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How National ruling out a relationship with NZ First pressures NZ First to further position itself as a 'handbrake' on the left without going so far as to making the Coalition Government unelectable

How National ruling out a relationship with NZ First pressures NZ First to further position itself as a 'handbrake' on the left without going so far as to making the Coalition Government unelectable

By ​Jenée Tibshraeny

It was always going to happen - the closer we came to the election, the more strident NZ First and the Greens were going to be, differentiating themselves from the government they’ve had to make compromises for.

Political events of the week have fast-tracked this.

National’s decision to rule out forming a government with NZ First after the September 19 election makes it more imperative for NZ First to cling on to its mostly right-leaning support base.

According to an academic survey, the New Zealand Election Study, 44.5% of NZ First voters would’ve preferred a National-led government, compared to 34.1% who wanted a Labour-led one.

NZ First needs to convince these people that a Labour-led government with a strong NZ First voice is more desirable than what would be a more conservative National-led government than we saw in the Key/English era, without NZ First.  

Conservative isn’t something that will perturb those right-leaning NZ First voters.

But a vote for National instead of NZ First could threaten the survival of NZ First. If National was elected, it’s questionable whether leader, Winston Peters, would want to stick around in opposition and whether MP, Shane Jones, would have the following to keep the party alive.

NZ First is now under even more pressure to prove its worth to those voters it risks losing.

NZ First MP, Mark Patterson, didn’t beat around the bush, tweeting this on Sunday:

NZ First was always going to campaign on being the “handbrake” on the supposedly loopy left, but it no longer has the luxury of doing so subtly.

Peters can let loose more than he already has, berating National leader, Simon Bridges. Yet he can also campaign on his success blocking a capital gains tax, and his commitment to preventing the Government from taking water and Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) reforms affecting farmers, too far.

As for the Green Party, the Government’s commitment to investing $5.3 billion of its $12 billion additional infrastructure spend on roads, is a colossal blow.

While co-leader, James Shaw, kept face admitting he would’ve done things differently at the package’s announcement in Auckland last week, the party’s transport spokesperson, who's also an Associate Transport Minister, Julie Anne Genter, was less cordial.

She was absent from the announcement, and wrote a piece for the Spinoff, acknowledging Generation Zero's disappointment over "the incredibly expensive motorway projects".

“They are absolutely right. It is nowhere near what we need,” Genter said.

The Green Party can be pleased with the Government’s decision to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration, even though it wanted it to go further by not giving existing explorers extensions on their permits for example.

It can also celebrate the Zero Carbon Act, even though decisions the Climate Commission makes won’t be legally binding. 

And changes to the ETS are quickly and quietly being pushed through - the short public submission period falling smack bang in the middle of the summer holiday period.

Green Party supporters will be looking for a bit more than a, “The changes we’re making are better than nothing,” argument from Shaw and co.

The party will need to reassure its supporters it’s staying true to its grassroots values.

The difference, however, between the Greens and NZ First, as they more definitively carve out spaces for themselves ahead of the election, is that disgruntled Greens supporters don’t have too many other places to go.

A vote for Labour is as good as a vote for the Greens - in the eyes of those who see the Greens as being push-overs in government.

The Opportunities Party and Sustainable NZ don’t have the profiles to pose any great competition to the Greens. If the Greens couldn’t secure enough wins for the environment while in government, goodness knows how the new kids on the block will.

So as dissatisfied as Green Party voters might be, the Green Party vote is relatively safe.

Disgruntled NZ First voters on the other hand, can find a new home in National.

The question then is, how far will NZ First go to assert itself ahead of the election, and what toll will this have on the Coalition Government’s ability to govern effectively for the next eight months?

Yes, it’s campaign time, but the legislative calendar is still full. Reforms around water, the ETS, and the powers to be entrusted to Kainga Ora to build more houses are just some of the important pieces of work to go thought Parliament.

It will be interesting to see how NZ First paints itself as a “handbrake” or “voice of reason”, while not going so far as to making the Coalition Government seem completely dysfunctional and ineffectual to the point it shouldn’t be re-elected.  

