Who will National’s Coalition Partners be after the 2014 Election?

Tracy Watkins highlights the problems for ACT. The party has fallen apart. The party operations are dying, the candidates can’t get their messages straight and they can not be relied on to be a coalition partner after 2014.

Dr Brash’s leadership was supposed to haul the party back from the brink. Instead it looks increasingly like a party in its death throes.

Who is going to partner National if ACT are gone and United Future are gone and Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retire? That’s why National is going to be natural party of opposition if they do not take a stand on the electoral reform referendum.

Labour and teh Greens along with their union buddies have registered to spend cash supporting MMP, not only that their MMPs are very vocal in support. National MPs meanwhile are under strict instruction to play Sgt. Shultz.


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  • middleagedwhiteguy

    One has to openly wonder about how a coalition with the National party and a Brash led Act would work, given that the Nats got rid of Brash after 2005.

  • Anonymous

    National is the Natural Party of opposition. They had 9 years experience and were good at it. From 9 years of surpluses, now the biggest deficit in our history and a credit downgrade to boot.

  • Apolonia

    The new Conservative party are a potential coalition partner for National,especially now as they are starting to look like Nigel-no friends.

  • I prefer the Party’s refusal to take an official stance, incumbent politicians should encourage and promote Constitutional debate, but should not steer it. It is principled, and I’d much rather stay above board and not fund campaigns to promote one electoral system over another, no matter how selfishly beneficial that might be.

    That is an issue which truly is for the people, and it is disappoint Labour as a Party is taking an official stance. Individual MPs are fine to express their personal views as citizens, but I don’t think they should steer debate as holders of power.

    They should also steer well clear of the Conservatives.

    *Disclaimer: I support MMP and would like to see it reformed.

  • Angela

    What is your problem with MMP? Sure it isn’t perfect and I take the point raised by George Hawkins in his valedictory. There are definitely ways in which it could be improved. However I believe it has been far better for this country and its inhabitants than the previous system which had had plenty of time to improve but was still failing us.

    You give the distinct impression that the reason we should vote against MMP is that it’s not good for National. Sorry but that’s not good enough.
    This National government is already tempted to abuse its power, you only have to look at their willingness to change the law so that illegally obtained evidence would retrospectively be made legal. If Fiji was suggesting this Mr Key would be up in arms! Why we are not incensed over the obvious risk to our civil liberties can only be down to our distraction over the RWC.
    Anyway, without the moderating effect of MMP that law change would have gone through. Who knows what else might be thoughtlessly put through under urgency because of an immediate situation without proper consideration of the ramifications in future. Why go back to that?

  • Kimbo

    In the lead up to the first MMP election in 1996, each side of the left/right political divide fractured, (remember Ross Meurant’s ROC?!), with some, like the United Party (a manufactured attempt), and NZ First (a personality driven revival of Rob’s Mob) also trying for the centre.

    Since then the various attempts to carve out a niche, and “hold that balance of power/be the tail that wags the dog” have all come to naught, and they have withered and died, or are on the way to it – NZ First, ACT, United-Future, and whatever the hell Jim Anderton is now.
    Even the Maori Party, which has capitalised on the double anomaly of electorate MPs and seats designated to the indigenous race within the MMP system are struggling for viability.

    Seen in that light, we are moving away from the “Balkanisation” of the vote that happened in the first excitement of MMP. Even the much-heralded “near-win” by Don Brash of 2005 hid the fact that all he did was round up the lost National votes that leeked to the likes of NZ First, ACT, and United Future in 2002. The center line between the Greens/Anderton/Labour on the left, and National/ACT on the right was in exactly the same place in 2005 as it had been in 2008. So ironically, Brash more than anyone,, courtesy of his campaigning from Orewa 2004 on, was responsible for killing off ACT’s long-term viability.

    There is a good chance there will be only 3 parties in Parliament after 2014. National, Labour, and the Greens. Labour and the Greens will swap and compete for votes amongst themselves on the left. But if you vote Green, you were never a potential vote for National anyway.

    Bottom line: The way things are heading, the days of needing a coalition partner in an MMP parliament are coming to an end.

    • Angela

      Which is a bad thing isn’t it? I’m old enough to remember the pendulum swings under FPTP where every few years the lot that got in took to whatever the deposed lot had achieved with hatchets and barely got their own stuff started before it was their turn for the hatchets. Any progress NZ made was in spite of ’em not because of ’em. Please not that again, we need to be looking for continuous improvement. We can’t afford the luxury of indulging this sort of thing again.
      While we don’t want the tail wagging the dog, the moderating and broadening effect of partnerships has been good.

