Government forming negotiations in progress

After the final election results were released on Saturday negotiations to form a new government began in earnest. NZ First had meetings with both National and Labour yesterday, and these are expected to continue over the next few days.

Winston Peters still says he expects to announce his choice by Thursday, when the formal election result, or “writ”, is returned. That was always an odd target date.

But whether he meets that target or not that may not be the final outcome as other parties may need time to consider what has been negotiated. The Greens in particular say they are committed to taking any decision to a special general meeting for the party members to decide.

Some of the media are getting a bit precious. There was complaining yesterday about being blocked from seeing how was attending negotiation meetings in Parliament, with complaints of secrecy and non-transparency, but that seems ridiculous to me. I think that most people won’t care who attends, al they will be interested in is the final outcome. It’s not that we have any say in what is going on.

I’m really getting fed up with media coverage of not much happening, and I’m avoiding a lot of their coverage. If something interesting or important happens can someone please alert me in case I miss it.

There is no urgency. The caretaker government is operating fine. We don’t get another vote for another 3 years, unless NZ First negotiate referendums on their policies.

Speculation has been in overdrive – in the absence of any news of importance all I will speculate is that media speculation will continue unabated to fill the vacuum.

Power by percentages

Now the final numbers are in for the 2017 election they can be scrutinised – number crunching is a lot more fun than watching the media go into another frenzy of speculation while they wait for parties to sort out our next government.

Power is supposed to be approximately proportional, but any government will have received just over half the votes, which is substantially less than half the eligible voting population.

  • Estimated eligible voting population: 3,569,830
  • Total enrolled: 3,298,009
  • Total valid votes: 2,591,896

Voting percentages:

  • Percentage enrolled: 92.39%
  • Percentage of enrolled voters who cast valid votes: 78.59%
  • Percentage of eligible voters who cast valid votes: 72.61%

Percentages of power if National and NZ First form a government:

Votes % of vote % of Govt votes MPs
National 1,152,075 44.4% 86% 56
NZ First 186,706 7.2% 14% 9
Total 1,338,781  65

National has about 6 times the number of votes and MPs as NZ First, so theoretically should have about 6 times the power and 6 times the number of ministers (20-21 for National, 3-4 for NZ First).

Votes % of vote % of Govt votes MPs
Labour 956,184 36.9% 73.3% 46
NZ First 186,706 7.2% 14.3% 9
Greens 162,443 6.3% 12.4% 8
Total 1,305,333  63

Labour has about three quarters of the vote, with NZ first having just over an eighth and Greens just under an eighth.

This equates to about 17-18 Labour ministers, 3-4 for NZ First and 3 for Greens.

If Labour and NZ First form a government with Greens supporting them from outside government:

Votes % of vote % of Govt votes MPs
Labour 956,184 36.9% 83.7% 46
NZ First 186,706 7.2% 16.3% 9
Total 1,142,890 55

Labour has about 5 times the votes of NZ First so NZ First would be theoretically a bit stronger in this arrangement in forming a government, but with Labour would have to get green approval for any legislation.

But of course the reality is things come down to negotiating ability and strength.


2017 General Election – Official Result

As predicted National have slipped after special votes have been counted, but perhaps more than expected, by 1.6% to 44.4%. They have dropped two seats to 56.

Both Greens and Labour have picked up a seat each, with a combined total now of 54 seats, still short of National.

Party Votes % of Votes Electorate Seats List Seats Total seats
National Party 1,152,075 44.4% 41 15 56
Labour Party 956,184 36.9% 29 17 46
New Zealand First Party 186,706 7.2% 9 9
Green Party 162,443 6.3% 8 8
ACT New Zealand 13,075 0.5% 1 1
The Opportunities Party (TOP) 63,261 2.4%
Māori Party 30,580 1.2%
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 8,075 0.3%
Conservative 6,253 0.2%
MANA 3,642 0.1%
Ban1080 3,005 0.1%
New Zealand People’s Party 1,890 0.1%
United Future 1,782 0.1%
NZ Outdoors Party 1,620 0.1%
Democrats for Social Credit 806 0.0%
Internet Party 499 0.0%
Total 2,591,896 71 49 120

We are in for another round of speculation and positioning as the negotiations get under way.

