Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Cautious Optimism

I must admit that the events of the last two weeks have given me cause to question my view of MMP. I would not go so far as to say it is an ideal form of Government.

In my view the National Party has done a very good job of putting together political alliances in order to form the next Government of New Zealand. What has impressed me has been that they have joined together with more parties than required to achieve a 51% majority in Parliament. Had they been pragmatic, they could have struck a deal with ACT or the Maori Party and set about governing. But instead they have taken an extra 6 seats by including United Future and both ACT and the Maori Party.

This creates a more representative Parliament, with the minor partners acting as tempering influences on each other. It could be seen that National could use the threat of "We've got the numbers with ACT to push through this piece of legislation so your votes don't matter" or it could be seen that they have taken on a more tricky position in having to work things through with more partners.

It is going to be interesting to watch this one play out.

I suppose what is most surprising is that National has gone down this track given the strength of support they received in the ballot box. There has not been such strong support for one party since the inception of MMP.

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