The best election outcome for the country is unlikely to happen, but it should be more carefully considered.
Labour don’t yet deserve to lead a Government. They have performed poorly through two terms in opposition. They are yet to clear out dead would and look like seriously rebuilding. They need more time to wake up and shape up.
National have done a reasonable job seeing the country through very difficult economic times. David Cunliffe conceded that in the leader’s debate.They have mostly competent ministers and a moderate approach and being far ahead of Labour in support (up to double) they are the logical option to lead Government again despite being under pressure from some quarters at the moment.
Winston Peters has proven yet again that he’s prepared to smear and make unsubstantiated accusations to hurt parties and ruin careers. He is throwing his dirt now and has done it through his return term. This approach doesn’t deserve political reward.
Conservatives, Internet-Mana and Act are all new and if they get into Parliament they need time to establish themselves and learn the ropes. They need time to earn a place in positions of ministerial responsibility Government.
The other significantly sized party is Greens. They are overdue for playing an active role in Government. They are very well organised and as prepared as any party could be to step up.
While many people like some Green input, especially on environmental and social issues, there’s a resistance to them having to much economic input. They haven’t been helped by Labour’s weakness – this has exaggerated the perception of how influential they would be. Hence they have struggled to raise their support since the last election.
I think a National-Green combination would be well balanced. Greens have all but ruled out considering this but if they did it would be their best chance of increasing support.
If Greens got 15% to Nationals 40-45% we would have a stable coalition. Most Green ministerial positions would be at associate level to let them gain experience at this level.
National’s prudent economic management could continue, with the added benefit of a sizable and vigorous voice for environmental and social considerations.
Greens more reasonable and principled approach would also help moderate the dirtier side of politics.
National would probably include UnitedFuture, ACT and Maori Party as bit players if they survive the election.
If this worked well and I see no reason why it wouldn’t this would benefit Greens in the longer term, to the extent that it could enable them to establish themselves as a political force alongside rather than subservient to Labour.
When National are inevitably voted out (although a successful Green+National arrangement could extend their reign) the Greens would have the experience to transition to a new coalition in a very strong position.
Greens have virtually ruled out working like this with National, but they made that stand months ago. Since then National have shown they need more holding to account for mistakes and dirty politics, Labour have slipped rather than recovered, Internet-Mana has injected a left wing component that is off putting to many, and Winston and his NZ First have proven less deserving of serious consideration than ever.
Greens and National would both benefit if they reconsidered their non-association stances.
And the resulting Government would be the best way for the country to benefit. What’s best for the country should be the primary consideration of the parties and the voters.
I think this would be a very popular (with voters) way out of the current mess.
If Greens reconsidered their current stance they could make a compelling case to go with National. Some of their activists may spit tacks but they should consider the Maori Party ethos of it being better to be influential at the table than perpetually frustrated out in the cold.
If Tame Iti can learn and change and see the sense in this approach then surely the Greens could.
This is by far the best election outcome I can think of.