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September 30, 2013 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

A Third Term for National

Up until a month ago, the 2014 election was in the bag for National. I am going to argue that in fact, it still is possible for National to win, and handsomely. The focus of the media has been on the new leader of the Labour circus, and now that they have picked a new clown in the form of David Cunliffe, the focus should rightly turn back to the Government. But how can National win in the MMP environment?

The first problem that National must surmount is a potential revival in the strength of the Labour Party. Cunliffe’s ascension to the post he has coveted since he was at University appears on the surface to be bad for National. However, his poll honeymoon resulted in a huge, gigantic, positively mammoth…one-per-cent poll bounce. Cunliffe also botched his reshuffle, by not punishing his enemies severely enough and promoting some seriously moronic MPs who supported him to the front bench. While Nanaia Mahuta may at least be able to win a seat, she was hopeless as education spokesperson under Shearer. Sue Moroney is electoral rat poison: in every electorate contest she has run in, her National Party opponent has increased their personal vote substantially. I hope for the sake of the National Party these MPs get lots of airtime.

The second problem is coalition partners, or lack of them. MMP is like the Year 13 Ball: you need a date or you lose the game. Going into government will eventually destroy coalition partners: going into government with Labour destroyed the Alliance and New Zealand First. At the 2011 election, ACT went from five MPs to one. The Māori Party went from five MPs to three. United Dunne has no future, except for in bow-tie promotion. It is a serious possibility that ACT, Māori and United Future will not make it into Parliament after 2014, leaving National with no partners. Labour, the Greens and Mana (shudder) might be the government by default.

There are two ways around this. Split the National Party into a Rural Conservative Party and an Urban Conservative Party. Together, they would get more than 50 per cent of the vote. This is what happens in Australia, making the forces of conservatism dominant. There is another option. A short man, who likes a cheeky smoke and a whisky. A point-of-order pro. The man who has helped two governments win third terms, then brought them down. Winston Bloody Peters.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.


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