A fantasy from Trotter?

Chris Trotter has written on Bowalley Road (hence the link) an interesting premise come 2014.

John Key, the National Party’s moderate but unpopular leader, faces the near impossible task of creating a government out of an election result from which no clear majority is readily discernible – for either the Right or the Left.

The Governor-General asks Mr Key, as leader of by far the largest party, to try and form a government. Day after day drifts by without any sign of a breakthrough. All eyes turn to the leader of the Labour Party. Can David Shearer succeed where Mr Key is failing?

While Mr Key contemplates the election’s intractable political arithmetic, Mr Shearer begins pressuring the Green Party. He needs to know how badly their leaders want to be Cabinet Ministers. Is it possible that, for the sake of the country, they might step aside and allow Mr Peters and his NZ First colleagues to form a minority government with Labour? And would they then be willing to keep that government in office by voting it Confidence and Supply? When the Greens protest, Mr Shearer warns them that any refusal to step aside will almost certainly see Mr Peters pledge NZ First’s votes to Mr Key.

The Greens are in a quandary. As the third largest party in the new parliament, they should be in the box seat – but they’re not. On the contrary, pressures are mounting for them to be written out of the political play entirely. 

The Greens are facing the same predicament that Helen Clark delivered up to them. They are simply too extreme to risk in government, they as a party are destined to the fringes, always watching and politicians prepared to cut deals do so.

Every day the mainstream news media finds a new way of branding the Greens as “too radical for government”. Business organisations warn of dire consequences for New Zealand’s economic future should Russel Norman and Metiria Turei come within a bull’s roar of the Cabinet Table. The country’s international credit rating comes under review and international lenders quietly voice their growing fear of a Labour-Green Government to the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

When the Greens point-blank refuse to rule themselves out of government, the political tension is ratcheted up a few notches. The news media immediately seizes upon the fact that National won more votes than any other party. Never before, they correctly claim, has the party which won the most votes been denied the right to govern. That being the case, thunder the nation’s editors, the onus falls upon the “responsible” parliamentary parties to provide National with a working majority.

This is a very real possibility…if the Greens continue to cannibalise Labour’s vote and Labour drops into the 20s in the polls then this is a scenario that may well play out.

With the Greens’ “irresponsibility” taken as a given, and with NZ First’s numbers falling just short of the majority “the country” so desperately needs, the private cell-phones of certain Labour and Green MPs begin to vibrate.

First they are offered the carrot: guaranteed Cabinet seats, High Commission postings, seats around some very important (and well-remunerated) boardroom tables. If that fails, they are shown the stick: video recordings of what they thought were “secret” assignations; terrifying estimates of the tax owing on their undisclosed offshore incomes; pretty-much everything they did last summer.

You could easily peel off the right of Labour…like Shane Jones…many of which are more right wing than the left of National.

The Governor-General gives Mr Key just 48 more hours to form a government. Mr Shearer, secretly informed that a critical number of Labour and Green MPs are about to defect, announces his party’s unwillingness to enter into any kind of agreement with the Greens. Mr Peters announces NZ First’s willingness to join in a “Coalition of National Unity”. National’s caucus meets to deliver Mr Peters’ price – John Key’s political head.

The Governor-General invites Judith Collins to Government House.



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  • Micky

    I just read that on Trotters blog. I left a comment asking if he was on drugs. I’m not expecting it to be published.

    • Mr_V4

      Maybe not drugs but probably only had one hand on the keyboard..

  • CoNZervative

    A bow about as long as a Mayor of Wanganui’s maintenance payments.

  • spollyike

    Some of us could write better fantasy politics than this. Interesting though. Would we see rioting in the streets if National gained the most seats by far yet were denied the right to govern, i’d be there!

  • johnbronkhorst

    He needed to start this one “Once apon a time, in a galaxy far far away…..” may be with some stirring music and could have the writing fade away into the distance? Or has that been done before???

  • ozbob68

    Hey, if John Ansell’s treatygate “one law for all” party stands and steals some National voters, it could come true (who remembers the New Zealand Party that stuffed up the 1984 election for National (along with the Snap election call).

  • Paranormal

    The next election will be so boring the current coalition (probably minus Act) will prevail. Trotter’s fantasy is predicated on the vain hope that by the next election the Watermelons and Liarbour will have something to offer the voters.