Here's the National press release announcing its decision to rule out NZ First:

National Party Leader Simon Bridges has today ruled out working with NZ First to form a Government after the 2020 election.

“A vote for NZ First is a vote for Labour and the Greens,” Mr Bridges says.

“National wants New Zealanders to have a clear choice and certainty about what they’re getting when they go to the ballot box. A vote for National will mean more money in your pocket, more transport infrastructure and safety for your family. We will get things done. Our decisions will be about what’s best for New Zealanders, not what’s best for NZ First.  

“This Labour/Green/NZ First Government has failed to deliver for New Zealanders. The cost of living has gone up, taxes have been piled on, there’s been no new infrastructure, and crime has risen making your family less safe. New Zealanders have been let down and we can’t afford another three years of this incompetence.

“I don’t believe we can work with NZ First and have a constructive trusting relationship. When National was negotiating in good faith with NZ First after the last election, its leader was suing key National MPs and staff. I don’t trust NZ First and I don’t believe New Zealanders can either.

“National had a constructive working relationship with ACT while in Government. We developed the partnership schools model and worked together to reduce red tape. We would again be open to working with ACT.

“New Zealanders have a clear choice heading into this year’s election. The Government I lead will result in families who are better off, can get to work and school on time and are safer in their communities.

“A Labour/Greens/NZ First Government will mean more incompetence and wasteful spending, and you’ll pay for it with more taxes, costs, and burdens on you and your family.”   

Here's the press release NZ First issued in response:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is unfazed by today’s announcement by National Party leader Simon Bridges ruling the party our as a potential coalition partner after the 2020 General Election.

‘Let me say this – he’s got a lot to learn about politics. Narrowing your options can be the worst strategic move you will ever make, Mr Peters said.

‘Having been in politics a long time, and a member of the National Party for over 25 years, the one thing New Zealand First is confident about is that if voters deliver that possibility, and if Mr Bridges doesn’t pick up the phone, someone else within his caucus will do it for him. He has also demonstrated he has no insight into what a unified caucus looks like, stated Mr Peters.

‘As Douglas McArthur said, there’ll come a time soon when he’ll want to see me much more than I want to see him.’

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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94 Comments

If John Key at his popular peak couldn’t, then the much weaker force that is Simon Bridges definitely cannot get National back in power on its own. National has no viable coalition party in the offing beyond just one seat of ACT. History tells us anyway MMP here has never yielded such a result and is unlikely to ever do so. Don’t think that Labour anyway would wish to govern with just the Greens. By National signalling the status quo of ACT in Epsom as remaining in place Labour has been invited to follow suit in Whangarei for NZF. All of that means that it has become QED for the form of this government, with perhaps a bit of a shuffle of seats, to return to power in September.

I think you underestimate the scale of the incompetence we’re dealing with. Anecdotally, my friends who swung to the left are swinging strongly back.

If NZ First’s votes get redistributed it could very well be game on.

Just wish one side was more competent than the other, rather than less incompetent than the other.

.. this is politics ... not professional business ... so , the name of the game is to vote for whoever you think is least incompetent .... who'll screw things up not so badly ....

I.E. .... Kiwibuild / one billion trees / destruction of our natural gas industry / yadda dadda ....

.. are the Gnats likely to be as pathetic as Taxcinda , Twyford , Winnie , and Julie Anne Genter ??? ... if you think so , vote accordingly ....

But the thing lurking with both parties are their ties to China. Parker and his southern belt. Bridges. The spy teacher. etc
I'm going to look at the ACT website one of these days.

Yes agreed. Neither can point the finger as they're both as bad as each other.

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Now NZ First voters have to commit to working with the Greens. Greens and Labour voters have to commit to Winston. It won't work otherwise. Bridges has put cat amongst pigeons. Winston's predictable response to the consequences of his own actions after the last election, contrary to the wishes of his own members, is a mess of his own making.

Simon Bridge is the biggest barrier for National to win the 2020 election.

