Labour’s dilemma

June 4th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Danyl Mc blogs:

Imagine you’re part of ’s infamous Anyone But Cunliffe faction, and 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 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.

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36 Responses to “Labour’s dilemma”

  1. Unity (269 comments) says:

    What a debacle this MMP is. It really must go – somehow!! I personally feel National and Labour should collaborate together to remove it after the election. Our Parliamentary system is going to be a right old mess otherwise.

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  2. mjw (206 comments) says:

    I can’t even think of an acronym for a National, New Zealand First, Conservative, Act, United Future, Maori Party Government. Although if Maori and NZF are out we could have the NUFConAct.

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  3. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    If National need NZ First to govern, then Labour can form a coalition of “Everyone But National” and govern as well, regardless of Mana’s ability to take a seat. So isn’t that a better outcome for Labour regardless, except for the left wing of Labour who would rather have a Labour/Green/Mana group and exclude NZF ?

    I find it hard to see the dynamic that propels the electorate at this stage to risk the ongoing recovery by electing a grab-bag of leftists into power. Is it some sort of deep seated hatred of someone else doing well out of the recovery so that they’d be happy to be poorer as long as those rich pricks are poorer as well ?

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  4. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    There appears to be a NABC axis, akin to the Cold War hawks on either side being good for each others careers.

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  5. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    Unity, blaming MMP for coat-tailing is like blaming obesity on the existence of fat and sugar.

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  6. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Maybe National could replace MMP with a completely different electoral system within 100 days of the election, passed under urgency?

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  7. Harriet (4,495 comments) says:

    Voting in that lot would be like voting in day light robbery!

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  8. dime (9,356 comments) says:

    still 108 days to go… so about 88 days til the “non-partisan” media hacks come up with something like the “tea pot tapes” to derail national and get winnie back in. cause winnie is good for hacks and that’s all that counts.

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  9. hj (6,329 comments) says:

    What a debacle this MMP is.

    Agreed because it doesn’t solve the real issues of politics and that is that people need to decide on complex policy choices before partys adopt or fail to adopt them. A political party is like a chef who goes out shopping and puts what activists (Iprent) and lobbyists want in the meal. In Labours case they end up cancelling each other out.

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  10. JC (904 comments) says:

    The dopey thing is if you get rid of coattailing you pretty much have a FPP situation which defeats the whole idea of MMP. The public really want FPP but want it disguised as something else.

    JC

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  11. virtualmark (1,470 comments) says:

    I’ve always thought Supplementary Member Proportional (SMP) was a far superior option than MMP. But the Greens campaigned so effectively for MMP in the original referendum, because it was the option that would give them the best outcome.

    Anyway, SMP would have rendered all these shenanigans moot. There’d be no direct linkage between winning an electoral seat and bringing coat-tails members in on the list. There’d be much less chance of minority parties holding the balance of power and wagging the dog. But we’d still have the Greens and Winston and others represented in Parliament, to provide their voice and perspective.

    My own view is MMP has to go. But I don’t support reverting back to FPP.

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  12. JMS (295 comments) says:

    owe their places in Parliament to Dotcom, and if the court finds he is eligible for extradition – well they’ll be hopelessly compromised.

    You mean they’ll be hopelessly out of cash.

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  13. hj (6,329 comments) says:

    Improving democracy
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-12-02/improving-democracy-through-deliberation

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  14. georgebolwing (602 comments) says:

    If you take a wide view, the National/ACT/Cons/MP/UP grouping looks reasonably stable and united. They aren’t disagreeing on much, and where they do, they are doing it is a grown-up fashion that is making them look thoughtful.

    The Labour/Greens/Mana/NZ First/Internet are looking anything but stable. Labour is a slow-motion trainwreck internally, with an increasingly unpopular leader failing to unite his team. The Greens look united internally, but are proposing policies that Labour is simply not going to support in Government. NZ First is in its death throws, as Winnie reaches retiring age with no successor and with Horn running interference and Mana/internet are just a bunch of political whores that no-one is going to want to be in the same room with.

    So, add an economy that is doing reasonably well and no obvious mood for a change in Government, I think that provided they stick to being grown-up and look stable and in control, National will win a comfortable victory our a hopeless rabble of an opposition. There simplest task is for John Key to pose for a photograph with his likely post-election ministry and plaster that all over New Zealand against photos of the “First Cunliffe Ministry”, with its three co-deputy Prime Minister, multiple associate ministers for Morris-dancing and let the electorate decide.

