Closing the gap
By Roger Childs
As expected, the 400,000+ special votes have delivered an extra parliamentary seat to each of Labour and the Greens.
This means that if New Zealand First (NZF), backs the Nats it’s a government of 65 MPs; or if it backs the left, 63 MPs.
Winston Peters campaigned on the slogan of HAD ENOUGH?, presumably of the National Government. In total about 55% of the voters agreed.
However, Bill English claims that National has the moral authority to govern, but given that there wasn’t a lot of morality in his election campaign, the boast has a hollow ring.
National came out as the biggest party in the voting, but that gives them no automatic rights. They didn’t do Winston any favours in the election and gunned him down in his Northland seat.
One senses that with the specials now counted and the potential of a workable administration on the left, he might throw his lot in with a Labour-Green Coalition.
However the man is notoriously unpredictable. While he has major differences with the Nats on immigration, foreign investment, trade, 1080, the Maori seats, water issues …. to name a few policy areas, Bill English will be anxious to accommodate the maverick with tempting offers of the baubles of office.
Winston has never been great mates with the Greens, but has served in a Labour government, so with the right offers from Jacinda Ardern and her team, he could deliver the nation a change of administration.
The country wants change?
Nine years of Tory rule has given the country a stable and growing economy, but the benefits have been very uneven.
The farmers, businesses and the wealthy have done well, but there is a legacy of massive problems related to housing, income disparities, poverty, health, environmental pollution and education.
Surely it’s time to give the other side a go. Labour has proposed plenty of practical, and in some cases original policies, for dealing with the problems.
Hopefully, Winston will favour the change in government the majority want. Maybe he shouldn’t have the power to be the decision maker, but that is the reality of MMP.
However, as the nation waits and watches , there will be plenty of speculation on how much Winton’s choice will turn out to be Hobson’s choice.