The first 100 days… in opposition

Finlay MacDonald thinks National-watching will be a great spectator sport.

If anything, it will be the first 100 days of National in opposition that will be as worth watching. As the party faded quickly out of earshot one could just make out the faint boasts that its size and record in office would make it a force to be reckoned with.

Neither claim is true. With 56 seats National is undeniably the largest single party in Parliament, but that’s a hill of beans under MMP. Having eaten its ACT and Māori Party children it sits isolated and largely impotent, like some relic of another age.

It has only itself to blame, of course, and this is where the other lie National seems to be telling itself is exposed. It was generally not a particularly competent government, as even a cursory examination of its legacies in housing, health, transport and the environment shows.

Nowhere is that lack of vision and engagement with reality better demonstrated than in its doomed strategy not to cultivate viable coalition partners while it had the time and influence to do so.

It’s called arrogance – something that also comes with power – and it explains why National departed with such bad grace, crying foul over the result like school kids blaming a bad exam result on the stupid questions.

It’s a state of mind that will serve them poorly in opposition, so it may be that the new government gets to enjoy a lengthy honeymoon after all.

National think they can now put their feet up and wait until about May 2020 when they need to get ready for the election.  And they totally expect the voters to punish the current government.   No hard work required.

It gob-smacking really.  Enough National MPs have observed and taken advantage of the similar arrogance inside Labour for nine years.  Yet they can’t see the same arrogance in themselves.  They won.  They are the most popular.  They will be back.



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