Fran O’ is willing Labour and National not to sell the country for power

New Zealand’s free market economy is what is really at stake in the post-election negotiations to form the new Government.

The extent of NZ’s openness to the world, immigration and trade have all been on the negotiating table in Wellington this week.

NZ First leader Winston Peters says he is intent on new policies that will result in the “economic and social progress of this country”.

But Peters’ authority to wrench substantial change in New Zealand is overstated.

His own policy platform was rejected by nearly 93 per cent of New Zealanders.

That does not give NZ First – with just 7.2 per cent of the vote – the mandate to change the major policy settings that both National and Labour have had in common since 1984 (give or take some differences at the margins). NZ First’s policies to limit foreign ownership and immigration, change monetary policy settings and the scope of NZ’s free trade agreements are a major challenge to the status quo.

It is true that Peters has maximum leverage in these final days of the post-election negotiations.

In such circumstances, it would be tempting for the major political parties to simply cut a deal for power.

But it is important that National and Labour do not lose sight of the policy settings which have served successive New Zealand Governments both before and after the global financial crisis, and have underpinned offshore investor confidence in this country, its companies and institutions.

Anyone who travelled with Helen Clark or John Key to regional forums like Apec or the East Asia Summit will have heard each leader speak off a remarkably similar script.

Both leaders promoted regional integration, New Zealand’s open labour market and willingness to secure free trade agreements, and also positioned New Zealand as a magnet for investment and immigration.

This matters, and it is not something that should be changed at will. Certainly not without substantial policy debate and agreement from the majority of New Zealanders.

National will get decimated for giving in to Winston in an area where the whole world is admiring New Zealand’s economic management.  As for Labour, we know they will do anything.

Apart from that raging leftie Tracey Martin, the remainder of NZ First aren’t as dense as to go into a coalition with a majority partner on the basis that they completely change the parameters around which this economy has provided us with stability that is reflected, so far, in 3 terms for National.

But then, this is politics.  And no matter what Fran or I say, or anyone else says, it’s all up in the air until Winston steps up at the theatrette’s lectern where the Prime Minister normally provides his post Cabinet press conference and tells the Nation what is behind door number three.


– Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.