The Last Thing Progressive New Zealand Needs Is A Coalition Of Contradictions

By   /   September 30, 2017  /   47 Comments

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IT IS POSSIBLE to want something too much. The New Zealand progressive community’s hunger for power – so shamelessly on display since Election Night – has led it to treat Labour, the Greens and NZ First as unambiguously progressive entities capable of working together without fault or friction.

IT IS POSSIBLE to want something too much. The New Zealand progressive community’s hunger for power – so shamelessly on display since Election Night – has led it to treat Labour, the Greens and NZ First as unambiguously progressive entities capable of working together without fault or friction. That they know this assumption to be false has not prevented them from presenting a Labour-NZ First-Green Government as unequivocally “a good thing”. Consequently, there is now a real danger of a coalition of contradictions being brought into existence: a forced parliamentary alliance with the potential to be as politically unedifying as it is electorally short-lived.

As by far the most progressive member of the tripartite alliance in prospect, the Greens will be expected to make the most wrenching compromises and concessions. They will discover very rapidly just how vast the discrepancy is between NZ First’s and Labour’s pro-environmental rhetoric, and any willingness on their part to join with the Greens in rolling-out the practical policy measures necessary to give it effect.

The differences between the Greens: a party rooted in the most sophisticated layers of metropolitan New Zealand; and NZ First: a party drawing it most steadfast support from the country’s smallest towns and rural servicing centres; is unlikely to be limited to the best means of tackling climate change and cleaning up the rivers. The Greens and NZ First will find that they are not only at odds over what constitutes practical policy, but that, culturally, they have almost nothing in common. Metiria Turei spoke no more than the truth when she described NZ First as a “racist” party. Quite how the Greens will cope with the sexism and homophobia that is reportedly rife within their newfound ally’s ranks will be agonising to observe.

The Greens’ relationship with Labour is likely to be even more fraught. Disagreements are always sharpest between those who believed themselves to be in accord on the issues that matter most – only to discover that they aren’t. Jacinda’s promises about eliminating child poverty notwithstanding, Labour is not about to abandon its policy of keeping in place a regime of strong “incentives” to “encourage” beneficiaries to move “from welfare to work”. There will be no bonfire of MSD sanctions under Jacinda. Nor will there be a 20 percent increase in beneficiaries’ incomes.

The one election promise Labour will keep and, since the Greens foolishly signed up to it as well, the promise their junior partner will also be expected to honour, is the promise to abide by the self-imposed restrictions of the Labour-Green “Budget Responsibility Rules”. Since these amount to a guarantee that National’s undeclared austerity regime will remain in force across whole swathes of the public sector, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Budget Responsibility Rules will become an extraordinarily divisive force within any Labour-NZ First-Green coalition.

Having denied themselves the ability to raise income and company taxes before 2020, the Labour Party has effectively turned itself into a massive economic brake on its own, and its potential allies’, policy expectations. Unless the Greens and NZ First can persuade the likes of Grant Robertson and David Parker to avail themselves of hitherto out-of-bounds financial resources, this ‘progressive austerity’ will soon turn the coalition into a bitter collection of thwarted hopes and dreams.

Small wonder then, that, according to political journalists Richard Harman and Jane Clifton, there is a growing faction within both the National Caucus and the broader National Party to walk away from any deal with NZ First. Convinced that the coming together of Labour, NZ First and the Greens can only end in bitter disappointment and, ultimately, coalition-dissolving division, they are arguing that it is better to allow the “three-headed monster” to demonstrate its utter incapacity to provide “strong and stable” government for New Zealand. “Give them enough rope,” runs this argument, “and in three years – or less – they will have hanged themselves, and National will be back in the saddle and ready for another very long ride.”

It would be an enormous error for New Zealand’s progressive community to convince itself that the deep contradictions embedded in the manifestos of Labour, NZ First and the Greens can somehow be overcome. Far better for Labour and the Greens, the two parties who are, at least theoretically, ideologically compatible, to spend the next three years developing a suite of progressive policies capable of making a real difference to the lives of the many – not the few.

