COMMENT:

Well, he got there in the end. But no matter if it took a little longer than necessary, Simon Bridges made the sensible call.

National quite rightly, will not do business with New Zealand First.

This, if it had not been so laboured, or indeed obvious, could have been called a masterstroke.

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New Zealand First are very big losers here. They are now inextricably linked to Labour, there is no longer a choice. No one is holding the balance of power the way they have previously. A vote for New Zealand First is not a vote for a party that could go either way, it's a vote for Labour.

New Zealand First are now linked to Labour as National will not do business with the political party. Photo / File
New Zealand First are now linked to Labour as National will not do business with the political party. Photo / File

Further, there are at least some who voted for New Zealand First who are inherently conservative, and wanted Winston Peters to keep National honest, and when he didn't go with National they became disillusioned.

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New Zealand First, as we speak, sits below the five per cent threshold, and this doesn't help their cause. Not only have they been damaged by association with this Government, they have the age-old MMP curse that's seen of all who have tried the trick eventually vanish.

But they now don't have any wriggle room, there is no playing one party off against the other. That means between now and September, New Zealand First has to campaign very hard on identity: just what is it they have delivered? Yes, they stopped the Capital Gains Tax, maybe they kept the farmers out of the Emissions Trading Scheme for now, maybe Ihumātao is held up because of them - but is that a platform for re-election?

National, some might argue, need partners - well yes and no. Remember National for most of this term have been the most popular, and largest party.

Given the slowing of the economy, the increasing social numbers around everything from housing, to food, to benefits, there is no reason to believe they can't at least hold, if not grow their support.

ACT ended last year strongly, they doubled their numbers in the last poll. They've got euthanasia into a referendum, they have increasing credibility and momentum and a smidge more support could realistically see them looking at three seats.

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Factor in the four per cent, if not more, that gets written off on election night for those who don't pass the threshold. So you're not splitting 100 per cent of the vote you're splitting 95 or less, there is a pathway for National.

Does Labour go hard out against New Zealand First to try and make it just a Labour-Green government, or aren't they that confident?

Bridges has created real problems for not just New Zealand First, but Labour as well. Are they mates? Or has this just been one very awkward association of convenience that's about to blow wide open?

And MMP has been shown up as well, the tail has wagged the dog.

A seven per cent party abused the privilege, and held us to ransom, so the luxury of choice has been taken away from them.

Well played Simon Bridges, he won't regret it.

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