Why a Labour/Prog/Greens/Maori coalition has a mandate to govern by underground

A lot has been said about the possibility that Labour could clinch a fourth term even if its vote falls short of National’s. As long as the Greens has a strong showing and the Maori Party, having gained all the Maori seats, decides to join with Labour, the Left could very easily deprive John Key, National and the Right of the government benches. According to polls, a large amount of voters believe the major party with the most votes should form the government as it has the mandate to govern. It is argued that a Labour coalition would not be fulfilling the wish of the people. However this just simply is not the case. If a Labour coalition could claim a majority, then a majority of people want it, not a National government.

It is not just Labour voters who want a Labour government. By voting for the Greens, the Progressives and even the Maori, you are saying that you want a Labour government, as long as it is tempered by a smaller parties influence. The same goes for Act voters. Therefore it is completely reasoned not to look at the share of the vote Labour gets versus National, but rather to see whether the Left block gets more than the Right. If Labour can form a coalition of parties larger than that of National, then it is perfectly reasonable to believe that New Zealanders want a Left-wing government. It would also just as importantly show that more people reject a National/Act/United Future government than desire a far-right coalition. So even though National may well be more popular than Labour, New Zealand may not necessarily be tiling to the Right, as the Left block could well be able to cobble together a majority.

Whilst I believe this arrangement to be entirely legitimate and fair, I fear that many New Zealanders will feel robbed and will turn against proportional representation. This sentiment could have dire consequences.

For those on the Left who want to vote strategically to best ensure Left-wing governance, see Matt McCarten’s guide on the Herald website.


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