It’s a shame the Consumer Guarantees Act doesn’t apply to politics. If it did, the country would be entitled to demand its money back. The governor-general could be petitioned to annul the election result and do it all again.
I say this because it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the new government was formed under false pretences. We were sold faulty goods, not fit for purpose.
This is not the fault of the Labour Party, although it was over-eager to do a deal with Winston Peters. Labour was conned, as were National and indeed the entire country. No one knew Peters was planning to sue key National Party figures, including Bill English, which meant the theatrical negotiations leading to the formation of the new government were a sham.
We can also blame a flawed system that allowed Peters, whose party wasn’t wanted by 93 percent of voters, to take control of the government formation process. Our constitutional arrangements generally serve us pretty well, but they let us down badly by not setting sensible rules for post-election negotiations.
Of course there’s little prospect of a fresh election, in the immediate future anyway (hold all bets in the longer term), but it’s a tantalising thought. I wouldn’t mind if it resulted in a Labour-Greens coalition, just as long as the process was fair, open and transparent.
The crucial thing is that Winston Peters should never again be allowed within a mile of Parliament. No government can have any credibility as long as Peters is part of it, and this one is ineradicably tainted by association with him. Labour and the country will have to endure three years of shame and humiliation unless someone pulls the pin.