Key to the Kingdom

Banned Standard author Te Reo Putake writes for Your NZ about how John Key’s shock resignation will revitalise Labour, the Greens and NZ First.

It’s been a great few days for the opposition. The Mt Roskill by election was a stunning win for Labour, the Greens have picked up a media friendly new candidate in Hayley Holt and Winston Peters has, well, I don’t know what Winston’s been up to, but I’m sure he thinks it was great.

And now John Key’s resigned to spend more time with his money. Good news for Barack Obama, golf’s no fun without a caddy.

John Key’s resignation opens the door for two, perhaps three new Prime Ministers in the next twelve months.

First, Bill English will take over, on Key’s recommendation. If the polls plummet, he’ll be shafted by Easter, to be replaced by whatever counts as budding talent in the National caucus.

Bennett? Bridges?

It won’t matter, really, because whenever the election is called, early or late, Andrew Little will win.

Hold on, I hear you saying, what about the polls?

The numbers have been heading Little’s way for months. No, really. His task is to maximise Labour’s vote, but more importantly, build the numbers for both his party and the Greens. Most recent polls have had those two party’s combined vote just short or just above the point at which a coalition with NZ First could form a viable Government.

That’s how MMP works folks. If only Roy Morgan could work that out.

National can’t afford to lose even a couple of percentage points next election. If they drop even slightly, Winston is their only hope of staying in power.

It’s important to remember that National have scraped through three elections on the strength of their leader and the supine support of their mini me’s in Epsom and Ohariu.

ACT will be back, but Dunne’s done.

The maori party will not be back next election either. They’ll be swamped by Labour this time round. And a good job too. Bye bye, brown tories.

Without Key, National will almost certainly have to do a deal with NZ First to retain power.

Now, I don’t kid myself that Winston Peters can be relied on to do the right thing and back a Labour led Government.

Indeed, the resignation of Key takes away one of my favourite arguments, which was that Peters wanted to be the one who brought Key down. He hasn’t forgiven the Nats for forcing him out of Parliament in 2008 and I always fancied that if NZ First had the balance of power post election, he’d make Key dance a jig to his tune for a few weeks, then go with Labour anyway.


I’m still convinced that Peters sees more scope to get his ideas over the line as part of a Little led Government. Have you ever looked at NZ Firsts policies? The vast majority could have been remits at a Labour party conference. Ok, rejected remits, but, hey, you get the idea.

The fly in the ointment for that arrangement is the Greens. Winston doesn’t trust them. He once told me that they’d sell NZ out for a snail. I laughed at the time, but if he does opt for the Nats post election, that’ll be the reason.

And what of the Greens? What do they get out of Key’s quitting?

Well, probably not much. This doesn’t have the same potential impact on their vote as it does for Labour.

However, there may be some Blue Greens who will shift their party vote their way. It’s noticeable in the inner city electorates that there is strong tactical voting by conservatives who have an environmental conscience. Maybe that’ll get them an extra MP or two.

And, of course, they’ll be part of the next Government, in some form or other.

Ultimately, it will be Labour that is the big winner here.

Kiwis have traditionally let governments run for two or three terms, then let the other fullas have a go. That’ll be the outcome next year.

Andrew Little may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is a genuine guy, hard working and honest. He’s distressingly straight laced and painfully awkward in front of the cameras.

You know why?

He’s no show pony. He just wants to do the work.

I think voters will grudgingly accept he’s the right person to take the country forward for a term or two.

And with Key’s bitter legacy of growing inequality, poverty, underfunding of health, education and cops, and the apparent end of the Kiwi dream of owning our own home Little will have plenty of good issues to campaign on and plenty of problems to fix when he’s in the hot seat.

Barring some other seismic political shock, Andrew Little will find himself Prime Minister this time next year.

And I reckon you’ll be surprised at how good a job he does of it.

Leave a comment


  1. PDB

     /  5th December 2016

    Nothing like a bit of comedy to brighten one’s day – hilarious!

    Not sure why the ban though, with delusion like that a perfect fit for the Standard I would’ve thought……same old political answer relegates this rubbish to the bin: “it’s the economy stupid!”.

    • How much was the US election fought on the economy? I’d say bugger all.

      • PDB

         /  5th December 2016

        That’s not comparing apples to apples – unlike New Zealand the American political system was seen as broken, hence Trump being made president. Barring something of that magnitude the strong economy will see National back in power in 2017 (though somewhat on the proviso that Winston forms a govt with them as he is now odds on to do).

        The suggestion Winston will play fourth fiddle (after Little and the two Greens leaders) in any govt is just being silly, and rather hopeful. Especially now that his nemesis in Key is gone.

    • Hi, PDB. A confused and irrational moderator has decided that TS is better off boring. So, for the time being, The Standard’s only regular working class voice is banned. The results in terms of overall comments made and readers reading are not flash, but no doubt other writers will fill the void with engaging articles on home grown herbs, Auckland issues and the continuing evil of the digital patriarchy.

