Did Whaleoil get it wrong?

by Pete

I felt a little gutted last night, to be honest.  I know we were heading for a NZ First / National government in some fashion.  The only thing that could get in the way was if National stuffed up the negotiations.   In the end, it comes down to who wants it more.

There is a sequence to high-level negotiations.  You make the other party believe you have just about sorted it all.  They are mentally relieved.  They’ve got it in the bag!   Their adrenaline drops and they are happy.

That’s when you hit them with the Columbo Special… just one more thing.  

This is where days, weeks and sometimes months of negotiations come to:  the final drop of blood needs to get extracted.

The only thing that can get in the way is ego.  Personal pride.  Emotions.

On the one hand, you can say “Good on Bill for not selling his soul”.   On the other hand, at the price of another cabinet post for NZ First, he now has nothing at all.

He should have seen it coming, and he should have acted upset.  And then he should have thrown the next National MP in line under the bus.   That’s politics, baby.

Pride, hubris and ego stopped Bill English from doing what needed to be done.   This was the only time for the next three years where he just had to grab the last rat and chug it down.  Because after that, the numbers in government are back in National’s favour.

Everything was tracking for a National-led government until about 4 pm yesterday.  And then Bill blinked.

So did we get it wrong?

Absolutely not.  The numbers were right.  The politics were right.  And the negotiations were right.

Until 4pm yesterday.  When Bill extended Winston the middle finger.

Cam clearly put his support behind NZ First, and you can’t say he was wrong.  He wants to see blood on the floor in National.  And he’s said that for months leading up to the election.  He is therefore not wrong.

The polls we were running said National would get 41-43% before adjustments for the wasted vote, and would most likely go with NZ First.   Did that make us wrong?

I, on the other hand, had faith that National knew how negotiations worked.   Apparently National think that giving another 1 or 2 cabinet positions to NZ first was worse than three years in opposition, the cleaning out of certain National ministers, and the fact there is no guarantee that Labour won’t get a 2nd term.

Seems where I was wrong is that I didn’t think they’d let their feelings get in the way of making a government.  Just like I chastised another politician for letting feelings get in the way of politics a few weeks ago.

Cam wrong?   No.  Whaleoil wrong?   It was on a knife-edge, but facts are facts, so yes.   Was I wrong?  Absolutely.

Once again I thought I knew better than Cam, who has been telling me and everyone else who would listen that Bill English just isn’t up to the job.

He’s now got an amazing record.  He’s lost twice.  Once with the worst ever results.  Once with the best ever results.

Taking a step back, this is why we are hooked on politics.  It’s the ultimate reality show.


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