Apr 17, 2011

The split is complete

Hone Harawira has shifted his proxy vote to the Greens. The separation is now complete. As soon as the split was announced I expected Hone to shift his vote to the Greens. It seemed natural. After all, Hone split with the Maori Party because he disagreed with the party’s voting decisions so it seemed somewhat illogical to keep his vote with the Maori Party.

This is good for Hone and possibly good for the Greens. The two can now work as a bloc. Should Hone bring in another MP, or perhaps two, the two parties can negotiate as a left wing bloc. This is dangerous though. In the event of a strong left wing bloc the Labour Party would be inclined to form a grand coalition with the National Party, as has happened in Europe (I cannot remember who originally made this point - sorry). Ultimately, nothing scares Labour more than been a real left wing party.   

Hone also announced that a research unit has agreed to support him. He did not specify whether it was a parliamentary research unit or an external research unit, maybe a team associated with the Unite union. This will mean Hone’s own electorate and parliamentary staff have more time to do their actual jobs and Hone has more time to focus on building a new party and spend more time in Te Tai Tokerau. Good.


  1. Labour is aleady in a grand coalition of the right with National. I can't see that making it official would necessarily be bad for the left. Speeding up Labour's demise would certainly be beneficial, as would having a genuine oppostion narrative presented to the public.


  2. I really can't see Labour going into a grand coalition with National. The raw electoral calculus might sometimes determine it but the partisan dislike between the two parties shows no sign of abating. It will take a long time before grand coalitions are possible in New Zealand. I wouldn't rule it out in the long run but the tipping point is unlikely to be a couple of extra Harawira-aligned MPs.

  3. They often vote the same and have the same trade etc policies.

    Once Hone gets momentum, and if the greens go into battle mode maybe the balance of forces will start to shift.

  4. People talked about a so-called 'inevitable' grand coalition when National was in Labour's current position, in the Bill English years. The only way it will ever happen is if a third party starts getting close to the support levels of at least one of them, ala Labour to Reform and United in the early 1930s. In 2000 and again now there is no prospect of a grand coalition because the more popular party has no reason to join it, and the unpopular party assumes it will bounce back eventually. The similarity of policies is not really relevant.



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