Northland by-election Winston had support from Labour voters. Such voters were doing what the Labour party signalled, so will probably still list vote Labour in a general election: therefore not a problem from Labour’s POV.

    In the Northland by-election Winston also appears to have had support from disaffected National voters, and/or Winston galvanised previous non-voters. Either way, such voters may continue to be disaffected, so might list-vote NZ First, in a general election: particularly if National is not seen to seriously address “rural” issues that Winston raises before then. This is a potential big problem for National. Especially if other “rural”, “safe National” electorates follow suit.

    The theory is not about electorate seats, it’s about a significant amount of the pro-NZ First vote coming from previous National voters (and / or new voters).

    This is not as good from Labour’s POV as previous National voters switching to Labour. This means that Labour has to face the weirdness/impossibility(?) of a Labour / NZ First / Greens coalition and there is the risk of a National / NZ First coalition. However, it’s better than National remaining strong by itself.

    Comment by RJL — April 5, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

  8. I imagine something like the Liberal-National Coalition in Australia (“I will not lead a minority government”… tell us how many seats the Liberal Party has again, Tony). There you have a bunch of agrarian socialists holding on to rural seats like grim death while the neofascists hold the conservative and scared urban electorates. Between them they have the fear and loathing side of the electorate sewn up.

    If Winston can take blue electorates off the Nationals and then go into coalition with Labour that would work. Once. Ye olde socially conservative/economically deranged voters would not quickly forgive someone who gave them whatever the gay greenie lefty Maori-hugging Helengradistas want this week (does that sound foamy enough?).

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the party with safe electorates to chase those, while the party with no electorates but safely over 5% focuses purely on the party vote? So if Labour said “Party Vote Winston First” and Winston said “Vote for your Local Labor Lackey” (alliteration always amportant) that would make much more sense.

    Comment by Moz in Oz — April 5, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

  9. @Moz: Ye olde socially conservative/economically deranged voters would not quickly forgive someone who gave them whatever the gay greenie lefty Maori-hugging Helengradistas want this week…

    True. But that’s an issue for after the hippies have won.

    Also “ye olde socially conservative/economically deranged voters” might be mollified if the gay urban hippies do manage to deliver something tangible to the provinces too. Somewhat surprisingly, the Greens and fellow travellers appear keen for the government To Spend Money And Do Worthy Things (rather than, say, privatise government functions for the profit of mates). It’s just getting the correct definition of Worthy that’s the trick.

    And bear in mind, you appear to be proposing a scenario where a coalition of NZ First / Labour / possibly Greens have won a general election. In that case, Key will have resigned and the remaining National fuckheads will be scrapping for the leadership. So, there may not be a viable National to challenge the subsequent general election anyway.

    Comment by RJL — April 5, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

  10. @RJL: Ah yes, the old scenario where, once the Greens get into government, they’re so incredibly good at governing that people who have voted against them for two decades see the light! Seems optimistic.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 5, 2015 @ 7:17 pm

  11. “It would be even harder since NZF dont stand in Maori seats ( see endorsement of Kelvin Davis).”

    Between now and the next election Winston could have had three different positions on NZF standing in the Maori seats. He won all five in 1996.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 5, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

  12. I think the main risk to National is that if NZ First is winning some regional seats, then the media will adopt the narrative of a) John Key et al are losing and b) regime change. None of these are good for National, especially if Joyce panics like he did in Northland.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — April 5, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

  13. It’s a shame Peters can’t take a page out of General Boulanger’s book and just stand in every electorate seat simultaneously.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 6, 2015 @ 3:41 am

  14. “the next election Winston could have had three different positions on NZF standing in the Maori seats”

    Do you allways just make it up?, yes hes a politician and 20 years ago they did win, but does that mean Tau Henare is in the running to replace Winston too?

    Looking back NZF dont seem to have run candidates in maori seats since at least 2002, so you are grasping at straws to say he will have 3 different positions by the next election

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — April 6, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  15. Winston currently has a conservative, tough on crime, anti-immigrant, populist party in parliament. Colin Craig has a conservative, tough on crime, anti-immigrant, populist party just a smidgen outside of parliament. If Winston transforms his party into the “country party” his current voters will go somewhere…

    Comment by unaha-closp — April 7, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  16. “Looking back NZF dont seem to have run candidates in maori seats since at least 2002, so you are grasping at straws to say he will have 3 different positions by the next election”

    Jeez, Ghost, you really are gullible, a very strong indicator of a NZF voter. If Winston thought he could win the Maori seats how long do you think it would be before he discovered a high-minded principle that made it a moral imperative for NZF to stand candidates in those seats?

    Comment by Tinakori — April 7, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  17. I can’t see NZF winning any other electorates any time soon. As noted, the circumstances that see Peters as a viable candidate in Northland are unique to Northland (it is economically backward and isolated; it has real divisions and the majority of the poor are on the Maori roll, Peters is from there, Peters is phenomenally popular, etc.)

