UF support at a price


National has a supply and confidence agreement with United Future:

Under the deal, Mr Dunne will remain Minister of Revenue and associate Minister of Health, as well as picking up the portfolio of associate Minister of Conservation.

Mr Dunne has also won new gains including investigating a free, annual health check-up for over 65s, no sale of any part of Kiwibank or Radio New Zealand.

He has also secured the retention of the Families Commission.

The question of this deal was never a matter of if but when and at what cost.

Even though Dunne won only his seat, I suppose he had to get something to show for his vote.

The Families Commission might be small beer in the context of overall government spending but given Bill English says we’re facing spending constraints for the foreseeable future the its retention is an expensive and unproductive luxury.

“Balancing the books and returning to  surplus is one of the most important things the Government can do to  build a stronger and more competitive economy,” Mr English says. . .

But getting back to surplus won’t be easy. In many ways, restraint in the public sector has only just started.

“The Government is committed to meeting this challenge. We’ve taken steps to control spending and get on top of debt, while putting in place  policies that build a more competitive economy and more real jobs.

When the need for restraint is so great, it’s a pity that axing the commission, which is an obvious way of cutting costs with little or no impact on anyone but those who work for it ,is no longer an option.

I wonder what the cost-benefit analysis of it would show and how all concessions made to minor parties since MMP was introduced would fare under similar scrutiny?

The confidence and supply agreement is here.

Only one poll counts


Only one poll counts and yesterday’s wasn’t quite what the polls forecast.

But that’s because the headlines and focus go on decided voters.

With around 15% of voters undecided a couple of days before the election it was unlikely that National would get more than 50%.

In 2002 a lot of swinging voters who weren’t going to support Labour decided National couldn’t win and spread their votes around Act, United Future and New Zealand First.

This time voters who weren’t going to support National decided Labour couldn’t win could have gone to the Green Party but as usually happens it didn’t do as well as polls predicted it might.

They might have gone to Mana, the Maori Party or United Future but instead those disaffected voters went to New Zealand First or didn’t vote at all.

The turn-out was only  73.2  of enrolled voters and 68% of the eligible population which is very low by New Zealand standards

Interestingly Horizon, the only poll which says it’s reflecting decided voters was the least reliable indicator of what actually happened.

Kiwiblog had a summary of polls on Friday:

Be careful what you vote for


The Dominion Post offers a warning to Labour supporters who are considering voting for the Greens:

Many of the Greens’ aims will appeal to disillusioned Labour voters looking for a new home, such as lifting 100,000 children out of poverty and tackling unemployment by creating “green jobs”. The issue in an election, however, is not what a party states as its goals, but how it hopes to achieve them. New Zealanders are lucky to live in a country where they get to choose who governs them. Those who have that privilege, denied to so many others, should use it to vote for what they agree with. Traditional Labour voters may well find good cause to vote Green this time, but they should do so because they want the Greens’ policies, not because they think Labour will lose.

Some of the increased support for the Greens will be from people who agree with what they stand for.

But some will be from people who have given up on Labour and are looking for an alternative.

In 2002 people who decided that National couldn’t win cast votes for the wee parties – Act, whatever United Future was called then and New Zealand First. Two of them went into government and all three lost most of those votes at the next election.

If, as the polls suggest, National forms the next government, the Green Party is more likely to stay in opposition or play a minor role in government.

Whatever it does, people who give it their votes not because they agree with it but because they’re disenchanted with Labour, risk a result they won’t like.

Casting a vote intelligently requires looking past the feel-good ideas to what a party really stands for and what that will do for and to the country.

Influencing a party also requires more than casting a vote against it.

Real influence comes from active support and engagement through good times and bad and working to ensure you’re able to vote for a party with which you agree.

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