The coalition of the left

February 21st, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett reports at NZ Herald:

Labour leader has begun wooing potential coalition partners – including dinner with NZ First leader Winston Peters and calling an end to the Cold Shoulder War with Mana leader .

Mr Shearer confirmed he had eaten dinner with Mr Peters last Wednesday at Wellington’s Trade Kitchen restaurant. He said it was an impromptu dinner after they appeared together on a TV3 show.

“It was just a getting together and having a bit of chat, as you’d expect.”

The pair were spotted and it was reported by blogger Cameron Slater on his Whaleoil blog. Yesterday, Mr Shearer would not divulge what they discussed.

“That’s a private conversation, not a public conversation. We didn’t invite the world’s media and put a microphone in a tea pot.”

Mr Shearer also takes a more generous view towards Mana leader Hone Harawira than his predecessor Phil Goff did. Mr Goff had ruled out working with Mr Harawira in a coalition, saying he did not believe he could be trusted.

However, Mr Shearer said although he had not specifically discussed it with Mr Harawira he had talked to him at events and it was “perfectly amicable”.

This is sensible stuff for Shearer. He is unlikely to be able to form a Government in the future without Peters and Harawira. A Labour-led Government is likely to be a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana Government. Of course Peters and Harawira have polar opposite views on certain issues, but that won’t stop them accepting Ministerial positions.

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28 Responses to “The coalition of the left”

  1. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    What does Raymond Huo have to say about his party joining an anti-Asian coalition?

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  2. Keeping Stock (10,406 comments) says:

    Surely though, Shearer is intelligent enough to realise that any kind of deal with the venal, xenophobic Winston Peters is going to end in tears.

    Then again, will oit even be Shearer’s problem in 2014?

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  3. Griff (8,159 comments) says:

    Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana
    Odds on them holding that together for more than a month.?

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  4. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    “He is unlikely to be able to form a Government in the future without Peters…”
    In that case he should abandon ambitions to govern now. If that is the price of treasury benches, it is too high.

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  5. alwyn (438 comments) says:

    I may be unduly cynical but I can see Winnie and John making up in 2014 if they both decide that that is the only way to have real power.
    Key would be able to finesse his, pre 2011 election, statement that he wouldn’t work with WP by saying that Peters had displayed a new maturity, or whatever, in the 2011-2014 term. Winnie could say that the Greens had to be kept from power for some reason or other if he thought they were seeking UTU for his previous bad-mouthing of them.
    Whatever the justification I don’t think any politician really lets principle get in the way of getting their seats in the ministerial limo’s.

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  6. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Harawira on his own could be easy enough to work with, but as far as Mana is concerned it would depend whether he remains sole MP after the next election.

    Who knows how WP will weather the next three years, and if and who of NZF might get back in.

    Greens could be as difficult as any potential partner with the centre/power seeking Norman and the no negotiation no subservience Turei on the socialist left.

    However there’s another possibility in the this coalition equation – United Future. They have worked with Clark’s Labour. They happened to rule out Goff’s Labour for good reason but that doesn’t rule out Shearer’s Labour dropping their more way out policies and going for a more centrist coalition.

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  7. Manolo (14,030 comments) says:

    I’m happy to say it, PG: you’re dreaming (or is it wishful thinking on your part?)

    UnitedFuture is a one-man band and the moment Dunne departs the whole house of cards will fall apart. The “party” will go the way of the moa in little time.

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  8. gravedodger (1,568 comments) says:

    It is never simple but many more supporters of the cult that is NZFat the ballot box would favour a right of center Government but with the ex red councillor and the stringer for Investigate, what the caucus stands for is more opaque.
    Would they know themselves.

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  9. Monty (980 comments) says:

    what train smash awaits this rag tag bunch of egos. I would have no faith that anyone could hold together the factions within Labour let alone the ability to manage the egos of Winston, Hone MoFo Party, the the Greenies with Kermit already thinking about his Ministerial Prius.

    This will end in tears, and hopefully as a result all these lowlifes will be evicted from the public payroll (

    Question is Jan Trotman still a heavy drinking smoker? ( If he is and at his age he becomes a high health risk and may not be around for too much longer)

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  10. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Manolo – that was predicted by you and some of the media (and actively promoted by some media who ignored consistent polls) before the last election. WP and NZF were written off too. Big Bruv even wrote off the Greens.

    Two and a half years is a long time in politics.

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  11. Shazzadude (531 comments) says:

    With a one seat majority, Key will probably invite Winston for dinner soon.

    A journalist should ask Key if Winston’s ruled out for 2014.

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  12. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    A journalist should ask Key if Winston’s ruled out for 2014.

    Far too soon, especially not knowing how the rest of NZF will shape up. In two and a bit years time perhaps.

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  13. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    I’m not convinced that Labour will need Mana after the next election – If NZ First make it back in then Labour may well need themto form a coalition – although I doubt a coalition – confidence and supply would be better that way they can keep their distance and have some plausible deniability if Winston does something dodgy…

    Alwyn – not sure about Winnie and National, ideologically they are not that far apart on a lot of issues, but at the very least a coalition with Winston would mean an end to asset sales (plus his usual ministerial perks of course).

    Pete – your optimism is admirable – but UF haven’t polled outside of the margin of error in years, they have no distinct policy platform (or media platform to sell one) and no substantial support outside of Ohariu. Given that the MMP review will almost certainly stop to 5% rule exemption for electorate seats it’s difficult to see Dunne, Banks, Hone and the Maori Party MP’s as anything other than a scattering of independents.

