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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Will 2011 be the election of the splintered political spectrum?

Peters the kingmaker again
THE COUNTRY'S next prime minister could be decided by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

A new poll has cast Peters as kingmaker. The 65-year-old left parliament after 30 years as an MP when he lost in Tauranga to Simon Bridges and New Zealand First failed to pass the 5% party list MP threshold in the last election.

The Horizon poll of almost 2000 intending voters shows the often-controversial MP could have the power to decide whether National's John Key or Labour's Phil Goff leads the country after the 2011 elections.

In 2008 New Zealand First captured just over 4% of the vote, but the Horizon poll, conducted from November 16-22, shows the party is back in the game with 6% support.

In the same poll National recorded 34.7% support, Labour 28.3%, the Greens 7.9%, Act 2.6%, the Maori Party 1.2%, Jim Anderton's Progressives 1.2%, United Future 0.2% and other parties 1.6%.

That left undecided at 8.1% and those who preferred not to say at 8.2%.

Most polls only measure decided votes but the Horizon poll also includes the all-important swing voters by asking undecided voters who they lean towards.

The polling company says that makes its results more accurate and explains why the gap between National and Labour is so narrow. The results are expressed as a percentage of the New Zealand population aged 18 or older.

The right wing have been pretending for sometime that the 2011 election will be a cake walk. That hubris has taken a blow by this latest Horizon Poll which alongside IPredict has been suggesting a down to the wire result. That said, David over at Kiwiblogh is desperately attempting to discredit this poll as quickly as John Key's PR people because of course David makes his bread and butter from these status-quo-biased-brain-fart-cheap-telephone-polls and his role as all seeing oracle of the right is going to have implications for paying the bills if he is getting it wrong.

Incidentally, I hear that John Banks numbers people were telling John right up until he received the phone call telling him he had lost by a landslide that he had won it by tiny majority. If the right are that off in their political antenna, Kiwiblogh should be worried.

The many problems with the mainstream media's reliance on status-quo-biased-brain-fart-cheap-telephone-polls have been listed before, the Horizon Poll are much more transparent with their weighting, total number and use of not decided voters gives a much broader representation of public opinion. It can be argued that the left are not getting recognition in these polls which is why the large jump to the left in the local council elections caught the political media establishment so off guard.

Recessions produce great societal pressures, and when all National have to offer is an economic Darwinism seen as not severe enough by the fringe right, then splintering of political parties to represent these building pressure points is the next stage from an economic recession that starts to now slip into depression.

The possibility of a double dip recession akin to the 1929 crises of Capitalism is a topic well canvassed here, domestic and international economic structures are weakened and any shock can trigger domino entropy. If retail suffers a dour Christmas will retail be the next industry ripe for major collapse in the new year?

Add European austerity measures with those looming in America alongside Australia's latest GDP Q3 predicted at .5% but coming in at .2%, with US unemployment growing not receding as had been predicted this week and with China inflation higher than expected, all the canaries are gone.

With economic downturn comes political friction, the Horizon Poll suggests with our MMP 5% threshold that there is room in this political environment of anxious uncertainty for the political splintering to occur.

Splinter to the Right
As Deborah Coddington points out and as Colin James has pointed out, there is an anger on the right that is brewing. The garden-variety-bigot-economic-free-market-pro- corporation-mafia fronted by Don 'maaaaaaaaaori get too much' Brash are mixing with the flaky vikings-settled-NZ-so-Maori-have-no-Coastal-rights-Queen-Sheeba-of-the-desert-white-people-were-here-first-mythology of Muriel Newman rednecks. If this inbred bastardization can tie in the flaky rural right wing global-warming-is-a-hoax brigade they could not easily reach 5%.
NZ far right fascism will be like NZ, casual.
New Right Party List
1: Don Brash
2: Muriel Newman
3: Someone as mild mannered as Jim Mora not to scare the horses.
4: Paul Henry
5: Cameron Slater

Splinter to the Left
As I have pointed out in a speech to a new left wing Party...,

I find it the most disgusting of ethical molestations that the weakest and most vulnerable in society are being asked to do with less because the global economy was crashed by the greedy and corrupt, yet that is exactly what the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are proposing with their despicable bennie bashing attack on the welfare state.

...there are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, 85,000 have severe mental or physical disabilities. 58,000 have been documented by medical professionals as sick, 112,000 are raising children alone, and 65,000 are actively looking for work, a political party on the left that had beneficiaries aspirations and the aspirations of those on the minimum wage at their heart alongside a philosophy of policy changes needing to benefit those on the bottom most would be ripe for political representation.

A Whanau Ora policy for all beneficiaries so that each person needing welfare had an advocate to help guide them through the warren of State Bureaucracy put in place to deny those needing help the knowledge of what they are entitled to. Implementing Sue Bradford's alternative welfare program would require her to be Minister of Welfare in any future Government.

The launching of this Party would require Hone to leave the Maori Party out of disgust for their constant support of National and the weak foreshore deal agreed to. An early by-election with him fronting a new left wing political party could be the Party's launching point giving an electorate seat advantage going into the 2011 election late in the year.
New Left Party list
1: Sue Bradford
2: Jim Anderton
3: Hone Harawira
4: Matt McCarten
5: Liala Harre

Impacts on National:
National won't notice their big blue tent going up in flames until it happens. the hubris Paul Holmes represents when he laughs at how the GST tax rise has not impacted anyone (when over half of those polled say it has left them worse off) is the same hubris that convinces National Party strategists that they have over 50% support from the status-quo-biased-brain-fart-cheap-telephone-polls. If the flaky rural global-warming-is-a-hoax brigade fall into line with the new far right Don Brash Party, National will have no choice but to start moving to the right giving up the centre ground. Any shift right would make it impossible for the Maori Party to seek any other choice than a Labour led one or face electoral annihalation as kingmaker role passes to more taxis on the ranks than just them.

