Well these past few weeks have been interesting in New Zealand as far as politics is concerned. We have had the usual headliners (e.g Hone Harawira and Winston Peters) making news in some form or another, an opposition reshuffle and the Labour candidate for the Botany by-election admitting defeat before the campaign has begun.
Hone Harawira is causing trouble for the Maori Party but I certainly hope that they can resolve these problems without Mr Harawira leaving the party. The numbers from Te Tai Tokerau suggest though that Mr Harawira would be able to gain election as an independent if he chose to but it will be interesting to see what he decides is in the best interests of his constituents.
John Key has made a brave but wise decision to rule out working with Winston Peters even if it costs him his job as Prime Minister. He has learnt from Helen Clark’s mistake and realised that Winston is just too big a risk. This also makes things harder for Winston. Now that people know that the only party he will be able to hold to account is Labour it means that effectively a vote for NZ First is a vote for a left-wing government lead by Phil Goff but with Winston Peters in the kingmaker position possibly holding a high-ranking ministerial post which if we think and remember for a moment what happened last time doesn’t really bear thinking about!
It was also interesting to read that Michael Wood, the Labour Party candidate in the Botany by-election thinks that he has no chance of winning even before the campaign proper has started, when questioned as to his commitment to his current position on the Puketapapa Local Board. Considering how National treated the Mana by-election and made considerable gains even when they were thought to have no chance isn’t this doesn’t bode well for any chance Labour might have had to make ground based on the Pansy Wong saga!