During the ten years of John Key’s leadership, National’s caucus unity was about as strong as you can get. Basically there wasn’t a single MP in caucus who thought that the party would do better with someone else as leader. This is very rare as usually about a quarter of any caucus think they should be leader 🙂
So if the scale of caucus unity goes from 0 to 10, National under John Key was around a 9.5.
So what is caucus unity going to be now under new leadership. No one should expect it will be the same. This doesn’t mean infighting and plots – just that caucus members will be a bit bolder with their views, and happier to share them if they think things aren’t quite right.
It will be a return to politics as normal, but what is normal?
Well if National under Key was a 9.5 and say Labour under Cunliffe was a 0.01 then what is National under English? Too early to tell, but probably a 7.5 to an 8.0. Still pretty high, as you are in Government and by far the most dominant party. But that rating may change.
What would be the other parties at the moment in terms of caucus unity? My estimates would be:
- Labour under Little – say a 5.5. Definitely higher than in the past, but far from settled. Lots of Labour MPs are openly very unhappy.
- NZ First under Winston – both a 9.0 and a 4.0. A 9.0 for Winston’s leadership – his rule is absolute. But a 4.0 for the battle to be his sucessor which is brutal.
- Greens under Shaw and Turei – say a 6.5 – significant grumblings but no real desire to change anything this side of the election.