I agree he is a barrier but I think they have some more fundamental barriers such as what is their 'raison d'tre' in 2020? They seem a bit lost and confused. And they are losing middle NZ, especially young Middle NZ

Colmar Brunton has them polling just below 50%?

and the result last election had them coming in under that
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2017_New_Zealand_g...
and NZ first coming in way over what they were polling

The previous policies they seemed to function on of encouraging the selling of everything to foreign ownership, going slow on anti money laundering legislation, opening up to Chinese Communist Party power, and not really throwing younger generations a bone don't really seem to hold that much appeal for younger middle NZ. They don't benefit by voting for National.

Their election advertising of "give us enough power and we'll row in one single direction" didn't help, when that was the direction.

Labour was supposed to bring housing prices down, and make life easier for renters. They have done the complete opposite. House prices are back at record highs, and rents have soared as a result of dwindling supply caused by Labour's new anti-landlord policies. If any young middle New Zealander had any hope of ever owning their own home, its fast disappeared. They probably cant even get a rental home these days either. Things actually were better for them under National. As for the traditional Labour voter (beneficiaries and low income workers) the increasing rents and levels of homelessness have meant Labour has shafted them too. The "rock star economy" is but a distant memory.

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Good questions.
I think the Nats have missed a beat here. Their best chance of winning the election is to go 'Big C' conservative on things like law and order (which they are doing) and immigration (which they definitely aren't doing)

So they are caught between conservatism and neo-liberalism, which may please their business sector supporters but will struggle to capture vital ' Middle New Zealand' votes.

They have bought far too much into the whole immigration ponzi scheme and that seems like it is irreversible....

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All parties have either bought into the immigration ponzi scheme or oppose it for political expediency. We need a new narrative which does not buy into the "big NZ" pongo scheme nor get caught up in xenophobic rhetoric.

The virus has nullified Immigration as an issue in this election. Winston better find another horse.

Agree with Fritz. They seem blind to why they sit on the opposition bench. Nat's need to clarify their position on restatement of selling NZ's sovereignty to the highest non tax paying bidder, and possible policy of continuing to flood NZ with millions of immigrants. Most Kiwis who pay tax here absolutely don't want those two things to continue. Much like Trump being was a vote for "not Hillary".

The objective of the Govt is to represent NZ tax payers interests. Are the Nat's still a finger puppet for foreign non tax payer interests....?

Simon hasn’t been paying attention to the last 25 years of NZ elections, which is odd for a politician. His goose is cooked.
I think the Labour Party will be delighted with this announcement.

It would seem he is trying to clarify to the NZFirst voters that a vote for NZFirt is a vote for labour, that may lead to some NZFirst voters abandoning the party. Seems a shrewd strategy given the debacle last election.

I think half of NZF voters had already realised that anyway. If the Coalition Govt had been even a little bit competent, then maybe Winston would have stood a chance, but even left leaning NZF voters must realise that another 3 years of the same is going to be a disaster.

You may like it or hate it, but I only hear positive things from the regions about the provincial growth fund, and not just from Northland. I wouldn't underestimate the support NZ First will get for it's role it's playing in this current government.

We (NZ) just don't understand MMP do we?

If you count everyone out at the start then we are just back to FPP.

Noncents - exactly!

.. and it is a good thing too.

If only we went back to FPP.

The electorate in Britain just forced the Conservative Party to change tack wildly, and they were rewarded handsomely for it.

NZ First, Greens and Act are sideshows which rarely ever get anything done, and have a 100% record of suffering badly the term after they get into government, perhaps as their voters realise that voting for a small party is nothing more than a protest vote - you won't actually get significant policy implementation.

Better to change the beast from within I feel.

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I give credit to Simon Bridges for making clear, early on, that he will not form a coalition with NZF. It shows some integrity in his beliefs (whether we agree with them or not). I say well done for sticking to your beliefs and policies rather than be willing to water them down at all cost to have a better chance of forming a government.

Could be but perhaps he has simply concluded that WP & NZF will never ever again work with National. So if he believes that, he may as well play the cards now according to that.

The only belief Bridges has is his self appointed ego.

The sooner National get rid of him the better. NZ deserves a better opposition to the Labour party, and it seems to me that Bridges needs to step aside, and go back to being a very average crown solicitor. .

yeh but replace with whom?
I think Collins is just too harsh to get enough popular support.
I've always quite liked Paula Bennett but she seems to have faded a bit, doesn't seem to have the drive necessary for PM material.

