Key announces potential partners and new Ministers

The PM has announced:

Prime Minister today announced changes to the National-led Government’s Ministerial line-up, to take effect from Tuesday, 28 January.

Internal Affairs and Local Government Minister Chris Tremain, who has announced his intention to retire from Parliament at the upcoming general election, will be resigning from the Ministry.

Peter Dunne will be appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Conservation. Mr Dunne will be a Minister outside Cabinet as he was prior to his resignation in June last year.

Michael Woodhouse will be promoted to the vacancy in Cabinet, and will retain all of his current responsibilities.

Paula Bennett picks up the role of Minister of Local Government, in addition to her current portfolio responsibilities.

The new Minister outside Cabinet will be Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, who will be appointed Minister of Pacific Island Affairs and Associate Minister of Local Government. Mr Lotu-liga is the MP for Maungakiekie and was first elected to Parliament 2008.

Congratulations to Sam and Michael for their promotions. Also kudos to Chris Tremain for stepping down early to allow a reshuffle. In terms of Peter Dunne’s return, I personally think a better timing would have been after the next election, if he had been re-elected by Ohariu voters. I don’t think seven months has been long enough.

The PM also announced:

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

As I made clear, my preference was for National to rule NZ First out again. If they do end having to do a deal with Winston, it might give them a third term, but it could come at a considerable long-term cost. I am reserving the right to say “I told you so” if they do, and it all falls apart!

However the public will decide which parties make it to Parliament, and how many are needed to form a Government. So National’s options in order of appeal seem to be:

  1. ACT/United Future
  2. Maori Party
  3. Conservatives
  4. NZ First

ACT could get 1 – 2 MPs. United Future 1. So National needs 58 or 59 seats (if no overhang) to govern just with them.

Maori Party will get 1 – 3 MPs. That means National needs 55 to 58 seats to govern with them.

Conservatives could well get 5 MPs (3.6% if they get one electorate seat) and at least three if they win a seat. So National needs 50 to 55 seats to be able to govern with NZ First if the four minor parties all win an electorate seat.

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