Both the NZ Herald and Stuff are reporting that it looks like NZ First has been convinced to go from merely abstaining on supply and confidence to voting in favour. This would allow Labour to govern with the support of the two largest minor parties with at least 64 votes out of 121.
It’s as good a deal as one can get for Labour, and Clark should be happy with it. However one needs to remember that in a previous election she said relying on NZ First was her 99th preference. And one does have to wonder whether the pledge to vote for the Government will hold up, if NZ First drop below 5% in the polls (now they don’t have Tauranga).
For NZ First it isn’t so great. Yes they can claim some policy victories, but Grey Power tends to be grasping and the moment they get one concession they take that for granted and want another next time. And NZ First may find it ends up in the 1% to 2% range of United Future, propping up a Government from outside – and if so they face oblivion.
If as reported, there will be an increase in the rate of superannuation from 65% of the average wage, then NZ is definitely the loser. We already have the most generous superannuation scheme in the world, it is already not sustainable long-term, and this will just make it less and less likely current levels of superannuation will be available for future generations.
The “ruinously expensive” (to quote Cullen) increase in superannuation combined with the student loans bribe, are going to be nasty poison pills for the future.
One good thing though is that it hopefully means you don’t have a precedent of parties abstaining on confidence and supply votes. This is a total cop-out as far as I am concerned. You are there in Parliament to vote. I suspect the PM also had some concerns about going to the GG with less than 61 votes pledged in support. Saying oh we only have 57, but these parties will abstain is not a clear cut confidence of the House.