  • JeffDaRef

    he’s dreaming right from the first sentence.
    close to 50% of kiwis want JK to be PM, you could use the stats to say 90% of kiwis don’t want Shearer to be PM. (and using those same stats you could ask Russell who?)
    it will take something monumental – and lets face it, that doesn’t look likely at all – for National not to gain 40-something % of the vote at next election, and with it the moral right to govern. For all his (many) other faults, Winston has always said he would first and foremost commence discussions with the party that gained the most votes.

  • Should the final scenario eventuate, I could easily see JK willingly stand aside. Although I would expect much consternation from people who appreciate his temperate stance.

  • Middleagedwhiteguy

    What will be interesting in 2014 is what the left will do during the campaign. We see that the left will hang their hat on one touchstone policy or one theme. In 2011 it was Asset Sales. In 2008, it was about trust, which culminated Mike Williams’s smear campaign which backfired with spectacular effect. 2005 was the Student Loans.

    Which way will they go in 2014? The only option is to go further left, which will not work. Since 2008, this government has had to navigate the GFC, and then have that compounded with the Christchurch Quakes. There is no quick fix no matter how much we would wish it, but we do seem to be coming out the other end in good shape, and many of us see that.

  • ozbob68

    Not out of the realms of possibility, if the 1law4all (One Law For All) Party splits the vote and takes support away from National, this could cause a serious gap in the election (Remember 1984 when Bob Jones’ New Zealand Party?)

    • ozbob68

      (Sorry for the doublepost, browser problems).

  • AnonWgtn

    If I saw Greenpeace anywhere near the balance of power I would consider voting Labour rather than National, of which I have always voted.
    But another scenario nearer the election would be for Shearer and Key to have a cup of tea.
    That would be in the country’s best interest.
    Or a new election could be called, which would probably be the best move.

  • Arran Hunt

    Clearly fantasy when it calls Key unpopular yet doesn’t mention the ineptness of Shearer or the racism of Norman. Plus, if National did a deal with Peters, Key wouldn’t be the only person leaving National. Myself, and many others, would cancel our memberships. Trotter seems to be giving applying the “at any cost” mentality, where elections are bought at the expense of future generations, to National. But it has been a long time since National bought anything, we’re too busy paying for Labour’s stupid promises.

  • Sym Gardiner

    Trotter forgets one option… another election. And watch the third parties get burned at the stake if that happens..

  • Col

    I would like to see National go in on it’s own ticket, take on those who have taken the ride with them, and give the finger too Labour, Greens, and old Winston, saying where here to govern.

  • Red

    Interesting all right… and that far fetched? Anything could happen given enough Bananas in whats rapidly becoming a long & cloudy republic. . The only part I didn’t really understand was this… “Every day the mainstream news media finds a new way of branding the Greens as “too radical for government”….. Trotter must be watching different channels to the rest of us – here was me thinking they we’re just left leaning lap dogs

  • johnbronkhorst

    This might put a crimp in your fantasy mr trotter:

    “The Green Party is considering whether to revert to support for a carbon tax to force climate change behaviour changes, given the failure to date of local and global emissions trading scheme to place a meaningful price on carbon emissions.”…Yahoo xtra 10 minutes ago.
    Isn’t this one of the things killing the labour/green vote in Australia?

    • johnbronkhorst

      Also how , mr norman/shearer, will this effect your $300 per year saving on electricity??? More bullshit from the left!!!

  • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

    Everyday the mainstream news media brands the greens as too extreme for government… Umm, no…

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    Exactly this what will not happen. Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana will happily co-exist for the sake of power. Don’t you all worry about that bros.

    • yossarian1971

      for about six days.

    • Mr_V4

      Sir Cullen are you inviting the failed school teacher from Hutt South to run the strategy again in 2014?

      • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

        The clowns surrounding John Key are doing that for him. Sheep can now sleep walk to victory without doing any effort.

  • unitedtribes

    The left just hate how popular JK is so now they even dream how they can get rid of him

    • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

      They are succeeding I may add….

  • Ururoa

    And the Unions will finally have had a guts-full of Labour’s ditherer and decide “Bugger this, we’ll throw ourselves (and our members contributions) behind the Greens. They are, after all, the true Party of the Left.”