Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Rodney says "do a deal"

Rodney Hide is suggesting that the Blue Team can cobble together a government if the Nats drop their Maori policies and do a deal with Tariana, Sharples, Flavell and Harawira. Herald report here:
Mr Hide said National should accept it does not have the electoral mandate to scrap the Maori seats and should shelve its plans. It should also change its position on the foreshore and seabed.

It should offer to scrap the Foreshore and Seabed Act and then leave decisions in that area to the courts on a case by case basis.

In principle, that would gel with National's policy of "one law for all", he said.
The Nats are on the wrong side on the issue of the Foreshore and Seabed, as Rodney says and as I argued here a while back, so scrapping the Foreshore and Seabed Act would be a good thing. And it's undoubtedly true that the abolition of the Maori seats wouldn't get through the present Parliament anyway, but isn't the strategy here just a little optimistic? "The Act leader said establishing a National-led centre-right government was more important than holding onto its Maori-related policies." Is it? And can you realistically see Hone Harawira voting with National?

[UPDATE: TinCanMan astutely notes below that "
National has taken a sensible approach on the Maori seats, to back down now is simply peer pressure politicking," and of course he's right. I thought my view on that would be obvious to regular readers, but it's worth reiterating as TCM has done. Ta. ]


  1. Rubbish, as far as I'm concerned. National has taken a sensible approach on the Maori seats, to back down now is simply peer pressure politicking. Until the specials are counted and the dust has settled, nothing is known, but to renege on a substantive policy like that is no good. Rather work on the electorate until 2008 then and be a strong opposition to prevent Labour from further running the country into the ground.

    Btw. Loved the writing of Ken Ring. Very interesting reading there, PC.

  2. I agree tincanman. Indeed time will be needed to argue properly for abolishing the Maori Seats. If people understood why the Seats were originally introduced then even Maori would struggle to argue convincingly for their retention.

  3. It would be fascinating to put National and Maori Party reps in a room and game out how it would work. Rodney seems keen.

    To start with getting rid of the Maori seats could be a path best started down together with the people affected. That's rather obvious. Does Maori political representation have to rely on seperate seats? Some imagination is needed here - but the Nats are the last people one would ascribe imagination to.

  4. Of course, drop the Maori policy....

    Why not drop tax cuts as well? Then Brash could give Labour a call - maybe even the Greens! - and form a glorious grand coalition.

    But it would make National's election campaign rather ridiculous though, wouldn't it? I mean, why vote for them at all...

  5. Maybe dropping the Maori seats would be acceptable if the 5% threshold was removed as well.

    The Maori party would still get some seats and it would be a double hit for National: remove the race-based seats and accompanying overhang, and take a small bite out of Labour's party vote as the Maori party supporters switch over.

  6. I've been thinking about “where too for ACT?” now since the election. There are otherwise-honest libertarians who tell me that Heather Roy is the second most liberal of the 9 former ACT MPs after Rodney and, now that it's just those two, that there is a significant chance the party will forge a real classical liberal brand, raising awareness of and promoting personal freedom issues as well economic freedom while letting the conservatives go back to the Nats if not persuaded.

    To do this, they need to start saying liberal things about drugs, prostitution and/or abortion. That risks alienating Epsom voters who, being the best-paid in the country, might otherwise back ACT from now on to drag the balance of power to the right. So my view was that Rodney faced a dilemma - secure a permanent seat but not promote the ideas I believe he truly subscribes to as a closet libertarian, or, try to promote those ideas, risking the loss of the otherwise-safe Epsom seat while possibly attracting urban liberal voters.

    That was until I heard the 6pm news - and groaned. Don't they get it?!

    Part of Don's original appeal was that he was prepared to say the things he truly believed despite those being controversial; that he did not appear to be a man of the political establishment who, guided by pollsters and spin doctors, pandered to whatever was thought to have the most appeal to the most people. I say original appeal because, like Barry Goldwater, he started me-tooing his leftist opposition so as not to appear scarily RW, matching Labour bribe for bribe only to a lesser degree(e.g. student loan tax rebates, aged care workers, etc.).

    For the Nats to sell out on their anti-apartheid policy would be suicidal; it would be to tell the public that they didn't fundamentally believe in one of their most popular policies, that the policy had just been a ploy to gain support. It would be worse for them than selling out everything to get back into power with Winston in 1996 because they would be giving up a popular policy rather than an unpopular one (privatisation).

    Why doesn't Rodney get this? Why can't he see past the immediate next three years? I wonder if he realises that National would have been in power two terms ago if Bolger's power-retention lust had not prevented them leaving Winston to go with Labour.

    At this last election, Brash hit a nerve with his anti-apartheid stance and his tax cuts; while maintaining these appealing policies, he sold the right wing as least scarily as it possibly could be, eschewing any association with privatisation or spending cuts or association with the US. And still, his vote, along with ACT's and, for what it's worth, the Libz's, did not add up to that of Labour's, let alone the majority needed to form a government.

    This surely must be the indictment of ACT and National's policy of not trying to move the public in their direction, of not trying to raise awareness/appreciation of pro-freedom ideas for fear of scaring people away but instead tailoring their message to what they thought the public wanted to hear. If they ever want to be able to gain support for more-market policies, they are going to have to sell the ideas and be (and be seen to be) prepared to stand by them even if unpopular on principle.

  7. Andrew - exactly whats been on my mind and a lot of others it seems post E Day.

    Where to now for ACT?

    I've blogged my thoughts there, will add your comment as well.

    Personally I'd like to see ACT and Libz come together - they have (or should have) so much common ground. We need to combine and make a strong, true classical liberal party (including liberal policies on drugs etc as you suggest).

    Two seperate parties fighting over the same vote is crazy when they are so similar.

    Its time for everyone to get over the personality differences and focus on the task at hand for the next 3 years.

  8. Crap. And here I've been liking ACT for their policy, not their 'libertarian' label.


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