How Phil Goff wins the 2011 election
Interesting couple of weeks in the behind the scenes political world, it certainly made me realize we have too many checker players who don't know how to play chess on the left.
So the announcement of the non aggression pact between Hone and the Maori Party came out two weeks ago Friday, and it wasn't until the Wednesday before that Friday that it dawned on Hone and his advisers (who are all wonderfully passionate folk) that the Maori Party was intent on dumping Hone.
This was astounding to me as I had been pointing this reality out on TVNZ 7 last year. Call it political naivety, lack of political foresight, lack of political imagination, maybe all three but the suddenness of the realization has prompted an emotional jilted lover response from Hone's camp. They have forgone a broader left political vehicle that articulated the aspirations of Maori, beneficiaries and minimum wage earners that included Sue Bradford to just start a bloody civil war with the Maori Party. Hone can't help himself but renege on his non aggression act, even using his seating arrangement in Parliament to threaten it's end. What Hone fails to appreciate was that one of the functions of the non aggression pact was to stop Labour from outflanking him and the Maori Party, and that is exactly what Phil has done.
Call Goff what you will, but he is a shrewd player of the game. Phill has realized Hone won't launch a broad left party with Sue Bradford that could have attracted up to 3% party vote and change the MMP math in Parliament and was going to simply spoil for a fight with the Maori Party and only end up in succeeding to split the electorate votes. In such an environment Goff has ruled Hone out and stood back to let them slug it out in an attempt to come up the middle and take the Maori seats back for Labour.
It's not a stupid strategy by Phil. The National Party need the Maori Party post 2011 because Rodney in Epsom is TOAST.
It's great to see the mainstream media finally picking up on points I made bout the demise of ACT, which means the NZ Herald is now only 9 months behind Tumeke and let's be clear why Rodney is toast in Epsom.
It isn't Rodney's hypocrisy, it isn't the Sensible Sentencing Trusts hypocrisy, it isn't David Garrett's hypocrisy - it is because in well to do Epsom professional women have all had to at some time in their life deal with a sexist bully male boss, and they all saw what Rodney did to Heather Roy and they have transferred all that righteous hatred and associated it directly to Rodney. Well to do professional women in Epsom would now prefer to being caught shopping at Farmers by their Remuera Tennis Club Girlfriends than vote for the oompa loompa of hate.
ACT are toast and National have known this for some time, as such they can't rely on Rodney as a coalition partner, hence the promotion of the Maori Party as the next possible coalition partner, hence the forcing out of Hone.
National's Plan A is to win 47% of the vote for an outright majority Government, a massive ask especially as their 2008 45% was a high tide in terms of electoral support, their Plan B is use the Maori Party as a coalition partner so Goff's stepping back to let the MP and Hone slug it out while Labour come through the middle to retake the Maori electorates is a smart move.
Charles Chauvel's assault on Peter Dunne's Ohariu is almost guaranteed, with Ohariu having the largest density of of public servants in the country, the electorate knows a vote for Dunne is a vote for more public service cut backs leaving National with no actual coalition partners.
The only question in this remains what of NZ First? Winston is launching his play at National Party rump voters in April with his big 3 policy; the repeal of the repeal of section 59, Nationalizing the seabed and foreshore and making all referendum binding. Key has moved immediately to shut Winston wooing any of his unhappy rump vote away by ruling Winston out and threatening to quit if he loses, this will have the effect of a pavlov dog voter, being called by Winston and being told to stay by Key. The impact of these cross messages over conservative policy bait will result in NZ First just falling shy of the 5% threshold.
National will certainly have the most votes on election night, no doubt about it but it is who can form the majority (in this Goff will be talking to Hone post civil war) and when the reality sinks in the fury from right wing voters who have been conned into complacency by cheap brainfart opinion polls predicting over 50% support will be difficult to contain.