Here are the interim results for comparison:

Party Votes % of Votes Electorate Seats List Seats Total seats
National Party 998,813 46.0 41 17 58
Labour Party 776,556 35.8 29 16 45
New Zealand First Party 162,988 7.5 9 9
Green Party 126,995 5.9 7 7
ACT New Zealand 10,959 0.5 1 1
The Opportunities Party (TOP) 48,018 2.2
Māori Party 23,456 1.1
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party 5,853 0.3
Conservative 5,318 0.2
MANA 2,775 0.1
Ban1080 2,440 0.1
New Zealand People’s Party 1,631 0.1
United Future 1,471 0.1
NZ Outdoors Party 1,333 0.1
Democrats for Social Credit 732 0.0
Internet Party 464 0.0
Total 2,169,802 71 49 120



Compulsory voting isn’t a solution

A lot has been said about getting more people to vote, especially younger people. Campaigns to get more people enrolled and voting have not achieved much.

Usually it seems that political activists and commentators who are pushing for more voting think that it will get different results – the results they want.

It’s hard to argue with the decisions of those who vote (although it’s not uncommon to see people who don’t like election outcomes to accuse those who voted differently to their preference of being stupid or ill-informed).

While it’s unknown what the preference of non-voters is but some seem to assume that  they must think like them (except about the importance of voting) and if they can be forced to vote it will give them the result they want.

Lizzie Marvelly writes: Why voting shouldn’t be a matter of choice

Trends from the last few elections have shown a dwindling number of people voting in younger age groups, and they’re not suddenly voting when they get older.

Voting is habitual behaviour, and if you don’t get into the habit when you’re young, it’s statistically very unlikely you’ll hit 40 and suddenly develop a hankering to skip down to the ballot box.

That’s wrong, according to the 2014 election turnout statistics.

Age range Voters Non-voters Non-voters Total enrolled
18 – 24 212,204 126,065 37.27% 338,269
25 – 29 152,409 92,967 37.89% 245,376
30 – 34 169,899 82,190 32.60% 252,089
35 – 39 187,856 70,302 27.23% 258,158
40 – 44 226,110 70,534 23.78% 296,644
45 – 49 234,758 64,065 21.44% 298,823
50 – 54 248,257 59,117 19.23% 307,374
55 – 59 226,927 45,589 16.73% 272,516
60 – 64 204,604 33,377 14.03% 237,981
65 – 69 185,803 25,198 11.94% 211,001
70+ 362,030 60,156 14.25% 422,186
Total 2,410,857 729,560 23.23% 3,140,417

It’s possible that non-voters predominantly die young, but this suggests strongly that a significant number of people start voting as they get older.

Though the breakdown of voter demographics in this election hasn’t yet been released, it’s unlikely it will reveal any evidence of a significant and lasting reversal in our dismal youth voting statistics.

Enrolment statistics for this year show that by mid to late 30s about 97% of people are enrolled.

As such, it’s time to start thinking about future-proofing our democratic tradition.

As I’m no stranger to controversy, I’m just going to come out and say it. I think it’s time that we talked about compulsory voting.

It’s not controversial, as Marvelly later shows.

Former Prime Ministers Jim Bolger, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore have all supported the idea of New Zealand following Australia’s lead and introducing compulsory voting, and indeed, more than 20 other countries around the world also have compulsory voting systems.

Compulsory voting has often been suggested as a solution to a problem that we may not have. Many more than 20 countries manage without making voting compulsory.

To me, voting is not simply a right, but a responsibility. If we enjoy the privilege of living in New Zealand, it is our responsibility as citizens to make sure that our nation is governed by the parties that truly represent the will of the people.

If course a democracy needs a significant number of people to vote. But if the will of some people is not to care about who governs the country, if the will of some people is not to vote, then forcing them to vote is forcing them to do something against their will.

