Let's not beat about the bush: There has been a coup.

The political scientists can tell us it's legal but the fact remains - it is undemocratic. For the first time in our history who governs us is not the result of an election but the decision of one man.

Jacinda Ardern is Prime Minister in name only. The only real power that the Prime Minister has is to allocate portfolios.

In Winston Peters' arrogant and self-indulgent press conference when he, not Jacinda, announced who was to be government, he stated he had an agreement that he could take any portfolio he liked and any title. Presumably he will also be appointing New Zealand First MPs to what ever ministries he chooses.


New Zealand is now a Shogunate. In Japan the Emperor had the title and the Shogun had all the power.

Jacinda has Premier House and Shogun Peters sets the policies.

Jacinda Ardern and the Greens will come to regret forming this coalition of the losers. If the Greens were really interested in the environment today we would have a National/Green government with the Greens holding real influence. (The Greens in Germany are today negotiating with the Christian Democrats to be part of the government coalition so the Greens can go with the right).

Governments govern by consent. We citizens recognise that the governments have an electoral mandate to implement even policies we think are wrong.

This government will run into huge opposition. How for example are the government going to implement policies in Auckland? Mayor Phil Goff has a mandate. Jacinda Ardern does not.

One of the challenges ministers face is persuading the civil service to implement policy. (Yes Ministerr is not a TV comedy it's a documentary).

I predict bureaucratic opposition to this government will be significant. It will start leaking from day one. Everyone knows this coalition of losers has no mandate to implement Winston Peters' interventionist policies.

There is no mandate for change. When one adds up the votes there was a majority for a continuation of the policies that have brought us low inflation, record low interest rates, full employment - and the best growth in the OECD.


Sixty per cent of us tell pollsters that the country is heading in the right direction and only 30 per cent say it is not.

The government simply has no support for Peters' policies.

I blame Bill English for this debacle. He ran a great First Past the Post campaign - and a losing MMP campaign.

"Two ticks for National" was, as I predicted, the world's shortest suicide note.

Bill English should have refused to enter into secret negotiations with Peters. National was bound to lose the Dutch auction.

Of course Labour will always out promise National.

Instead of being in a strong position, National is now compromised. New Zealanders who voted overwhelmingly for National now know National will sell them out for power.


Those of us who believe in an independent Reserve Bank, fiscal prudence, less red tape in free markets, the policies that have brought the country 20 years of growth now know National is willing to compromise good policy for power.

As was famously observed it is events that decide politics. It is easy to predict that over the next three years there will be unexpected challenges that require a strong government.

I think the gamblers will start to offer odds on whether this undemocratic shogunate can last three years.

Richard Prebble is a former Labour Cabinet minister and a former leader of Act.