The responsibility of forming Government

Probably the biggest responsibility in a democracy such as ours is an election. That is one time every three years that voters, the people, have a say in who runs out country. Most people take that responsibility seriously.

Another of the biggest responsibilities follows every election – the formation of Government, especially so when a number of options are possible.

Due to the way all the other parties have stood aside waiting this responsibility falls in particular this year on NZ First and on it’s leader Winston Peters. They represent about 163 thousand voters (with specials to add), just 7.5% of eligible voters.

Peters and NZ First have a responsibility to represent the wishes of their party members and their supporters and voters first and foremost, but they also have a responsibility to everyone and to the whole country.

Peters has been criticised for ‘keeping the country waiting’, but he is correct to take his time. The process needs to be done right, and that can’t happen until the final results come in on 7 October.

The final results may substantially change the balance of power. Many expect them to give the NZ First-Labour-Green option a bit more weight by giving Greens and perhaps also Labour an extra seat, which would give this triumvirate a buffer in their majority of 63-57.

However this isn’t certain, and there is a chance that National could gain a seat giving them with ACT 60-60 parity. This would change things substantially.

So until we get the final results all the parties can do is prepare for coalition negotiations.

Labour and National are doing this carefully in order to win positive attention and respect from Peters in particular.

Peters has also taken care not to reveal what he might decide. He appears to have taken his responsibilities seriously, He has been through this process twice before, in 1996 and in 2005, so he knows as well as anyone how it should work.

On election night when it became clear that NZ First were in a pivotal position Peters acknowledged his responsibilities. From Newsroom Winston Peters plots a path as kingmaker:

Yet as he noted, NZ First still holds what he called “the balance of political responsibility”.

“We have been strong enough and honest enough with our supporters to make it home and to have not all the cards but we do have the main cards – we’re not going to squander that opportunity.”

He counselled patience during negotiations, aware of the flak he copped in 1996 after weeks of talks, and reaffirmed a pledge to make a decision public by the return of the writs on October 12.

I think serious negotiations should start as soon the final results are known on 7 October but will probably take at least as long as the return of the writs.

A smooth transition to a new Government and the stable running of Government are at stake.

So far Peters appears to be taking his responsibilities seriously.

Unfortunately someone or some people in NZ First have chosen to be irresponsible, as has Newshub sensationalist Patrick Gower. See Gower’s disgraceful power play, and more in the next post.

The Green team

While Nationa, Labour and NZ First are being cagey about who will line up for them in coalition negotiations the Greens have tried to jump into the proceedings by announcing their team.

Green Party announces government negotiation team

The Green Party is today announcing the team that will lead its negotiations to form the next government.

The team consists of:
-Co-leader James Shaw
-Musterer and MP Eugenie Sage
-Acting Chief of Staff Tory Whanau
-Party Co-Convenor Debs Martin
-Party Campaign Committee member Andrew Campbell

“Our team has the experience and expertise to represent the interests of the Green Party, its members and its supporters in the negotiations to come,” said Mr Shaw.

“While formal negotiations have yet to start, I think it’s important to be transparent about who’s being entrusted to lead our team when they do.

“The negotiation team is supported by a reference group with broad expertise, including Jeanette Fitzsimons and other senior figures in the Green Party.

“I want to assure Green Party members and the public that we go into these negotiations in good faith and with the best interests of all New Zealanders at heart.

“Forming a stable, progressive government and advancing the Green Party’s priorities of real climate action, cleaning up our rivers and ending poverty are all top of mind.

“We also know that New Zealanders want these negotiations to be undertaken professionally and promptly; the Green Party will honour that,” said Mr Shaw.

They will find out sooner or later that a campaign PR approach os not likely to get them much attention.

Dotcom says he wants to face trial in the US

In “an exclusive interview with theHerald on Sunday” Kim Dotcom says he wants to voluntarily go to the US to face trial – ‘Pariah’ Dotcom prepares to quit NZ.

Embattled internet tycoon Kim Dotcom says he is now considered a pariah and is looking to quit New Zealand.

He said he was renewing his offer to the Department of Justice to voluntarily travel to the US for his trial. But this was on the condition he was given bail and that assets seized in the 2012 Dotcom mansion raid are returned to him.

From the outset he has maintained his innocence and says he is confident of winning any court action against him.

“What’s the problem with me having bail then I’m out of here.

“The Prime Minister will forget about me, New Zealanders will forget about me and I will be gone.”

He said he was sure he and his estranged wife, who currently lives in an adjacent home on his expansive Coatesville compound, could come to an arrangement that meant he was in constant contact with his five children.

“I’m sure Mona would go to the US with the kids.”

That would be a big move for Mona and the kids. Is it and assumption or wishful thinking, or has Mona indicated she would be willing to move?

Dotcom was at a loss to explain why the tide of public opinion had turned so harshly against him.

“It’s turned into something very ugly,” he said. “Now I am a pariah.

“The funny thing is I haven’t changed and I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I’m still the same guy who only a matter of months ago people were cheering for.”

What has changed is that he tried to manufacture a change of government and in doing so he exposed himself much more to the New Zealand public.

He got some initial support for his Internet-Mana project but as people saw more of him the support faded. Amongst a number of obnoxious things he bragged about hacking the leader of Germany because he didn’t like him and implied he would do the same to Key, who he said he disliked.

He pariahed himself.

It has also been reported:

“He is ready to leave NZ after his failure with his political party, and wants the government to negotiate his surrender to the USA”.

The government has said they don’t negotiate for those who are being extradited.

There’s no way the Government could negotiate terms for an extradition. It’s a legal issue, not a horse trading market.

Dotcom could try negotiating with the US. If he went there voluntarily they would no longer need to extradite him.

This change of tack suggests Dotcom doesn’t like his chances of avoiding extradition.