The only way that Peters gets to be PM…

Could Winston Peters – or Metiria Turei or Te Ururoa Flavell or David Seymour or Peter Dunne or Trevor Mallard or Catherine Delahunty – be Prime Minister?

Theoretically yes. In practice it’s hard to see any party with the most votes in a coalition letting it happen.

Weka at The Standard:

The only way that Peters gets to be PM* is by old school, macho, domination system politics. L/G are offering an alternative to that, where we have honesty, integrity, co-operation, and working together for the good of all NZers rather than the ego-driven ambitions of one powermonger or a bunch of neoliberal robber barons.

*assuming that is even possible constitutionally and politically.

If the CT machine, Farrar etc are now going to push hard on this line about Peters, we should see it for what it is: yet another manipulation of the electorate and political process in NZ. I think we have to be very careful on the left to not give this too much energy. By all means critique the proposal, but coming out of the GP conference, the big sea change happening on the left, Little and Shaw’s good strong speeches and rallying cries, is this what we really want to focus on?

http://thestandard.org.nz/will-national-agree-to-make-peters-pm/#comment-1184129

*assuming that is even possible constitutionally and politically.

Constitutionally yes. Any MP can theoretically be Prime Minister. Politically probably no.

Andrew Geddis at The Spinoff: What Winston Peters could learn from binge-watching Danish drama

Constitutional law expert Andrew Geddis examines whether the NZ First leader could really become prime minister, with the help of political nerds’ favourite TV show.

Well, Watkins is right that MMP makes this outcome possible, just as Denmark’s proportional representation system allowed Nyborg to fictionally lead that nation. Because there’s nothing in our legal or formal constitutional arrangements to absolutely rule it out.

Our statutes only say that the prime minister first must be an elected member of parliament. And then our underlying constitutional principles require that the prime minister enjoy the “confidence of the House”, meaning that they obtain a majority (but not necessarily an absolute majority) on every “question of confidence or supply”. So if the parties in a governing arrangement — that is, any group of parties with a majority of the seats in the House — collectively agree to put their MPs’ votes behind the leader of a smaller party, then that leader automatically is recognised as PM.

Accordingly, there’s nothing to formally stop Winston Peters becoming prime minister following the 2017 election, even if New Zealand First was the third largest party in parliament – or even the third largest party on the government side, for that matter. Just as there’s nothing to formally stop Peter Dunne or David Seymour becoming prime minister in a governing arrangement with National.

Or Te Ururoa Flavell. Or Trevor Mallard. Or Catherine Delahunty.

But the sheer absurdity of those last two examples indicates the political and practical constraints on Winston becoming PM. Politically, the idea of a PM from a party that is not the largest on the government side runs counter to public expectations. We just assume that the leader of the party that “won” the election will be the country’s leader.

The practical reality:

What, then, if Winston were PM? Even on its best day, it’s hard to see NZ First getting more than around 15% of the party vote. Which would mean NZ First realistically could claim only a minority of the seats around the cabinet table, requiring Winston to preside over a collective decision-making body where his people can be outvoted constantly.

You may very well ask whether Winston has the sort of personality that would deal well with being overruled by his cabinet colleagues on a frequent basis. Equally, you may very well ask if anyone could serve as PM, having to front repeatedly for collective government decisions that she or he disagrees with.

That is why, enjoyable script-writing scenarios notwithstanding, I don’t think we’re likely to see Winston Peters in the PM’s office post 2017. We expect our PMs not only to be figureheads for the government, but actual leaders of it. And a PM who can’t get his or her way in cabinet most of the time simply can’t be a leader, no matter how good he might think he looks in pin stripes.

It’s unlikely that Peters could have the confidence of about 60 Members of Parliament.

UPDATE: Andrew Geddis has another go at it at Pundit: In which universe will Winston Peters become PM?

In its pure form, the Farten Hypothesis goes something like this:

(1) The 2017 election delivers a result with National still in the mid-40s, Labour in the mid-low 20s, NZ First in the teens and beating the Greens back into fourth place (but still providing a potential Labour-NZ First-Greens majority); and,

(2) Winston Peters is ahead of Andrew Little in the preferred PM stakes; and,

(3) Winston Peters demands that the price for NZ First’s support is that he be made Prime Minister; and,

(4) National is so resolute in its principles that it says “no” to the demand; and,

(5) Labour is so desperate for a share of governmental power that it says “yes”; and,

(6) The Greens leadership agrees to positively support the idea (in terms of voting confidence and supply for the ruling amalgam, which it may or may not be a part of); and,

(7) The Greens membership then agrees to ratify the leadership’s decision (as party rules require).

