A guest post by Sir Cullen’s Sidekick:
With the CoL going strong and Winston and James Shaw surrendering at the feet of Jacinda and selling their soul for a measly dollar, the odds are heavily stacked against National in the 2020 election. Before I analyse National’s chances, let us focus for a moment about who will lead National in 2020 election. It will either be Simon Bridges, or he will be rolled sometime this year and Judith Collins will take over. My guess is whoever takes over National will not be winning the 2020 election.
Before you all down tick me, here are my reasons:
- National will not have any partners for forming a collation. With ACT’s one seat National will be at least 2 seats short of a majority
- NZ First won’t make it back to the parliament. So, the long shot of National – NZ First government is ruled out
- Only four parties will make it back to the parliament – National, Labour, Greens and ACT
- Labour and Greens will together poll around 47% while National could end up in the 45%-46% range. With all wasted votes, Labour-Greens will end up with a one or two seat majority
- People will give CoL at least another term despite economic downturn and hardship. No government has been thrown out after just one term
How can National increase their chance of winning in 2020? Obviously a leadership change can help galvanise more votes for National. With or without a leadership change, National needs a partner. This can happen only if a party that is sympathetic to National can secure enough votes to cross the 5% threshold. This is NOT going to happen. Another option is for ACT to have 4-5 MPs. This means ACT needs to increase their vote share from their current measly 0.5%. None of the other parties can win an electorate seat. So where does this leave National with the coalition partner situation? It will end up with just one extra seat from ACT like in 2017.
However, this situation can improve dramatically if ACT, TOP and Maori party can form an alliance with a Common Minimum Programme (CMP). They can all agree on their own key policies that will be their bottom line – for example, ACT’s charter schools, TOP’s Smarter immigration and Maori Party’s home and education policy etc. Their combined vote share based on 2017 election results will be 4.1%. Assuming they can improve this a little bit in 2020, they could get between 4.5% to 5%. Based on ACT’s Epsom seat this alliance can have 6 seats. Their list can have candidates from ACT, TOP, MAORI PARTY in that order and with 4.5% to 5% can easily secure 2 MPs from each party into parliament. This will provide a National a strong partner to form a government. The alliance can opt to sit out and support National on confidence and supply matters or be part of a formal coalition.
While this is a theoretical possibility and a sure chance to get rid of CoL, this requires long term vision and sacrifice from the leaders of ACT, TOP and Maori party. I am not sure whether they have the courage to embark on such a bold move. Their globe sized egos will prevent the common good from happening.
There is another possibility. Winston retiring before 2020 election and Shane Jones get to lead NZ First in 2020. With Shane Jones at the helm, NZ First could get back into parliament. This is assuming Labour is not going to cut a deal with NZ First by not standing a candidate against them in Northland or Whangarei. I suspect that Winston will cut a secret deal with Labour to get into the parliament in 2020 as NZ First won’t cross the 5% threshold due to the betrayal of its core voters in issues like Oil & Gas ban in Taranaki, UN immigration pact signing, ditching National in preference to Labour etc. In summary unless Winston goes completely rogue and throws the toys out, National must wait at least until 2023 to be government again. That is why I feel, Judith Collins shouldn’t make any move this term and wait until after the 2020 election to take over (if she is really interested). Meanwhile, National should remain united, focus on policy, listen to the people and attract good quality candidates who can make a difference.