Well at least the crooks would be happy to have him back, would think.

It’s certainly interesting. So he’s vying for the natural National voters who voted NZ First to come “home”, so NZ First are out. Flip side is for those who may be concerned by a Labour/Green govt, as a “tempering” force vote NZ First, he’s just alienated. It’s an all-in move.

well a vote for national now is pointless, unless they can get 51% with no mates they will not govern.
even JK could not pull off that trick
so the only option now is to vote NZF so the greens have less say.
this is a massive backfire and shows that national are still in FPP mode
even JK in his time tried to foster partners for when he needed them

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Yup, I think it’s a brilliant move, but then again I’m hardly neutral and want National as far away from the levers of power as possible. This coalition is wobbly but at least there’s a thought process that accepts governance for many not the few, with all those disagreements/compromises along the way. Coming from a Green voter, there’s a lot more that I would do that would be electorally unpalatable, so I’m pleased that my best/worst opinions are held in check and we’ll slowly progress without scaring the herd.

The nats won't need 51% if NZF fails to achieve the 5% threshold, more like 47%.

What if labour does 1 or even 2 deals for seats to NZF and Greens?

and in all the elections that has only happened once, most of the time NZF get better than 6%
so it is a massive risk as they have now handed NZF something to run on
ie to keep a labour/greens partnership in check so we dont move too far left.

NZF results
1993 8.4 %
1996 13.35 %
1999 4.2 % 1 electorate seat
2002 10.38 % 1 electorate seat
2005 5.72 %
2008 4.2 % not in parliament
2011 6.59 %
2014 8.66 %
2017 7.2%

but in which of those years were they ruled out of a coallition by National prior to the election -- in this case 9 months -- and also in power where coallition parties clearly lose votes -

if they take 4% out of the vote -- and then you add another 3% or so for independents TOP Maori etc -- 45% + Act could easily be enough - -

The greens will probably hold up - just -- but given their approval of massive water extractions, road infrastructure and failure to get most of the welfare reforms they wanted over teh line as well as loosing the largest marine sanctuary that National supported, they aer a bit short of wins -- and these losses are huge !

its a long 8 months -- and the infighting that has to happen will be both messy and harmful all round -- National only really has to keep clean of the worst gaffs and talk a lot about kiwibuild or failed promises to be very very close

JK ruled it out in 2008 and 2011
and it was ACT that ruled out working with NZF in 2014
I think they will be in and national have made a massive mistake yet again in thinking FPP
they have had years to grow a support party and they have destroyed every one of them

Exactly and then ACT get a seat and that is all that is needed for National. We are talking only small margin shifts here and Labour would not have got in without NZF so this time I think they will not make the threshold. I see National getting in with plenty of time for either Bridges to prove himself in the role or be replaced in time for the following election.

No, no, no, no mates National;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Z0QUygjr2w

I suspect if their polls start suggesting this was a dumb idea, Collins will be handed the reins - and will be happy to work with NZF, or anyone for that matter, that would see them back on the TSY benches.

What a much more interesting and in depth contest of ideas it would be with Jacinda and Judith going head-to-head.

I'm interested in why you think it would be a more interesting contest of ideas Kate.
What distinguishes Collins' world view from Bridges'? Is it really much different?

I have found much of Collins' rhetoric to be pretty substance-less. Not much positive policy from what I can see.

She has been prudent and strategic maybe, to lie low of late. Probably not concerned that she might be underestimated. That would be a mistake. She is actually underneath it all, of considerable intellect, now politically versed. Coming through law school and then practicing as a lawyer, she qualified brilliantly. Yep she could come in and swing the cat, National wouldn’t lose by anymore.

I find Bridges boring in that he can't think on his feet - he's much less effective than Collins on the floor of the House. Hence, Jacinda vs Judith in the main debates would be far more to the point/revealing, I suspect, as they both speak their minds in a much less rehearsed sort of manner. I find Bridges sort of plastic and predictable - like the yappy dog WP labelled him. He can't seem to work with anyone successfully.

yeah she is better at *contesting* but I still want to know what the ideas are that she will contest.
In many respects, a typical lawyer.

