Mike's Minute: MMP is a bust but the new Sustainable NZ Party could work

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Friday, 16 August 2019, 9:40AM


Well we end the week with good news for Vernon Tava and his new Sustainable Party .

He has crossed the threshold and got his 500 party members. Presumably he will register his party, and as a result, I hope he does well.

I hope he does well for no other reason than MMP is a bust.

MMP - the system designed to foster encourage and grow new and small parties - the sort of parties that represent a view on behalf of New Zealanders who otherwise would not have their views represented at the highest level.

I remember the tragic old days of Social Credit and the Values Party. Parties with a certain amount of organisation and a relative amount of support. Under MMP they most likely would have got to Parliament, and in theory once you are there you can prosper.

So with the advent of MMP came the prospect of choice - and what a bitter and sad old set of affairs it's turned out to be. So the arrival of a new player is good news.

Will it work? Well that is about more than just turning up. What's the message, how well is the message delivered, where are you getting your vote from, and is that vote ready willing and able to be swayed? Who are the players? Are they appealing, how well-organised are you, how professional are you, how well-funded are you? There are a lot of boxes to be ticked.

But as a concept, of all the parties that could turn up, the Sustainable Party  stands - all things considered - as good a chance as any.

There is no doubt that the Greens are vulnerable. They've spent too long out of government for a party with the sort of support they have. Now they are in Government (sort of) you could argue they've not made the sort of headway they could or should have.

But the glaring issue, the issue that's ripe for the picking, is of course their schizophrenic nature. Communist and environmentalist, nature lover and protester, red and green...
I don't think it would take a lot for a well-organised, coherent, middle-of-the-road greenish style party to snatch a bit of that vote.

The easiest way in is a deal with a major player - presumably National. Say all you want about the five per cent threshold - history shows five per cent is hard work.

Doing an Act-type deal is easier and way, way more effective. Cut a deal, get a seat, help National and show your mettle in the House. That's the way I'd go.

National needs help, and another player. It's just what the doctor ordered, a win-win.
There's a lot of water still to flow under this bridge, but at least there is life in the MMP model. And given the carnage we have seen these past few years: UnitedFuture, Māori Party, Mana, Internet - the Sustainability Party's arrival is more than welcome.

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