When National came back to Parliament riding an all time high in October 2014, it must have seemed like it as a party could do no wrong. It must have seemed like Prime Minister John Key who is also known as Teflon John because not controversy seems to stick to him was some sort of invincible messiah.
Six months later, the tide is turning. The first whiff of trouble had formed sometime before the election with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which now causes semi-regular protests in the streets. The second sign of trouble came in January when M.P. for Northland Mike Sabin very abruptly resigned, causing a by-election. Despite the huge number of Ministerial kilometres, National party funds and hours spent in the electorate, it fell to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on 28 March 2015. The Prime Minister whose casual approach was almost seen as too casual by some elected to tell media in Dubai that New Zealand forces will soon deploy in Iraq, but did not seem to think the N.Z. media worthy of knowing. Perhaps the only bright spot for National has been their decision to announce the scrapping of zero hour contracts, as few of their bench seem to have much regard for individual responsibility and increasingly that is spilling into Ministerial decisions. GRADE: C+
A.C.T. The party that would be electoral toast were it not for the people of Epsom has no future. Epsom is the last surviving bastion of A.C.T. support in New Zealand. The only way Roger Douglas’ party can survive in the long run is a total rebranding. Name, colours, what it stands for – everything. But that does not appear to be happening, and David Seymour knows his political survival is dependent on National. Their policies are those of a corporate beast rather than the libertarian-individual responsibility party they set out to be. GRADE: E
Despite all of the Peter is Dunne for jokes that have been made about United Future, the long serving Peter Dunne continues to ably prop up a Government that has few natural allies in Parliament. One of the few Ministers who has a degree of honesty about him/her and the only one who could potentially work with the Opposition if he could get over his anger with New Zealand First. Mr Dunne does not seem to have any intention of resigning soon and despite support outside of Ohariu-Belmont for him being virtually non-existent, support in the electorate seems strong. GRADE: B-
The Maori Party are a mystery to me. They were formed out of discontent amongst Maori M.P.’s in Labour’s ranks and yet they have gone on to support through two terms a party many in Maoridom think is anti-Maori. After a decade of waning support and growing frustration with the lack of progress on issues relating to welfare, health and education, its founders Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have both retired. Te Ururoa Flavell appears to have adopted a more moderate tone. His support for action against land lords in Christchurch will be welcomed by many. However he has much work ahead of him and there is only so much one person can do. GRADE: B-
Six months into the new term of the New Zealand Parliament, and after six years of Labour, the Greens and – for the last three years – New Zealand First trying to get mud onto the Government a more formidable foe is starting to rouse. Oppositions it is said do not generally win elections so much as the Government loses them. And although the Government still seems to be riding high in the polls, public tolerance for a single peace time Government rarely lasts more than three terms. How long before the public tires of this one?