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Monday, October 27, 2008

Minor Leader's debate: the deal matrix

TV One's minor leaders debate was a revelation. The news walrus managed to keep better order in this than in the rolling maul that was the Clark-Key showdown the other week. Which wasn't the revelation. It was Tariana Turia's positioning of the Maori Party that left me gasping.

Her ballsy reply to Shane Taurima's question on the entrenchment of the Maori seats was a classic moment. But it was Rodney Hide's breezy concession that he would have no problem at all with having the Maori seats entrenched - he even said it was consistent and fair since the general seats were also entrenched - that had me wondering if the Sky decoder had been receiving a signal from a parallel universe or future time where people suddenly stopped being arseholes. Astounding. It was only a week or so ago he was saying it was a racist anomaly that would be opposed vigorously by Act, and now he thinks it would be reasonable to have that racist anomaly entrenched! Amazing. Why the turn - I'll get to that later.

Hide's airy bubble of unreality was quickly popped by the increasingly caustic verbiage of the bouffanted Wellingtron 2000, Peter Dunne. A Dunne freshly massaged and preened by his marriage acceptance from John Key.

Here's how I read the state of play after the debate tonight:

Party - will not be ministers with:
Green - NZ First? (dependent on Police outcome)
NZ First - Act! Green?
Act - NZ First! Labour!
National - Labour!!, NZ First.
Labour - National!!, Act!
UF - Greens. Labour?
Maori - -
NB: Labour includes Anderton

!! = Will never go into any arrangement with them of any description.
! = They would bite half-way through their lip to do it, and only if it was the absolute last option on the table to get the Crown limo. It would be against their official stance but it could still happen if the circumstances demanded it.
. = Unlikely, but certainly not out of the question. I put Key's commitment over NZ First in this camp rather than in the "!" category because the Tories would find it very easy to say yes to Winston continuing as Foreign Minister - the Nats haven't attacked him on his work in that portfolio. Winston is right - Key will cut a deal with him to get in if he has to, ie. to cut out the Maori Party.
? = A half-hearted refusal to deal with them, and then only implicitly, but will instantly fold. Dunne would go with Labour to keep his limo in a heartbeat, Dunne would probably go with Hitler if he got a Benz out of it.


The Maori Party have not been ruled out by anyone and they have not ruled out anyone either. This leaves the Maori Party in a unique position. It gives the Maori Party potentially the most leverage and (depending entirely on whether Winston scuttles in or not) they will be the "king-makers". This much we have known for some time, but the way the dust is settling now gives a clear landscape to survey exactly where everyone lies.

The other revelation was a consensus - all six agreed - that a referendum on MMP or proportionality in the electoral system under the right rules around advertising and given time for an information campaign would be acceptable. I can't believe the Greens gave them that, but Fitzsimons said they would "happily" campaign to retain MMP and expected it would win. Problem is if the Tories time it right they could force the Greens to burn all their campaign resources to retain the system that enables them to be there (ie. at the refendum), but that may weaken them and divert attention away from fighting Tory policies. But Jeanette said they're up for that fight - so be it. She might regret those words.

As for Turia's body language when she carefully gave the Maori party position of supporting a referendum about proportionality rather than MMP per se, that was a total give-away. She knew what she was doing was crafty, political maneuvering that usually does not fit to well with their stated kaupapa, and it was so obvious - there was a pause, a deep breath, a few sideways glances and she broke eye contact and looked down - it was awkward for her but she pushed it out there. Why the uncomfortableness? They want the Maori seats and therefore the Maori roll entrenched, and that does not depend on the existence of MMP - indeed it would suit the Maori party to have the list abolished and go back to FPP given their constituency strength at the moment. I don't think they do want that actually, but the Nats and Act sure do and as I've posted before it is the Tories that need the Maori seats under FPP or else many marginals would fall to Labour if all the Maori roll voters go onto the general roll. There is a deadly logic to it all and the greens are probably privately upset, or at least alarmed that if they put the Nats in they will cook something up between them that would disadvantage the smaller issues parties such as the Greens, ie. the replacement of MMP with a partially proportionate system resembling FPP more than the current MMP system. And when I think of how the Greens are gunning to have Maori roll voters split their votes to deliberately cause a parliamentary overhang I have to say I have lost pity for them. It's a cynical gaming of their own system and one that could be turned into contempt for them over this tactic.

