Has MMP trapped Labour and the Greens?
Rob Hosking at the NBR seems to think the very system that Labour supporters believes benefits them has in fact cornered them and doomed them to opposition.
MMP, a political system vigorously promoted by New Zealandâ€™s poltical Left, is playing a big part in the Leftâ€™s political failings.
It is one of the ironies of the current political scene that National seems to be moving into the kind of long-term government best demonstrated by Japanâ€™s Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in government most terms the past 50 years.
National will, I doubt, match that. But New Zealandâ€™s status quo party has adapted to an electoral system that entrenches the status quo, while the radicals who urged that status quo system on New Zealanders are left grasping emptily at political impotence.
How very perspicacious. Although Jim Bolger was the idiot who proposed a referendum on our voting system it was the left wing who embraced MMP. All the pro-MMP lobby groups have largely been left-wingers…and it was Labour and the Greens who lobbied the hardest to retain the system.
MMP gave the radical Left opponents of the 1984-92 economic reforms a seat in Parliament, but also ensured they couldnâ€™t actually do very much to overturn those reforms.
What MMP did was entrench the policy settings of 1996. That did not mean those cannot be changed, ever, it just made it much harder to do so.
If you strip away the looney left of Labour and the single interest groups you are left with conservative style politicians, with a good dose of pragmatism…they also tend to be sensible blokes, like Stuart Nash and Kelvin Davis. They would be happy in a John Key National government and actually move it to the right a bit.
The problem Labour and the Greens have is that they think the battle they are fighting still need fighting when the reality is they were either won or lost some time ago. Conservatism, which is what Rob Hosking is talking about is in the ascendency…and the loonies of the extremes are slowly being sidelined by MMP that rewards conservatism and the middle and penalises the extreme.