According to recent polls, Winston Peters has an odds on chance to take Northland from National. Labour and Mana are sadly well off the pace, though both are fielding excellent candidates.
If New Zealand First were to win Northland, that would given them 12 MPs. National would go down to 59. Crunching the numbers, that means that all opposition parties apart from ACT combined would have 61 votes, to National and ACT’s 60.
The Maori Party and Peter Dunne have already shown they can occasionally be persuaded to vote against the government on specific issues. They all indicated they would vote against sending troops to take part in the war against IS, even in a training-only role. And all would have voted for the Paid Parental Leave Bill which was lost recently with a 60/60 vote.
A New Zealand First win in Northland would mean there is at least a slim chance of scuppering some of the pernicious legislation headed our way this parliamentary term, such as the changes to the Resource Management Act, and maybe even the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, if enough pressure is brought to bear.
Anything that weakens the National/ACT stranglehold on power should put the opposition parties in a stronger position for the 2017 election. And hopefully the left in general, if we can use the opportunity to work together in a constructive way.
Idiot Savant, writing in the Daily Blog, advises left-leaning Northland voters looking to pull the rug out from under National that they might want to “grit their teeth” and vote for Winston. Under the circumstances, it could be sage advice?