The question left firmly in my mind after hearing Turia and Hide is have they stitched up an agreement in principle - perhaps with National, maybe just between themselves, to entrench the Maori seats and have some sort of a referendum on MMP? That's what an outside observer not aware of all the previous positions might conclude had happened. If so this is huge. Labour - who have refused the Maori party request to get entrenchment legislation into the House - will rue the day if this concession works out - that they dismissed that demand out of hand. This Maori Party bottom line, as she said to Taurima, may actually be a bottom line for National, not for Labour. Labour is the default choice after all, it has less barriers to coalition, and so the Maori Party may demand little and accept even less from Labour... but with National... ?

Listen to the rhetoric this morning from Turia on Labour's Maori policy:

"On the critical issue of retaining the Maori seats, you need to read Labour's words carefully.
"Helen Clark says Labour supports the Maori Option, which gives Maori the say over the seats.
"But in reality, until the seats are entrenched, a simple majority in Parliament can abolish them and Maori have very little say."


Can Key cut this deal!?

Constitutionally it will mean something - but not as much as the Maori-Pakeha symbolism of a Tory and Maori party pact to recognise the constitutional equality of Maori and Pakeha. That has the ability to transcend the technical alteration of a statute. It could herald so much more. As a marker of maturity it could start a flow of governmental decisions that could lead to the formal and appropriate recognition by the Crown of Maori autonomy.

Key won't see it this way.

I'm sure he doesn't operate on that level. He will look to the bottom line of that bottom line, ie. dollars. A change to entrench the seats will not cost a penny. That must be a tempting "trade" (to use his dealer's terminology that occasionally creeps into the campaign banter), but what else do they want. What else? But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

- What the very astute Graeme Edgeler seems to be inferring is that Labour could veto an attempt to entrench the Maori seats. If you believe the extremist line that Chris Trotter takes that is what they would do to poison the Maori-National union. Then again Labour would lose the Maori seats forever for that betrayal, so I don't rate it as a viable option for Labour despite the red neck votes it could pull - most likely these would be effectively vacuumed up by a more credible articulator of race politics: Winston Peters.

[UPDATE:
The other revelation that may be crucial: Turia said (or rather confirmed, because it was always this way) that anyone on the Maori roll can attend the meetings organised by the Maori Party to decide which way they will jump. Turia said the MPs will go out with the sets of offers on the table and take their lead from the hui. All Labour have to do is stack the hui with their supporters on the Maori roll to swing it for Labour - this creates an even higher hurdle for National. But not an insurmountable one should Labour make the error of being miserly toward the Maori people.]

21 Comments:

At 28/10/08 7:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Labour dismissed the idea of entrenching Maori seats out of hand? Or have they just said it's not necessary?

The NZH claimed Labour wouldn't entrench the seats, but it did so while including some quotes from Clark as follows

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10539547&ref=rss


"I've given an absolute commitment that a Labour government isn't going to touch those seats."

But that support doesn't extend to entrenchment.

"Well, there's obviously no need to entrench them with a Labour government because we're absolutely committed to the seats staying," she said.


Carol

 
At 28/10/08 7:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And when I think of how the Greens are gunning to have Maori roll voters split their votes to deliberately cause a parliamentary overhang I have to say I have lost pity for them."

Asking Maori electorate voters for their party vote isn't trying to "deliberately cause" an overhang, it's asking people for their votes, which I thought was the objective of election campaigning.

 
At 28/10/08 11:02 am, Anonymous tristan said...

counting out a labour / national coalition..? they have more in common with each other than any of the other parties

 
At 28/10/08 11:09 am, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

The consequence of what they are doing and saying (running candidates in Maori seats) will cause an overhang if they are successful. That is the consequence of their tactics - that's how they want it to work out. And it does weaken their stance on the sacredness of MMP and the fundamentals of proportionality for them to be doing it this way. This might come into play during a referendum.

If the public view what the Greens are doing as a sly and cynical gaming of the MMP system then it will weaken their moral authority on the issue when campaigning to retain MMP. That's the potential problem the Greens might face.

 
At 28/10/08 11:13 am, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

tristan:
counting out a labour / national coalition..? they have more in common with each other than any of the other parties
- That's right they do. The Greens found that when they ran a ruler over the two parties to see who looks better for them on paper. They have come into the centre in order to win. In Germany - where we get our MMP system from - there is a "grand coalition" of SDP-CDU, but that won't happen here because they hate each other more than they hate any third party.

 
At 28/10/08 12:01 pm, Blogger Truth Seeker said...

I'm fascinated that the people who want to ditch MMP are the same people with policies they know voters will never back in sufficient numbers to see them govern.

