Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Waving the White Flag?

The once-prominent Alliance party prepares to commit electoral suicide by telling its supporters to give their party vote to the Greens and the Maoris. Even though I've disliked its policies from the beginning, it's a shame to see the Alliance come to an ignoble end. While I've wanted the reins of government to kept far away from them as possible, I still felt they deserved representation in parliament on basis of the support for their ideals.

The office of Alliance gravedigger surely belongs to Jim Anderton, who split the party before the 2002 election rather than accept defeat in a policy debate. Since he had the Syndenham seat sewn up, he could count on being re-elected without a sweat while the Alliance struggled in the face of Labour indifference and failed. At the time, I urged (or, to be more accurate, incited) Laila Harre to invoke the Electoral Integrity Act to dismiss Jim Anderton and his toadies on the grounds that this would make her appear strong and decisive, which in turn would give her a boost in the polls. She pointed that she couldn't because the only person who could write the letter of dismissal was either the MP himself or the parliamentary leader with the majority of caucus support (which she didn't have).

So who will represent in Parliament the people that the Alliance once stood for?

Jim Anderton's Progressive Coalition (or, more accurately, Personality Cult) only exists as a vessel to rubberstamp Jim's opinions. Since Jim is more interested in exercising power as a Cabinet Minister than articulating traditional labour policy concerns, nary a squeak is heard of it these days. His faithful dogsbody, Matt Robson, does put his head above the parapet once in a while before Jim slaps him down again.

The Maori Party looks promising and indeed the Alliance stalwart, Matt McCarten, has been energetic in helping set it up. However the Maori Party has only come about because of almost universal discontent from Maoridom about the proposed resolution of the Seabed and Foreshore (i.e. a 21st century government doing what their 19th century predecessors had done and what their apologetic 20th century counterparts had vowed never to repeat). As Tariana Turia recognizes (displaying political savvy that she lack when she was minister), focusing on Alliance concerns would alienate something half the support they now enjoy.

The Greens? True, there are a few like Sue Bradford or Rob Donald which the Alliance supporters will be happy with. But they not only have to rub shoulders with the tree-huggers but also the barking mad Keith Locke. Sometimes I have to wonder about the internal contradictions of the Greens but suspect that Nandor Tanczos may have a hand in damping them down.