Right now, with the progressive community’s desire for political power so unreservedly on display, it should be very, very careful what it wishes for.

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47 Comments

  1. phillip ure says:

    and will you publically eat crow if you are wrong..?

    ‘cos i see all three as being far-sighted enough to see they can become the de-facto govt stretching away into the future..policies and demographics being the main drivers of that..

    i don’t share your cynicism about the possibilities of any coalition working – ‘cos i see that being contrary to all their self/best-interests..

    so you are advocating the abstaining from power ‘cos the fit isn’t perfect..?

    that’ll be a long time in opposition..eh..?

    and back at this coalition-beast – one thing that is certain is that the voters will severely punish any spoiler..

    it is kinda puzzling to me how some – including the writer of this piece – are advocating against going into govt…and to just continue tutt-tutting from the sideline..

    no thanks..!

  2. WILD KATIPO says:

    No. Disagree.

    Yes , you may state what the rabid right wingers and even O’Sullivan wrote today in the NZ Herald about the stupidity of National and the Greens forming a coalition,… which is the desperate plea we are hearing from that sector,… and yes after and before the actual shock of 9 long destructive years of a far right wing neo liberal govt finally coming to an end that the ‘ progressive ‘ Left’s desire for ‘political change’ should be careful for what it wishes for…

    However,…. you are making the usual noises that those who have suffered under an ‘evil ‘ regime when it is finally realized that it has been overthrown.

    First , the initial shock . Then the usual ‘jockeying’ for position of who will decide what and who will be in positions of power. And often , – yes,- the factions that overthrew that regime often devolve into strong disagreements and often that leads to conflict.

    That , Chris Trotter ,… is what significant change is all about. This is not Alice in Wonderland. This is real life. You should know that .

    However , you should also know , or at least have mentioned , – that this is what democracy is all about as well. Ruling by CONSENSUS. The very fact there is to be a coalition , ideally means that democracy is called upon to reach decisions. Not autocratic decisions made by one party over the others. And this is what current discussions are all about.

    There is no other way to approach this , – either you get on board now and accept the facts , but no matter when you do , – sooner or later this period MUST COME. Putting it off wont help , – that’s just procrastination. Or would you rather spend the next 3 , 6 , 9 years in disgruntled opposition simply because you were too timid? Or because being in opposition gives solace because we can criticize from the sidelines safely?

    Well , – anybody can do that. Criticizing is easy . Far harder to actually get off ones backside and make the dream a reality. And since when did anyone promise it was going to be a bed of roses?

    I also take umbrage with your gross generalizations about NZ First being a ‘ racist’ party and with the ‘sexism and homophobia ‘.

    WHAT . THE . F@CK ??!!??

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard you state such a bald faced generalization!

    This whole article has been one of pouring cold water on a Labour / Green / NZ First coalition. Talk about defeating your own team before it even gets out from the starting blocks !

    Or would you prefer a situation that Che Guevara described about urban communists as being ‘ useful tools only fit for limited service who only talk about revolution ‘ while avoiding any of the heavy lifting?

    Because that is what you are sounding like.

    Get on board and get with the program and keep with the winning side.

    Otherwise , … please piss off , Mr Trotter, …. and I do say that with the greatest of due respect.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Personals I find it funny that those over at the standard are pretty much saying what I was saying a year ago when anti Trumpers where saying that I was a right wing ninja (what ever that means) for suggesting if you keep up your anti trump rhetoric with out detail, that trump will win. And he did. So try and get over the butthurt.

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Hehehe… I too was the black sheep regards Trumpet . I got my own reasons for at least being tolerant of the Trump , and certainly get tired of the histrionics surrounding him. Mind you , North Korea / Trump is getting a bit hot admittedly.

        As for butthurt , I dunno ,… I just reckon a Labour / Green / NZ First coalition is the ticket for NZ . These are who we work with . These are our people now , and we shouldn’t pull back from getting on with starting things up and getting on with it , its got to start at some point.

