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Labour’s dilemma

The Dim Post's Danyl Mclauchlan blogs:

Imagine you’re part of Labour’s infamous Anyone But Cunliffe faction, and Labour manages to form a coalition with the aforementioned parties after the September election. That’s going to be a government that is (a) unpopular – the Venn diagram of voters that have positive or neutral attitudes towards all five of those parties is damn close to an empty set; it will also (b) probably be highly unstable, and (c) be a government with intense competition for Cabinet seats, so ABC faction members are likely to miss out on them. So you’re facing the prospect of three years as a backbencher followed by a crushing election defeat followed by six to nine years of a subsequent National government. If you’re Phil Goff or Trevor Mallard that’s the rest of your career.

On the other hand, if Labour loses the election because, hypothetically, Labour wins Te Tai Tokerau and all of the Internet/Mana party votes get wasted, the most probable outcomes are (a) Cunliffe resigns and your faction retakes control of the Labour Party, (b) National forms a coalition with New Zealand First which will also be a weak and unstable government, and you get to run the country in three years time.

The ABCs are right though. A Labour-Green-Winston-Mana-Dotcom Government will be unstable and unpopular. Two of the five parties will owe their places in Parliament to Dotcom, and if the court finds he is eligible for extradition – well they’ll be hopelessly compromised. They’ll last one term (if that) and then have a long spell in opposition.

Danyl is also right that it is unlikely that a National/NZ First Government would be stable or strong, let alone get a fourth term. Of course on most polls National can govern without NZ First – but there is still 108 days to go.

What do you think? Should MMP's coat-tail rule be abolished? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

Comments and questions

Has National contacted Colin Craig yet??

I don't know of a political party in living memory where the elected members hate each other's guts more than the current Labour Party does, except perhaps the Lange-Douglas Labour government of 1987/88. Not only that, but on current polling fully 70% of the country does not support them, which means in terms of power politics they are weak as well as being divided.

And they think they are fit to lead this country? And the wider Left thinks this is Ok, that somehow they will all just muddle through and everything will be fine? I predict that should they come to power it will all end in tears. I couldn't care less about them as individuals and the bitter misfortunes of their own foul engineering, but I do care about any long term damage that they may do should such a weak and divided government be elected. Throughout history when countries fall or stumble, it is for this reason, a divided and weak State that cannot rise to meet a challenge.

Nothing wrong with an unstable Labour government for a few years - may get New Zealanders to finally wake up to harsh realities when their house prices drop 30%, inflation skyrockets to 10%, interest rates go above 10% (again) and the NZ$ drops to US50c.

No more overseas borrowings, I wonder?

national won't mind giving up foreign affairs portfolio for three years

Correct, along with the promise of a knighthood and a couple of other baubles such as the promise of an overseas post sometime in the future. Should do the trick.

Cunliffe now says he will drop the coat-tailing provision of MMP within 100 days of being elected. Here's a chance to show us he's not two-faced by declaring he will not enter coalition with any party who has gained party seats without reaching 5% of the party vote.