To be honest, the whole thing is falling apart before it even starts

Credit: Luke

Audrey Young writes

When John Key said “winning ugly is better than losing tidy,” he could just have easily been anticipating the 2017 New Zealand election, rather than the Australian election last year.

It was July when he said it, two months before he had privately made his decision to resign as Prime Minister in favour of Bill English who, it could be said, lost magnificently.

It was certainly not the prettiest or tidiest of wins for Jacinda Ardern – having the leader of another party, Winston Peters, announce the result, and for her not being able to answer questions about Labour’s two agreements because the deals had not been finalised.

With so many moving parts to the make-up of this Government, there is more scope for things to go wrong.

This type of government arrangement has not been used before. In theory, it replicates the 2005 to 2008 model in which there were two coalition partner parties in government and one with ministerial positions outside.

But in reality, that was only one MP, Jim Anderton, in coalition with Labour and only Winston Peters and Peter Dunne in ministerial positions outside.

This government arrangement involving three significant parties is going to be one of the most difficult to manage because of its inherent unbalance.

Two of the parties, of almost equal size, are being treated in such a different way because New Zealand First says so.

However the imbalance will be paid for in other ways.

While New Zealand First will have the privilege of sitting at the Cabinet table deciding on anything and everything, the Greens, sitting outside Cabinet will have greater freedom to disagree with Cabinet decisions, and to differentiate from Labour.

Labour and New Zealand First will have to back each other up. There cannot be a scintilla of disunity between them emanating from the cabinet.

It is not the decision to go with big parties that has killed small parties in MMP. It is disunity, be it within their own parties or with their coalition partner.

The on-field discipline will need to be very tight.  And we all know that the “talent” involved in this rabble isn’t capable of it.    After the new-government-smell fades, things will get ugly.

I can’t wait.


– NZ Herald



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