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  15. wreck1080 (3,721 comments) says:

    maybe the best thing for national is for the left-hybrid monster to win. It will collapse under the weight of egos and power hungry personalities.

    That’ll ensure the next nat gov will last a generation.

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  16. anonymouse (693 comments) says:

    Its the second paragraph of Danyl that I find the most interesting, and I am of the opinion that Labour ( or at least Kelvin and the ABCs) and the Maori party will have last minute “conversations” about trying to keep hone out of TTT.

    I would not be suprised if the Maori party ask their voters to stragically vote for Kelvin to a) Stab Hone and B) put a wooden stake into the heart of the Internet/Mana Abomination.

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  17. Keeping Stock (10,087 comments) says:

    Sounds like a template for a Tui billboard:

    David and the GIMPs will provide stable government. Yeah right.

    I’d be buying shares in popcorn manufacturers and breweries if Cunliffe formed a coalition :D

    Footnote: GIMPs = Greens, Internet, Mana, Peters

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  18. mikenmild (10,601 comments) says:

    Surely it should be ‘GIMPD” to include Peter Dunne. I can’t believe he’ll be out of any possible coalition, all in the interests of stable government, of course.

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  19. Pete George (22,728 comments) says:

    I’d be very surprised if Dunne would go in a coalition with Labour let alone Greens, IP, MANA or Peters. I think it would be untenable.

    The only compromise I can see as a possibility would be a coalition agreement with National where NZ First also had an agreement with National. I think Dunne will want to have as little to do with Peters as possible. Or at least he should.

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  20. chris (556 comments) says:

    Is it some sort of deep seated hatred of someone else doing well out of the recovery so that they’d be happy to be poorer as long as those rich pricks are poorer as well ?

    Nice definition of socialism, there Ed Snack.

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  21. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    ‘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’

    That’s a stretch. The only person making a decision will be the Minister, and if they thought that their decision in anyway might be seen to have any favour or disfavour toward DC they would have to excuse themselves. Other Ministers or MPs with an interest would be entitled to record any opinions or submissions to the Minister in writing – who ever may be in Government. There is an equally arguable case that if it is a National Minister that they could be compromised and may need to take steps to ensure it is seen that they either excused themselves or are acting solely as their role requires.

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  22. Alan (1,054 comments) says:

    Labour today commits to removal of coat tailing provisions with 100 days of taking office.

    National should do the same.

    Time to end this farce.

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  23. mikenmild (10,601 comments) says:

    Maybe the major parties could agree to put the Electoral Commission’s recommendations before Parliament. That would be a start.

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  24. kiwi in america (2,431 comments) says:

    Assume the ABCs decide to do this – i.e. push for a Kelvin Davis win. What would that entail? They’ve got no money. Maybe send a few activists to help? Most will be focused on their own electorate seats. Hone will make sure he’s got plenty of cash to take care of business in TTT – what the Americans call ‘walking around money’. Lets just say that every KFC in the electorate better boost their stocks in the days before and after the election!

    Danyl is right but frankly what can the ABCs actually do? A better strategy would be for the Maori Party to not put up a candidate in TTT and encourage its supporters to back Kelvin. Now THAT would do more to kill off Hone than anything the ABCs might dream up.

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  25. OneTrack (2,563 comments) says:

    SPC – “Unity, blaming MMP for coat-tailing is like blaming obesity on the existence of fat and sugar.”

    You mean like the left does blame obesity on fat and sugar?

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  26. OneTrack (2,563 comments) says:

    nostalgia nz – “The only person making a decision will be the Minister, and if they thought that their decision in anyway might be seen to have any favour or disfavour toward DC they would have to excuse themselves.”

    Who says they would have to excuse themselves? Minister of Justice Norman? Minister of Justice Turei? Minister of Justice Hone? Or maybe the minister will be allocated from the Internet Party, once it disengages from Hone’s team after the election.

    Of course they would excuse themselves. Yeah, right.

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  27. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    “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.”

    Thats part of what I have been saying. Vote out national now to get a single term of labour, or vote them back in to get several terms of labour in 3 years time.

    At least if we get the current crop of nats out there is a foreseeable end to the 18+ years of the government embracing more socialism each year.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand why so many smart people don’t see that John Key is no different to Helen Clark and all that they hated about helen clark exists in helen key.

