A (Concerned) New Zealand First Perspective On Key’s Resignation



Understandably, most of the New Zealand Left is giddily euphoric as the result of yesterday’s bolt-from-the-blue-brigade news. Some of us have spent virtually the entirety of our adult lives awaiting this moment – so a certain level of enthusiasm is to be anticipated.

But once the initial shock and jubilation fades away, the canny political mind starts considering what happens next. And, for that matter, what’s already perhaps been happening a little beyond the ken of the public eye.

We’re likely to hear an array of different theories over the next few weeks as to just why Key chose to resign rather than seek a fourth term in office. Some of them are more plausible (and less interesting) than others.

It’s in that spirit that I share the following:

A few months ago, I was told by persons in a position to know that the National Party was looking in to ways it could ensure a fourth term by stitching up a coalition arrangement with New Zealand First. The most obvious manifestation of this so far has been attempts to talk up the inclusion of Shane Jones on our 2017 List (the idea being that Jones, as a man of proven amenability to National, would form something of a ‘bridge’ into our Caucus for National were he successfully elected – and would be a counter-pole to Ron Mark; both of these factors making a Black-Blue coalition arguably more likely).

But it was also noted that one of the key ‘sticking points’ between National and Winston Peters which would have to be excised in order for a coalition to take place … would be John Key. There’s so much ‘bad blood’ between between them that Key remaining leader of National and Prime Minister would form an insurmountable obstacle to a fruitful relationship with New Zealand First.

So the ‘idea’ was to have John Key replaced by Bill English – on the assumption that the latter’s more ‘restrained’ economic approach and considerably dialed down enthusiasm for social causes might make him a better (even ‘Bolger-esque’) working-mate for Peters. [with an implicit logic that even if National took a reasonably severe popularity hit from replacing Key of several percent and lost one or more support-parties [either due to Peter Dunne in Ohariu losing his seat, or the Maori Party finally siding with someone else], they’d still likely command more votes than Labour+Greens – albeit with newfound need of a new coalition partner to get htem back over 61 seats in the House – a situation for which a ‘double-digit’ New Zealand First would be the ideal remedy]

At the time … I dismissed it as a hypothetical strategic play somebody had concocted over too many whiskeys and perhaps a bit of NOS. But given yesterday afternoon’s events (and a number of other things I’m aware of going on back there in the shadows) … I’m no longer so sure.

Certainly, some of the events required for such a previously unthinkable constellation of political forces to take place are now in motion. Much to my consternation, of course. 
In any case … I think I know what I have to do. Work harder to support Ron, block Jones, and help keep New Zealand First from falling prey to National’s nefarious clutches.
Now, more than ever, a left-wing counterweight within NZF is *vitally* important.


  1. I posted on another site yesterday that the ideal leader for National is actually Winston Peters. National and NZ First would have to campaign together, making it explicit to the public that if National wins, Winston Peters will be Prime Minister.

  2. If NZ First becomes the king maker – don’t go with the Natz!. As anyone can see any alliance with Natz seems to lead to the gradual (or sudden) decline of any of their allies!

    I think there is a big appetite for a Labour/Greens/NZ First government.

    Also NZ First should be looking at Tracy Martin – she is great!! One of the best politicians around because she is a parent and not ideology based – we need more common sense in parliament – hope she gets to be education minister.

  3. Didn’t someone once say, “.. even if you were the last cab off the taxi-rank … I wouldn’t call …??” something like that?

    First thing said by Bill when he got told the news by Key, “Have you got Winstons number ….?” Haha!

  4. Northland is one of the poorest areas of New Zealand – high crime – high drug use – still waiting for the Nat promised 10 bridges to not a lot and nowhere. Why Winston Peters? What has he done for Northland since election? The answer is not a lot (if anything). This is Winston now so what would Winston achieve for the whole country if he moved into a more expensive office? The answer has to be not a lot.
    Surely Curwen, we have reached a stage of maturity to realize we need total change. Total change to a totally new system that works for the people because if we keep on with the same old faces, same old rhetoric, same old bowing to a same old money rules okay system, we will achieve not a lot, and the drugs will keep flowing and prisons will keep expanding and NZ lands and fresh water will continue to be despoiled and/or sold to buyers offshore, and New Zealanders will find their freedom to use the land and the sea with its resources become even more restricted.
    We need to seek those with passion, courage, conviction, compassion, vision and integrity and, with kindness, throw out all that belongs to an age gone bye and no longer serves for a better future for all. I look around and cannot see those qualities with any of those we have at the moment. Perhaps it was fear that has kept good men silent for so long?

  5. Winston has long been a logical Gnat leader – but I’m not sure many of their deadwood would long survive his ascension. Since the deadwood are the ones making the decision it looks like they’re headed for forty years in the wilderness.

    And there is also the matter of when the other reptilian leather shoe will drop.

      • Born in 1945. A year or so older than Trump… Bernie Sanders born 1941 – and he was running for president.

        We didn’t do so well with the recent Boy Wonder – born 1961 (as was Bill English).

        ‘Give age a chance’?

    • NZ First nearly got annihilated in 1999 after their disastrous coalition with the Nats. If Peters hasn’t learned from that experience he must be pretty dense.

  6. Tracy Martin is great and frankly is the reason why I’m switching to NZF next election (aside from CAR’s relentless enthusiasm). Either way the future just got brighter for NZ First : )

  7. “If NZ First becomes the king maker – don’t go with the Natz!. As anyone can see any alliance with Natz seems to lead to the gradual (or sudden) decline of any of their allies!”

    For the sake of balance, I have to point out that being the smaller party in any MMP coalition seems to lead to decline. Joining Clark’s Labour government dealt the Alliance a blow from which they never recovered, although the Greens rose from their ashes. Getting into bed with Labour also didn’t seem to be that healthy for United Future, nor for that matter for NZ First, who disappeared from Parliament for a term after the Labour’s defeat in 2008.

    Looking at the way the Greens have slowly but surely grown their vote while staying out of any formal coalitions, they are taking a big risk if they go into government next year. They will lose anything that remains of the protest vote that always looks for the most radical opposition party in an attempt to counterbalance the parties of government, as the Māori party did after joining National’s government. It certainly seems like that’s their intention, so I hope they’ve considered the consequences, and put plans in place to make it worthwhile. NZ First folks need to be doing the same, whether they are planning to tack left or right at this election.

  8. NZ First does not need to go into coalition with National.

    Stay on the cross benches and have Winston and possibly Shane Jones as a minister and National can govern with its 42-44% percent it gets in the election.

    Thats what the 2005 Labour government did while staying as a minority administration.

    For the government to survive they will be dependent on NZ First.

    I dont like Shane jones, i think he would only be in government to serve his own interests like others in the National party.

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