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  14. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    they have no distinct policy platform

    Why do you say that? How much do you know about UF policies? Compared to National at the last election? Labour? Greens (especially if you make it ‘credible policies’). NZ First? Mana? Act? Maori Party?

    Feeding all the poor with a loaf of bread gets media coverage, sensible policies don’t. Such is our media coverage – and interest from the public.

    (or media platform to sell one)

    That’s a valid point. Steady, reliable, trustworthy aren’t things journalists like to cover.

    UF haven’t polled outside of the margin of error

    That’s also valid. It’s difficult when some polls (presumably deliberately) exclude UF from poll options. Not surprisingly – all it should raise eyebrows (if anyone cared about fair polling) that one poll at least never seems to feature UF at all, while some do.

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  15. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Pete George 3:32 pm

    Greens could be as difficult as any potential partner with the centre/power seeking Norman and the no negotiation no subservience Turei on the socialist left.

    At least the Greens are acquiring some political strength to negotiate with in 2014 – unlike the bootlicking that your sole-MP party has to do to retain a Ministerial post. It’s all about the numbers.

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  16. annie (539 comments) says:

    God, what fun!

    Shearer in coalition with Winnie and Hone, they’ll eat him alive.

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  17. Peter (1,723 comments) says:

    Kermit & Miss Piggy, Mofo Slayer, King Baubles, and whatshisname.

    Sounds stable.

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  18. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    toad: It’s all about the numbers.

    It’s about the numbers that count. And it so happens that this time round ‘1’ counts for quite a bit more than ’14’.

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  19. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    Pete George>And it so happens that this time round ’1′ counts for quite a bit more than ’14′.

    National have been in government.
    Labour have been in government.
    ACT have been in government.
    United Future have been in government.
    The Maori Party have been in government.
    NZ First have been in government.
    Mana haven’t been in government, but Hone has.

    The only party that hasn’t been in government are the Greens. They’re the last choice of everybody since 1990. And with at least 24 years of opposition behind them, NZ’s least successful party.

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  20. Yoza (1,906 comments) says:

    National’s only real hope is that apathy continues to prevail at the polling booths, 49% of the 70% that voted is a spurious ‘mandate’.

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  21. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    Yoza>49% of the 70% that voted is a spurious ‘mandate’.

    Nationals vote in 2011 was 1,058,000, which was slightly up on 2008. Labour’s vote totals in 1999, 2002, and 2005 were 800,000, 838,000, and 935,000 respectively. If the highest vote total ever is a “spurious mandate” then pre-2008 we’ve never had a government with even the smallest iota of a mandate.

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  22. Mark (1,489 comments) says:

    DPF it is unlike you to be disingenuous but to say shearer is unable to form a government without Winston or Hone is up there. It is had to see NZ first being there next time unless Key gives them another shot of oxygen like the teapot idiocy and hone is unlikely to be part of National or Labour govts. It does not mean that shearer should not engage with them as opposition parties.

    The greens in power are a frightening prospect so hopefully key can find some mates over the next year or so

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  23. jackp (668 comments) says:

    Mark, Winston didn’t need Key’s shot of oxygen… they were truly polling high. Horizon had him well above 7 percent. Do you really believe the hype in the media that they were down to 2.9 percent? Winston got my vote and those like myself because we were very dissapointed with Key and were looking for someone else to vote for. To trivialize Winston’s hard work because of Key’s blunder ( one of many) is very naive. Don’t read too much in the tabloids or Farrar’s gossip columns. That’s why Key and yours truly Farrar were trying every trick in the book to lower their chances.. Farrar lying about Winston, creating doubt with those on the fence, being an illegal candidate and Key spinning about unstable government.. Key was scared half to death.. and when all is done, Key only has a slight majority. By the way, I really enjoy Winston giving Key a hard time.

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  24. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Interesting to note though when the Mojo Mathers funding issue erupted Peters offered to provide some NZ First funding to assist, that could be a significant olive branch, Mana are irrelevant even if Hone holds the balance of power. Labour,Greens and NZ First have no choice but to work collaboratively.

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  25. Joel Rowan (99 comments) says:

    New Zealand First’s vote will return to the places from whence it came, in 2014. National won’t be selling any more SOE’s, Labour won’t be so pathetic. They’ll get their core vote, which I estimate to be approximately their 2008 result. They were elected, as they promised, to be in opposition this term. The people felt National needed a strong force in opposition, and that was not Labour – it was the hard left Greens, and NZ First (who are not leftwing at all).

    What happens in the MMP review to the threshold will determine whether Winston gets into parliament.

    The only real thing NZF, Greens and Labour have in common right now is opposition to the two “sales” that are on the agenda. I doubt they’ll be able to work together for long in a theoretical government. If Key lasts just two terms, Shearer will last one. I’ll bet any money.

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  26. graham (2,346 comments) says:

    Pete George: “Harawira on his own could be easy enough to work with …”

    You are joking, right? Harawira would have to be the hardest person for ANYBODY to work with … unless you’re prepared to pander to his massive ego and his unshakeable opinion that “I speak for ALL Maori, I’m right and anybody who disagrees with me is wrong – even if you’re Maori; if you’re Maori and disagree with me then you’re wrong and a traitor to your race, because I speak for ALL Maori and I’m right”.

    Hell, even the Maori Party couldn’t work with him.

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  27. Rufus (676 comments) says:

    PG 4:56 & davidp 5:16 –
    :)

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  28. Paulus (2,658 comments) says:

    Election Slogan 2014

    “VOTE LABOUR GET GREENPEACE”

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