Not for a moment do they consider changing their offerings to attract voters.

No.

Instead they want to limit democracy and strip voters of a vote that counts in order to have any hope of imposing their version of perfection on people who clearly don't want it.

Why anyone who respects democracy would support a party that is working hard to undermine it is just one of those inconsistencies.

 
At 28/10/08 1:22 pm, Anonymous tristan said...

tim:i think the hating each other is a one sided affair, in the last 12 months i have seen national support a few labour policies
so when would a grand coalition happen?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Coalition

 
At 28/10/08 2:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why anyone who respects democracy would support a party that is working hard to undermine it is just one of those inconsistencies."

Because they're not driven by self delusion douchbag

 
At 28/10/08 4:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why anyone who respects democracy would support a party that is working hard to undermine it is just one of those inconsistencies.

How about the section 59, truthseeker? the vast majority of NZers, over 80% of us didn't want that to go through, but your beloved Labour party pushed it through anyway. Do you call that democracy?

How about the EFA, that most of us didn't want? IS that your idea of democracy.

It is quite a sight to see the likes of you and Bomber getting all shrill and hysterical and bitter at the thought of National getting rid MMP. It's interesting that you cling to to this ridiculous notion of anything other than MMP being completely undemocratic. More interesting still that you, like bomber continue to kid yourself, and anyone who'll listen to your whining, that National is pushing for us to go back to FPP, and you COMPLETELY ignore the various alternatives to both MMP and STV.

I guess the thing that cracks me up the most is the ground swell of people, both left and right, who are sick of MMP and the way it seems to fuck things up by letting tiny minorities hold the balance of power and prevent the wishes of the vast majority of people, you would deny these people their democratic right to have a say on how or democracy should be run.

 
At 28/10/08 5:02 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the section 59, truthseeker? the vast majority of NZers, over 80% of us didn't want that to go through, but your beloved Labour party pushed it through anyway. Do you call that democracy?

How about the EFA, that most of us didn't want? IS that your idea of democracy.

It is quite a sight to see the likes of you and Bomber getting all shrill and hysterical and bitter at the thought of National getting rid MMP. It's interesting that you cling to to this ridiculous notion of anything other than MMP being completely undemocratic. More interesting still that you, like bomber continue to kid yourself, and anyone who'll listen to your whining, that National is pushing for us to go back to FPP, and you COMPLETELY ignore the various alternatives to both MMP and STV.

I guess the thing that cracks me up the most is the ground swell of people, both left and right, who are sick of MMP and the way it seems to fuck things up by letting tiny minorities hold the balance of power and prevent the wishes of the vast majority of people, you would deny these people their democratic right to have a say on how or democracy should be run.


Where as cocksuckers like you you smarmy little right wing prick would sell and trade on that anger
with MMP and revert back to the system of the elites while pretending to claim to be a democrat. Quislings like you need to fuck off to other FPP countries and leave representative democracy alone - and since when the fuck did a 99cent text message on conservative TV One whose own polls were out 8 points last election is hardly a yardstick worth mentioning.

 
At 28/10/08 5:07 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

How about the section 59, truthseeker? the vast majority of NZers, over 80% of us didn't want that to go through, but your beloved Labour party pushed it through anyway. Do you call that democracy?
No Anon , I call that a warping by the media of reactive NZ - section 59 wasn't about making parents criminals - it was used to close a loop hole that allowed parents to beat their children and use the courts as a defence you clown! How dare you stand up for a court system that defends child beaters!!!! Parents who can whip their 13 year old with a riding crop and get away with it? How dare you support that system, that sounds more like extreme religious law than a secular country!

How about the EFA, that most of us didn't want? IS that your idea of democracy.
And yet NZ was rated highly in freedom of speech rankings recently - showing once again the hysteria you and your right wing nuts spin on these issues is reactive bullshit!

 
At 28/10/08 6:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And yet NZ was rated highly in freedom of speech rankings recently - showing once again the hysteria you and your right wing nuts spin on these issues is reactive bullshit!"

Once again bomber forgets to mention how the head of the electoral commission, the very person who enforces those laws say that they have a chilling effect.

Bomber, you are such a bullshit artist.

All you've go to rely on it a single international study whereas the domestic opposition to the EFA was wide spread across the political spectrum.

You are just sprouting the same old labour line that anything the left does irrespective of the damage it does to democracy is good because it keeps labour in power.

Are you THAT scared of national that you've given up your democratic principles.

