posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 08:02 AM
Out of a total of 212 stories dealing with the smaller parties, 19% were about policy. The other 81% were about the game or strategy: who is winning,
who will cross the threshold, who is the preferred coalition partner
Chances are many voters have not yet decided which party will receive their vote. Voters have become more volatile, making their voting decisions
during the campaign. The 2005 NZES found 42% of voters surveyed decided their party vote during the election campaign
The 2005 NZES found most New Zealanders believe there are too many parties in Parliament
My biggest concern is that one of the small party's will disappear leaving a vacuum filled by one of the two major party's. The drift towards
presidential style elections certainly doesn't favour the smaller party's. It is unlikely that voters will get there wish in terms of more media
coverage concerning party policy's.
I could certainly see New Zealand First vanishing after Winston Peters retires . The same goes for the the Progressives once Jim Anderton retires. In
terms of NZ first the party is built around Peters and its core supporter base has grey hair.
I don't doubt that other small party's would emerge but the question is would they emerge in time to fill the power vacuum ?
MMP faces it first acid test in the foreseeable future. Truth be told there isnt a lot of reason for small party's to receive a lot of media coverage
in between election unless they do something nutty like the Maori party supporting claims to air space under the Treaty of Waitangi or grandstanding
such as NZ First opposing the FTA with China.
With people being unhappy with Labour and ACT targeting the conservative vote I expect to see a drift back to the smaller party's which could mean
the National Party trying to jack up deal with both the ACT and NZ First . Although it wasn't intentional the political right is disadvantaged by a
lack of coalition partners.