The sudden re-emergence of the radical right and the loony left in our political scene will no doubt be a cause of some consternation to those of us who sit comfortably in the political centre, or slightly to the right or the left of it.

The revival of the greedies on the right, led by Don Brash, and the graspers on the left, led by Hone Harawira, is, in fact, good news for two reasons.

The first is that it may jolt the National-led Government into actually doing something positive to lift this country out of the doldrums. The second is that it will cause a lot of people to reconsider where they stand on MMP and start looking for alternatives.

It may also encourage our peripatetic Prime Minister, who is, in fact, chief executive of NZ Inc, to stop gallivanting round the country and the world and spend a bit more time at his desk.

Lately I have been more and more buttonholed by men and women who have been long-time, if not lifetime, supporters of National. Their question has been, "Who will we vote for in November?"

These middle-of-the-road folk, many of them small-business men and women and many of them living in comfortable retirement, on whose loyalty National has long depended, are disenchanted with the Government and with their preferred party in particular.

They want a firm hand at the helm of the ship of state, which they see - and I tend to agree - as simply drifting aimlessly along and avoiding the stormy seas of pressing economic and social issues.

They want the ship of state in the hands of a competent, committed and courageous navigator - not a captain who spends much of his time attending cocktail parties with the passengers.

As for Dr Brash, I have said before that there is only one thing as bad as a parson turned politician, and that is a bureaucrat turned politician. Dr Brash, a long-time civil servant and son of a Presbyterian parsonage, is tainted with both.

But at least as leader of Act he has found an appropriate place in the political spectrum, which his "leadership" of National never was.

He is so dry economically that he has to stay out of the winter wind, lest he turn to dust and blow away.

But the fact remains that, at 70 years old, Dr Brash is last century's man, a fanatical economic ideologue still convinced that laissez-faire capitalism is the answer to all our woes - in spite of all the evidence of its abject failure under successive governments throughout the 1990s.

I'm not a bit surprised that Mr Harawira cut loose from the Maori Party or that he has formed a new party and intends to force a byelection.

Mr Harawira is and always has been a fanatical Maori radical.

He is an activist and as such is bereft of any concept of the need for the patience, compromise and long-term thinking that is required not just in the art of politics but in the ultimate interests of those whom he says he represents. He is simply Hone being Hone.

The obvious thing to do is for no one to stand against Mr Harawira in the Tai Tokerau byelection so he is elected without a poll being needed. But you can almost be sure that some nincompoop will take the chance to get some publicity, as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Hapu Party did in 2008.

Surely this political circus, this game of musical chairs - and it's not the first by a long shot - will encourage many voters once again to question the irreparable drawbacks of the mixed-member proportional representation system under which we have suffered for 15 years.

One can only hope that in the poll to be held with the general election, MMP will get the heave-ho and a clear preference will be shown for some more enlightened system.

At best we would see a return to first-past-the-post, at worst a change to a supplementary member system.

Both would allow us to get rid of a lot of the dead wood created by party hacks and politicians thrown out by their electorates and returned to Parliament on the list. People like our local Labour list member Stephanie Chadwick, who lost her Rotorua seat in 2008.

She is, among other meaningless roles, Labour's spokeswoman on "maternal health". Yet this is the woman who last year proposed a new law to legalise abortion on demand for women up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, and to allow abortions to be performed after 24 weeks (nearly six months) if a doctor says it's okay.

All in all it's going to be a fascinating election year, albeit marred by the nonsense of the Rugby World Cup. And I still haven't mentioned Winston Peters and his Peters First (oops, sorry, New Zealand First) Party.