MPs not fazed waiting for Winston

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, speaking in Tauranga earlier this year. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

The country – and in particular, the throng of political reporters down in Wellington – might be weary of waiting to find out who will govern New Zealand, but Tauranga's MPs aren't particularly fussed.

SunLive caught up with National's Simon Bridges and Labour's Jan Tinetti to find out how they've been filling in the time during this interregnum.

“It's definitely quieter than normal, but things are still happening,” says Simon.

“The business of government has to continue, so on Monday I was at a cabinet meeting with the Prime Minister and my colleagues.”

Now the fourth-term electorate MP is back in Tauranga for the rest of the week, doing some local visits and spending time with the community.

Labour's Tauranga-based list MP Jan was down in Wellington earlier in the week as well, and says it's been great learning how to be a member of parliament.

“There's still so much to learn, but to have the opportunity to do that both in Wellington and Tauranga is amazing. Everyday I'm learning new things and new aspects of being an MP.

“We've been in the chamber and taken on a tour right through the parliament complex. We've also done work around legislation, how to set up offices and staffing, as well as what my role is as a list MP.”

As to the more than three weeks' it's taken for New Zealand First to make a decision on which major party to back in government, Jan says it's been a blessing in disguise.

“It's actually given me time to focus on learning the job.”

Despite dissatisfaction with the MMP process from some commenters around the country, Jan says she's always been a fan.

“I believe it brings more diversity to parliament.”

Simon says in the past he would have supported FPP, but now supports MMP as well, as he believes ‘we've made it work'.

“There will always be issues now and then. I understand people's impatience at the moment. But it comes down to a trade-off – MMP is fairer, because more people's votes counts. Under the old system, if you were a diehard Green supporter in a seat like Tauranga, you had no voice whatsoever, because they would always elect a National MP. So an individual's vote has more impact under MMP.

“But there can also be a lack of certainty around what you're getting – there isn't the same ability to reward a good government, or kick a bad one out.”

He believes we will know what form the government will take by the end of this week.

As for the waiting, Simon says it's what the system has delivered up this time around – and that it could have been avoided if the Green Party had been willing to work with National as well.

“I think they had the opportunity to be in a position comparable to New Zealand First, and get real gains for conservation and the environment. But ultimately they weren't even prepared to discuss that. They decided they hated National more than they loved the environment.”

Rusty Kane, who stood unsuccessfully in the Tauranga electorate in 2017 as an independent, says he doesn't want to say ‘I told you so', but believes this outcome is precisely what's wrong with MMP.

“The MMP system does not deliver to the people it's meant to represent. Despite voting for a major party's policies and philosophies that appeal to you, after the election it all changes, watered down as minor party policies are negotiated, then incorporated into those of your larger party of choice.

“And this could take weeks of negotiating, before we know who the government is and what political parties it is made up of, or if we are to have another election.”

He's still a fan of Single Transferable Vote, in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, rather than selecting only one.

“But my preferred alternative is legislative referenda as used in Switzerland, where the people have full involvement in the decision process, through direct democracy.

“But I don't think New Zealanders are anywhere near ready to take on that responsibility. They still prefer a representative to make those decisions for them.”

New Zealand First's Tauranga-based list MP Clayton Mitchell could not be reached for comment.



7 Comments

@Christine1965

Posted on 19-10-2017 11:41 | By Papamoaner

Most of us share your feeling, but the reality is that this is how MMP is meant to work. Peter Dunne put his finger on it yesterday and it's possibly a majority perspective. Bill English as PM and Jacinda Adhern as deputy might have been a good fit in a Nat/Lab coalition. They must have thought about it, surely! Wouldn't it be as funny as hell if that's what pops out the end this afternoon - what a bombshell. And Winnie couldn't whinney because that's MMP in action.

Winston

Posted on 18-10-2017 21:49 | By Christine1965

Typical Winston this should neva b allowed to happen again no single man should b able to decide the country's future he is only doing what he wants this had hone on too long and should not have

Election?

Posted on 18-10-2017 20:15 | By phoenix

As the New Self appointed Minister of Finance I have devised a Plan to save New Zealand Millions and Millions of Dollars. There will be NO more General Elections. Every Three years the Governor General will phone up Mr. 7% and ask him who he wants to run the country. Total cost $10.00. Job Done.

Too many

Posted on 18-10-2017 18:46 | By Tikety boo

To many memory fades from National.I listened intently to Bill English's police tape and when asked who instigated the meeting with Todd Barclay was it him or Todd he said he can not recall.On a matter with such prominence as that I find that unbelievable.We need more integrity from our politicians.Perhaps a change of government will do this.

Too many

Posted on 18-10-2017 18:45 | By Tikety boo

To many memory fades from National.I listened intently to Bill English's police tape and when asked who instigated the meeting with Todd Barclay was it him or Todd he said he can not recall.On a matter with such prominence as that I find that unbelievable.We need more integrity from our politicians.Perhaps a change of government will do this.

National/Labour coalition would have kickstarted things.

Posted on 18-10-2017 18:04 | By Papamoaner

I guess they couldn't identify sufficient common ground. It would certainly have vaporised all the peripheral cowboys.

Hail Winston

Posted on 18-10-2017 15:14 | By maildrop

For enduring 2 weeks of meetings with Bill. Bill could talk a glass eye to sleep, even if it were interested in what he was saying. Winston isn't, but has had to pretend for 2 weeks, in order to get his deal from the other team. That sort of professionalism deserves a medal. Soon be over. Winston can sort out Rocket Man and Trump, Bill can go concentrate on his run/walkzzzzzzzzzz

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