Audrey Young : Labour lost after Key's Green deal

Audrey Young : Labour lost after Key’s Green dealJohn Key made Phil Goff’s already difficult job as Opposition Leader harder this week. The agreement between Key’s conservative National Party and the left-wing Greens to co-operate on special policy – three areas initially – leaves… [NZ Herald Politics]

Aunty Aud’ looks at how National has left Labour as Nigel No-mates;

Key’s finessing of MMP politics this week – signing a co-operation agreement with the party it has least in common with – is a win for both parties.

It rescues the Greens from perceived irrelevancy for the next three years and gives it influence it might otherwise not have had.

And acquiring the Greens imprimatur on shared policy gives National more credibility on environmental issues among the sceptics. Having stopped or stalled many of Labour’ sustainability policies, that is useful.

Yes, and to think many offshore lap-bloggers had the temerity to suggest that National and John Key didn’t understand MMP.

Outside of the agreement, stark policy differences between the two parties are no threat, just a pleasant reminder to supporters of both that their leaders have not gone completely bonkers.

Perhaps surprisingly, the deal meets the wishes of many National Party supporters.

The party most favoured by National supporters for post-election deals was the Green Party, according to the party’s pre-election polling. About a third of National supporters had a clear preference for them, rating higher than Act, according to Key.

And, importantly for National, it has the potential to undermine Goff’s goal of presenting Labour as an alternative Government in 2011.

Yep, as I said the other day, this agreement pigeon-holes each support party into their chosen areas, gives John Key broad spectrum support for different policy mixes and marginalises the smaller support parties on contentious issues. Most importantly it destroys Labour’s claim to be the natural party of government which most know is only a pretense that came to the fore with Helen Clark ruling. Phil Goff doesn’t have a snowball’s.

Key’s performance, combined with the natural post-election honeymoon effect, has delivered his party a polling boost since the election (it won 44.93 per cent). It is at 57 per cent to Labour’s 31 per cent in Sunday’s One News Colmar Brunton poll (Labour polled 33.99 per cent at the election). The gap is a little wider according to National’s own polling.

Heh, I bet DPF didn’t squeal the figures, he won’t even tell me. Still it just goes to show that Labour are dreamin’ if they think the the failed and now tired meme that John Key = Satan will work for the next election.

Goff has a clear four years to turn things around for Labour without being seriously bothered about leadership. David Cunliffe is no threat. President Andrew Little might be eventually, but not for at least four years.

Goff will have all the publicity he has dreamed of soon when campaigning begins for the Mt Albert byelection – some time in June.

A loss would be a devastating blow.

Clark’s personal majority last election was large, 10,351. But the swing to National was evident in the party vote and for a byelection that should be the starting point.

Labour’s majority on the party vote in Mt Albert was only 2426 votes.

Given the swing to National since the election and the fact that Clark herself will not be campaigning for the yet-unselected Labour candidate, it could be hard to keep. A hugely unpopular decision by Transport Minister Stephen Joyce around the Waterview connection in the next few weeks would help Labour enormously.

How the Greens campaign could also be a big factor.

Having won 3846 of the party vote last time, what Green supporters do with their vote could make all the difference.

And like National, they could make Phil Goff’s job a lot more difficult.

Hmmmm…. I don’t agree with Audrey’s time frame for Goff. He is missing in action, and in the house Labour are not performing. They are being openly laughed at. The only performers are Trevor Mallard and he has made a hash of trying to nail Nick Smith and Michael Cullen and he has now been “turned”. Cullen’s influence will end in just three weeks and Labour is going to rely on Darren Hughes!

Mt Albert may well be the end of Goff. If Labour do not win he is gone for sure. With Cullen gone the Tizard effect is now in play. Labour is in trouble electorally, the people of Mt Albert may well decide that they would be better represented by someone sitting on the government side of the house.