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The guy's not very impressed...

"It has been eight largely wasted years – building on at least the previous nine largely wasted years – in which none of the big structural economic challenges New Zealand faced has been even seriously addressed."

There's an interesting graph there showing "Real GDP per hour worked", with NZ flat-lining by that measure when Key's government took office while Australia continued to improve. Tax-cuts were partly what got National into office, so maybe they worked against productivity.

Key I think was mostly just unlucky. The GFC began to bite just as he took office and then the Christchurch earthquake happened in his first term too. Not a good time to make large course corrections.
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With NZ's prime minister John Key resigning because his tank is empty, there's now a leadership challenge underway for his job as leader of the National Party. There's three contenders so far, and these are short interviews with each of them...

Judith Collins:

Bill English:'s-next-pm

Jonathan Coleman:'s-job

As NZ's electoral system is MMP and the National Party is two seats short of a majority, they will need the support of at least two parties given the other parties in the house, and preferably more. You can see the current makeup of the parliament in the right panel here...

National's current support is ACT (1), United Future (1) and Maori (2).

Of those, United Future will support them for sure, as their policy is to support the party with the most seats. ACT, (which stands for the Association of Concerned Taxpayers), are a right-wing party, while the Maori Party could be considered center-right. (They hold two of the seven Maori seats, Labour holding the other five.)

So, depending on who the new National leader is and how they're perceived, ACT or the Maori Party may not support them. Which would leave them with a razor-edged majority of one to two seats. However, of the current opposition parties, the New Zealand First Party (with 12 seats) might be able to be encouraged to support them, which would give them a very stable majority.

NZ is due for an election near the end of next year, but it's possible National would prefer an early election, in which case they'd probably be happy with just a one-seat majority, the better to engineer a good reason to call a snap election.

One reason for National to do this is the formation of The Opportunities Party: They apparently were planning to release their first policy tomorrow, which if they do probably won't make as big a splash now as they might be hoping. More worrying for them though would be the thought they may only have a month or three to set up their party before the next election, as apposed to about a year.

Finally, there's the possibility a faction in the National Party may perceive TOP a better fit for them as a coalition party than any of the other current parties, in which case giving them as much time as possible before the election would be the sensible thing to do.

Next year is shaping up as an interesting year politically for NZ!

A day later: Top did release their first policy today. It's on taxation reform:


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