Friday, November 11, 2011
National/Green Coalition Even More Unlikely
National are now holding on to their polling lead by the skin of their teeth and their traditional coalition partner when things get tight is looking increasingly dodgy. Act has lost its libertarian base and the social liberalism, a strong element within that philosophy, that used to softened their hardline economics and make them appear more mainstream. The new faces of Act, like John Banks and Don Nicholson, come across more like flaky members of a conservative christian party and this kind of political philosophy has had minimal support in New Zealand in the past and even less so now.
The Maori Party has developed into the party for the money orientated, entrepreneurial sector of the Maori community and they have lost their activist, social justice element to Mana. This will potentially halve its support and diminish its value as a useful coalition partner.
All that remains are the Greens. We Greens are an increasingly credible political force and we have the real potential of getting around fifteen MPs this election. National have directed most of their attacks on Labour but have been very soft on us and Green candidates around the country have been surprised to find ourselves on very friendly terms with National candidates. There is high degree of political flirting coming from the National camp in an attempt to flatter and soften the broader Green membership into thinking a closer relationship with National would be alright.
Labour on the other hand have been desperate to counter the large chunk of voters that are obviously shifting to the Greens and are coming out with policy announcements that could almost be quoted word for word from the Green Party website.
Much political commentary has has described the positive elements of a potential National/Green coalition and there have been some criticisms and frustrations expressed around the apparent duplicity of the Greens political positioning. The Greens are in a powerful position at this point and we have achieved a level of political maturity to know that to come out with a coalition preference already established would be a form of political self-castration.
Despite the a lack of media coverage it is the Green Party who have defined this election campaign with clear messaging and a comprehensive and visionary economic plan that has real credibility. While Labour was scrabbling around to answer Key's clever challenge "show me the money" we Greens were sitting on a fully costed package that sees New Zealand well out of debt far earlier than what National or Labour have proposed.
If National or Labour wish us to consider them as potential partners it is policy that will be the most influential element of any courting attempts. National does not understand this at all, for them being in the seats of power is everything and just to offer the possibility should be enough. Their "greenwash" works with many voters, despite the visual evidence in our rivers and the Rena wreck that says otherwise, but it doesn't work with us. They don't seem to understand that each of their policy releases so far have just represented another potential bridge burnt. Even the Blue Green's within National are becoming increasingly uneasy about National softening their commitment to the environment.
If National comes knocking on the Greens door after the election to make up some missing seats then there would need to be some serious bridge building beforehand. If the policy compatibility doesn't exist to any great extent then any coalition based on confidence and supply would be even more highly unlikely!