        I reckon now is as good a time as any. And I am not about to start pulling down a fledgling beginning for change and start criticizing something before it even gets off the ground ,especially over peripheral points of difference in policy’s.

        Now is the time to strike.

        • Sam Sam says:

          There are two kinds of people in this world

          1. The modern day slave with student loan, mortgage, credit cards and a 9to5

          2. $Crypto people

    • Louis says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more Wild K

  3. patricia bremner says:

    Chris you are full of fear and a bloody defeatest.

    We are looking to give NZ a vision of a positive community based future.

    There will be problems and mistakes, but a people based economy is surely going to offer more than the dog eat dog of the current model.

    We have stopped buying their vision, and are supplying our own.

    There is nothing more powerful than people making life better for their children, and calling out the liars and wreckers.

    So what are you Chris, a neo-liberal advocate, or a born again lefty??

    This is a decision a number of people are going to have to make.

    To be inside a caring community, or outside it yelling “what about me??”

    • bert says:

      “Chris you are full of fear and a bloody defeatest.”

      I’ve posted this before,the acronym for FEAR

      False
      Evidence
      Appearing
      Real

      So we shouldn’t fear a N.Z First, Green and Labour govt, we should relish it.
      The basis for this is the devastation of the past nine years and just one example, mental health and the record suicides.

  4. tony says:

    I too disagree here, Chris. There is a growing impression on the other side that the mirror image of your scenario is likely.

    For NZF and National to coalesce requires National to make policy concessions to its left (i.e. the centre ground of Winston, even left-of-centre of some of his colleagues). The National right (with close allegiance to ACT’s values and policies will find that very hard to swallow. If that government is not left enough NZF MPs will be forced to switch to opposition, if it is not right enough the right will be forced to depose Bill and try running a minority government of the right.

    If they don’t square that circle they will not provide strong and stable government, and 1998 will resound in your columns. Is this what Bill and Winston want, as their swan song?

    If Jacinda is the leader she shows signs of being, she will use the dependence on Greens and NZF to make her government bolder rather than more cautious, as both parties have policy areas that will help the world be a better place.

  5. Louis says:

    Chris wants a National government no matter the cost to anyone else.

    • Danyl Strype says:

      It’s possible to make thoughtful criticisms of left strategy without being a supporter of the right. Please drop the black/white thinking.

      What Chris wants, if you read what he actually said here, is a Labour-Green “progressive” left coalition that doesn’t have to answer to the social conservatives of NZ First. He thinks that NZ First governing with the Nats will damage the vote of both parties in 2020. I agree this is likely. He also thinks 3 more years will give the left time to pull more voters back to the Greens (they’ve lost half their MPs on election night numbers), thus pulling a 2020 Labour-Greens coalition much further into “progressive” policy territory than a Labour-Green-NZ First coalition would cope with. Given recent events, this a much more a crapshoot.

      A Labour-Greens coalition that didn’t depend on NZ First votes was my preferred outcome too. But it appears to me that NZ First’s economic policy is far to the left of Labour’s, closer to that of the Greens, and the two could actually do more together to drag Labour back into the centre-left (from their current position squatting the centre-right) than either could alone. Plus, all 3 parties have an interest in taking steps to make elections fairer, for example implementing the Electoral Commission recommendations on abolishing “coat-tailing” and lowering the 5% threshold to 4% (or even 3%).

      As I’ve said before on TDB, whatever way NZ First decide to go, it’s going to benefit the left in ways that another 3 years of NatACT-UF-Māori government definitely wouldn’t have. The election result may not have been an unqualified win for the left, but it wasn’t the win Bill and Paula wanted either.

