The latest Roy Morgan poll on the performance of political parties must be cause for cautious optimism amongst Labour and Green Party members. For years they have been trying to find a way to undercut the performance of the National led Government of Prime Minister John Key. Most of the time it has seemed like the nickname Teflon John, describing the inability of anything Labour and the Greens flung at him to stick like mud.
But now maybe Teflon John is beginning to fade. The latest data suggests a Labour (32%)and Green (13%) coalition would take 45% of the vote, and with New Zealand First on 7% be sufficient to form a coalition that could govern. Given that the estimates for New Zealand First have typically been conservative (my guess is 9%), it would seem to be realistic. With concerns growing about the state of the economy, the fact that after all this time investment in the regions and diversification of the economy still has not happened and a myriad of slowly worsening social statistics, the daily claims by National on Facebook are wearing thin.
But are Labour and the Greens honestly ready to govern? For all their claims to be mates, the tendency to put down the other for no really good reason at silly moments and the fact that Labour has not convincingly emerged from its identity crisis, make me wonder whether a Government – were the above results those of an actual election – of these parties would last. Would it tear itself to bits like Australian Labor Party did over the infighting between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd? I hope not. Unlike National during its last stint in Opposition, neither have had a Don Brash Orewa type moment where the polls have swung suddenly in favour of them. Granted the divisive nature of Dr Brash’s politics put women and Maori voters off from supporting National, there is little doubt Dr Brash’s Orewa speech rattled Labour.
Maybe the fact that a certain tried and true warhorse leading the other big party on the Opposition bench seems to be receiving somewhat more sympathetic media attention has another story, still in the making to tell about this Parliamentary term. Maybe, just maybe, the polling gods think it is time to put New Zealand First.