National's worst nightmare

Apart from eviscerating Phil Goff, Anthony Hubbard notes National’s electoral nightmare.

The worst result for Labour and the left-of-centre bloc would be a narrow loss by National. A “losers’ coalition”, as Tim Groser calls it, is by no means impossible. National’s support parties, Act and the Maori Party, are in trouble. So is its loyal serf Peter Dunne. If National falls to the lowish 40s, and its helpers shrink too, it could lose. Whaleoil, the right-wing blogger, has been warning National that it risks just such a defeat. Under MMP, he shrieks, National could become “the natural party of opposition.”

But a win for a rag-tag coalition of the left and centre would be a disaster for Labour. Voters still have a strong feeling that the party with the largest share of the votes should lead the government. Defenders of MMP will say this is mistaken. They will say that it’s the overall coalition numbers that count, not just the lead party’s.

Perhaps they are right and perhaps the voters’ feeling is a kind of hangover from first-past-the-post. But the feeling remains, and it is strong.

Hubbard is wrong in thinking that it would be bad for Labour. Being in government is never bad. It gives you resources, it gives you the demeanour of a winner instead of a loser and it gives you control.

If Labour, through the quirks of MMP was to attain power and at the same time ACT and the Maori party departed then National would be the natural party of opposition. Not only that MMP would be cemented in because no one took a stand to challenge MMP and they would only have themselves to blame.

The country would then be locked in non-performing cycle of elections delivering up mediocrity cycle after cycle. Locking up our talent and resources in a morass of ordinariness because politicians are too afraid to do what is necessary and instead do what is demanded despite the consequences.

So while John Key doesn’t want National to have a policy, Labour and the Greens whole-heartedly do have a policy and are actively and vocally endorsing MMP. John Key doesn’t care, he won’t be there in 6 years. Neither will Simon Power or any other National member who supports MMP. But their actions will have consigned National to the dustbin of permanent opposition. I will explain further in my next post.


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  • Ben

    I will be awaiting your follow up post about National being confined to the dustbin.

    Ironically enough in 2002 when Labour trounced National (under English) I thought National would be confined to that place of permenant opposition. Hmmm tad wrong when 2008 rolled round, however I wonder if Whale’s theory would come true post 2011?

    Will have to wait and see.

  • V

    The results of a losers coalition would eventually be plain to see in the economic performance of NZ and employment statistics etc.
    I’m not necessarily for or against MMP, but think the debate needs to be had and other systems considered – MMP is not the only proportional system going. This is where the Greens etc have been successful in promoting the braindead view that to vote against MMP means we are going back to FPP.