National counting the cost of the Northland by-election

So, Winston Peters won the Northland by-election. Well done.

The man that National said would take Northland backwards, was better believed by Northlanders than their own candidate Mark Osborne. For me the victory of Winston Peters is a slap in the face to National’s muck raking innuendo, telling nonsense in a vain attempt to cover up the fact that in 18 years of National holding Northland, development has been so-so at best.

But Northland is better than so-so. It is one of the poorest parts of New Zealand.

But what about the cost to this Government of a by-election they deserved to lose?

The cost is actually quite substantial. All of a sudden National’s ability to pass laws is considerably restricted as their number of Members of Parliament drops from 60 to 59, meaning more than just the support of A.C.T. Member of Parliament David Seymour is needed to pass laws. Now National need to also have either United Future leader Peter Dunne or a Maori Party Member of Parliament. As both Mr Dunne and the Maori Party M.P.’s are more moderate than National and A.C.T., this could be a problematic point for Prime Minister John Key.

For New Zealand First this is big news. It ends a hoodoo on electoral seat victories dating back to when Simon Bridges beat Winston Peters in the Tauranga seat. It gives them another Member of Parliament should they decide to have one. The most likely candidate might not be from Northland, but has strong tribal ties to the region and visits on a regular basis.

But it also disproves some serious National Party claims about New Zealand First:

1) The National Party claim that Winston hardly spends any time in Northland is unjust. He is from there and goes back on a regular basis. Soon New Zealand First will likely have an electorate office in one of the bigger towns to support constituents.

2) That two-laning ten state highway bridges will somehow be more beneficial to Northland than Winston’s promise to get more trade flowing through the Port of Whangarei; that National’s idea to have more product go by road rather than rail is beneficial for Northland – only a few trucking firms and a smattering of drivers will benefit from that.

So, as National start counting the cost of losing Northland, and New Zealand First celebrate their first Electorate victory in nearly a decade, a much altered Parliamentary land scape could make the third term of this National-led Government very interesting.

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