Jane Clifton explains the motivation for opposition behaviour over Peter Dunne’s resignation:
What’s really going on here is a three-way game of whack-a-mole. Labour, the Greens and Winston’s New Zealand First are odds-on to form the next Government, but as coalitions go, it’ll be a shotgun wedding. There are outbreaks of cooperation, and the official line is that a Labour-Green ceasefire is in place. But at bottom, none of these parties’ main players rate, respect or trust one another. They are on the same side on most issues – ie, whatever National does is evil. But they’re also in predatory competition with one another.
All of which makes Parliament’s battle-lines oscillate alarmingly. Things can seem relatively straightforward when a party recognises that its enemy’s enemy is its friend. But when that “friend” turns out to be more inimical than the enemy, what then?
There would be even more inimical participants if the Maori and/or Mana parties were added to the mix.
Labour is in the process of trying to figure out whether it can help engineer the squeezing out of one or other of its potential partners so it only has to swallow the one set of policy dead rats in government. So whose rats would be the least obnoxious? At the moment, you’d have to say Team Red is fantasising about not having to work with Team Green and thinking that maybe Winston – the devil it knows from past Beehive iterations – is the better option.
If he’s the better option it doesn’t say anything good about the alternative.
The Greens would be exponentially more demanding than Winston. The fact that co-leader Russel Norman is still evangelising the wonders of quantitative easing represents a gigantic elephant room-mate for the putative Labour/Green/NZ First finance minister. The Greens would, of course, like that to be Norman, and there’s another almighty conflict to resolve before even getting bums on seats in the Cabinet room.
The Greens would also hold out for a massive progressive tax realignment that would quickly alienate a chunk of Labour’s salaried and small-business support base, and doubtless reinvigorate the population drain to Australia. The Greens would demand nothing less than a fiscal upheaval.
All of which would provide National with plenty of ammunition to scare voters from listing to the left.
A red government would be bad enough for the country, add green to the mix and you’d get something altogether worse.
It really would be better not to go there.