Saturday, April 16, 2011

Minor parties may see a resurgence

Phil Goff says he is happy to work with Winston Peters in Parliament after the election. That’s easy for him to say. Phil Goff may not be Labour’s leader and Peters may not be in Parliament.

However with Goff shooting himself in the foot so much that it is expected that he will do it again will lead to many deserting the party for the Greens and NZ First. Ironically NZ First will only get into Parliament if Labours vote collapses further and bleeds votes to NZ First. The Greens are principled, NZ First has a loud leader, and UnitedFuture has an MP who is plugging away at his electorate and his ministerial job with his support pretty much constant. I wouldn’t be surprised if John Key, closer to the election, was to publicly encourage Ohariu voters to vote Peter Dunne instead of Katrina Shanks.

As Labour is an unreliable opposition and is not a government in waiting, the Greens are the left’s only hope of principled left politics until Goff is removed. Those who don’t want to vote Green are going for NZ First. Let’s see if a poll out tomorrow reflects that. The last Colmar Brunton poll put Labour on 34 percent and I’d be surprised if tomorrow’s poll puts Labour much above 31.5 percent.

It is not only those on the left that have deserted Labour. Many of the middle voters deserted Labour some time ago and voted National in 2008, and they have remained with National.[ Update Some in the Ratana Church are calling its members to abandon Labour and are not impressed with their member being 55th on the list.]

National looks like it will sleepwalk to victory in this year’s election. Will many of Labour’s activists now be foot soldiers for the Greens because they don’t want to defend a party led by Phil Goff? Or will they concentrate on certain candidates in the same way they would do in a First Past the Post election?

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