Last night’s two polls tell us two things:
The first – National is on track to win the election, and the public has endorsed its budget.
And the second – if Labour is to govern after the next election it will need a three-way coalition including Winston Peters, with his New Zealand First Party, and the Greens. And that’s tricky – really tricky.
I think they would need a five way coalition. They’d need Mana and Dotcom also.
So, under this scenario what happens?
Labour and NZ First agree to a formal coalition and shaft the Greens, forcing them to support a centre-left Government on confidence and supply. They don’t get Ministerial jobs or they get very minor executive jobs outside of Cabinet. It’s entirely possible. And Winston Peters will be able to tell NZ he saved us from the Greens.
The Greens have been consistently shafted by Labour for years, but they are a tougher bunch now. I can’t see them putting up with this, but, then again, would they have any other choice?
What will the Greens do faced with this scenario? Will they put up with being shafted again? Or would they allow National to govern in some way? Surely not. Would they?
The Greens just have to take their lumps and get shafted. Also if Nandor Tanczos is the new Internet Party Leader, that will suck votes off the Greens also.
All this leads back to one person: David Cunliffe, the Labour leader. He simply hasn’t provided the silver-bullet Labour was looking for; not that such a thing exists in politics. He’s under ten percent in the preferred PM stakes. It’s lower than David Shearer was.
Voters had a look at him to start the year and he was terribly unconvincing. They took the phone off the hook and never returned.
I actually think he has improved somewhat since the start of the year. He appears more relaxed and he’s communicating well. Labour has had some ideas recently and they have been reasonably well sold and received.
But then the Budget came along and knocked him out. Incumbency is powerful and National is using its position in office well.
This leads me to this conclusion: the public appears to have deserted Cunliffe, because they simply don’t like him in comparison to John Key. He knows all this, of course, but he’s hanging on hoping for a three percent swing so he gets the chance to put together a centre left-coalition, just like I have described.
That’s why he’s saying, in reaction to these latest polls, “It’s early days”. It is not, David – the public sees through that.
He’s also saying the polls are low because “people have yet to get to know him”. I think they have, however, and they are unconvinced. He is showing no signs of getting Labour to the crucial 37 percent mark.
Not sure 37% is the crucial mark. The promise was to outpoll National and be the largest party.
So, what about this scenario: is it time for Cunliffe to stand down as Leader and give it to someone else?
But who? Jones is gone. Ardern isn’t ready yet.