Exactly - she may be able to break Labour, but she can't fix National.

She loves swamp kauri and water more than the others?

And cups of tea with officials on behalf of Oravida?

if you want a different insight into Collins -- talk with senior officials in the departments she was minister for - She was seen as a very hard taskmaster -- but extremely knowledgeable and very loyal and supportive to her staff.

At Corrections there was a huge sense of relief when she was reappointed -- which is very very telling in what is a very public and high profile ministy!

Collins would be an unmitigated disaster for National.

She is very much tainted. Oravida and swamp Kauri, just to name a few.

She is pretty much the antithesis of the swing voters National require. National know this, and so does Collins. If she had the popularity, she would have made a move already.

Yesterday's news, the Oravida thing was a media manufactured beat-up anyway. Winston has endless skeletons and has even been censured for lying to Parliament, Shane is dodgy, Mallard has assaulted another MP and is being sued for defamation. That said I don't think Collins is the right person to lead National. Too polarizing and off-putting to many.

Yesterday's news, the Oravida thing was a media manufactured beat-up anyway.

Wow, that re-write.

Some uses of power are appropriate and some are not. Simple stuff.

Apparently in a post-Trump world some are becoming more and more accommodating of use of political power for personal gain.

the year of the rat could be an auspicious time for simon,a new beginning.or find that his close colleagues would rather swallow a bucket full of dead ones than spend another term in opposition.

It means for National and NZF the polls will be more self-fulfilling this election.
If National look like they will come up short, the support will slump further as voters go for the NZF handbrake option.
Conversely if National look good, NZF won't make the 5%. In that case Ron, Tracey, and Mark should turf both Winnie and Shane. And commit to reduced immigration. They would need new donors though.

The question is how many of the 44.5% NZF supporters who wished for a National government have been disgruntled and polling as supporting National since after 2017 election result Maybe a large portion been polling for National hence NZF lower polling but will jump back to NZF if National win looks unlikely.

Long way to go but polling indicates Nat support holding with Peters slipping, likely to below the 5% threshold. The angst on blogs such as this shows that lefties are working out the threat of this to the coalition. NZF will ramp up their differentiation rhetoric, regional pork barrelling will continue to ramp up but the oldies who support Peters will be unsettled by issues such as the NZF dodgy donation foundation and crony forestry schemes.

And if Labour step aside in Whangarei as National has done in Epsom and Orahui..?

I don't think so.
1. I think Labour will be needing every seat they can get. They will not want to give one away.
2. It could backfire, if Labour did stand down, the hardcore left would likely vote green. The more right would vote National. It would only be the diehard Labour faithful that would listen.

You might well be right, but Little orchestrated that reasonably easily in the by-election Quite different circumstances forthcoming admittedly but also need to consider that Labour itself might be more than chary about having only the Greens in bed with them. The other point is National too need every seat so why then is it profitable to hang on to the Epsom set up? NZF would shoe horn in more list members than ACT on current standings.

Does your brain even engage when writing your words? “Dodgy donations” come on, really? There’s being embedded and there’s just Stockholm syndrome. “Middle man” my arse

Internal Labour polling shows 3.5% for ACT, apparently. I think you are right re the COL supporters. They have been rabid on other fora. I think they are very worried.

Anyone who thought Winston First would go with the Nats last time had to be pretty gullible, especially after WP spent a decade Nat and Key bashing, despite olive branches or whole trees being offered.
No different this time, but WP likes to dishonestly dangle the possibility as it enhances his status as kingmaker.
At least Simon is not that simple.

Letting looseWP’s personal pension details was hardly an olive branch was it. In fact it was the dead opposite and quite effectively harpooned any hope of NZF joining National in government. Same scenario still applies, so Bridges has thought may as well clear the decks then.

Who let the details loose? Who are you accusing?

Or maybe there’s a right wing party not beholden to the interests of debt farmers? A centre right party that’s realised neoliberalism doesn’t work? Heresy!!!! I’m no fan of NZF but at least there’s some right wingers who aren’t suckling the teat of Mammon.

