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Mike Hosking: Why won't Simon Bridges do a deal with Alfred Ngaro?

Author
Mike Hosking ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 11:07AM
There seems a reluctance to be open and honest about all this. A deal is a deal. Photo / File.
There seems a reluctance to be open and honest about all this. A deal is a deal. Photo / File.

COMMENT:

I'm assuming Simon Bridges is playing the political game in not talking honestly about Alfred Ngaro, his party, and their chances of a deal in an electorate.

He ruled out a deal in Botany yesterday on my programme. Why would he do that?

His argument is Botany has always been a good National seat, which it has, but so has Epsom? So does that mean he would cut a deal elsewhere? Ngaro hasn’t asked, he said. Too much dancing on the head of a pin, I'm afraid.

Here's what Scott Morrison knows that Bridges needs to get on board with, you use the system to your advantage.

Morrison did a deal with Clive Palmer and One Nation on preferences. Clive Palmer got nowhere, but under the Australian system your vote is recycled, and if you prefer the Liberals, they gain. And they gained six seats in Queensland, a four per cent swing their way.

How? Because of Palmer preferences, they used the system to their advantage. No Palmer, no Queensland. No Queensland, no government. Simple.

Our preferences in MMP are electorate deals with parties who might not get across the line themselves but have enough votes to pull in extra seats.

Under our system, one of the more controversial aspects is that if you win an electorate you need a little over 1.2 per cent of the vote to get another seat. A bit over 2.5 per cent of the vote it’s a third seat. Three seats with barely 3 per cent of the vote.

In a review of the system, that’s one of the aspects of the game they want to potentially overturn, they call it coat-tailing.

But as it stands, those are the rules. And National, given no one is going anywhere, outside of themselves are desperate for options.

Ngaro, by all accounts, if he puts this thing together, is a genuine player. The Christian vote has always been ripe for the picking, it's just previously been butchered by the cavalcade of odd operators.

There seems a reluctance to be open and honest about all this. A deal is a deal. The ACT-Epson arrangement got a bit of bagging early on but if you don't like it, change the rules.

But they haven't. So it is what it is.

Previously, other parties have held their nose at cutting similar deals. Fine, take any stance you want, but being virtuous might be a very high price to pay if you're not in government.

The reality is ACT is useless. Despite all their work, promotion, noise, legislation and at times good, intelligent, common sense, they have failed to go anywhere. I doubt now they ever will or can.

So National need to be pragmatic, the Christian option is a real option. And if takes a deal in Botany, or wherever, then that, as they say, is a no brainer.

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