Only 78 per cent of eligible voters had a say this year. That’s nearly a quarter of us who had no input into the team that will lead our country for the next three years. That’s not good enough.

Why isn’t it good enough? If people choose not to have any input what’s wrong with that?

Voting is one of the few things Australia does better than we do, and that really bugs me.

While their voting is ‘compulsory’ their voting rates dropped to a nearly 100 year low of 91% in last year’s election – actually a low since voting was made compulsory in 1925.

I think the quality of governments voted for by Australians over the past decade bugs more people. Voter turnout doesn’t matter if quality of options is poor.

I’m not saying that I think people should be forced to cast a vote for the sake of it if they don’t feel that they can support any of the parties or the candidates — voters should always have the option to “spoil” their votes.

I think there’s a good case for a ‘non of the above’ option, simply spoiling a voting paper doesn’t count in any meaningful way.

Another important step we should take to safeguard the future of our democratic society is one I’ve written about before. I’m a strong supporter of lowering the voting age to 16 and implementing civics education in our curriculum.

That is controversial, both lowering the voting age, and having civics education in our curriculum. Education young people about our system of democracy and government is worthwhile, but it would have to be done impartially, if that was possible in schools.

If young Kiwis formed the voting habit while still at school, we’d likely see our youth turnout statistics rise almost immediately.

Maybe, maybe not. The younger voters are the lower the turnout, so going younger still may reduce the % turnout.

Also, when faced with a whole new demographic of voters, politicians would finally have to take young people’s concerns seriously.

That may be the crux of Marvelly’s argument – she wants her concerns taken more seriously and thinks that young non-voters will share her concerns. Young people who don’t vote may have different concerns.

But if voting is made compulsory more older people will vote, quite possibly more than younger people. It could backfire on Marvelly having her concerns addressed.

I would theorise that the impact on environmental policy would be particularly profound, as politicians who will be dead when the worst ravages of climate change sweep the planet would be forced to do more than pay lip service to tokenistic environmental policy — or face the consequences on election day.

But young people in particular are notorious for not thinking about the future. Making them vote won’t make them consider what state the world might be in for their grandchildren.

Marvelly seems to think like many disappointed with election results – that non-voters will share their concerns. I’m not aware of this being based on any research at all.

Whatever the methods, it’s time that we created a culture in which voting was an expectation for all, rather than an exercise in self-selection. The voices of the missing 22 per cent are just as important as those of the people who showed up to the ballot box, and it should concern us all that they’re not being heard.

That statement is highly debatable. It doesn’t concern me that many people don’t vote, either by choice or by slackness or by disinterest.

It seems that what Marvelly really wants is her concerns heard, and instead of encouraging more people to share her concerns and vote accordingly she thinks that compulsory voting will do the job for her.

And as for those who argue that compulsory voting might skew the vote one way or another (which is an illogical argument given it would essentially involve bemoaning a truer representation of our society than our currently older-skewed voting population), Australia’s pendulum swinging political landscape suggests the will of the people can go either way, no matter how many people vote.

Marvelly argued that she wants voting skewed more towards her own concerns, by compulsion.

Because that’s what democracy is really about. The people. Nga tangata. Not Winston. Not just the 78 per cent who voted.

All of us.

Actually 78% only applies to enrolled voters, about another 8% choose not to even enrol, or just don’t get around to it.

Is democracy really about making people do something they don’t want to do or don’t care about doing? I think people should have a right not to vote if that’s what they choose.

If Marvelly wants more young people to vote she should find out what appeals to them.

Making things compulsory for young people often has non-intended consequences. They tend to not like being forced to do something they don’t care about.

As far as democracy goes making voting compulsory seems to be trying to fix a problem we don’t have. It is more like individuals trying to force results they aren’t getting by democratic means.

Media mania continues despite politics on hold

It was clear soon after the election nearly two weeks ago that not much could happen regarding the formation of a new government until the final results were in. They are due by 2 pm tomorrow (Saturday).

