Vernon Small writes:
The recent One News poll put National on 47 per cent but all its formal support parties were on life support.
On the other side of the fence Labour and the Greens combined got over 40 per cent but NZ First, with its 9 per cent backing, sat firmly on the fulcrum of power.
It also puts Peters within cooee of his long nurtured aim of out-polling the Greens. It is a possibility that understandably makes the Greens nervous.
That would, the theory goes, make it easier for him to insist on a Labour-NZ First Government forcing the Greens to support it from the cross benches.
I think Peters will insist the Greens are left out of Cabinet (at least), even if they poll more than NZ First. If he polls higher than them, then it is probably a certainty. As the Greens have effectively ruled out ever doing a deal with National, then they have no bargaining power with Labour, while Peters has it all.
Many expect Peters to opt for the simplicity of a two-way deal with National if he does hold the balance of power. But if he can out-poll the Greens in 2017 it arguably makes a centre-Left Government more likely. It would stick in Peters’ craw to play third fiddle in any political orchestra.
Yep. He doesn’t want the Greens (or before that the Alliance in 1996) being able to veto stuff he agrees with the major party in Government.
The wild card is the succession – and whether former Labour MP Shane Jones will be in the mix come 2017.
There have been repeated suggestions Jones could take the reins from Peters after his term as the Government’s economic ambassador ends in May 2017.
He would also be a natural successor to Peters in the Northland seat, which is Jones’ power base too.
But Peters is now expected to stay on and contest the 2017 election – and even the next in 2020.
So Peters in 2023 when he may retire will be 78. I think it is fair to say he aims to emulate his mentor Muldoon and stay in Parliament until he physically can’t cope.
Shane Jones is 56. Will he want to re-enter Parliament when he is 58 just as deputy leader with a possibility of becoming leader around the time he is 63 or 64?