The possibility of a monster Opposition

There seems to be a reasonable chance that NZ first will choose to form a government with Labour and the Greens. This would mean that National would be an unusually large opposition party. Depending on how they operated this could make things difficult for three smaller parties in government.

Emma Espiner at The Spinoff: National: the Opposition from Hell

Let’s imagine Peters decides to hitch his wagon to the movement for change and Bill English becomes Leader of the Opposition.

Resourcing for research units, parliamentary funding and select committees are all allocated on a proportional basis. This gives National the opportunity to coalesce around the Opposition benches with a level of power and influence we’ve not seen before – if they can remain unified.

If National go into opposition a big question will be whether English remains as leader, and if he doesn’t whether National will be united and cohesive, or whether they go through a period of division and turmoil.

We’ve come to expect a period of destabilisation within the unlucky major party who doesn’t get to form the Government. Should we expect more of the same from National if they get booted off the front benches?

No.

Not because National are intrinsically more stable or less prone to backstabbing and eye gouging than Labour – on that front you just need to ask Bill English what the aftermath of 2002 was like – but because, united, they could make things so difficult for a ‘progressive’ alliance in Government and they will relish the opportunity to make life hell for the NZ First/Labour/Green coalition.

It must privately (or not so privately) rankle some National MPs when people genuinely believe they set out to enter politics specifically to make life harder for our poorest, brownest and least rural folks.

There must be a temptation to chuck things like the housing (not) crisis, child poverty and Pike River at someone else and say “Fine. You have a go, I’ve had a guts full.”

There could be some of that sort of temptation. National backbenchers in particular could see better prospects for their political futures if their party has three years in Opposition, cleans out long standing MPs, making room for others to rise more rapidly through the ranks.

If this transpires and National goes into Opposition, we will see a Monster Opposition – 56 seats – think what that will look like and even sound like – the debating chamber is small, your opponents close, and 56 roaring MPs facing new Labour and Green Ministers will be genuinely testing.

Of course that will be heightened by the power of numbers in Question Time. Questions are allocated on a proportional basis too – increasing the number of genuine opposition questions and recucing the number of patsies from Government-friendly MPs.

Same goes for select committees – proportionality rules so National’s numbers will be very strong, allowing them to change and stall legislation, perhaps on crucial bills.

That’s an interesting point.

It may come down to how united National can be in Opposition, compared to how united a three party government that includes Winston Peters and the Greens can be – and whether Jacinda Ardern can manage both her Labour caucus and the Government with peters intent on creating a legacy with his proposed economic and social reforms.

Leave a comment

17 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  10th October 2017

    bring it…on.

    Reply
  2. Geoffrey

     /  10th October 2017

    This is also true of the very powerful opposition lobby that would comprise Labour/Green. And, this development might well be in Labour’s best interests, offering a three year opportunity to develop some depth in its team before taking on the challenge in earnest in 2020.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  10th October 2017

      Not quite the same as each caucus will feel smaller and require confrontation with the other to retsin a raison d’etre. Also not much difference from the last term.

      Reply
      • Geoffrey

         /  10th October 2017

        There differences nonetheless. The main being Labour’s new found confidence and momentum. I predict a much more vigorous and effective opposition (with no suggestion of a repeat MoU). Alternatively, if governing, a shambles leading to another lengthy period in opposition.

        Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  10th October 2017

      Evidence of the last 9 years doesn’t back your hypothesis… the have been woeful in opposition

      Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  10th October 2017

      Evidence of the last 9 years doesn’t back your hypothesis… the have been woeful in opposition

      Reply
  3. Corky

     /  10th October 2017

    Talk about fun times. Should it come to pass, and National get the heave -oh, the first caucus meeting Bill needs to hold should be on the question of his leadership. That will act like a pressure valve release. Personally, I’m sure Bill sees the writing on the wall given his long parliamentary tenure.

    Then it’s a simple three year romp of fun and trivialities without the burden of responsibility.
    The economy will be tanking. International confidence will go south. No money in workers back pocket( unless they start breeding), internal coalition squabbles as Labours factions see their 1984 future unrolling before their eyes.

    So, if I can see this, surely Winston can. Maybe it will boil down to how bad he wants utu, or, how bad he wants a glowing legacy.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th October 2017

      so what actions are you taking now to assuage your dire predictions?

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  10th October 2017

        I didn’t vote for a starters. The compound is good for two years of survival living as socialist hordes realise they have been duped.

        Er, clarify your question. Then I will tee off again.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th October 2017

          re the tanking economy…will you sell assets before the..storm?

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  10th October 2017

            I don’t know. That depends on the global economy. A double whammy could see many of New Zealand’s wealthy become poor, very fast. One thing I do know. If the world enters a severe economic depression, matches and toothbrushes have more currency than gold.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  10th October 2017

              you don’t know!!Forget matches and toothbrushes,gold and currency…a gun is necessary for..survival.

            • Gezza

               /  10th October 2017

              Good point. One of the worries we already have these days is the number of people who seem to think one’s necessary for shopping.

            • Corky

               /  10th October 2017

              ”A gun is necessary for..survival.”

              Yes, well, that’s a given for many Righties…I just didn’t want to hurt your liberal sensibilities.

              However, my point was: too many people think having a little gold reserve will protect them during hard times. It wont. You can’t eat gold. Gold can’t heal you unless put through certain machines 99.9 % of the population don’t have. It can’t shoot a looter dead..or a crazed Lefty who has lost his mind due to hardship.

            • Gezza

               /  10th October 2017

              An equal, or even bigger, danger is likely to be selfish, paranoid, Alt Righties with guns who shoot people coming to simply ask for help, or for them to contribute something towards rebuilding the community.

    • Gezza

       /  10th October 2017

      In my personal opinion, the fellow probably just wants a gong, & perhaps a short tenure in some cushy diplomatic posting, somewhere warm, where septugenenarians are specifically catered to for fun times with no recriminations or regrets. Thus, my pick is that he will go with National, as this will be surest early path to that glorious future in his Golden Years.

      His Party, of course, will meantime disintegrate – in the most embarrassing manner possible – as a result of something extremely awkward said, or done, by The Jonser.

      Sir Gerald.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s