Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Small parties: worn out, no use, blah blah blah

What exactly have the minor parties achieved since 1996?

In Government, I'm talking. Little more than a few baubles of Ministerial office.

There are arguments for ACT to cease the "scandal" politics. Honestly, that's the main way you can see any results out of them. Raising issues important to their voters as a "think tank" inside Parliament is good, sure, but there's talk of election and coalition strategies. Forget about it. ACT is far more useful outside of Government than inside. Some ACTivists are actually rooting for John Key so ACT could win back more of their former voters and hopefully give them influence. Forget about it. Even if ACT got 20% of the vote National still wouldn't concede a 15% flat tax - maybe under Brash, but not under Key.

The Greens should learn this lesson. There is no point in trying to achieve results through coalition. Labour has shafted them for the past three elections. Instead, all minor parties are better off being think-tanks that happen to be elected to Parliament. That is of course, except the shameless opportunist parties which are responsible for most of the problems with MMP.


Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

If the solution for ACT's problems is to change the National leader, then that gives you a pretty good idea of how stuffed ACT are. If they can't be the masters of their own destiny and rely on external factors that they have no control over, then I think that's pretty much a damning indictment.

Put it this way, if I said that the only way that NZ Cricket could become competitive again against Australia was to change the Aussie lineup, you'd say that the real problem is that NZ cricketers actually need to lift their game and play better, not rely on Australian selections to become competitive.

The only argument that will woo former ACT voters back is if they look and behave like a real political party, offering solutions of relevance to voters. I've blogged more than enough on this in the past, so I don't see the need to relitigate this all over again, other than to say that if John Key assumes the leadership of National, then I would be surprised to see support from National melt away to ACT.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Nichlemn said...

Well I'm basically saying that the fortunes of ACT are actually fairly irrelevant to how their policies will be adopted. Only decisions by the larger parties and general trends matter. So if Key comes along and moves considerably to the centre, being little more than a Labour clone (David Cameron style?) which ACT is able to reap the disaffected votes from, it may be happy to be stronger, but in reality a Brash-led National would do more for their goals.

The post is basically suggesting that the dreams of proportional representation's power for small parties is misguided, and that the parties should adjust their goals accordingly,

4:36 PM  
Blogger span said...

Well the Alliance did manage to achieve some things - paid parental leave and Kiwibank in particular. I think it's also fair to say that first the Alliance and later the Progressives were instrumental in bringing about four weeks annual leave.

The Greens have now got some investigations into two of their pet projects, Buy NZ Made and solar heating. Pretty small fry I agree.

NZF and United have mainly managed to stop Labour from doing things they didn't want it to do, which are achievements of a sort.

I'm trying to remember what NZF got in that first coalition agreement, with National, other than Winston being the Budget Reader-Outer... I'm sure there were some things?

3:08 PM  

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