Some people have observed that National will face a major problem in the next election because it will have no viable support parties.
This ‘problem’ is nothing compared to Labour’s: that to form a Government in the next election it either has to climb to a level of popularity it has never experienced under MMP, or will have to do deals with an eclectic collection of minority parties.
The idea being mooted is that the only way for National’s party vote to go from this election is down. If it gets beneath 48% it needs support parties, but these have been decimated.
With 0.61% of the Party vote to his ‘Party’, Peter Dunne is reliant on his electorate, and is almost totally aligned with National.
With 1.07% of the Party vote, ACT has been cut to ribbons. Its sole MP, John Banks, is an ex-National Party MP and Government Minister. It is likely that his party may disband from under him.
With 1.35% of the vote, but three Maori electorate seats, the Maori Party is concerned that its alliance with National has harmed its level of support.
Although National will use the support of Dunne and Banks, it will be looking to keep its options open. Therefore some sort of loose ‘support’ deal with the Maori Party is possible – if they are interested.
National’s ‘problem’ is academic. It’s just as easy to moot that the strange collection of opposition parties, and a very weak Labour Party, make a centre-left coalition government very unlikely in the next election.
The seriousness with which National’s “nowhere to go” problem has been treated by journalists immediately after its electoral triumph reveals how media will be treating this new National government: hostile and cynical.
Either way, the issue is not worth worrying about right now. National has three years of almost unbridled power ahead of it. A lot can happen to voter sentiment and other political parties over that time. National would be wise to use Helen Clark’s approach of using the cards you have been given, and only worrying about the next hand when it is dealt in three years.