      My sincere thanks to Pete George for allowing me this opportunity to comment on Key’s departure. It would have been a shame if I didn’t post something to mark his passing, given that his reign coincides almost exactly with my time as a blogger.

      • Corky

         /  6th December 2016

        Pete runs a broad church, with few fatwa’s. Something Labour try and bullshit themselves into believing they still do as well. Whether Andrew Little is PM next year will depend on National…not the voters.

      • Kevin

         /  7th December 2016

        Confused and irrational moderator? Which one? There’s just so many to choose from over there.

        Was it WGS? Don’t tell me it was CV. By the way you’re wrong about him. He’s not right wing. Despite his Trump obsession he’s as left as you can get.

        Anyway I’m afraid to say that your argument is wrong and it’s one I’ve heard before – basically you’re saying that there are more left votes than right votes.

        Yeah, nah. Kiwis are centre right voters and it’d take a miracle or the economy tanking for Labour to win the next election.

        • CV is right wing, probably best described as rapidly heading toward ACT or the Libertarians. Like a lot of conservatives, he seems to be claiming to be ‘post politics’. However, he has been repeatedly saying he’s not left wing for quite a while now, so there’s an implicit acknowledgement there. That doesn’t make him a bad person, but it’s just an indicator that he’s putting self interest ahead of his empathy for the rest of us.

          You are dead right that elections are won (and lost) in the middle. Labour’s job is to now get some of that middle ground that is up for grabs post Key. They only need to drop the Nat vote by 2-3% to be on an equal footing with National (combined w/ the Greens). Then it’s a question of where Winnie goes.

      • Pete is a bit of a magnet for people jumping ship. Just don’t screw him over with tall stories like Ben Rachinger and I am sure everything will work out fine.

  2. Conspiratoor

     /  5th December 2016

    He’s no show pony ain’t that the truth but I agree he would be in with a sniff if his bench wasn’t as shallow as a camels piss puddle

  3. Sponge

     /  5th December 2016

    I disagree with almost everything Te Reo Putake said in this post but I do welcome the alternative point of view.

    • PDB

       /  5th December 2016

      Indeed – many blogs don’t give that option……….

      • Sponge

         /  5th December 2016

        Agreed – Kiwiblog and here are the only ones I follow that allow an opposing point of view. It makes them much more interesting

  4. I don’t know what’s postive about 23% TRP. You can talk it up much as you like, but Middle NZ don’t like Lab/Greens as a permanent arrangement. I reckon they’ll vote for stability over a multi-headed hydra any day.

    • PDB

       /  5th December 2016

      You obviously didn’t read the post properly;

      “The numbers have been heading Little’s way for months. No, really. His task is to maximise Labour’s vote, but more importantly, build the numbers for both his party and the Greens.”

      Apparently you can boost both parties votes by swapping votes between those same parties, whilst shipping some off to another party? Who’d thought? Oh, and though it’s not his job to boost NZL First’s vote as well (a guy can only do so much!) Little needs them too in order to form a govt. All going to plan……..

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th December 2016

    I’ve heard nothing from Labour to make me think them governing could be anything but a slide into mediocre and irrelevant poverty.

  6. “Without Key, National will almost certainly have to do a deal with NZ First to retain power.”

    Yes, it was looking quite likely, and now more likely.

    But unless Labour lifts it’s support by 5-10% the same applies to them + Greens.

    I think that Little is a genuine person who means very well, but he has to learn to show that in his media interactions. Too often he doesn’t. Too many boring repeats of slogans.

    He should strive to let voters know what he is like as a person more than show how well he can memorise talking points.

    The big lesson from Brexit-Trump is that voters are fed up with stale old politics.

  7. Ben

     /  6th December 2016

    Delusional, Labour were a talentless waste land last week, and still are today. Key leaving doesn’t make Labour suddenly capable. You will quickly learn Little’s limitations should he ever get close to PM

    • Gezza

       /  6th December 2016

      Labour’s problem is they’re all having to try and make do with generally poor material. The leaders with their team. And the team with their leaders. This is Helen Clark’s fault.

    • Blazer

       /  6th December 2016

      sure Ben,tell us about these ‘limitations’…are they real or just your imagination?

  8. Strong For Life

     /  7th December 2016

    I don’t agree with the author’s claim that Little is “hard working.” I have seen no evidence of this. He was gifted the Labour leadership because of his union ties… no hard work involved. If he was such a hard worker why has he not fared better when standing as a candidate in New Plymouth? His results have been dismal; if he was a hard worker he would have knocked on every door in the New Plymouth electorate, met the locals and showed what a genuine and honest guy he is. He did not do this and the results speak for themselves. Little is lazy.

  1. Key to the Kingdom | Te Reo Putake

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