      • David Stone says:

        “But it appears to me that NZ First’s economic policy is far to the left of Labour’s,”
        Yes. And Winston is the only one of the three talking about the structural changes that are needed to reverse the neoliberal settlement. Changes that are a vital prerequisite to making any significant “progressive ” social changes. To achieve anything worthwhile they need him, and they need to listen to him. And he to them.
        All the other policy or attitudinal issues like accusations of racism, homophobia, transcend, etc. are things for individuals to sort out for themselves, cross all political boundaries and have little bearing on poverty and gross inequality. Let’s hope the trio can keep them in perspective.
        D J S

      • Louis says:

        @Danyl, I stand by my opinion, so no I wont drop it, he has made himself very clear over his preferred preferences in a series of articles.

      • Louis says:

        You can bet there wouldnt be such displeasure if Winston supported National in forming a government despite the fact that NZ First has virtually nothing in common with National, but is very much on the same page as Labour and the Greens on many issues.

    • Barry says:

      Why, does Chris have a property portfolio?

    • Marc says:

      BS, in this post Chris shows total common sense, while some are desperate to get into government, no matter the bed mates.

  6. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Interesting, Monsieur Trottoir, very interesting.

    What you don’t say in your article is that there are exactly the sames constraints and fault lines with an NZ First/National coalition.

    In effect, we have three blocks of political leanings that cannot really work together but can only govern with at least one other block.

    Doing nothing is not an option. The electoral process requires a government to be formed.

    This means that some form of coalition must be formed. This is the point at which the entire universe enters the negotiations. Absolutely anything is possible. The only constraints are those imposed by the mind and dogmatic beliefs.

    Politics is the art of the possible. Let’s see it be possible now more than ever…

    (Valium or marijuana is good for twitchy nerves and Tums are good for dyspepsia – try them, they might help you Chris).

  7. mikesh says:

    I think, given the affinity between Labour and the Greens, NZ First would have to consider itself the ¨minority¨ partner in a three way coalition. As such, whilst it may, as the second largest partner, obtain the deputy prime ministership, it may not be too confrontational on policy matters. Winston himself in fact may see himself in a more avuncular role, showing the youthful Jacinda how things ought to be be done.

  8. Shona says:

    Oh ye of little faith! I have no respect for Labour. ( exception being David Parker)they will backslide and weasel and grab any truly progressive policies as their own. Just as Clarke and Cullen did. But i have all the respect I can muster at my age for the Greens and NZ First. The Greens have new leadership. NZ First has learned a lot and has the respect of the Education Community among many others. There is much common ground and I hope good people in the new intake of Labour members.NZ cannot take another 3 years of National. It would be collective suicide. So get into training Chris there is much work to do!

    • Barry says:

      It is unfortunate for the Green party, for without Labour the Greens will never have the political clout to be an active and contributing member of a government.
      A significant sector of the voting populace just don’t have confidence in the Greens ability to have a leading role in government. The feeling is that the Greens lack comprehensive policies, financial management creditability and at the most inconvenient times, appear to be unstable.
      If the Greens were able to attract 15 to 20% support they would have to be pretty happy .
      As for New Zealand First , what will their future be when Winston retires is anybody’s guess.

    • Louis says:

      You dont know if Labour will backstab, thats an assumption, this is pretty much a new Labour party that hasnt been tested yet and that now boasts the largest Maori caucus in history.

  9. David Stone says:

    I don’t think readers of Chris’s blog here should assume that this is his considered expectation. He’s posted plenty of optimistic thoughts. Rather I think it’s a very pertinent warning of what could happen if the trio don’t keep their heads and let emotions and trivia “spoil the broth”.
    They all have policies that are more and less important to them, and to us. If they focus on what is most important to all of them I think they have common ground enough.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Winston’s case for getting rid of the maori seats was always something to give away in negotiation that he never really gave a stuff about anyway.
    D J S

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      A few wise words there , matey ,… and …

      … ” It wouldn’t surprise me if Winston’s case for getting rid of the maori seats was always something to give away in negotiation that he never really gave a stuff about anyway ” …

      I think you are right on the money ,… I always thought it was more of a bit of a piss take ,… you could see it was put out there to draw in some votes , .. but it was kind of destined to be expendable …

      And sometimes I reckon dear Mr Trotter likes to give the rev up to those on the Left ,… as a method to gauge opinion , and , – to keep them on their toes.

