Winston Peters appeared to promote a Labour+NZ First coalition option yesterday but it looks more like a torpedo to the left, especially aimed at the Greens, perhaps to try and pick up votes from the debris.
The main question is whether Peters was trying to be noticed on a day that Kim Dotcom was sucking up most of the media attention, or if he was trying to slip a positioning statement in under cover of the big news of the day.
Peters put out a media release yesterday afternoon - Alternatives In Election 2014 which praised both Labour’s David Parker and National’s Bill English.
When David Parker was attacked by a former business partner, alleging a breach of the law by the Hon David Parker, I was the first MP to back David Parker because, over an extensive period of time, I believed that he was a man of honour and integrity.
Similarly, I have observed the Hon Bill English’s conduct regarding the allegations in “Dirty Politics” and his reserve in the defence of the Hon Judith Collins’s conduct.
In addition on the question of tax cuts by National, Mr English’s aversion to claiming that they were possible is further evidence for me, that like Mr Parker, he has a certain integrity and honour.
Consequently, I see both of them as capable of being Ministers of Finance.
By stating he would work with either Labour or National Peters appears to keep his coalition options open. But he also slams the Greens.
In this campaign the Green Party has twice, for reasons best known to them, in essence led an assault on the Labour Party.
“Of late the Greens have been talking about being co-deputy prime ministers and wanting the finance portfolio.
“Does that mean when the Prime Minister is abroad we are going to have two acting prime ministers instead.
“This situation would be farcical.
“If the Greens think they are going to take over the levers of economic management they are assuming other parties are not watching their record.
“This statement in no way challenges the Labour Party’s belief that in the right circumstances they could form an alternative government.
“Voters need to be disabused of the view promoted by the Greens that we in New Zealand First would stand by whilst they promote extremist policies in government.
“This is not indicating a choice but the media seem to have overlooked one option entirely, a Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply.
“This emerged in 2005, has precedent, and it was a stable, successful government that delivered the greatest surpluses in recent years.”
Things were considerably different in 2005 when Peters shut the Greens out of Government.
Labour got 41.1% (to National’s 39.1), NZ First got 5.72% and the Greens 5.3%. Labour and NZ First combined with United Future (2.67%) giving a total of 49.42%.
Current polling has Labour in the mid twenties and NZ First 4-8%. Even if a miracle happens and Labour recovered to 30%, and NZ First climbed to 10%, that gets only 40%, well short of a majority. Greens (polling 10-15%) would be essential to get over the line.
Labour+NZ First is likely to be closer to 35% and could go as low as 30%.
“A Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply” looks an unattainable option. Peters must know this.
If Peters rules out combining with the Greens as he appears to have done here then he has only two choices – a coalition with National (possibly alongside Conservatives if they make the threshold, giving National alternatives) or going on the cross benches.
Peters must see potential votes from Green bashing. He has u-turned on his word before but he has consistently avoided working in Government alongside the Greens.
This looks like a torpedo to the left, conceding a left wing coalition is extremely unlikely.