In case you didn't see it this evening on 3News ... the media appears to have a new favourite buzzword:
"The Winston Effect".
Or, more prosaically, "The headache value for National of New Zealand First acquiring an extra MP thanks to Winston Winning Northland."
Initially, this looked like it was going to be an achievement of mostly symbolic value. It's awesome that NZF has boosted its ability to hold the Government to account; and the epigrammatic value of one of the safest of safe National seats falling to the black-and-grey onslaught cannot be overstated.
But at the end of the day, Sixty votes to Sixty in the House still leads to a bill's failure - as we saw with Feed The Kids thanks to the reprehensible and churlish spinelessness of Peter Dunne.
Except fate and politics often has a strange sense of humour.
Some years ago, Labour put up for debate an excellent bill that would extend New Zealand's paid parental leave for mothers to twenty six weeks. At the time, despite an impressive cross-party confederation of support for the measure (including, to my own amazement, theoretical Government stalwarts like The Maori Party and Peter Dunne) the bill failed.
One term later, however, and the game has changed!
Assuming the National Party doesn't manage to heavily lean on its (oft-pliant) support partners in United Future and the Maori Party to successfully induce a changing of their stances, it looks like Sue Moroney's Paid Parental Leave bill might *just* have the numbers to pass First Reading!
It's not something that places the government's working majority under effect - still less reduces their "Confidence & Supply" ... but it's a start :D
And the sight of John Key looking supremely pained at having to resort to bandying about the Government's Veto power in order to retain a vague semblance of looking in control, was bloody marvelous indeed.
A few weeks ago, I predicted that Winston's impending win in Northland would not be the end - not even the beginning of the end - but rather, the end of the beginning in our Long War against National.
With the Government running scared; and the Media scenting blood in the water sufficient to turn his name into a shibboleth of power ... I'd say we foes of the gangrenous governmentality are, thanks to our newly found champion, off to a cracking start indeed!
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