      Oh ,… and btw , Mr Trotter ?, … please don’t take my admonition for you to piss off personally . Still a fan of yours 🙂

  10. Venus says:

    NZ is not “progressive”. Its the same old Crown NZ govt that is both cruel and corrupt.
    Do we call routine human rights violations by the govt ” progressive”.
    The only thing thats progressing is the right wing extremists … ones that use to be ” center”.

  11. Pat O'Dea says:

    The Greens’ relationship with Labour is likely to be even more fraught. Disagreements are always sharpest between those who believed themselves to be in accord on the issues that matter most – only to discover that they aren’t.

    Jacinda’s promises about eliminating child poverty notwithstanding, Labour is not about to abandon its policy of keeping in place a regime of strong “incentives” to “encourage” beneficiaries to move “from welfare to work”. There will be no bonfire of MSD sanctions under Jacinda. Nor will there be a 20 percent increase in beneficiaries’ incomes.

    likewise, with the environment. Despite Jacinda Ardern saying that climate change “is my generation’s nuclear free moment”. There will be no change from Labour’s support for opening new coal mines and deep sea oil drilling. This hardly squares with James Hansen’s describing coal mining and unconventional gas and oil technologies, tar sands, fracking, deep sea oil drilling, as “game over for the climate”.

  12. Wensleydale says:

    This is what I like about Chris Trotter. He can find the cloud in every silver lining.

  13. Nahweareallscrewed says:

    Y’all are either blinkered, or genuinely want a racist government. I mean, we’re getting a racist government either way, so I guess you could argue you’d prefer a Red one over a Blue one but *shrug*. All your songs and praises about Winston being anything other than the bigoted man he is, won’t change the fact that if he’s in coalition with Labour, he’ll hold them to ransom on every socially progressive piece of legislation they try to pass.

    But sure, go ahead and have your false hope. We’re all f***ed anyway, doesn’t really matter if people keep themselves going through optimism.

  14. Mike the Lefty says:

    There is a lot of anti-Winston comment from the usual National loving stenographers like Garner circulating at the moment.
    Its like they have suddenly discovered that National hasn’t actually won the election after all, at least not yet.
    They need a bit of revision on how MMP works, these fellas.

  15. Bob says:

    The surprise issue of this election and of last six months as been water. This issue goes to the core of what it means to be a New Zealander. Clearly many people from across the political spectrum have been surprised by just how bad water quality in NZ has become and how quickly (despite warnings for the last ten years), and how easily we are handing over our precious water for nothing to domestic and foreign bottling companies.

    If the environmental focus of the next three years was around nothing but this then it would be a great achievement for the Greens.

  16. Marc says:

    SHIT! This is the BEST post I have read, written by Chris Trotter, for ages! He is absolutely right with this warning, that he sends us.

    He writes this for instance:
    “The Greens’ relationship with Labour is likely to be even more fraught. Disagreements are always sharpest between those who believed themselves to be in accord on the issues that matter most – only to discover that they aren’t. Jacinda’s promises about eliminating child poverty notwithstanding, Labour is not about to abandon its policy of keeping in place a regime of strong “incentives” to “encourage” beneficiaries to move “from welfare to work”. There will be no bonfire of MSD sanctions under Jacinda. Nor will there be a 20 percent increase in beneficiaries’ incomes.”

    I dismay at the desperation of some to go hell bent on a kind of agreement with NZ First, that is Greens and Labour supporters.

    This would not end well, I am sure.

    Chris is right with what he writes. Jacinda did not do much to speak out and defend Metiria Turei. I still think Metiria was poorly advised and took too great a risk when outing herself for what she did.

    But Jacinda did NOT stand up for her, basically said, no job for her, if there would be a Labour led government with the Greens.

    Labour have NOT said much at all about welfare and social policy, their talk is about Working for Families, some top ups, here and there, about child poverty. They have NOT committed to reversing some of the hideous ‘reforms’ the Nats brought in in 2013. That is telling, they do themselves believe in the ‘investment approach’, albeit at times they have raised questions re that.

