Why wait? Cunliffe says ending coat-tailing a priority for his first 100 days

David Cunliffe is grandstanding over coat-tailing and brilliantly painting himself into a corner.

Instead he is now saying that ending coat-tailing is a priority for his first 100 days in office…but in order to get into office he may have to rely on coat-tailing parties.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has committed to legislation that will remove the “coat-tailing” provisions that allow small parties to get more MPs into Parliament.

The party already has a member’s bill before the House, but Cunliffe said legislation would be introduced within the first 100 days of a government he led.

Coat-tailing allows for smaller parties that have not reached the 5 per cent threshold, to bring more MPs into Parliament on the back of one MP who may have won an electorate seat.

It also can allow larger parties to do deals that would help smaller parties into Parliament, which happened with ACT and National in the Epsom seat in Auckland.

The Internet Party and Mana have also merged their list, in the hopes of bringing more MPs into Parliament on the coat-tails of Mana leader Hone Harawira, if he retains his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

Cunliffe said he challenged prime minister John Key to sign up to Labour’s bill, but the party would move to change the Electoral Act within its first 100 days in government, regardless.

“We’re saying a very principled and consistent thing,” he told Firstline this morning.

“We think it’s wrong, no matter who does it.

“That’s why we oppose it, that’s why we have a bill before Parliament – Iain Lees-Galloway’s member’s bill – which would remove it.

“And I challenge the prime minister to sign up to that bill, do the right thing by New Zealand people and get rid of this coat-tailing provision.

“And I’ll go further. In the first 100 days of a government that I lead, we will introduce government legislation to remove coat-tailing by changing the Electoral Act.”

John Key should accept the challenge. It will be Labour that gets any push back…it is their bill.

National doesn’t need coat-tailing…Act and United Future aren’t going to get enough votes for it to matter anyway. The only way it would matter is if Peter Dunne cut a deal with the Conservatives, but Dunne is too chicken to do that and prefers to be a lone voice rather than part of a team.

Meanwhile David Cunliffe is refusing to rule out dealing with coat-tailers…which means his grandstanding is as hollow as his CV.

If he was serious he would quietly ahve a meeting with John Key and stitch up a deal…instead he is shilling his position on the radio.

Still it sends a message that though labour benefitted greatly themselves from coat-tailing int eh past they now think it is evil…even though they will be prepared to do a deal with coat-tailers to get into power…then chop them off at the knees.

If you believe that David Cunliffe is serious about ending coat-tailing then I can sell you a bridge. The only way to prove his commitment is for John Key to call his bluff.


– Fairfax


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  • Michael_l_c

    Could National introduce a ‘no coat tailing’ bill to parliament under urgency, retrospective & have it in place for September?
    What effect would, even, a suggestion of this have?

    • simblor

      Doing that would make National no better than Internet-Mana, in my opinion. Better to steam roll them in open battle, and then change the rules.

    • Aaron

      If they do it now, It will be seen as a bad move, blocking smaller parties.
      But If they did do it. can you imagine the hissy fit KDC will have.

      • Rockape

        Its a Labour bill, they just have to agree to it!

      • Blokeinauckland

        Probably won’t hear him once he’s in the Federal penitentiary…

    • Kim would want his money back.

  • Rockape

    John Key should do this immediately. I suspect neither United Future, ACT nor the Conservatives will bring additional seats for the right on their coat-tails, Mana may well do. So pick up Labours bill and screw Labour !

    • I would give anything to see the look on Kim’s face if the coat tailing provision was stopped BEFORE the election, comedy gold!

  • peterwn

    Yes, but it would need Labour’s support. It would not be retrospective as long it was done before seat and list nominations open. There would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the small parties. I doubt John Key would try it – it is just not the way he operated. There is a problem with this, such a bill would provide a ‘handle’ for other amendments, so after introducing it, National could lose control of it.

  • ozbob68

    Bit shifty to change the rules mid-campaign. Win the election then change it.

  • DangerousE

    He’s trying to pin it all on Key. He would like to get rid of intmana first but if not he’d still form a government with them. Either way if the public don’t like it he’ll just point the finger in Keys direction.

  • Grizz30

    Cunliffe is chaotic. There is no coordinated plan. It is hard to make out what he stands for. It is like he is so desperate and spiteful that he would just throw out random ideas and see if anything sticks.

    • Russell Belding

      Chaotic Cunliffe. Nice phrase to describe a slightly confused and disheartened guy.

    • izhoui

      He just wants to show his wife that he is worthy of his high iq and good education. Done nothing worthy so far and is looking less and less likely.
      The ABC were onto it.

  • Even if Labour did commit to it BEFORE the election, I can see it being gone if they need to do any negotiating.

    BTW is it worth pointing out the fact that Mr Schmitz is using almost the same method to get Mega listed on the NZX?

  • taurangaruru

    Cunliffe can say what he likes, he knows he ain’t going to make PM, he knows come the election he will be “gone by lunchtime”
    Watch as his language towards business softens the closer we get to the election, Cunliffe is working hard on his exit strategy – or should be.

  • Day Day

    Coat tailin’, carbon taxin’ Cunliffe.

  • Dave_1924

    National should be talking to Dunne and the Conservatives for sure. A nice umbrella group there – 3-3.5% of the vote nicely counter balances ManaIP… that is if the voters of Ohariu would go for it of course.

    Get rid of coat tailing in a considered manner and at the same time reduce the thresh hold to 3%.

    • As an Ohariu voter, I would rather die than vote Conservative.

  • Rod

    The fact remains that, when we had a referendum on whether to change the electoral system, National told us that if MMP was retained, changes as suggested by the electoral commission would be made. When it came to it, they didn’t do it. So I would suggest it would hypocritical to do it now. Cunliffe’s proven to be a hypocrite, do we want Key to follow suit? I suggest we’re stuck with what we have for now, and just have to hope it delivers the result we want, THEN change it pronto.

  • Blokeinauckland

    Perfect own goal by Cunners. All he’s doing is drawing attention to the point that to get into power he will need a rag-tag mob of opposed forces and the coat-tail rules.

    This hypocrisy in the coat-tail beat up needs to be exposed. in 1999 Winston Peters’s NZ First got 4,26% of the vote. As he won a seat they got 4 List seats. Without his seat they were dog tucker (as indeed happened in 2008) when their 4.07% got them nought as Winnie was beached as.

  • jude

    I think the time to make changes to the electoral act, should be after the election.
    Fair minded Kiwis can see what IMP are trying to do to the democratic process in this country.
    That gives the impetuous for change.
    Tightening up the rules is one thing,eliminating coat tailing all together, may limit the parties in Parliament to First Past the Post basis.
    I am not sure that we need radical change just tweaking of the current system?

  • Jaffa

    No need for any pretense of Democracy, then!

    Cunliffe can change our Electoral system to suit his Party, any time he wants!

    Saves having another referendum!