    NZF have taken votes from Labour while Labour have been weak. They have taken votes from National when National are weak. That is what populist parties do. If there is wide-spread disillusionment with National in the provinces, then NZF will win a lot of support off them there.

    Comment by onsos — April 7, 2015 @ 11:06 am

  18. A ‘country party’: you need to drop the O and the R there, then it becomes fully accurate.

    Comment by richdrich — April 7, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

  19. @Moz – If Winston can take blue electorates off the Nationals and then go into coalition with Labour that would work. Once.

    Not even once.

    @RJL – True. But that’s an issue for after the hippies have won.

    Nope.

    Winston has form. Winston has twice taken votes off a sitting government and then gone into coalition with that government. Winston does not do partisan politics and is only interested in Winston.

    And bear in mind, you appear to be proposing a scenario where a coalition of NZ First / Labour / possibly Greens have won a general election. In that case, Key will have resigned and the remaining National fuckheads will be scrapping for the leadership.

    You’re missing the step where the outgoing, swept from power, fuckheads bring out ever increasingly shiny baubles and wave them under the nose of Winston.

    Comment by unaha-closp — April 7, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  20. @unaha: You’re presuming that tough-on-crime, anti-immigrant, populist voters will be turned off by a focus on rural New Zealand. I doubt that very much. Both here and elsewhere in the western world rural populism has proven a very enduring political brand.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 7, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  21. Quite. The cowboy myth dies hard.

    Comment by Sacha — April 7, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

  22. I was thinking more of the Nordic Agrarian parties

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 7, 2015 @ 6:27 pm

  23. The reality is that National have no economic plan for the regions, other that building motorways from Auckland or Wellington in the general direction of the regions. Who knows, maybe home-owners in the regions want to experience the same level of house price rises as the cities, especial Auckland ? Whatever the issues (real or perceived) , I’m sure Winston can discover and exploit them in a way that adds up to “and we’ll fix the regions’ economies” as opposed to a wholesale transformation into Te Country Party..

    An easy win would be to promise only Kiwis and permanent residents can purchase land. I think such a policy would be very popular in the regions, which is where a lot of rich foreigners want to buy (i.e. away from the cities) and establish exclusive control.

    Also, if you could convince/mandate that immigrants migrate to the regions in the first instance, instead of Auckland/Wellington, then you could reduce pressure on Auckland housing, and simultaneously build economic activity in the regions. How exactly Winston will reconcile this with his anti-immigrant rhetoric remains to be seen, but he is a master sophist, so this would not present a serious problem to him.

    National take the regions as safe blue seats, and this kind of for-granted-ness is *exactly* what Winston is capable of exploiting. Remember, Winston does not have to deliver very much to foment discontent in the regions. All he has to do is keep talking about “National’s Zombie Towns” and I’m sure he will get plenty of coverage (especially in the regional media).

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — April 7, 2015 @ 8:33 pm

  24. “An easy win would be to promise only Kiwis and permanent residents can purchase land.”

    That’s already NZ First policy.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 7, 2015 @ 9:23 pm

  25. @kalvarnsen, no probs, all he needs to do is promote all the issues associated with allowing unfettered foreign ownership of our land in the regions and then I think he will see some traction from this policy.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — April 7, 2015 @ 10:07 pm

  26. @Mikaere: Where have you been for the last twenty years? Opposition to foreign ownership has always been one of NZF’s key policies. Winston was giving speeches about in 1995 where he gave dire warnings about the consequences of unrestricted foreign investment in land. The idea that NZF can change its approach by focusing on economic nationalism makes as much sense as the idea that the Greens can change their approach by focusing on environmentalism.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 8, 2015 @ 6:15 am

  27. An easy win would be to promise only Kiwis and permanent residents can purchase land. I think such a policy would be very popular in the regions, which is where a lot of rich foreigners want to buy (i.e. away from the cities) and establish exclusive control.

    In rural electorates a much higher proportion of voters own property, so reducing property prices is less popular.

    Comment by unaha-closp — April 8, 2015 @ 8:33 am

  28. @kalvarnsen: Yet when he was in government – twice – he did nothing about it. What I’m saying is that regardless of how long it has been NZ First policy , there is mileage to be had in promoting this kind of policy.

    @unaha-closp: Strengthening the rural economies is a more effective way to improve house prices than to allow the likes of Shania Twain to purchase land.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — April 8, 2015 @ 11:31 am

  29. Just exactly what negative effect has Shania Twain owning a bit of land in Wanaka had on NZ or even the region?

    Comment by insider — April 8, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

  30. @Mikaere: Yep, that’s Winston. He’s one person inside government, another outside of it. My point stands, though, he’s been promoting this policy intensely basically as long as he’s been in the public eye. Just last December he gave a lengthy TV interview where foreign land ownership was the main subject.

    Any benefit Winston would get from flogging the economic nationalist horse, he’s already receiving.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 8, 2015 @ 6:05 pm


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