Greens say no to National and the Shearer reshuffle shuffle
official end to the Green Party and National Party flirting and the second is the sudden ending of Stuart Nash as David Shearer's version of Heather Simpson.
There were serious attempts by some within the National camp to explore the possible relationship with the Greens if the ACT ploy failed and Dunne lost his seat. While the mainstream media confidently claimed National over 50% with their flawed landline poll methodology, insiders knew the election would be far closer than predicted. In the end it was a one seat majority and National need to find a new coalition partner by 2014 or they are will be the no mates opposition.
The problems for National 2014 will be the same they faced in 2011, except steeper. Dunne and Bank's ability to hold onto their seats to create the majority math will still be the main strategic issue while the Maori Party's tactic of sitting at Key's table swallowing dead rat after dead better pay some huge dividends or risk ending up being overtaken by MANA.
Collectively this spells trouble for National's attempt to find coalition partners. With more public service cut backs than ever before, the Ohariu electorate with it's highest percentage of public servants may be terribly sick of Dunne by 2014 and ACT are so toxic now it's difficult to see them returned if the tide is going out against the Government. National could cut an Epsom deal with the Conservatives in Rodney to ensure a coalition partner or they could with Key leaving allow a thawing with NZ First and cut a deal with them. It was Key who said he couldn't cut a deal with Winston, National will cut a deal with anyone if it means power.
On the other side of the political spectrum, it looks like Shearer's 'don't-do-much' faction have lost control of the agenda with the sudden ending of Stuart Nash as the new Heather Simpson. The strategy to date has been that Shearer would take Labour to the centre right to gain voters from National rather than inspire the million enrolled voters who didn't bother to vote. This strategy inadvertently allows political space for the Greens and MANA to pick up the slack and impact on the Parliamentary math, but this lack of direction on values Labourites hold dear has been met with woe by Party faithful who have also been dismayed by Shearer's lackluster media performances.
The problem is balancing Labour so as not to spook their existing members while attracting centrist voters. Labour should be trying to show that they, the Greens and MANA are the next Government so Labour can be left by association rather than trying to out left the Greens or MANA with policy likely to scare centrists. Labour have to start looking at total numbers rather than the maximum they can gain if they want to change the Government in 2014.
With the Greens ruling out working with National, David Shearer should seize the moment now and call on the Greens to meet and work out what policy they can agree on and how they can assist each other in the election rather than vote split electorate seats.
That way Labour look like they are doing more than sitting on their hands and waiting for Key to just screw it all up.