On the night Winston announced he would join Labour and the Greens after 12 days of negotiations to form a new Government, my Daughter…
…and I went into ecstatic joy. I put her to bed, called in a baby sitter and hit the town with some comrades to jump as many Karaoke bars as we could find to sing the following…
I’ve only stopped parting to write this blog.
It’s been a long, long, long 9 years and finally there is hope.
Matt McCarten & me lurking in the background.
I was privileged enough to be talking with those involved in the negotiations and added my 2 cents worth when required and the entire behind the scenes machinations deserve to be made into a film one day.
Labour Party strategists unable to explain why the fuck Peter Dunne is trying to hang out with them. Most pictures say a thousand words. This one says 3, ‘fuck off Pete’.
Here’s how I broke down the 12 days.
12 DAY BREAK DOWN:
First 6 days: Policy, policy, policy. Everyone was amazed by how many things Labour, NZ First and the Greens agreed upon. There was a huge amount of enthusiasm and positivity. There’s a feeling this could all be sorted within an extra day.
Next 4 days:It suddenly occurs to everyone that Winston hasn’t actually stipulated what kind of Government he actually wants and the horror that he’s considering the cross benches causes vast depression. Rumours circulating that National are just opening their chequebook and have offered Winston most of Western Civilisation in return for support.
Final 2 days:Suggestion is made that because Labour can’t out bribe the National Party, they should appeal to Winston’s real passion which is dismantling Neoliberalism.
An hour before the result became public, I was tipped off we had won and the negotiation tactics had been wildly successful.
THE BIG ISSUES: These are the issues which seemed to shape the thinking of those making the decisions.
China: The report into how National are little better than a front for Chinese Business interests weighed heavily. There was a sense that China’s influence over the Government actually posed an existential threat to the political sovereignty of the country.
Global Financial Collapse (part 2): If you talk to any expert in the upper echelons of power, they are all convinced that part 2 of the 2007 GFC is about to hit and the economic damage will be immense. Labour, NZ First & the Greens needed to make the decision that they would show real leadership and front when that shit storm hits or were they going to be cowards and avoid it.
Neoliberalism: No one picked it going into the negotiations (mainly because Labour weren’t confident enough to engage in dismantling neoliberalism), but when Winston was given the choice between baubles and an opportunity to take a sledge hammer to the free market. The sledgehammer won.
Cultural Modernity: There was a deep sense that NZ has stagnated and gone backwards on many social issues and that National kept us locked in the 90s somewhere. Even NZ First, the supposed bastion of social conservatism wanted far more change than National were offering.
Jacinda: She. Was. Amazing. Jacinda went beyond anything anyone had ever seen. She knew her sense of centre, she never lost her nerve. She deserves admiration for her real leadership over the 12 days.
Winston:In the end he really wanted to smash neoliberalism. I mean like REALLY wanted to smash it. More than anyone had ever guessed.
Shane Jones:Major lynchpin between Labour and NZ First. Expect him to be very important to keeping this Government together.
The Labour Maori Caucus: Willie Jackson and Meka Whaitiri are the new co-leaders and they are the largest faction within the Labour Party now. Expect huge political muscle from this group.
The Greens: I know, I know, I know, they wanted more, but for a Party that effectively self-immolated itself 9 weeks out from the election, this is a pretty fucking good result…
National negotiating tactics: In the end all they had were bribes. They didn’t understand that Winston was serious about changing neoliberalism.
National campaigning tactics:Once they turned to just lying, it was difficult for anyone to treat them seriously and with respect.
National internal dynamics:Watch as the Blue Dragons flex their political muscle and Judith collins starts her campaign against Bill.
The champions of the poor – Hone, Met & Marama:The saddest thing about this election is that some of the Poor greatest champions, Metiria, Marama and Hone are not inside Parliament.
Mainstream media: The offensive double standards at play in this election was apparent throughout the campaign. How Metiria was a bigger story than a Chinese spy inside the Government has never been explained, and this sums up the ugliness…
Jacinda has pulled off one of the greatest political come backs in NZ history. To think that she has turned the Labour Party around and won the 2017 election in the space of 10 weeks is an achievement like none other in NZ politics and her leadership, courage and tenacity bear all the hall marks of a truly great Prime Minister. With Winston in full war mode against neoliberalism next to her and the very smart James Shaw on the other side, this is a Government who have every chance of producing an incredible 3 years.