Monday, September 19, 2005

The New Zealand election

After previous post on New Zealand I went haring off through the wilds of the Internet to learn some more of what is going on with the Kiwis and how they got there.

It is looking like Labour under Helen Clark will win, but only if it allies with Anderton, Green, and Maori parties. The president of the Maori party, Professor Whatarangi Winiata, has gone on record vowing to oppose any chance of National taking power; so even with overseas ballots and provisional ballots still to be counted along with a Maori Party council, it looks like Maori will ally with Labour and hence Labour will lead a minority coalition government.

This truthfully leaves Clark as PM in a perilously weak position. Labour only has 50 seats and one needs 61 to form a government. If one of the minor parties bolts, then New Zealand may face another national election. John Anderton, who leads the Anderton Party, is a major shareholder of Kiwibank and he should worry if Labour's largesse of throwing free cash at college students in the form of interest free loans will send the ship of state onto financial shoals; I would think if it does, it would be a good reason to leave the coalition since it would be bad for Kiwibank and there goes one seat. The Greens could bolt over various issues, but since Helen Clark has already declared New Zealand a nuclear free zone it does not look likely unless Labour repeals/modifies that foreshore/seabed legislation to get the Maori Party aboard and there would go six seats. And if the Maori Party does not get some modification of that legislation, then they could bolt also and take four seats. Any of these scenarios would leave Labour in the minority and out of power unless it got cozy with National, First, ACT, or United to form another coalition. And since National gained many rural seats at Labour's expense when Labour concentrated on metropolitan seats and National MP Tony Ryall has been voicing strong concern over one of Clark's minister's interfering with the immigration case of one foreign worker who happens to work for that minister. I do not see National allowing itself to be co-opted and even if National does come aboard, I would bet the Maori Party would bolt then. And if National does not join Labour to form a majority coalition, then Labour needs ACT, United, or First to join to keep the minority coalition; it all depends upon which group bolts from the Labour coalition to see which of the other parties Labour would talk to. ACT has two seats, United has three seats, and First seven seats. For Labour to entice any of these three parties to join would involve some kind of deal that hopefully would not alienate Labour's remaining allies.

After writing the above, I have to agree with some New Zealand editorialist. Helen Clark has to be thinking working at the UN would be easier. This is a house of cards just waiting for one errant gust of wind to collapse it.

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