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  28. Fisiani (943 comments) says:

    If you want a STABLE STRONG government then VOTE NATIONAL.
    If you do not want a strong stable government then vote for any other party.

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  29. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    “If you want a STABLE STRONG government then VOTE NATIONAL.
    If you do not want a strong stable government then vote for any other party.”

    If you want a party with DECENT policies that doesn’t extend the reach, power and size of the government – don’t vote national.

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  30. OneTrack (2,563 comments) says:

    charlie brown – ” and all that they hated about helen clark exists in helen key.”

    I haven’t heard that key is talking about regulating the types of shower heads or light bulbs yet.

    However, Helen has gone ( hopefuly never to return ), and we now have hard-left, incompetent and weak Labour 2014 for this election.

    If Labour gets in, they will be following a much harder left agenda, with Cunliffes not so secret union backers driving policy. In addition to that, we will have the harder-left, anti-business greens also driving where they want to go. I dont expect Cunliffe will be able to slow then down much, even if he wanted to. There also seems to be a heavily green-friendly cabal actually inside Labour itself.

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  31. OneTrack (2,563 comments) says:

    charlie brown – “If you want a party with DECENT policies that doesn’t extend the reach, power and size of the government – don’t vote national.”

    Who is left that won’t extend the reach, power and size of the government? For that matter, who is left that has decent policies?

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  32. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    OneTrack – you have to look 2 terms out for now when you vote. If national gets out now, they will be back in 3 years time under a new leader that hopefully has some vision.

    We’re going to get lefty nutters (even nuttier than the crop in government at the moment) into government at some point whether it be now or in 3 years time. Its like an infected tooth that needs extracted, you can buy some pain killers now by voting in national but the socialist infection is gradually getting worse and its going to make a right royal mess in 3 years time when you extract it.

    If you believe in free, largely deregulated and liberal markets then you have to look out 2 to 3 terms, and once you do that the rational choice is to vote for a change in government this year. If National stay in, things will be far worse in 5 – 10 years time when we have gone through 1/4 century of socialism where the state has grown in power and size (under John Key, the government hasn’t got any smaller).

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  33. SPC (5,334 comments) says:

    Labour has decided to legislate a no coat tails policy once elected into office, but accept that competing under existing rules means coalitions with others in parliament after the election.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11267738

    What Labour has not stated is their campaign strategy … it could include the party, not just a few of its MP’s, making attacks on IM to undermine their party vote, and a contest in the Harawira seat – after all Labour competed against the Mana Party when they were a potential ally. Or they could simply state their coat tails policy and otherwise ignore the IM Party and have Davis campaign for the party vote amongst Maori voters nationwide and only say that Maori in the north are better off with both in the House.

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  34. Unity (269 comments) says:

    We definitely need to either get rid of National (it would only be for one term) or get a Party in who would go into coalition with them with two non-negotiable policies – binding referernda and equality under the law. At the moment Key is giving away our country to one racial group and goodness knows what stage we will get to if they have another 3 years in power. At the moment there are already several beaches where you have to pay to enter and Finlayson is doing deals in his office like there is no tomorrow. It’s all an utter disgrace and has brought apartheid to our country where the rest of us are virtually second class citizens. In some areas we definitely are second class citizens. We second class citizens should now have a claim on the State to get our country back for us all.

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  35. fatman43us (166 comments) says:

    Do any of you stop to think what the everyone but Labour option would look like? Imagine question time – National has more questions to ask that the other side combined. Pick one Minister a Week, skewer them on a spit and roast deeply. Baste with a high quality sauce – lovely. Then imagine the debate on Greens Environment Policies? Winston’s latest scandals, and Dotty’s Refuse my Extradition Bill?

    Imagine National with more MP’s than any other Party, able to dominate debate, thrash them into pudding, and lose the vote.

    It will be a Turkey Shoot, and maybe people will at last start to realise that MMP is a stupid farce, and a major barrier to true democracy.

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  36. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    fatman – A more truer democracy would remove all electorate seats and make parliament completely based on a proportionally representative system. Being represented in parliament based on where I live isn’t very democratic.

    I’m not saying the current system isn’t perfect but its better than fpp.

    And the scenario you suggested sounds awesome, a near certain one term government that gets rid of the spineless sell-out Wiesel we have for a pm.

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