The negotiations to form a government out of the frankly ridiculous parliament that has emerged from our voting on the weekend continue. Like I said yesterday, I think there’s not much we-all-out-here have to do with it. It’s up to the politicians now, and what we are seeing about it in the media is not so much genuine ‘news’ as it is part of the negotiation.
But the bullshit that’s really flying is about possible Winston-free governments and what not, and why not, and how come it will actually be your fault if Winston ends up in government. That Winston has been holding the balance of power in the polls for years seems to have been forgotten. Reckon if the polls are worth anything in terms of strategy, then the time to talk about how to not make Winston relevant would have been before everyone voted, but that’s just me.
So in ascending order of likelihood, (or descending order of cray), here are the possible governments that have been actually touted by people paid to write about politics:
Get a grip. People are really saying ‘hey maybe we should have a grand coalition because MMP’. They do then say how unlikely this is, putting that down to partisanship or tribalism and noting how sad it is that we are not mature enough to seriously contemplate this ridiculous idea.
It’s not ridiculous in principle mind, just in the context of this election we had. National and Labour have taken slightly over 80% all votes in the preliminary count. This may change by up to maybe a point or two when the specials come in.
A government with 80% of the seats is just ridiculous. So sit down and hold your Grand Coalition idea until such a government would have at most 60-70% of the seats and be formed to keep a radical alternative govt off the Treasury benches. There is no other point to a grand coalition that I can see, so stop being silly.
This is mostly being pushed by right wingers and I think the most charitable explanation for it is that they want to give New Zealand First the impression that National has alternatives. But they don’t, not really.
The costs of this coalition to the Greens would be high, and the people pushing for it seem remarkably reluctant to put any flesh on the bones of what they are offering. They seem way more concerned about telling the Greens off for not being sufficiently Tory than anything else. If National has an offer, they should make one.
Lance Wiggs describes a Nat/Green govt that I think would be worth the Greens considering but that I also think National would not be able to deliver. And that’s the basic and obvious problem.
The two parties disagree about everything under the sun, pretty much, so there just isn’t a deal that both sides can accept.
Good enough for the Greens is way too much to ask of National, and vice versa. So sit the fuck down, Tories, and face the fact that if you wanted a Winston-free government then you should have voted to make a Lab/Gre/MP govt more likely, not less. It’s not the Green’s fault you ate all your mates.
Labour/Greens/New Zealand First
This is the only shot for a non-National government and so Labour and the Greens have to make a go of trying. It’s fraught with fraughtness though, eh.
National and ACT will be sitting over there in opposition, with National screaming about their 46% and what have you, and certain members of the gallery will swallow that up like chocolate sauce. It’s all well and correct to say that the only mandate a government needs is the 61 votes on the house. That’s true and rock fucking solid in terms of democratic liberal theory. But that ‘46%’ is weapons grade bullshit that we just would not hear the end of.
If the government fails it will go down in pundit wisdom as ‘Actually why the biggest party actually deserves to govern actually’ and that will be the end of that argument.
And that’s before we even think about what mixture of policy would be acceptable to all three parties and their supporters.
So I think Lab and the Greens should absolutely try to negotiate a stable and good Government from that, but should not offer Winston too much. Better to fail to form a decent goverment than to form a disastrous one.
National/New Zealand First
The most likely outcome. Soz.
Fuck only knows what it’ll look like to be honest. I think it’s safe to say it will be economically more interventionist than Key’s governments, about the same on environmental issues, and potentially a shit-show on race relations. On trade and foreign policy? Who knows really, not me.
I think the risks for National in this are not small, and Labour and the Greens would have a good shot of bringing it down inside three years. The NZF vote can be wedged on economic issues, and the National vote on social. ACT will also be in opposition attacking this government from the right.
If it does collapse I think the left will steam in; obvs.
tl;dr we are going to see lots of shit floated in the media for two or four weeks. It’ll mostly be nonsense that’s less about getting information about what is happening in the nut-cutting arena out to the public than it’s frothy nonsense designed to influence the people inside of it.