Let’s take a deep breath: hype aside, what can happen and what will it mean?

Mr Peters has talked about nine permutations of government his caucus is considering.

In broad terms, they would include three potential arrangements: coalition, confidence and supply and an agreement to abstain.

A formal coalition means the party giving support gets one or more seats around the Cabinet table, but they are bound by cabinet collective responsibility which means once an issue has been thrashed out in Cabinet and a decision made, no Cabinet minister can publicly disagree or criticise.

Smaller parties have struggled to maintain their identities within governing arrangements, so while coalition gives them the power and influence of a Cabinet position, it can also remove opportunities for them to differentiate themselves.

Confidence and supply is designed to allow ministerial positions within the executive, but outside of Cabinet, thus freeing the party from cabinet collective responsibility.

It delivers the stability required by the Governor-General to give the rubber stamp to a new government, while allowing ministerial positions without the straitjacket. Support ministers cannot criticise government policy in their own portfolios, but are free to hold independent views on any other issue.

There is a third option; a promise from – in this case New Zealand First – not to vote against the government on either confidence or supply. If the party seeking to form a government can demonstrate it would have the numbers to survive any confidence vote, and pass its Budgets, it could take a credible deal to the Governor-General.

The supporting party could then use its leverage and negotiate on every other piece of legislation the governing party wanted to pass – a very powerful position.

However the question is, would any party pay that price for power?

Oh yes.  They would.   That’s not the question.  The question is:  Where does NZ First want to position itself to maximise policy gains as well as coming to 2020 smelling like roses?

 

– Jane Patterson, RNZ


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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.

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