Winston Peters

After a wee holiday, some thoughts on how the new government should play its hand... and reflections on some good decisions that laid the ground for the 'coalition of losers'

In case you've been wondering, yes, I've been away for a bit. Taking Winston Peters at his word, I felt comfortable planning a holiday in the US from October 13. Well, that'll learn me! I got to watch him announce New Zealand First's choice of coalition partner sitting up in bed in Los Angeles.

Winston Peters' announcement that he will enter a coalition with Labour gives the 2017 election its final meaning. But it sounds like it was a very, very close run thing.

So, very late yesterday afternoon (let's be charitable) Winston Peters lifted the box's lid and out wandered a cat with a black head, red body and green tail.

Maybe there will be a government this week. Maybe not. To fill the vacuum speculation is the only alternative. 

This is the week we will be told what parties will make up the governing coalition and who will sit on the opposition benches of Parliament. Of this I am sure. 

New Zealand will not fall apart while we wait for a government to be negotiated. But that does not mean we have to just accept a lack of respect for transparency and shouldn't expect better

Well, I hate to say 'I told you so'. But, this. As frustration builds over the way our new government is being built - amidst casual abuse, secrecy and over-reach - we really only have ourselves to blame, for the way this administration is being born in darkness, at least.

It has been 21 years since the first Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) election. But we do not seem to be learning how to get the best from the system. We are treating it like First-Past-the-Post (FPP). It is time to relax and play to strengths of MMP. 

It is an unfortunate feature of the 2017 coalition negotiations that the country seems to be a mad rush to form a government. "Here we are", lament commentators, "days after the election and we still don't know who is going to run the country!!' (Actually, it is the job of the public service to "mind the store" in the absence of a government in all democratic countries).