MITCH HARRIS: Would National be better off out of Government?
The reason I picked Labour/ Greens as New Zealand First’s preferred coalition partner on election night remains the same after the specials count made a change of Government more viable. In 2017 Labour and The Greens have far more in common with NZ First than National does.
Labour and NZ First want to cut back our high immigration numbers to give working people a better chance of earning a decent living. They also share a concern about wealthy foreigners bidding up the costs of land and housing. National as the landowning, farming and big business party is less worried about housing costs and likes to have a plentiful supply of cheap labour. Labour, The Greens and NZ First want Government to have a greater hand in directing the economy. These are profound differences in outlook and no coalition agreement can “future-proof” these sorts of differences three years into the future.
National supporters should be concerned that their representatives do not sell their souls to NZ First. Better no deal than a bad deal. They have had three terms in power. They could go into opposition as a still strong party and work on getting themselves back in power in three years time. A tired party in its fourth term tied to NZ First could see them spend much more time in opposition.
But the lust for power will be too great to resist. There is a born-to-rule mentality with National which was plain to see on election night and over the past two weeks. There is also a tremendous desire to crown Bill English who campaigned doggedly and “deserves” to have his turn as Prime Minister.
For these reasons National will press hard to remain in Government rather than learn from their mistake in 1996, that sometimes it is better to sit one out.
Mitch Harris hosts Night Talk, 8pm-midnight Monday to Thursday on RadioLIVE.