Shut up about moral mandates. This is politics – only numbers count

Barry Soper – via Imgur

National believes it should be the first cab off the New Zealand First rank, even though it’s lost two seats, one to Labour and the other to The Greens, in the special vote count. They still believe because they’ve got the most votes they should be forming the Government with Peters on Thursday.

Beating Labour at four successive elections, the first time it’s been done since 1969, has been declared as an historic achievement by Bill English who in his statement reacting to the seat loss never even acknowledged their diminished numbers.

Voters clearly want National to form the next Government, English crowed.

Peters isn’t so sure. The moral mandate, he rightly says, doesn’t exist under MMP. The mandate is 50 percent of the vote, plus one and the truth of the matter is that National now has no mates and has to convince Peters to become one even though just over a fortnight ago it was trying to destroy him.

When it comes to the governing majority there are now only two seats in it. With National it’s a majority of 65, excluding Act as Peters most certainly would, in the 120 seat Parliament, and with Labour and The Greens it’s 63.

So when the cards are laid on the table at Parliament, when the real talking starts, they’re on a more equal footing.

Given the short time frame before the decision’s made, which Peters is confident can be achieved, he’s obviously looking at a similar agreement to the one he brokered with Helen Clark rather than the telephone book of demands he extracted from Jim Bolger in the first MMP Parliament in 1996.

He’s likely to give the Government confidence, which essentially means supporting the Budget, but allows him take an opposing view on others issues, like he did when he raised eyebrows as Foreign Minister opposing the free trade agreement with China.

It’s not ideal, as National discovered with its minnow mates on the Resource Management Act, but it’s probably the best on offer and could be delivered in the timeframe set by Peters.

Media seem to think that all the policies are going to have to be decided during the coalition talks, when the only ones that need to be discussed is which bottom lines on any side need to be sacrificed for bottom lines on the other side.  Beyond that, they agree on rules of engagement to decide what to do with anything not previously agreed on.

That doesn’t take weeks, unless someone in the negotiation team decides to take a position and hold Winston up.


– Barry Soper, NZ Herald

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

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.