Impacts on Labour:
A new Left Wing Party chewing into Labour's Party vote could be forgiven, with the election as razor thin as is suggested, there will need to be a lot of social policy accomodation. Labour-Greens-New Left Party?

If Labour was to learn anything from Mana, in 2010, Local ruled. From earthquaked Christchurch Mayors to stoic Greymouth Mayors, the country under stress turned to its local communities to seek their leaders. The jump in the percentage turn out in Auckland local body elections (from the 30%'s to over 50%) reminded the pundits that the underclass who have been bleeding from this recession for the longest were voicing their dissent. It is a dissent that is under the radar of the mainstream media and is under represented in the status-quo-biased-brain-fart-cheap-telephone-polls. Parachuting a nervous-carpetbagging-Labour-Party-grid-candidate-box-ticker into a community is not the way to win the hearts and minds.

Which is what Labour can do. The social decency Labour's political philosophy demands, must see policy promoted that forces a rigorous reshuffle of the economic equation towards managed Keynesian capitalism. Sadly the sudden move to the left reversing 25 years of free market dogma as the bases of their economic policy articulated with such dignity by Phil Goff at the Labour Party Conference was almost shot dead by Labour's supposed defacto online fanclub last week, (over at the Standard), when it was claimed that Cunliffe's recent announcement regarding heavily regulated PPP's for new SOE subsidiaries was a sudden move to the right.

Hadn't they read the Herald Editorial pointing out that this was no move to the right? The Managed Keyensian Capitalism State is not smaller, it is necessarily larger, and the funding for that needs to come from the private sector, under the harshest restrictions possible. Yes we've all listed the failings of these PPP's too numerous to mention, but they can be designed to work and in a time capitalism is failing, the right legislative price mechanisms and public investment can rebuild the certainty that the market requires to truly succeed.

Labour have to give middle NZ a narrative of how bad the economic situation is and define themselves as the solution to that situation. Remind NZers that despite National's favourite mantra that they are 'cleaning up after 10years of economic mismanagement', that Cullen did pay down the debt in the good times and that is was prudent Labour Party economic stewardship that saw NZ through the worst of the global recession, not Johnny come lately.

Labour need to find locals leaders to motivate votes and need to be selling Phil as a leader who can work with a wide community.

Impacts on Greens:
If there is a new left wing Party Russel Norman will have his dream of an urban liberal environmental party free of the activist hippies who put off the soccer mums. The Greens will still get over the 5% threshold even with a new left wing party. Nandor should be hired to consult between the Greens, the new left wing party and the Maori Party to ensure a united front when negotiating with Labour.

Impacts on Maori Party
With Hone leaving to start a by-election, the Maori Party could either allow him to compete without running against him, assuring a relationship less bitter when he comes back or they risk all out civil war that will weaken them for the hungry snapping crocodile of Shane Jones in the 2011 election. If National side with a new right wing party, the Maori Party will have little choice but to work with Labour or risk losing the Maori seats to them.

Impacts on ACT:
If the rural global-warming-is-a-hoax brigade side with Don Brash, ACT will need to rely on the discredited Sensible Sentencing Trust for active member support to get over 5%, and seeing after the David Garrett affair the SST are the new social lepers of the political world, that simply won't happen so this leaves Epsom, and with Winston possibly running there it would be over for ACT.

Impacts on NZ First:
A new left wing Party wouldn't impact Winston, but it would impact him if a new right wing reactionary party emerged. Can't rule the cunning fox out.

There will be many BBQ's happening this Summer.


At 5/12/10 8:48 pm, Blogger sdm said...

An interesting analysis.

The left:

1) Any new party that has Anderton in it is doomed. Sorry but they should distance themselves from him. And the McCarten/Unite PAYE story isnt going away.

2) Is there space for them to get 5% and the greens to get 5%? In the last two elections they got 5.7 and 6.7%. Any fragmentation of that vote is INCREDIBLY risky. Historically, polls tend to OVERstate the green vote. Or do you end up with a disenfranchised Labour vote - Labour drop to mid 20s and the new party gets in.

Any such new party could be a blessing for National. The names you mentioned could be used to scare the middle. Vote Goff get Bradford would be one such slogan

You mention anger but I wonder if those who are angry, the unions etc, were never going to vote National anyway. Yes there is economic uncertainty - i speak to small businesses all the time who are in the shit, but i dont think that uncertainty is hurting the government yet.

"If National side with a new right wing party, the Maori Party will have little choice but to work with Labour or risk losing the Maori seats to them."

In 2008 National went with Act. The Maori Party got on board. Why would 2011 be any different?

You state that a right wing party forces National to the right - no it doesnt. National can stay in the centre, let this new party take its right flank.

At 5/12/10 9:48 pm, Blogger snigie said...

happily for national theres no other leader to oppose john key in labour so their safe

At 6/12/10 2:32 am, Blogger Jack said...

I agree that Anderton would need to stay away. His day is done. There are much better figures on the left for the job.

A new left party might work if it convinced enough Green and Labour voters. I'm not convinced that it would, the Greens are a becoming credible choice for any progressive voter. Even if does steal the Greens votes, I see the Greens rising in popularity amongst the centre with some really good new candidates like James Shaw in Wellington Central and Jan Logie, being just two.


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