Divorce looms for Labour & NZ First

Matthew Hooton has written a fascinating article this week, believing that there is trouble ahead for the coalition government. He believes that the relationship between Peters and Ardern has already soured and that things will only get worse as the election draws near.

Many of us who either voted for Winston or considered doing so could not understand why he would align himself with a party that was always going to take the country heavily to the left. This is not Winston’s normal stomping ground at all and he always risked losing his support base by siding with them at the last election. Now, it seems, the writing is on the wall for the government. quote.

Policy-wise, the Coalition is clearly failing. KiwiBuild is a joke. Only with the most audacious creative accounting can Shane Jones pretend his billion trees programme is doing better.

His Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has so far paid out only $27 million, creating just 54 jobs, plus the 118 bureaucrats hired to administer it. end quote.

Even the sycophantic media is starting to call out the government on promises that they are obviously never going to keep. quote.

There is no obvious progress on health, education, poverty, homelessness or mental health.

There is no advantage to NZ First in being associated with such policy failures or deteriorating economic data.
Already, the party is under MMP’s 5 per cent threshold and well below the 10 per cent it polled this time in the previous cycle. Winston Peters has even managed to get on the wrong side of his core supporters by backing the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.. end quote.

Deservedly so. This was a sell-out of epic proportions. It may also have been the final nail in the political coffin for NZ First. quote.

Even more important, NZ First’s true power lies in coalition negotiations after an election. They require both Labour and National to at least perceive that Peters is open to the best offer from either side.

Senior NZ First figures are thus pondering how to conduct the necessary distancing from Labour. They say there is no longer any direct working relationship between Peters and Ardern, with Coalition business being carried out by ministers and senior staff.

They are conscious that distance must be achieved ahead of when Simon Bridges might rule out working with NZ First, allowing National to tell provincial New Zealand that a vote for NZ First is one for Labour.

One option is to operate relatively loyally until after the 2020 Budget and then gently resign all the party’s ministerial positions, allowing Labour to operate as a minority Government for the 90 days before the election.

That risks being too little too late, with NZ First associated with Labour’s failures and declining economic outlook in the meantime. It gives too much time for Bridges to rule out working with Peters but not enough for NZ First to demonstrate genuine neutrality.

Genuine neutrality or a wish to continue feeding at the trough for Peters? My money is on the latter. Besides, after the way Peters has treated Bridges, how could he possibly go into a coalition government with him? It would all end in tears, as it always does when Winston is involved. quote.

Consequently, the current plan is to begin a slow, steady but ever-growing undermining of the Government from within.

Typical Winston. He put them into government. Now he is going to destroy them. quote.

As a political strategy for NZ First, this all makes sense. It is Ardern we must pity over the next 18 months.

A Newspaper end quote.

I don’t pity her at all. Every time Winston Peters has gone into coalition with any party, it has ended badly. He simply cannot help himself. His massive ego and inability to compromise has shone through each time. Why did anyone think this time would be different?

There is one final thing to consider though, when the next election campaign begins. quote.

And it is Bridges who has major decisions ahead about National’s relationship with New Zealand’s perennial king-maker. end quote.

Bill English tried and failed to bring NZ First down and govern alone but maybe he was just one election too early. Maybe this time we will see the end of the smirking kingmaker once and for all.

Personally, I can’t wait.