GUEST BLOG: Robert Reid – MMP election provides many roads to progress

By   /   September 27, 2017  /   12 Comments

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Many are saying that NZ does not understand MMP yet, and that is true, but we also do not understand the difference between parliament and the executive (Government) either.

Many are saying that NZ does not understand MMP yet, and that is true, but we also do not understand the difference between parliament and the executive (Government) either.

In the last Parliament National was able to pass almost all of its legislation as it relied on ACT and United Future. The Maori Party, although in Government voted with Labour and the Greens on many pieces of legislation. Although National and NZF may have enough numbers to form a Government and for confidence and supply, if NZF vote on their policy platform in Parliament then National will be able to get very little legislation through. We could end up more like the US situation where the executive will have to scramble around to get the numbers for every Congress vote.

It seems to me that given there is more policy alighnment between NZF and Labour / Greens a centre left government would have more chance of getting its legislation through than a centre right one.

So which potential government would be the most stable, if it is stability you are looking for?

So called convention has moved a great deal since MMP was established. In the first couple of Governments established after an MMP election the concept of Cabinet collective responsibility reigned supreme and was responsible for the break up of both the Nat NZF and Labour Alliance coalition governments. The latter over the issue of NZ intervention in Afghanistan.

However especially in the last 3 National led coalition governments and in order to bring the Maori Party into the government National ditched the collective responsibility conventions in favour of a party only having to agree to confidence and supply to become part of the executive.

Thus last term National was able to rely on 2 of its 3 coalition partners to vote with it to get its legislation through. The Maori Party voted against much National legislation.

If National and NZF form a coalition NZF will effectively be able to veto every single piece of non supply legislation .

Yes the same would also apply to Labour Greens except that in the last parliament Labour / Greens / NZF voted the same way on most pieces of legislation.


Robert Ried is the General Secretary of First Union 

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  1. bert says:

    I like that Winston “Smacked” down the “moral” argument as to who to go with. Shit, I would love Winston to stir up the business world, the neoliberal world and Nationals world of power and protection.

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Good stuff Robert thanks very much for this.

    Winston would get knived in the back as soon as hecrosses the floor to jion the national mob unfortunately, as they have been so badly contorlled by the corporations and the banks now so a new administration is required.

    Did you read or hear what the ‘Property Chief said today about Winston’s plan to change the NZ Finance Act and the Treasury Act?

    These are central planks of his plan for reform to bring back smalll bussiness and jobs.

    I guess when he met SS Joyce on the flight down today this may have been mentioned during the flight?

    Winston does not like Joyce either as we all don’t, he is a creep.
    He just said ‘it wont haopen but a small twinkng may happen.

  3. Michael says:

    At the end of the day, New Zealanders want a strong and stable government with proven, sensible economic management. A goverment led by Bill English and Paula Bennett will provide this and Winston knows it. His other choice is a rag tag bunch of hippies and communists with leaders who are brand new to politics and who have no background in economics. In fact it isn’t even a choice. Winston will 100% side with National, mark my words.

    • hippies and communists


      Too funny!

    • bert says:

      As the voting count shows, most New Zealanders don’t want National because they have been a corrupt and freestyle government whose economy has only ever favoured the top 10%.
      Winston knows this and will punish them to “make our country great again”. That is why there is no choice, and will go with Labour all day, mark my words.

    • CLEANGREEN says:



    • Danyl Strype says:

      Oh look! A Crosby-Textor bot!

      “At the end of the day…”

      Meaningless padding phrase made popular by John Key.

      “… New Zealanders want a strong and stable government…”

      A conservative key message spouted in a number of recent elections, for example by the likes of David Cameron and Theresa May in the UK. You could say that Kim Jong-Un provides “strong and stable” government for North Korea. Is this really a valid criteria for governing a democracy? What about “principled and responsive”?

      “with proven, sensible economic management.”

      Clark/ Cullen; 3 terms of budget surpluses and reduced national debt. Key infrastructure created or bought back including KiwiBank, the railways, and 80% of AirNZ.

      Key/ English; 3 terms of budget deficits and increased national debt. Key infrastructure sold off including a chunk of AirNZ and a number of electricity generation and distribution companies.

      If I was rich enough to hire a housekeeper, and they consistently spent more than the budget I gave them, sold off a bunch of my stuff, and still left my household deep in debt, I doubt I would give them a bonus for their achievements in economic management.

      “[Winston’s] other choice is a rag tag bunch of hippies and communists”

      When lacking any real arguments or facts to defend your position, resort to vague, irrelevant smears. I guess “queers, pinkos, and front-bums” might have been a bit too obvious.

      “with leaders who are brand new to politics”

      Jacinda has been in parliament for 10 years, and most of her work prior to that was also in political positions.

      “…and who have no background in economics.”

      Prior to entering parliament in 2014, James Shaw worked for the international auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Also see above comments about the economic management record of the last two governments.

      “In fact it isn’t even a choice.”

      No actually it is. I know you and other Nat supporters are in deep denial of this reality, but it remains the case that Winston can choose to govern with Labour and the Greens.

      “Winston will 100% side with National, mark my words.”

      Even if he does, as Robert wrote in the article you are commenting on, his caucus will still vote against the Nats on almost everything other than supply and confidence. Or, they will vote against what they promised in their manifesto and their voters will punish them for that betrayal in 2020, delivering a clear majority for a Labour-Greens government. Either way, checkmate.

  4. The Weatherman says:

    This is for you, David Farrer and P..


  5. Keir Jakich says:

    Hey, can the Author point to or produce anything that helps to explain these notions of parliament and legislation in terms of the executive, mmp and coalition formation – but really simply, like using a diagram / video / for dummies guide? I think it is crucial that people understand the benefits and functions of these things, but I’ve not come across any tools to help explain them to the common voter.

  6. Michelle says:

    There is also the issue of seats they manipulated and lied about to keep there majority. The sabin seat up North and the barclay seat down south take those away and they wouldn’t have had the majority they needed to pass their draconian laws. Very dishonest and undermining indeed.