There is no recantation from the fact that New Zealand politics is in a state of limbo with no certainty about who will be forming the next government.
The country remains as indecisive as on the election night of September 23 when it emerged that National with a record performance of 58 seats was as away from the power as was the Labour-Green block with 52 seats in their kitty.
The only good news is that the nation might come to know by October 12 – the date of return of writs for the election, marking the delivery of the final results to the Governor-General. And the date to which Winston Peters committed to deciding on whom to support to form the next government.
However, the not so good news is that Winston Peters will have only four days after another deadline of October 7 when the electoral commission will come up with the total count of special votes of this election.
With the amount of negotiations expected on so many hotly contested policies between different political parties, if discussion is supposed to be based on policies and not on other issues like personal compatibilities, the time frame of four days might not be a big enough window to pull a bunny out of the hat (read a government).
Nevertheless, there is nothing much that can be done to change this situation and New Zealand politics will continue to remain in limbo at least for another week, before possibly remaining in the limbo for its entire term till 2020.
There is some good news for the general public when Winston Peters has met with National Leader Bill English and Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern on Thursday, October 5, at least to set the rules for negotiation when it eventually begins after October 7.
Probably some valuable time has been saved here before actually commencing real talks on government formation.
Mr Peters has been making some interesting comments to the media after these initial talks with leaders of both major parties in order to deflect intense attention and hence intense expectations of an acceptable behaviour in a multi-party democracy.
One of the most intense expectations from Mr Peters is to not tail wag the dog. That is to say that a Party with only 7 per cent of votes should not be so demanding and be controlling of the future of New Zealand politics.
And Mr Peters has been resolutely trying to change this narrative by repeatedly talking about the difference between a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) System and a First-past-the-post system.
"You can't win with the public, you can't win with the media, you can't win with the commentariat, you can't win with people who think it's all about First-past-the-post even though we're in an MMP environment, and they just bang on day in day out," Mr Peters said.
Essentially what Mr Peters is arguing here is that the perception that the bigger parties should get a bigger share in the government is a farce, and is wrongly inherited from the pre-1996 era when New Zealand was under a First-past-the-post system.
Arguably, the First-past-the-post system is believed to be unfavourably skewed against the smaller parties, and indeed, the MMP system is designed to accommodate more diverse and alternate ideas in the governance.
This was adequately reflected on many occasions since 1996 when many smaller parties had got a (un)proportional say in the government of the day.
However, the MMP system has never been designed to give the diverse opinions or views predominance over the majority view in governance as Mr Peters has been so vehemently trying to propagate since the last few days.
In Mr Peters worldview, in an MMP system political parties should have negotiated with each other months ahead of the election and in essence, guarantee the smaller parties (read NZ First) a role in the government after elections even if voters might not give them enough numbers in the parliament.
This is clearly an undermining of voters choice which is supreme in an electoral democracy, regardless of MMP system or a First Past the Post system of running the democracy.
An MMP system is only designed to accommodate the minority views and ideas in the governance and not to impede the right of major political parties from having a bigger say in government formation in any way.
It is high time that the subtle narrative that Mr Peters is trying to weave around MMP system and First Past the Post system to justify excessive power that he is currently wielding in the New Zealand politics be dispelled and discredited.
Be it the MMP or First-past-the-post system; bigger parties should have a bigger say in the formation of the government and the governance.
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