Can someone please remind the National Party that there are now more than two Parties in parliament? You’d think they’d have learned this lesson in entering their second coalition government since our switch to MMP, but apparently they think it’s appropriate to talk about “bipartisanship” while also referring to the “broad base of support across parties represented in Parliament.” And this is not by any means an isolated incident.
Here’s the cluehammer for the subtlety-deficient: Talking about “bipartisanship” means “working constructively with another party that isn’t your own”. National has to be bipartisan if it even wants to form a government thanks to MMP and the voters of New Zealand. Talking about “multipartisanship”, however, means engaging many or all parties, which is highly important in a society where 21% of voters picked someone other than the two largest parties to represent them. Personally speaking I find reference to bipartisanship insulting in such an environment, as if the voices of a fifth of New Zealand don’t matter, or the 15% of us who actually got our third-party representatives into Parliament can be ignored.
Until we get some substantial policy out of National, preferably in advance of it being passed, (a difficult proposition at the best of times, let alone after an election in the media honeymoon period) the language of press releases is all we have to go by- and these press releases seem to be saying that John Key thinks that his promise to be a Prime Minister to all New Zealanders means merely appealing to his own base and Labour’s base simultaneously. If he is as competent as the pundits think, then either his party is lacking message discipline or this attempt to lock out third parties is a deliberate extension of his campaign tactics to restrict the impact of our messages.