This great article by Matt Whitehead on The Standard does a wonderful job analysing why the Greens negotiating the Statistics portfolio for James Shaw is smart and effective strategy. It’s quite clear James Shaw made this decision with great tact and forethought, and will allow him to serve the Greens a powerful future.
There’s been many claims that the majority didn’t vote for this new government, as not all New Zealand First voters want to go into government coalition with Labour. Now, this is a pathetic attempt to undermine the credibility of the new government, and it’s not how proportional representation works, but let’s see if there’s any credibility to this claim.
The only data we have is a poll of NZ First voters before the election. 65% preferred Labour, 25% preferred National, while the other 10% didn’t know. Keep in mind there’s an ±11.6% MoE.
New Zealand First won 9 seats. Let’s split that up according to the voter preferences.
- 2 of those seats would prefer National
- 1 of those seats would remain impartial
- 6 of those seats would prefer Labour
What if each of those hypothetical ‘factions’ was a separate party?
Here, the National/NZF/ACT grouping would have 59 seats, while the Labour/Greens/NZF grouping would have 60 seats. The National grouping could not form a government, while the Labour grouping would need New Zealand First’s one ‘Unsure/Don’t know/Impartial’ seat to gain the necessary majority.
While the Labour grouping needs that one swing seat in the middle for a majority, National has no use for it as they would still be one seat short of a majority.
Using this visualisation, it’s clear that less than half of voters supported the status quo government, with at least half supporting the left-wing change.
You’d think the man tasked with (successfully) unseating Winston Peters would have a better idea of how MMP works, but evidently not.
This bitterness is in stark contrast to Bill English’s gracious concession speech. There is nothing more bitter than a sore loser claiming this is some kind of constitutional coup.
National and ACT got 44.95%. Labour, NZ First, and the Greens got 50.36%. This is how proportional representation works. It’s not mob rule. The majority of the country are represented in this government.
If we have another term of this kind of bitterness, it’ll be a long 3 years.
Despite much conjecture that the Greens were going to get shafted by Labour and New Zealand First, the Greens are getting a great deal.
What we know so far is that the Greens are getting:
- 3 ministers outside of cabinet
- 1 parliamentary under-secretary
- Zero Carbon Act, + independent climate commission
- Overhaul of the welfare system
- Ensuring access to entitlements
- Removing excessive sanctions
- A review of Working for Families so that everyone has a standard of living that allows them to live in dignity
- Significant increases to the conservation budget
- Better water quality standards
- Greater water regulatory instruments
- Funding for freshwater enhancement
- Winding down of government funding for irrigation
- Access to mental health services and support for everyone
- Free counselling for anyone under 25 years old
- Access to education for children with special needs and learning difficulties
- Progress in eliminating the gender pay gap in the public service
- Review, and properly fund & support the family re-unification scheme for refugees
- Ensuring drug use is treated as a health issue
- Increased funding for alcohol and drug addiction services
- A referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at or by the 2020 election
These are significant gains, and the Greens get to maintain their independence by staying outside of cabinet, which will be great for the party next election.
This is the first time ever that the Green Party gets to hold ministerial positions, and it means that the Greens will finally be unequivocally recognised as fit to govern, not a fringe hippy movement like they’ve been characterised.
I expect the ministerial positions will be:
- Climate Change
It seems unlikely the Greens will get Minister for Social Housing or Social Development, but it sounds like there’s already been large gains made in this area. Though, it would be nice for Marama Davidson to have a ministerial role, especially as she’s likely to become the next co-leader. Maybe that under-secretary role will go to her or Jan Logie (another potential co-leader) for Social Development.
It’s good that the Greens’ve secured a referendum on cannabis, allowing Julie Anne Genter to sacrifice her members bill and to become the Minister of Transport.
It’s not even been a day, but government representatives of Australia’s ruling Liberal Party are already taking potshots at our new Labour government and trying to sow doubts about Ardern’s potential success.
Then Employment Minister Michaelia Cash on Thursday night suggested the new NZ government may be destined to fail.
“History shows that unfortunately the last time the Labour, Greens and independents formed Government it didn’t end well,” Senator Cash told 2GB radio, before praising the previous government led by John Key and Bill English.
The Australian government criticised the Labour Party for meddling in Australian politics earlier this year, even though the Labour Party didn’t really. Yet now they’re happy to insinuate this government is destined to fail?
Then the Liberal Party Premier for NSW tweeted this:
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) October 19, 2017
New Zealanders don’t like being told to move to Australia because our new government apparently won’t have “great infrastructure, a growing economy and jobs”. This is another clear attack on Jacinda’s new government, and it’s disappointing to see such petty partisanship from the Premier of NSW.
That’s on top of their partisan newspapers trying to undermine the victory, failing to understand a single basic principle of MMP:
The Australian records a Labour victory in NZ pic.twitter.com/0chEOqlDnj
— Michael Bachelard (@mbachelard) October 19, 2017
Turnbull should reign his senators and members in.