    Labour is NOT going to increase benefits, except of the Accommodation Supplement, the Nats have already brought in to take effect in April next year. Yes, WFF may be increased, but those on sick and disability based benefits, they have been shafted for years, got no increase of any sorts, and have to deal with hatchet doctors paid by WINZ, to defend their circumstances.

    This election was not a win for progressive powers, it was a win for the joint opposition, but NZ First want work for the dole, boot camps and the likes, read the Hansard about what Derek Ball has been talking about.

    It will be a government based on the lowest common denominator if Labour goes with NZ First and Greens, as the weakest link, facing annihilation next election, if they do not give their voters sufficient policy input.

    Let Winston go with the Nats, or sit on the cross benches, and let Nats and NZ First destroy each other, and eat the popcorn, and be ready for elections in 2020, to go for a landslide win, by Labour and Greens.

    Consequences of the welfare policy the Nats brought in:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/msd-and-dr-david-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-claiming-worklessness-causes-poor-health/
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/msd-dr-bratt-present-misleading-evidence-on-worklessness-and-health-publ-post-19-09-16.pdf

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/designated-doctors-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc-the-truth-about-them/
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/designated-doctors-used-by-winz-msd-the-truth-about-them-post-upd-18-10-2016.pdf

    So-called ‘evidence’ does not stack up:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/senior-scientist-and-legal-experts-discredit-evidence-used-by-msd-and-dr-bratt-when-claiming-the-health-benefits-of-work/

    “Is the statement that if a person is off work for 70 days the chance of ever getting back to work is 35% justified?”

    https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2015/vol-128-no-1425-20-november-2015/6729

    ‚In the expectation of recovery’, Faulkner, Centre for Welfare Reform, Scrib
    https://www.scribd.com/doc/308613502/In-the-Expectation-of-Recovery
    (criticism of biopsychosocial model, Aylward et al)

    And the ‘experts’ they use to advise MSD and doctors and affected get paid mega bucks:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/msd-releases-oia-info-on-dr-bratts-and-other-senior-health-advisors-high-salaries-nearly-4-years-late/

    So Labour seem ok with all this, I have not heard them expose all the lies and nonsense presented to us over the years, of a supposedly ‘successful’ ‘investment approach’ to get people back into work. I despair, I despair, Labour need to get back to basics.

  17. Kate Mora says:

    I suspect that mr. Trotter is a die hard National Party supporter….and couldnt bare the fact that the people in all of these three parties (Labour, Greens and NZ First) are highly intelligent people, who are very aware of the differences, and will be mature enough to work through them. I believe they all want the best for the people of New Zealand – but simply represent the different sectors. It could be a superb alliance mr. Trotter.

    • phillip ure says:

      i understand he has rewritten ‘the workers flag is deepest red’..to..

      ‘trotters’ flag is really palest blue –

      a surprise to both me and you

      is he really just having a laff..?

      ‘cos that joke-stuff he peddles – is really just chaff’..

  18. Grant says:

    Hmmm , yes well….
    Anyone worth their salt will tell you that the quality of personnel in a company and especially the head, is as equally important as it’s desired achievements.
    When you scan the quality of people who carry weight in Labour, N.Z First and The Greens at the moment, one can have every reason to be hopeful….the respective line- ups are impressive.
    You have highlighted a few possible differences between the different Parties , but on the other side of the coin their are also many synergies.
    Centre and forefront , but not only, is a genuine common desire to rid this country of the broad greed that has fermented and inveigled it’s way into the psyche of many under neo-liberalism.
    Just look at how many people that must have voted against their own children’s future security in this election.
    That single unifying objective alone, which all Parties have a passion to dismantle , will serve as a catalyst for co-operation on many other issues.
    Cornerstone societal foundation issues book-end any Government and on all of them National have been worse than woeful.
    A new coalition would look at those issues and think …
    Education- huge common ground
    Health- huge common ground
    Housing – huge common ground
    If people thought through every single ramification of every major decision in their lives nobody would get married, nobody would have children, nobody would devote to a career.
    This is not the time for paralysis through over analysis, but a time to show courage ,lay down the guns, and think of your fellow man.