      • Kimbo

        No, I completely disagree, Angela.

        If it is what the electorate determines, then it is right. That is why it is democracy.

        It is the cultural capital within the NZ public that makes our democracy work practically, irrespective of FPTP or MMP.

        Also, it was not a case of “every few years the lot that got in took to whatever the deposed lot had achieved with hatchets and barely got their own stuff started before it was their turn for the hatchets” during the FPTP era. Your memory deceives you, IMO.

        For the period of 1935-84 there was an essential continuity of policy. Once National got into power in 1949 on the understanding that they would work within the framework of the welfare state/fortress economy established by the first Labour government, they were the natural party of government. Labour only got two single terms. By the end of that era (1975-84) Muldoon was administering policies the first labour government would have essentially agreed with.

        Same with the deregulated paradigm that was set in place by Douglas and Richardson from 1984-91. There has been some tinkering on the margins, like Clark trying to pick winners like Air NZ and the Railways, but she still worked within the model set post 1984. Also Key has not reversed the major initiatives of Clark’s government such as re instituting interest on student loans, or abolished working for families shows there is essential continuity of policy – as per the electorate’s wishes.

        • Angela

          Key is not operating in the FPTP era. Those particular hatchets were downed when MMP came in.

          Also there had been a gradual change in policies such that at times it was difficult to tell the difference between the two major parties.
          But think back to the super scheme which was set up by Labour and dismantled by National which claimed to be worried about what a government might do with the accumulating money. What would NZ’s credit rating be now had they left that alone?
          And Health reforms, I seem to remember, and yes, I know memory plays tricks :-), that we had quite a lot of rearrangement of health systems over several years. Costing lots for little noticeable return.

          The electorate’s wishes are what we all hope will be uppermost for any democratic government. However once a government is empowered, particularly if only one party’s votes are needed to pass legislation, there is a noticeable tendency to lose sight of the electorate’s wishes, especially at the beginning of a term, when it is a long time to the next election. Political parties love voters’ short memories :-)

  • PM of NZ

    “…after the 2014 election?”

    The same question will be asked on Nov 27th 2011.

    • Angela

      if they need a partner and if NZers want them back and are prepared to risk them unpartnered. Giving what will be taken as a mandate for a sell off among other things.

  • Alan

    Kimbo has it nailed. It wouyld be great to think we get away from tails wagging dogs
    lets hope peters and his mafia are gone for ever scum bag that he is .

  • Angela

    I’ve got to agree with Alan as regards Peters although Tauranga benefited hugely from his efforts.
    There is no way that any party should be so desperate to be in power that it is prepared to allow the tail to wag the dog. I don’t think that’s a fault of MMP so much as a fault of politicians. Didn’t John Key state categorically that he would not go into a coalition with Winston Peters? That’s the sort of integrity required.

  • Alex

    I think whinging about there being no “partner” for National is just unambitious. National should be seeking to be able to govern in its own right. To do this it needs to drop the “all about economics” approach and try to become a “broad church” that attracts members from all sections of society; one that believes in consensus and incremental change; and has good decent MPs (unlike Darien Fenton) — like it did in Holyoake’s day.

    Trying to seek salvation in ACT is futile (given it’s low polling) and ultimately dangerous. Whether some of our hard right friends like it or not, people voted for MMP as they were sick of the hard right ideologues. Trying to rely on ACT will suggest to centre voters that National still doesn’t get why MMP was introduced.

    I recall ages ago reading that Helmut Kohl (I think it was) survived for such a long time because after each election, he would find which of the opposition parties’ policies were most popular and seek to implement them (with a centre-right spin). That’s what National should do after this election.

    The other thing it should do is set Michelle Boag loose to cull the deadwood again — probably starting with Brownlee.

  • Angela

    If National, or any other party for that matter, were to do as you suggest with regard to implementing popular opposition policy they would certainly become more popular. However would they remain true to their own ideologies? If you could rely on whoever took power to implement the handful most popular policies, it wouldn’t matter too much who got in- except to them.

  • 6k944827

    WTF? Reasoned debate on the WhaleOil blog. Well bugger me with a leek. Never thought I’d see it happen. Long may it continue.