Instead of having a break after a hectic few months leading up to the election media kept going, looking for stories that weren’t there, and making up stories to fill the void.

Yesterday NZ First’s negotiation team met with both Natikonal’s team and Labour’s team. These meetings were always going to be little more than formalities that set things up for after the results are known, but media mania ramped up as if aliens were invading.

Mots voters have moved on from the election. there will be a bit of interest in the formation of the next government but that is out of voters hands, and it will make little difference to most of us.

Apart from the bullshit that is published and broadcast, the media mania about nothing much of importance makes it likely that real news is missed – avoided by the usually politically averse majority.

When there is some actual news how will a turned off audience be able to tell?

Election final result possibilities

While we wait for the final election results (due on Saturday) there has been a lot of number crunching going on to try to predict whether there will be any changes to the number of seats in Parliament for any party.

It should be noted that this election was quite different to past elections – polls were quite variable and there were late swings in support, and there is a much significantly number of special votes to be added to the provisional result, about 380,000.

Cut Your Hair looks at Realistic possibilities for Parliament post-specials (all two of them)

On the basis of past election results since 1999, there are only two likely scenarios for how the preliminary seat allocations in Parliament will change after special votes are counted:

  1. Golriz Ghahraman (Green) is in. Nicola Willis (National) is out.
    • This is what will happen if the special vote results are like what they’ve been most MMP elections in NZ.
    • On this scenario, A Nat-NZF government would have 66/120 seats. A Lab-NZF-Green government would have 62/120.
  2. Golriz Ghahraman (Green) and Angie Warren-Clark (Labour) are in. Nicola Willis and Maureen Pugh (both National) are out.
    • This is what will happen if the special votes are like what they were like last election.
    • On this scenario, a Nat-NZF government would have 65/120 seats. A Lab-NZF-Green government would have 63/120.

A lot of numbers are given supporting this, analysing the shift in support from special votes in all the elections from 1999 to 2014.

A number of less likely (most very unlikely) scenarios are detailed.

But we have to wait until Saturday to find out how the votes actually add up.




Nandor Tanczos on Greens and National

In the political vacuum awaiting a new government a lot of media attention has put the spotlight on the reluctance of the greens to consider a governing deal with national.

Many people think that sound economic management plus more efforts dealing with environmental and social issues makes this an attractive proposition, but many staunch Green activists, and their current leader and MPs, think that it would be a dastardly dance with the devil.

Ex Green MP Nandor Tanczos, who once said that the Greens weren’t left or right, they were Green has added to the discussions on Green reluctance to even consider a governing arrangement with National.


Now reposted at The Spinoff: Nandor Tanczos: the Greens need to figure out a way to talk to National

National, of course, would love to have a second option strengthening their hand with New Zealand First.

It is important to understand, though, that this is not just coming from the Nats. People are increasingly concerned about our looming social and environment crisis and some see it as a way to make progress even if we don’t get a change of government.

I think that this is correct – some of those opposing any suggestion of a National-Green government are claiming the talk is just a National plot to undermine the Greens and strengthen their hand against NZ First, but that fails to appreciate the breadth of interest in a so-called blue-green government.

Let me state clearly at this stage that I do not think James Shaw should be ringing up Bill English to discuss coalition options. To support the National Party to become a fourth term government would be both impossible in practical terms and politically suicidal.

Tanczos is right. the Greens have painted themselves into a corner this election, making it very difficult if not impossible for them to enable a fourth National term.

Impossible because any coalition agreement needs ratification by 75% of the party and there is more chance of Winston retiring gracefully from politics.

At least the Greens have been upfront about their aversion to dealing with National for the past eighteen months, in contrast to Winston’s staunch refusal to inform voters of his possible inclinations before the election.

Suicidal for a multitude of reasons.

First, people voted for the Greens on the clear understanding that we would not support a National Government. To do so would be a complete betrayal of our voters, akin to NZ First going with National in 1996 (for which they got badly punished).

