National's Strategic Stupidity II

Yesterday this blog highlighted how dumb National are being by not engaging in the debate over electoral reform. MMP is a left wing stitch up designed to keep long term power in a cosy coalition between Labour and the Greens.

The stupidity of National is based around not thinking about minor parties who will be in parliament in the future. No new party has entered parliament without a sitting MP since the first MMP election. Colin Craig’s Conservative Party may make it, as Colin is a likeable man and well funded, it appears he will have a real battle to get in and stay in.

All the minor parties in parliament apart from the Greens look like they are going to die out.

Jim Anderton’s retirement means the hard left parties he was involved in over the years will no longer be in parliament, his hard left supporters will likely corral around Hone Harawira.

Peter Dunne is effectively an independent, not a member of a party, as he has no chance of bringing people back into parliament on the list. He is due for retirement and like Jim Anderton when he goes his party will fold.

New Zealand First have not rebuilt. Even if they get back in, as soon as Winston gives up the party will fold. It is a personality cult, not a party with enduring principles. In 2008 Winston Peters was not reelected, and his chances of getting back in are exceptionally poor on current polling. Without Winston they have no chance of getting back into Parliament and living hard on the public teat since 1979 means Winston is no longer the man he once was, no matter how hard he tries to be.

The Maori Party has been strong with its current leaders, but Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are reaching retirement age, and it is hard to see the remaining MPs really taking on the leadership mantle. There future without Mrs Turia or Mr Sharples is questionable. Both the Maori Party leaders are old in political terms and may not be back after 2014, even if they retain their seats.

The long term prospect of ACT is bleak.  It will struggle on but is likely to fizzle out in the not too distant future. This is not because of lack of funds or ideas. It is more about personnel. Any aspiring right wing politician who wants to have real influence, a front bench portfolio and a crack at being Prime Minister will join National. Sensible thirty and forty something politicians look at ACT and wonder whether the alleged prizes of the Local Government and Consumer Affairs Ministries are really what ACT set out to achieve in politics. The production line of credible candidates for ACT will cease. Banksie may keep them afloat for a while, but Banksie is no spring chicken and ideologically suspicious in the eyes of many ACT supporters.

In the coming days this topic will be explored in more depth, with more detailed analysis of each of the parties and whether they will remain in parliament in the medium term. If this blog is right and they do not, National will face the Herculean task of winning close to 50% of the vote to form a government, or be forced into a deal with the Greens or with Labour. More likely the two left wing parties will shut National out.

 


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