Labour leader David Cunliffe had a chance to take the moral high ground and he blew it:
Labour leader David Cunliffe has denied he has double standards for refusing to rule out relying on the Internet Mana party to form a government despite deriding National for its coat tailing deals in Epsom and Ohariu.
Mr Cunliffe has accused National of manipulating voters by using the coat-tailing provisions to try to boost its support partners’ chances through electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu.
However, he will not rule out calling on the Internet Mana Party if needed to form a Government.
The Internet-Mana alliance was set up to try to get the Internet Party into Parliament on the back of Hone Harawira’s seat, Te Tai Tokerau.
MMP allows parties which win an electorate seat to bring in other MPs even if they do not reach 5 per cent of the party vote.
Prime Minister John Key said Mr Cunliffe would try to form a government with the Internet Mana which had a similar deal and Labour had tried similar deals with Alliance and Green MPs in the past.
“A little bit of consistency would be good.” He believed voters knew MMP well enough to make the choices they considered best.
The PM has been open about which parties he is prepared to have in a government he leads and which he won’t.
He’s given voters the information they need to make a fully informed choice and it’s up to them how they exercise that choice.
But Cunliffe is taking Winston Peters’ line in refusing to confirm exactly what he’ll do, or not do, until after the election.
Mr Cunliffe said he had made it clear it was “extremely unlikely” any Internet Mana Party MPs would get ministerial positions, or even lower level associate or undersecretary roles in a Labour-led Government.
But he would not rule out policy concessions in return for their votes, saying that was a matter to discuss after the election. “We will talk to whoever the voters serve up.” . .
That’s another yeah-nah position.
Labour’s consistently polling below 30% an is very unlikely to have a strong foundation of voter support from which to bargain.
Mr Key said he doubted Labour would not include Internet Mana in Cabinet if it was needed to form a government.
“The reality is David Cunliffe about 10 months ago came into the job of Leader of the Opposition and said he was going to deliver a result in the high 30s for Labour and that would see them as the next government. Then he downsized that to the low 30s. In recent times, he’s been saying Labour in the 20s could still theoretically become the government. What we know is when you’re Leader of the Opposition you’re desperate to become Prime Minister and will probably do anything. He’s in the camp of forming an alliance with anybody to get over the line.” . . .
Cunliffe will be desperate to be Prime Minister and if the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties have enough sets to enable him to cobble together a coalition of the losers he’ll make any concessions he needs to be in government.
He had a chance to show strength as the PM did when he ruled out Winston Peters before previous elections.
But Cunliffe’s too desperate to win at any cost to rule out Dotcom and the Internet Mana Party he funds and controls.
However, rather than helping Labour into government it could well set them even further back.
Moderate voters who are undecided will be repulsed by the spectre of Labour and the GIMPs.
The rules allow the smaller of the bigger parties and an ill-assorted bunch of also-rans to form a government but that’s unlikely to be the sort of government most voters would find palatable.
They have the the prospect of a strong and refreshed National Party likely to need only minor support from other parties who have proven to work well in government or a weak and stale Labour Party requiring major support from an unproven and disparate assortment of parties.
It’s a choice between progress and stability on one side and regression and instability on the other.