Clearly Jacinda thought it was possible he could go with the Nats.... that was the person who really got sucked in.

She sold out, gave him $3bn of provincial play money, deputy PM title all so she could be PM. ..... ahhh.. inspiring leadership.

National govt survived at least one more term, because people were happy with the rise in house values. It hid the lack of policy and action. 6 years on, and still no policies to make people sit up and look.

That's the whole problem isn't it. What does our opposition do?

Labour 9 years in opposition - came in with zero plans.
National are 3 years in, and so far have nothing either.

The pigs don't even jostle for a position at the trough these days, they just wait there turn patiently. All the while the trough empties and the farmer isn't around to refill it.

Perhaps the term "the opposition " describes the fundamental problem. Whilst we definitely need them to oppose anything badly wrong the govt does , they are effectively powerless to do so , unless they can convince some of the govt MP's to vote against their party. why not spend the time in opposition working out what to do next election , and telling us about it , rather than just opposing most things the govt does. Or , we would do the same thing but better.

I'm not a COL supporter, Bridges is dull but has done a reasonable job holding the line, National have some smart younger people as in the likes of Nicola Willis, lets see what happens closer to the election, we may have a National "Jacinda" moment early days. As for Winston/NZF it was a big call from Simon but probably well calculated, WP has been nothing but a parasite in NZ's political landscape for decades it's time for him to retire. He was trained by the late Robert Muldon and still plays the same old lines, only old people vote for him because of that association.

National have some smart younger people as in the likes of Nicola Willis

Crikey.

Simon and everybody has missed the point. You don't need a majority to be in Government. Winston might not even enter into coalition talks. If you hold the balance you hold the balance.

While very true - can you imagine how unpopular that would be.

If Bridges is the best that National can come up with then they are screwed. I'm not suprised given they are a short term thinking neoliberal worshipping types...

Can’t be worse than the hapless lot we have now. Worst PM and cabinet in living memory.

XX, might be time to get checked for early onset Alzheimer's.

Annual medical was fine, but thanks for the pointer.

"According to an academic survey, the New Zealand Election Study, 44.5% of NZ First voters would’ve preferred a National-led government, compared to 34.1% who wanted a Labour-led one." (that was before the election)

After the Government formation 48 per cent supporting Labour and 33 per cent supporting National.

" There is an interesting twist to the data though, because the survey period stretched across the time before and after Government formation, and it can be split off to see how voters reacted to the change.

NZ First voters prior to Peters choosing Labour are much more supportive of National, with roughly twice as many picking National to Labour. That flips after the Government is formed, with 48 per cent supporting Labour and 33 per cent supporting National."

What I find fascinating in the comment stream is the apparent short sightedness of the commenters. We have a relatively short electoral cycle which in my opinion, strengthens our democracy by making our politicians more accountable to their electorates (ignoring the undermining due to the structure of MMP and the list candidates), and consequently these commenters, the media and most of the general public also fall into this trap. I believe people should have a longer horizon on who they vote for.

A number of commenters here have previously voiced that if National had won, NZ today would be a whole lot more dependant on China (corona virus would have made a fine mess of that!) and are generally in denial that the 'free market' is an abject failure that favours the rich and powerful only and has virtually crippled NZs productive economy. These commenters still seem to favour National and cannot see past their ideological blinkers. Labour on the other hand have identified that they want to create 'jobs everywhere, for everyone' which in itself is a transformational vision that sees the regions, perhaps more than the major centres, seeing a lot of economic growth. But such a change will take more than just one or two electoral cycles, but likely out to 20 or 30 years!

Thus going into this election i suggest people should be looking to see if we are on the right pathway to the desired destination not whether or not it has been achieved or will be in the next term. Too much change too quickly can be very destructive, so seeking that is shortsighted and dangerous.

Great points.

Rubbish. My children need a future and the left offers them nothing but mediocrity.

You're right Expat, your children do deserve a future and that is what I am talking about, but also their children as well. So far Nationals vision is about making the rich richer, not creating opportunities for everyone across the country, so how will this benefit your children?

