This post was originally published at The Daily Blog on 16 May 2013.
So, the National-led government is basically canning the huge amount of work and Sacred Taxpayer Dollars which went into the review of our electoral system – because, as aptly demonstrated by Holly Walker of the Greens and Lianne Dalziel of Labour, they don’t like it.
What don’t they like? The common assumption is that it’s about the recommendations to eliminate lifeboating – i.e. Peter Dunne winning Ohariu again and dragging in a bunch of fundies with him – and to balance that out by reducing the party vote threshold to 4%.
What I don’t get is why.
I mean, Walker is going with the (very strong) line that it’s because National are reliant on Banks and Dunne, who both probably have delusions of one day regaining extra seats in the House.
I am no political scientist, nor do I have access to the magical beast which is internal party polling, but this makes little sense to me. Does anyone see Banksy keeping hold of Epsom? Does anyone see the electorate swinging behind United Future again, after the hilarious debacles which have always ensued – and always get recited whenever Dunne seems to be courting the Reasonable Middle Ground demographic?
On current polling, of the minor parties, only NZ First has a shot of returning to Parliament, and that’s assuming Richard Prosser can keep his mouth shut until the election (I don’t include the Greens as a minor party these days). The Conservatives are on 1.5%. Wouldn’t it make much more sense for the Right to just euthanise ACT, drop the threshold, and hope that Colin can pull in enough votes to get over the line? Who knows how many hard-blue Nat voters would strategically jump ship to ensure their party wasn’t dependent on Winston? And to those voters, getting from 1.5 to 4 looks a hell of a lot easier that 1.5 to 5.
Are the Nats just that stuck in an antidemocratic, anti-MMP mindset? Do they still harbour dreams of ruling alone, even though it’s probably impossible in general and much less so when you’re going for a third term and the wheels are starting to come off the wagon?
This post is almost entirely made up of questions to which I have no answers, but I’m genuinely puzzled. Spin me your theories in the comments.