Andrew Dickens: National and Labour have power not Winston

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Monday, 2 October 2017, 7:44AM
And don't be pussies National and Labour. Remember you have the power not Winston and his eight dwarfs. (Photo \ Getty Images)
And don't be pussies National and Labour. Remember you have the power not Winston and his eight dwarfs. (Photo \ Getty Images)

And so week two of the creation of a government commences, with none of us any the wiser as to what may happen.

But do we care?

Or are we caring too much?

In a strange twist I hosted the post election analysis two Sundays ago and later that day disappeared for seven days holiday. What is fascinating is that nothing has changed in that time and the same questions are still being asked, that I asked eight days ago.

But I have noticed the opinion writers have become more and more irritated by Winston Peters in particular. Duncan Garner in the press on Saturday went ballistic. He called Winston a megalomaniac. He claimed that Winston Peters had 100 per cent of the power despite 93 per cent of the country voting for someone else. He claimed that New Zealanders didn't realise that.

I don't know what planet he lives on or who lives with him on that planet.

News for Duncan. Everyone I spoke to this week is well aware and these sorts of opinions make you look like a beltway rabble rouser - desperate for attention and headlines. He has some power but not all.

Down in Central Otago, the people I spoke to this week, thought Winston was a suited clown but also thought most politicians and all journalists are also suited clowns so it's business as usual.

They're not worried that there is no government because all the government does is spend the money that real people make and so they'll just keep doing the business while the beltway types play their games in fact most people I talk to think that Winston loses power the longer he delays.

Winston only has as much power as either Labour or National want to give him. People like the opinion writers who say he has ultimate power are dumbing things down.

One fellow I talked to on a chairlift suggested that National and Labour should get together and decide that neither party will offer him Deputy Prime Minister, or Finance Minister, or Foreign Minister or Treasurer and then ask him what policy he would like to see become real.

This is sense to me. Remember after coalition agreements the alliance made Kiwibank. The Maori Party made Whanau Ora. Act does their charter school thing. Peter Dunne did whatever he did with revenue and drugs. So what is the one thing that Winston and New Zealand First would actually do in 2017? I have no idea. Looking at their policy mix all they've done is promise Christmas and tell the rest of the world they're useless. It's time for New Zealand First to tell us what they actually stand for, rather than who they stand against.

Now here's the thing. This is just like 1996 and the first MMP coalition building election. Since then things have been easier and the parties involved less bolshy and so we've ridden through the coalition building without people getting too incensed about the whole tail wagging the dog thing. But the process has always been the same

In 96 the negotiations dragged on forever. Michael Laws always claimed that Winston wanted to go for National from the get go but kept talking to Labour to get the best possible deal.

So 21 years later. Forget that. We're wise to such a simple trick. You get one policy mate. Make your call. Today's good. What do you stand for more than just perceived power and vanity cabinet positions? 

And don't be pussies National and Labour. Remember you have the power not Winston and his eight dwarfs.

Quick call from me. Labour should avoid a three way coalition. With a new leader, just eight weeks in so full of potential, you have to ask the question, do you want one term or three?  Meanwhile National and NZ First should get together and work on the super gold card. Job done.

Plus the Greens need to get over themselves and get behind a government for the first time in their lives.

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