Greens too a gamble on hitching their colours to Labour’s mast and can’t jump to the blue ship now.

Second, it might be worth the risk if we could shape the trajectory of an incoming government. To bolster a government almost certainly in its last term, a government that has shown such disregard for both the environment and our growing social inequality, just before their support collapses, would be a tragic mistake.

This is left wing bullshit. Sure the National led government could have done more for the environment and social inequality, but accusing them of ‘such disregard’ is extreme green arrogance – they believe their way is the only way and anything different is evil, which is nonsense.

Third, to make such a move without lengthy preparation and discussion inside the party would tear the Greens apart.

That’s likely to be correct. The reaction from some Green supporters and activists even to the suggestion that National and Greens talk about possibilities has highlighted how intolerant some of them are to anything but their untainted idealism.

Note I did not say ‘because going into coalition with National kills small parties’. Coalitions are always dangerous for small parties but there are many lessons to be learned from the demise of the Alliance and the Māori Party, and from the zombie resurrection that is ACT.

As has been stated by many, being afraid of going into coalition in case it damages your party is pathetic. There is never going to be a perfect risk free time to be in government, something Green idealists don’t seem to get.

FFS, they’re lining up for a coalition with Labour and NZ First, there’s as much risk in that as anything.

There’s also a high risk for a now 6% party to sit on the sidelines deluded in thinking they can be ‘at the heart of a progressive government’ led by Labour and dominated by Peters. Or to be left right out. Voters may give up hope the Greens can ever be a strong contender.

Entering into a coalition with National right now would be a disaster for the Greens and one from which we might not recover. But as I first said in 2008, at some stage in the future we must be prepared to seriously consider the idea.

Given the reaction to the idea over the last week I doubt that the Greens could seriously consider it.

The tactical negotiating reason is compelling enough, in my view. Labour is currently the only option for the Greens but the same is not true in reverse. Labour doesn’t owe the Greens any favours, and the fact is that Labour will never respect the Greens until we recognise that truth. Rather than expecting a guaranteed relationship with a party that we aggressively target for votes and constantly criticise for not being enough like us, we need to recognise that Labour will give us just as much as they need to, to stay in power. Having an unconditional promise of support means that they don’t have to give us very much at all.

To put that another way, players only respect other players.

Relying totally on Labour may have been a misjudgement in the chances of a Labour+Green majority, or it may have been a simple gamble that failed.

But even if the Greens are ourselves content in our current codependency, there is a more fundamental problem. If Greens cannot carve out a constituency beyond the ‘left of Labour’ cul de sac we are in, we will continue to play out the dynamic of this election over and over, soaring in the polls only as long as Labour is doing badly, but dropping back to 5% as soon as Labour turns left again. Or finds a charismatic leader.

We may be mighty in opposition, but we will always be puny in coalition until we stop relying on discontented Labour voters for support.

Yep. Green support strengthened when Labour’s weakened, and when Labour recovered Green support shrank to near disaster level. It was always going to be difficult to grow both Green and Labour support at the same time.

And I note that another attempt to pick up extra vote by getting non-voters and young people to vote for them seems to have been futile.

Some people on the left think being left means you care about other people and being right means you are selfish. Some people on the right think being left means you are economically illiterate and being right means you are clever. It is sadly common in political debates for people to assume that their opponents are either stupid or morally deficient or both.

Political arrogance and ignorance.

My experience is that most people from either side are neither.

That’s how I see it too.

In fact, if you look at the fundamentals, there is very little genuine political difference between National and Labour. What we have now is more in the way of different political clans, held together by a sense of shared identity (often inherited) rather than by any coherent political core. It is in that way that the Greens have become tied to Labour. Not because our principles demand it, but because of a sense of kinship.

I don’t think there’s much kinship involved, and that’s been evident by Labour’s focus on doing a deal with NZ First, leaving Greens on the sidelines.

It wasn’t kinship behind the Labour-Green Memorandum of Understanding that expired on election night, the time of the intended political wedding). Labour numbers were persistently bad and they say the Greens as their only hop of competing with National.

