Kim Dotcom has done John Key a big favour.
He has pushed Winston Peters into Key’s arms and made it highly unlikely that the NZ First leader would choose the Labour-Greens over of National if he held the balance of power.
Key’s dalliance with Conservative Party leader Colin Craig was all about having some insurance against a Labour-Green-NZ First Government.
One of Key’s big worries was that that Peters would go with the Labour/Green side in some form. But the arrival and ongoing rise of the Internet-Mana party has changed all that.
On current polling numbers, a Labour-led Government would need the Greens, NZ First and Internet-Mana to get anywhere close.
And David Cunliffe has repeatedly and pointedly refused to rule out working with Internet-Mana to form a Government.
Despite his previous antipathy towards the Greens, I think Peters is now close enough to them on central economic issues to work with them in Government.
But Internet-Mana is a different story – Peters won’t want a bar of them.
Peters thinks Dotcom is a criminal and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is a separatist.
This is what he told me when I interviewed him on The Nation two weeks ago, and asked if he would work with Internet-Mana: “We don’t back race-based politics, we’re in this for everybody in this country as equals and the second thing is the idea of somebody coming here with a criminal record and setting up after five months a political party to run New Zealand is simply an outrage”.
That’s pretty much a “No” to Internent-Mana right there.
So looking at the current political landscape, a Labour-led Government might need the Internet-Mana actually in a formal coalition itself, or use it’s votes to get a majority.
Any way Internet-Mana is involved would be anathema to Peters.
Let’s get a few things straight here:
- Peters is not going to form a Government that involves Dotcom.
- Peters is not going to form a Government that involves Harawira.
- Peters is not going to form a Government that involves Annette Sykes (she would be in on current 3 News-Reid Research polling).
- Peters is not going to form a Government that involves John Minto (close to getting in on current polling).
Peters is looking for a legacy.
He does not want that legacy to be the fourth player propping up an untested Labour-Green-Internet-Mana combo, cutting out a popular Government out on the other side.
I think Gower is right that Winston is not keen to put a Labour-Green-Mana-Dotcom alliance into Government. However he may support Labour on condition that Cunliffe doesn’t give Greens or Mana any ministerial roles. But the problem will be they’d be able to block any legislation he agrees with Labour.
However Peters, if he holds the balance, may over-reach and demand too much of National. I don’t think Key will agree to a deal at any price, and if so then Peters might still go with the left.