Chris Trotter snorts at the no-mandate anti asset sale argument in Mandate given at last election.
Any political party racking up such a total is entitled to claim a very strong electoral mandate for all its policies.
National’s claim to a specific mandate for its asset sales programme is, accordingly, very strong. The policy was announced nearly a year before the election and was subjected to the intense scrutiny of not only the parliamentary opposition, but also the news media and a broad cross-section of civil society.
If Prime Minister John Key’s Government doesn’t have a mandate to proceed with its privatisation policy, the word no longer has any political meaning.
Whale Oil has highlighted this in Trotter on the intellectual dishonesty of the asset sales petition.
Despite all that there are some people who believe that an electoral mandate should be gazumped by a referendum that had public monies poured into it by the Green party in order to buy signatures. There are many, many referenda that have been put forward that have been ignored by politicians. Why should this one be any different.
I doubt that the Green and Labour strategists give a toss about mandates.
The hijacking of the referendum process is a cynical misuse of taxpayer money to extend election campaiging through the duration of the term.
They will know the referendum won’t stop National’s MOM policy from progressing (as much as the financial situation allows it). My guess is that they plan to use the referndum as a springboard into election year campaigning. Or at least that’s the Green strategy, Labour may be simply floundering along following the Green lead.
This raises another issue. If a Labour-Green government takes over next term even if as expected Greens have less MPs their far superior political nous is likley to put them in a very strong position. It will start in the coalitiion negotiations, where Labour will be desperate to get back into power. But Greens, while obviously keen to at last make it into Government, may be in a formidable “take us or leave it” position.
Provided Greens at least maintain current levels of support and current political smarts no matter the balance of MPs is expect a Labour-Green government to be strongly influenced and possible dominated by the Greens.