Because if you look at the most fundamental Green concerns: climate change, protection of waterways, child poverty, growing inequality, protecting civil and human rights, tāngata whenua rights, the last Labour government was barely more progressive than National.

In fact the main argument used against ever forming a coalition with National – that their economic agenda is fundamentally at odds with a Green agenda – applies just as strongly to Labour.

And there are key parts of NZ First policy that are fundamentally at odds with a Green agenda.

There are actually lots of Greens who are small business owners – probably a disproportionate number compared to either National or Labour. Both National and Labour tend to focus on large corporate bureaucracies and play little attention to how their policies impact on small businesses – who as we know are New Zealand’s biggest employer.

It’s nonsense to suggest that National and Labour pay little attention to small businesses.

For years the Greens put loads of effort into trying to woo the unions.

Unsuccessfully. They have tried to woo young people, unsuccessfully. They have tried to woo non-voters, unsuccessfully. Why would small business be any different?

In the campaign James Shaw said that reducing dairy farm profits by 6% would not impact on them – many dairy farmers are small business owners, and I doubt they would have been happy with Shaw’s proposal.

Greens have a fundamental problem – they seem to think that their policies and their causes are so just and so good people will naturally support them, if only…

But the Greens don’t attract widespread support because they staunchly remain hard left. Many people like their influence but prefer that was balanced with political and economic realism.

The very notion of a centre sitting half-way between Labour and National is irrelevant when we locate ourself on a triangle. Neither is it about ‘abandoning our principles’. Rather it is about embodying them in their entirety. What they cannot mean, though, is relegating ourselves to the periphery of power just because we are committed to giving Labour a free run.

Another fundamental problem for the Greens – they don’t want to do anything other than embody their principles in their entirety.

One of the key principles of democracy and of our MMP system is that when people get together, when parties get together, different ideas and different policies have to be debated and compromises must be made.

The Greens can stick to their principles as much as they like, but that is unlikely to be a successful strategy, ever.

A party that peaked at 11% (when Labour were abysmal) and dropped in polls to under the threshold before recovering to a precarious 6% is getting something wrong. Actually i think they are getting quite a few things wrong, and they show no sign of accepting  their weaknesses and flaws.

Political limbo for another 5 or 10 days

The election result remains in limbo for another 5 days, until Saturday when the final results will be posted.

Then we will know if the Labour+NZ First+Green option remains at the slimmest or majorities, improves by a seat or two, or is cut to zero, which would effectively remove the Labour option for NZ First and Greens. Perhaps that would be doing Labour a favour.

So this weekend we are likely to see a renewed media frenzy. Winston Peters has said he will talk to them again then. Perhaps then he won’t just grizzle and grump and say nothing of substance – but I wouldn’t rule that out. Unless negotiations have already begun in secret that is just when the policy and folio bartering begins.

Peters has already committed to announcing a decision by 12 October, when the writs are returned. Five days isn’t much time to form a government in, unless Peters has already decided and he’s stringing the country along.

If there’s a genuine contest between National and Labour+Greens I wouldn’t be surprised if the negotiations and decision making takes longer.

Even if Peters makes his decision by the 12th other parties will have to also make their own decisions. If Greens are in the mix they will have to go back to their membership to let them decide if they accept the terms of what they are given.

In the meantime the country keeps chugging away as if the election didn’t really matter to most people.

Revised election statistics, turnout down

The Electoral commission has released revised election statistics.

  • Estimated eligible population: 3,569,830
  • Total number enrolled: 3,298,009
  • Election night votes counted: 2,169,802
  • Special votes still to be counted: 384,072
  • Total estimated votes: 2,563,740
    (Total 2014 votes counted: 2,416,479)

This has brought the turnout down to just below the turnout in 2014 (by my calculation).

  • Estimated 2017 turnout (of enrolled voters): 77.6%
  • Actual 2014 turnout (of enrolled voters): 77.9%

So that is a slightly lower turnout, despite the large increase in advance votes  and despite the claims of ‘youthquakes’.