 
At 28/10/08 6:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Tariana Turia is a fat abomination of a woman.

 
At 28/10/08 6:40 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Once again bomber forgets to mention how the head of the electoral commission, the very person who enforces those laws say that they have a chilling effect.
Hey Moron - I blogged on this very topic, I agreed that it was an issue, but the fact we have gone up in the rankings of freedom of speech shows that it wasn't as bad as has been spun by kiwiblogh, the hiv, the herald or anyother far right hate sites.

You are just sprouting the same old labour line that anything the left does irrespective of the damage it does to democracy is good because it keeps labour in power.
Again, you need to try and keep to the facts, I marched against the first version of this bill, I described it as a two headed mutant piece of legislation - and I DON'T vote Labour, for the ten millionth time Anon - I don't vote Labour, they locked up my mate for sedition, my other mate Ahmed Zaoui and they stole Maori lan. I - DON'T - VOTE - LABOUR can you read Anon?

 
At 28/10/08 7:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet you're doing such a great job supporting them here.

So what are we to infer...

I'm so glad that you rate the opinion of some overseas poll more highly than the law society and the human rights commission.

I guess they are wrong and you are right?

Maybe you should quit now before we tear you a new one bobo

 
At 29/10/08 8:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiwiblogh, the hiv, the herald or anyother far right hate sites.

Utterly pathetic, your equating David Farrar the herald and the Hive with Neo nazis and the National front now? Not voting Labour/greens/maori now makes a far right hater now?

You are sounding more desperate with each new post.

 
At 29/10/08 8:06 am, Blogger Bomber said...

Utterly pathetic, your equating David Farrar the herald and the Hive with Neo nazis and the National front now? Not voting Labour/greens/maori now makes a far right hater now?

I've read what anonymous posters like you have posted about Maori on those sites, we get them posted here too Anon, and they would make far right hate groups blush. I'm looking forward to personally taking David to town on Backbenchers next week.

 
At 29/10/08 9:26 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So anonymous posters (not like me, but nice try) on those sites make them far right?

Should we start judging you by what anonymous people post on this site? You don't personally distance yourself from every inflammatory thing siad on this site but that clearly doesn't mean you endorse it - I'm thinking about some of the bullshit that the likes of mosthated have posted - so why would tar farrar with this bollocks, after all he gets way more traffic than you, it would be impossible for him to personally respond to every single stupid thing that some clown says on his site?

Admit it, your far right hate site call is out is fucking stupid.

 
At 29/10/08 10:10 am, Blogger Bomber said...

So anonymous posters (not like me, but nice try) on those sites make them far right?
This from the anonymous poster right?

Should we start judging you by what anonymous people post on this site?
We delete the majority of the really offensive comments.

You don't personally distance yourself from every inflammatory thing siad on this site but that clearly doesn't mean you endorse it
That's not true I comment on most comments.

- I'm thinking about some of the bullshit that the likes of mosthated have posted -
I commented on him many times.

so why would tar farrar with this bollocks, after all he gets way more traffic than you, it would be impossible for him to personally respond to every single stupid thing that some clown says on his site?
Because Farrar instigates much of it with the tone of his site, he's our Fox News on-line.

Admit it, your far right hate site call is out is fucking stupid.
No.

 
At 29/10/08 11:50 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not true I comment on most comments.

And Farrar moderates his blogs deletes plenty of offensive posts and even has a demerit system for banning people.



I commented on him many times.

Yeha never used any of your trade mark vitriol on him when he made racist comments and there are still so many of hated's racist remarks in the comments section of you blog. Is it okay to use racial slurs against white people?


Because Farrar instigates much of it with the tone of his site, he's our Fox News on-line.

Fox News! he would be honoured I'm sure, can't wait to see you attempt to dress him down at back-benchers, will be a larf to see you get put in your place.

 
At 29/10/08 12:22 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

Yeha never used any of your trade mark vitriol on him when he made racist comments and there are still so many of hated's racist remarks in the comments section of you blog. Is it okay to use racial slurs against white people?
I think you will find hated was responding to attacks on him by people, tyou take a swing he dished it back, I hardly think he was blameless in this tangos, I noted you got your fair share in Anon.

Fox News! he would be honoured I'm sure,
He is the on-line Fox News on NZ media

can't wait to see you attempt to dress him down at back-benchers, will be a larf to see you get put in your place.
LOL - David blogs much better than he does on live television, I'd suggest you check out a couple of his previous appearances before you ring the bookies.

 

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