The transformational change that labours vision encapsulates will if implemented correctly and successfully, create a progressively increasing economic transformation that will produce those opportunities and they will begin sooner, but the full effect will take time.

I am fairly cynical about most of the drivel that comes out of Wellington, for example the Nats and now Labours housing policies do not address the core problems and studiously avoids doing anything substantial, but i am ever hopeful that other parts of their economic policies will deliver. after all they are the only group who have identified that the current world economic model is not delivering, but we still have to live within it while changing our own fundamentals.

National didn't benefit your children. Many of your posts over the last few years have described the reality they perpetuated being one where your children will have to depend on an inheritance from you rather than standing on their own merits in a meritocratic society. It may feel nice to vote for the Nats but they were not offering your children a future.

Hold on, who brought in neoliberalism? Who destroyed the regional economies? Let me refresh your short-term-thinking mindset: It was the 1984 LABOUR government. Rogernomics.

And who created the FTA with China? Again, LABOUR. Helen Clark's government. And this FTA has been renewed under this government by David Parker.

So if you are saying we should all think long term, then to have any credence in making that point, you need to get your history right.

Davo your comment clearly shows that you are ideologically biased along party lines, not current policy. You are correct - past Labour Governments have been prime players in screwing the public of NZ, but so has National governments! I do not follow party lines, and am non-aligned. So I look to what their current policy direction is. As I said, i believe their current housing policy to be crap, but then National's is no different. My entire focus is how our Government, irrespective of party, is serving the public of NZ. and frankly in the last 30 years - none of them have been effective at all, National or Labour. Unfortunately there are too few rebels in government to call them on their performance, and the public's voting record is as dismal as their performance.

Jenee - not really sure i follow your thinking on why a Greens vote is safe.

"A vote for Labour is as good as a vote for the Greens....So as dissatisfied as Green Party voters might be, the Green Party vote is relatively safe."

I see this as a bit backward. Surely a Greens vote is effectively a vote for Labour. If i were a Green voter and was worried they don't make the 5% (which is certainly possible) then you would vote strategically for Labour.

Think of it this way... if Greens and NZ First only achieve 4% each the votes are wasted... National would only need 46% of the vote and you can tack on 1 or maybe 2 ACT seats for good measure.

Simon is effectively seeking to make this a two horse race. Watch for some well placed environmental policies and give aways for the pensioners to push the Greens and NZ First closer to that 5% mark... then the only safe way for a left leaning voter to vote is for Labour.

Simon should ditch Paula and embrace Judith to get a new coalition of leaders for the National Party. Judith can balance Simon's immaturity and Keyneisan (Pun intended) delivery with her experience in politics, appeal to the middle and right and name recognition, despite the Oravida association. People don't really care about all that influence wielding for personal/family gain, witness Key's tenure.
Winston is still a wild card. I am not sure the NZ people are ready to ditch him, especially with no worthwhile successor. He is bound to come back.
The real loser could be Jacinda who might be shackled with Winston for 3 more years.

National had no choice but to call NZ First's bluff.

Short is, very few people have confidence in what Simon Says (or has done); and he could actually get rolled two months out from election. With any luck he does, which will give voters a choice.

Should Simon Says be rolled, there's a reasonable chance Labour may do a deal with NZ First on Northland seats. We watch in anticipation of the antics to come, knowing full well all make promises they don't keep.

Labour's "no new taxes" promise (which they promptly broke) was only applicable to their first term. Come a second term they are going to unleash a raft of new taxes, and I doubt that Winston Peters can block them all like he did CGT. CGT will simply be replaced with a land tax or a wealth tax.

What new taxes? a CGT has existed for years remember National adjusted the "bright line"

There will never be a land or wealthy tax applied in NZ.
How is a land tax able to be paid if elderly people don’t ha e the income to pay and why the hell should anyone have to.
What they should be doing is penalising financially the ones that don’t pay tax as they are the ones who are the liability to NZ !

Partner options for the Nats - the New Sustainable Party. There is space for greens without the heavy coating of socialist sauce. The Maori party if they can recover some seats. Suspect it will be closer than most think. Just remember if you don't vote your opinion absolutely doesn't count.

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Days to the General Election: 35
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