Our Friends in the North

Our Friends in the North

Written By: Date published: 6:31 pm, August 6th, 2014 – 223 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, greens, hone harawira, internet mana party, internet party, Kelvin Davis, labour, mana-party, nz first, polls, winston peters – Tags: , , ,

Our Friends in the North

It’s been an interesting few days in the battle for Te Tai Tokerau. There are significant implications for the wider election campaign as well.

First Annette Sykes from Mana made an unsubstantiated and absurd claim that Labour have done a secret deal to see Hone Harawira elected in the seat. David Cunliffe denied it and went further saying he didn’t really see Mana/Internet being part of a Government he led. Labour candidate Kelvin Davis has shown he wants to win the seat very badly indeed and only the wise counsel of the NZLP leadership prevented his LEC chair injecting what I believe rugby players call ‘mongrel’ into the campaign.

Vote Positive, Kelvin, Vote Positive!

Yesterday, Hone Harawira put out a media release that contained blatant lies and unintentionally made Sykes look like a fool, too. Hone claimed that Labour had done a deal with National, not only to stitch up the seat for Davis, but asking for funding from the Tories too. Never mind the bollocks, people.

David Cunliffe has firmed on his position. Absolutely no place for Mana/IP around the cabinet table now. Clearly, the next Government is going to be Labour + Greens + NZF. Mana/IP, if they have any MP’s post election, can still offer Confidence and Supply, and may get some policy wins as a result, but they won’t be in the tent this time around.

Why is this? How have Mana/Internet gone from possible kingmakers to also rans?

Three reasons: Trust, Ideology and Maths.

Trust: Middle NZ, the folk who decide the outcomes of general elections, don’t like Mana. They seem to have gone off Kim Dotcom, too. Possibly because of overexposure. Labour have reasons not to trust mana. Prior to the formation of the Internet/Mana voting arrangement, Hone was saying his preference was to not enter Government, but to sit on the crossbenches, voting issue by issue. That’s obviously a difficult prospect to manage for a minority or small majority Government. Does Labour really want to risk Hone walking away, as he did to the Maori Party when things didn’t go his way?

Ideology: Mana (and the Internet Party under Laila Harre’s leadership) have no bargaining power. They can only achieve their stated aim of bringing down the National led Government by supporting a Labour led alternative. Like ACT, they are playing poker with their cards facing up. Labour can count; kicking Hone to touch will win votes from the middle ground, while costing them nothing in support inside Parliament, where Mana/IP will not actually vote against a progressive Government. At worst, they could abstain, but only if that doesn’t see Key cling on.

Maths: The latest Roy Morgan poll has Labour/Greens/NZF combined nudging the bare minimum numbers needed to form the next Government. That is whether or not Mana/IP win a seat (and the associated coat-tail MPs) and assuming ACT, the Maori Party and UF do win at least one electorate seat each. Any further slippage at all from the National Party to any of Labour, Greens or Winston makes a change of Government a dead set certainty. And, yes, I’m of the opinion that NZF will want in on this deal. Winston’s a vicious bugger with a long memory. He’s looking forward to being Brutus to Key’s Caesar.

The question for Labour isn’t should we stand aside for Hone in the north or Mana/IP anywhere else. The question is ‘do we need ’em?’. The answer is looking more and more like no.

Te Reo Putake

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