That’s a awful lot of “ands” that have to all fall into place for the Farten Hypothesis to be actualised.

Farten from Farrar and Hooten “the only ones who seem to at least pretend to think there’s a real possibility of Peters becoming PM in some Labour/NZ First/Greens amalgam”.

An exchange between Hooton and Geddis in comments:

http://thespinoff.co.nz/politics-media/05-06-2016/what-winston-peters-could-learn-from-binge-watching-danish-drama/

Leave a comment

27 Comments

  1. duperez

     /  6th June 2016

    The only way Winston gets to be PM is if Donald Trump wins the US election hands down, takes over the world, comes down to New Zealand, accepts an invite from Winston to go body boarding at Whananaki, decides that Winston is the man and then installs him as PM.

    How do those rate individually or collectively compared to Leicester City winning?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th June 2016

      Winning what?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  6th June 2016

        No! Don’t you dare turn the site into a “‘Soccer is the most important thing in the world, everyone knows everything about it, or should” landscape. I admit I paid homage by mentioning Leicester but stirred it by using “soccer.” 😊 ⚽️

        Reply
  2. Pete Kane

     /  6th June 2016

    ‘Could Winston Peters – or Metiria Turei or Te Ururoa Flavell or David Seymour or Peter Dunne or Trevor Mallard or Catherine Delahunty – be Prime Minister?”

    Hardly for me to defend Winnie but to put Seymour or Daffy in the same sentence re leadership (even tongue in cheek)?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  6th June 2016

      lol. I didn’t notice the duck was in there.

      Reply
    • I think Seymour has the potential to be a Prime Minister, but for the fact that ACT will probably never be big enough to get him there. But If ACT folds and Seymour switches to National then I’d rate him as a prospect.

      Who would make a better or worse PM between Peters and Mallard? I shudder to think of either being my Prime Minister.

      Reply
      • Pete Kane

         /  6th June 2016

        Just having a bit of fun Editor, but in seriousness if anyone thinks Seymour is worth a “tin of beans” they are off the planet (or in Fiji, Panama or Ulster)

        Reply
        • I think he has done extremely well for a first term MP – he has had to set up and run his electorate operation, set up and run his own and his Party’s parliamentary operation and try to make an impression as a sole MP.

          Arguably few if an y MPs had as much of a challenge, and he has risen to the challenge remarkable well.

          That doesn’t mean he is PM material now, he’s not, but I think he has shown potential to build a very creditable political career.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  6th June 2016

            Well said, Pete. I agree with all of that.

            Reply
          • Pete Kane

             /  6th June 2016

            I qualify that with the ‘end of life’ issue the he was a thoughtful fellow, in fairness. Actually a very thoughtful fellow.

            Reply
            • Pete Kane

               /  6th June 2016

              Sorry should say where rather than the.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  6th June 2016

              He’s far too young to be PM now, but he is formidably brilliant. One day I will be proud to say that he has been to my house. I am proud of it now-we knew him when he was just a twinkle in Act’s eye 😀

            • Gezza

               /  6th June 2016

              You definitely need to put spaces after the dashes – you’re not doing em dashes, they’re not long enough Kitty, all you’re doing is hyphenating individual words. Now-we doesn’t make sense.

  3. Zedd

     /  6th June 2016

    Metiria for PM.. has a nice ring to it 😀

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  6th June 2016

      That would be the sound of a thousand businesses fleeing to relocate across the Tasman while an armada of bludgers set out for NZ.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  6th June 2016

        Not going to be any kind of realistic possibility till she’s out of her teens Zedd.

        Reply
        • Pete Kane

           /  6th June 2016

          Sorry Gezza didn’t hear that.

          Reply
        • Zedd

           /  7th June 2016

          Key carries on the ‘class clown’ & about half of the population seem to take him seriously, regardless of his childish bafoonery…. :/

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th June 2016

            Only because TVOne and TV3 don’t show Question Time before Seven Sharp and Story Zedd. If they did, more people would see him acting like a dick-head than currently do.

            Reply
      • Blazer

         /  6th June 2016

        tired old line with nothing to validate it.

        Reply

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