  • Estimated 2017 turnout (of eligible voters):71.7%

This turnout based on eligible voters is not usually stated but I would have thought it more pertinent.







Greens dirty on dealing with the devil

Green MPs and Green party members have made it clear they are dirty on any deal with National. They would rather spend another three years in opposition than do any sort of deal with National. They would rather risk an NZ First dominated agenda than offer an alternative.

Greens are not just dirty on any National deal. Some of them are filthy at the suggestion. They threaten to destroy their party if it attempts to deal with the devil, and they attack and abuse people if they suggest a National-Green government could be worth trying. Some Green activists are amongst the most abusive and least tolerant social media warriors around.

Green supporters are now even claiming that any suggestion of a deal with national is a National plot, some have even claimed finance by National.

Sure there may be some mischief making and stirring things up.

But I think there are many people who genuinely think that it would be at least worth trying a National-Green coalition.

I did a small Twitter poll on 25 September (107 responses):

  • National+NZ First 50%
  • Labour+NZ First+Greens 20%
  • National+Greens 25%
  • National+Labour 5%

In early September Colmar Brunton did a similar poll – “given the choice, would you prefer to see New Zealand First support a Labour or National-led government?”

  • 46% said they would prefer to see New Zealand First support a Labour-led government
  • 33% said they would prefer New Zealand First supported a National-led government
  • 7% spontaneously said they do not want to see New Zealand First in government, or do not wish to see it support either party
  • 14% don’t know which party New Zealand First should support

A representative sample of 1007 eligible voters were surveyed, with interviewing taking place from Saturday 2 September – Wednesday 6 September 2017. The maximum sampling error for the main question is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.

That was before we knew that it was a choice between National+NZ First or Labour+NZ First+Greens (or potentially but impossibly National+Greens).

There are far more people than a few National activists saying they would be happy with a National+Green alliance.

I think many of those in support are likely to be floating centre-ish voters who would genuinely like Greens to push National into dealing better with environmental issues in particular, but also social issues.

But this is all moot. I don’t think there is any way Green MPs or activists would accept even talking to National over a potential deal.

This leaves the Greens with some risky possible outcomes.

  • If a Labour+NZ First+Green government the Greens are in a weak negotiating position and may end up with little more than whatever policy crumbs they are offered.
  • If a National+NZ First government the Greens are left right out.

Some think that if the Greens worked with National it would suck the life out of the party, if there was any life remaining after mass desertion, but for some reasons they don’t have the same fears of working with Labour-NZ First. A poor deal there may also damage their future prospects.

And it could be near future prospects. If both Labour and National decide that a NZ First coalition is untenable, and Greens continue to refuse to support a National government in any way, then we will have to have another election.

Greens were close to being dumped in the election that we have just had. They may be at even greater risk of missing the threshold cut if we have to go to the polls again.

Sticking to their principles (such as they are) is a high risk strategy for the Greens.

And the displays of abusiveness and lack of tolerance of different political policies and views are not helping save Greens’ support either.

I think that Greens have been flattered by support levels in the 2011 and 2014 elections. This was as much to do with Labour’s unpopularity as it was Green popularity.

In July polls went as high as 14% for the Greens, and dropped as low as 4.3% in August, before recovering to about 6% in the election last week.

This suggests that the core support for the Greens is less than the 5% threshold.

If NZ First and Greens are unable to enable the formation of a government and we have to have another election then they are both at risk of being dumped on by voters.

I was rubbished for pointing this out on Twitter, I was accused of putting blame on the Greens if a government proves impossible to put together. They would be just one of the parties responsible – but the point is that they are the party at greatest risk of missing the threshold.

Green activists seem to hate it even when the unpalatable obvious is pointed out to them.

The Green Party is looking shaky and their core supporters are dirty under pressure. rather than discuss possibilities some of them go as far as resorting to filthy behaviour.

See Time for a Green alternative Eco-Eco party?