Key and Electoral Reform Referendum

John Key faces some tough choices about the referendum on electoral reform. He will be aware that it is in the best interests of the National Party to reform the system, as when the minor parties get kicked out of parliament National will need to win a majority to beat the Green-Labour Coalition. This will be near impossible as the earlier post shows, as National have won a majority only once, in 1951.

Key will be thinking a little about National and a lot about himself. In his best interests is to maximise the vote this time, as there is something in it for him. He is using National as a vehicle to promote his power now, and there is nothing in it for him to make sacrifices for National’s long term future because he is not part of National’s long term future.

Anyone doubting this should look at Labour and see how Helen Clark took a once strong party and completely gutted it. She has left Labour with no money, no competent leaders and no hope. A group of inept middle managers from Helen’s era are currently doing their best to ensure Labour can’t win in 2014, fighting asymmetrical wars they cannot win against a blogger with nothing to lose. Mike Williams shake down of donors means the donors are giving Moira the bums rush, and there is still historic debt from Helen’s desperate attempt to hold power in 2008.

Let’s get this straight. If Helen had have cared about Labour she wouldn’t have stripped it of cash and talent, and she would have aggressively recruited good people to caucus through her time in government. She made a few changes far too late, so MPs like Grant Robertson, Stuart Nash & Clare Curran are now having to fight the deadwood. Had Clark cared about the party she would have bought Robertson, Nash & Curran and similarly talented contemporaries into parliament in 2002 and 2005 and cut out some of the deadwood. She didn’t because she didn’t want to rock the boat, and have people throw tanties like Chris Carter did that could affect her votes.

The Board of the National Party should be concerned that in the future National will not be able to form a government under MMP, and that John Key isn’t focused on this aspect because all he is focussing on right now is winning this election. Just like Clark did when she was PM. This is an opportunity for the President to take decisive action like he did in the Rodney selection process, and issue a call to arms and get National supporting a vote for change so at least there is a second referendum in 2014.

Without the second referendum we run the very real risk that constitutional reform will be handed to the politicians and passed by a simple majority in the parliament rather than allowing the people to have a say. The long term risk of the current approach is that there will be nothing stopping another party or indeed National from using a simple majority to further make constitutional changes.

Now is the time to get it right. Not prevaricate and certainly it is high time to cash in some of that vast amount of political capital.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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