  19. Potato.head says:

    I would say that a coalition of 3 parties is under more of an onus to work pragmatically together to maintain cohesiveness. Rather than a recipe for chaos, it could be seen as a foundation for diverse and broad policy, and not easily captured by a narrow scope of interest(s). There would be less opportunity to use executive power to rush through hasty decisions behind closed doors. What is the downside? More effort made to govern? More considered decision-making? Greater representativeness?

  20. Barry says:

    It is unfortunate for the Green party, for without Labour the Greens will never have the political clout to be an active and contributing member of a government.
    A significant sector of the voting populace just don’t have confidence in the Greens ability to have a leading role in government. The feeling is that the Greens lack comprehensive policies, financial management creditability and at the most inconvenient times, appear to be unstable.
    If the Greens were able to attract 15 to 20% support they would have to be pretty happy .
    As for New Zealand First , what will their future be when Winston retires is anybody’s guess.

  21. Andrea says:

    The refts Chris mentions among the various parties are ‘right here in River City’. We here in this country are the same. A house divided.

    We’ve elected what was offered.

    They have a far far bigger task than simply passing this year’s ‘washing up bill’.

    Can they get us back together? Can they lead by example? Can they cease and desist from disrepute and disorder in the House? Abstain from the snarky behaviour; the muck-raking; the semi-truths? Oh, and the purges of staff, players, etc, for the term of the government?

    It’s not ‘tax and spend’ that plagues Labour so much as the internal warfare and bad-mouthing.

    We need to take this next step – a three-way government. Somehow we have to grow beyond the stupid footy game of FPP and actually walk the talk about unity, civility, co-operation for the highest good of all (including the likes of Bennett and Joyce. Even them.) Show our part of the world, at least, how it is done without riots, marches, revolutions and harm to citizens.

    Politics must grow up and beyond the old middle class, monied class construct that is ‘Westminster’. Out-dated and now very unfit for purpose.

    This is our chance to zoom out and see the bigger picture, the possibles we can either turn to definite, or at least put the first seeds in the ground.

    Not ‘she’ll be right’. Hell no! ‘Give it a fair go.’ Let’s require them to heal and renew our best.

  22. The Informer says:

    If you are right Chris, then the only thing for Labour to do is to insist that Winston takes the cross benches. It suits NZ First because it can virtually govern how they want, getting the votes from either side when required. But since it has more policies in common with Labour then National it should vote accordingly. Labour will get most of it’s progressive agenda through (far better than National/NZ First Government). If not Winston’s legacy will be tarnished and NZ First will be electoral toast again.

    • Marc says:

      If ANY NZ Labour MP had ever taken such a solid and firm stand, the party may now be welll over 40 percent, but it is NOT.

  23. Marc says:

    Why is my comment from earlier in the day not published? If this is the way things are now done, forget about all ‘progress’ with your efforts, sorry.

  24. Frank says:

    covered it nicely Mr Trotter….the question unaddressed is what happens if both blocks determine they dont wish to chance it with Winston…..who will be punished at the subsequent poll and who will win…..probably not NZ

  25. Olwyn says:

    It would be ironic if Peters proved able to lure Labour away from the “progressive austerity” that they have spent the past nine years defending against the LP membership and its more socially democratic politicians.

    And it would be a scandal if NZ1st formed a coalition with National because they were able to get more substantial, inequality-challenging, policy concessions from them than from Labour, the latter being too attached to “fiscal responsibility” to give a meaningful inch. Such a scenario would certainly show up third way centrism in a very harsh light.

  26. dev says:

    I think the main argument for Labour to take the lead for this cycle is that we cannot guarantee the Greens will be there for us in 2020. What’s to stop them going through another rebirth and coming out a fully versatile environmentalist party? Then we’d be fucked.