Ron Mark tries to bolster NZ First vote

NZ First is having a tough week. First Shane Jones has come under fire for breaching the Cabinet manual procedures, and now Ron Mark finds himself in trouble for linking funding to electoral support. This is not unusual for this government though. They do it all the time. Remember David Parker threatening to charge farmers a higher rate for water if they objected to his initial proposal? David Parker is still a minister and so there is no reason to think that Ron Mark is in any danger either.

Again, it is probably not Jacinda’s call to make. His future will depend on how Winston feels about Ron Mark and he is probably less fond of Mark than he is of Shane Jones, so time will tell. quote.

Newshub has obtained a video of Ron Mark seemingly pitching for votes at an event he attended as a minister. National’s accusing him of threatening to pull government funding if his party didn’t get votes.

Mr Mark is both Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister and a NZ First MP – and it seems the lines are bit blurry.

In December he gave a speech to No Duff – a charitable trust that offers support to veterans. The Minister slipped on his NZ First hat talking about his party’s polling and calling attendees out for their lack of support.

“To be perfectly honest, when I look at the polling results of my political party New Zealand First, then the veterans, the Defence base, you guys haven’t supported us. At all,” he said.

end quote.

Next he will be buying them KFC and driving them to the polling booth. Oh wait… that’s illegal… but that didn’t stop Labour before. quote.

New Zealand First received just over seven percent of the vote at the last election. In the last Newshub poll they were below the 5 percent threshold.

Mr Mark then pitched for a political lifeline.

“If all the Defence Force family and everybody, uh Aaron and everybody else in the Defence Force threw us their party vote we’d probably be at 15 or 16 percent,” he said. end quote.

In your dreams, Ronnie boy. Truth is, you are below 4% and sliding downwards. It never seems to occur to these guys that they actually have to deserve voter support and that making elaborate promises at election time that are forgotten the day after the election is not the way to garner that support. Making veiled promises about government funding in exchange for votes is not the way to do it either… not unless we really are now the Venezuela of the South Pacific. quote.

While there are now two NZ First ministers under the pump, the Labour Prime Minister is showing no signs of swinging the axe.

Newshub end quote.

Jacinda has no appetite to make the tough calls so, even if she could, she won’t sack Ron Mark. Yet again, she will be made to look weak and indecisive.

Nobody would have got away with this type of behaviour under John Key. Apart from having very high standards of behaviour, John Key had one luxury that Jacinda does not. He had plenty of competent people in his caucus. If someone needed to be stood down, there was always someone capable and ambitious ready to step up.

Even if she wanted to fire Ron Mark, she would need Winston’s approval, and Winston has the same problem as Jacinda. In fact, Winston’s problem is even worse. Winston has no competent MPs whatsoever.