Voting in National in New Zealand’s upcoming elections will not only be a bad idea for the country, but is against current political trends.

I am going to go out on a limb here and give a couple of predictons in writing which I have been talking about and harbouring for a while. They are two observations, and very important in terms (in my eyes) regarding the upcoming New Zealand elections.

The first is the right only appeared

in ascendance because of the breakdown of the pillars of the left: the fall of the U.S.S.R. and the socialist ideals it represented; the academic splintering of left-wing ideologies (socialism, civil-rights, feminism, environmentalism etcetera) which cannot easily unite politically under first past the post (F.P.P.) electoral systems; and the dominance of the global capital markets and the influence of right wing economic ideology on traditionally left wing governments (New Labour).

The second is there are now new ideologies ascending: viable alternative models for prosperity such as state capitalism in China, oil monarchies in the U.A.E. or the Indian mixed economy1; the rise of atheism in contrast with a backlash against overt religious fundamentalism; wide acceptance and understanding of global environmental and resource issues; and lastly the credit crisis is cutting away at the base of a belief in under-regulated capital markets.

As can be noted from the above two observations, the traditional notions of left and right are breaking down. In the first, it is the left breaking down (in the West) which has been occuring since the 60s and the era of civil rights. It is now the turn of the right, who up until now have been shielded from having to justify their positions by economic boom times, which turn out to have been based on a lot of debt.

The Conservatives in England have rebranded themselves as the Environmental Party, although how they plan to reconcile that with business I am unsure. The current crisis is especially putting them in an awkward situation, as they cannot claim they would have been any more fiscally responsible or prepared to regulate the City (as London’s financial district is called) than Labour.

In the U.S. the group of Republican nominees that the party had to choose from was particularly dire. The only conclusion I can make is that no serious contender wanted to run directly after George W. and face almost certain defeat. However the the four most serious contenders as the race went on highlighted the splintering issues for the party. Mike Huckabee was a traditional Christian conservative, Rudy Giuliani was a high flying New Yorker in line with business, Ron Paul (who was a surprise success) was a libertarian favouring near complete absence of government, and John McCain is from the political class where money, government and friends are one and the same. Unsurprisingly, but only with the benefit of hind sight, was McCain nominated after his campaign went bankrupt through mismanagement, because he was the contender who was the least offensive to the members of the party with which he wasn’t naturally aligned. No Christian conservative was going to vote for Giuliani who while Catholic has been divorced.

In New Zealand it scares me that the reason for voting in the National party has nothing to do with what they stand for or will do once in power. It appears that many New Zealanders don’t care who is running the country, and that since Labour have been in for a long time it is ‘time for a change’. Unfortunately National is still running on the old right-wing ideologies and appears to be ignoring the two observations earlier. I believe that voting in National will be a grave mistake for the New Zealand public.

  1. Please note that I am only highlighting that there are other models for economic prosperity and power, and not that necessarily advocating them []


  1. Duncan

    Only time will tell if National will be a good or bad thing for NZ as a whole. However you must realise that Labour had been in power for 9 years with the same leader. It becomes increasingly difficult for a party to justify there term after such a period as voters expect things to have improved and as you are leading the country you only have yourselves to blame if there are issues.

    National has always polled generally quite well and Labour has only continued to get into power by its friends on the left and centre. (Greens, NZ first, United and Alliance) Granted when Labour came to power NZ had swung quite far to the right with little regulation and red tape however many would argue that it was a time for change and that things should dirt back to the centre. However if you look at many of Nationals policies they intend to adopt many of Labours ideas such as keeping with the retirement fund and not selling kiwi bank or toll rail. There isn’t a huge difference between the two parties when you look just at policy.

    In regards to current political trends, I think what you will see emerge is rather than right wing and free market ideologies as always seen as golden you will see an increased awareness for regulation especially in financial services where greed and unsustainable practices have continued for too long unchecked. Monetary policies have very recently been showed up as ineffective at tacking local economies and this has only highlighted how increased regulation will need to be applied to effectively safe guard the

    I’m not a National supporter, and I do share your concerns with many of those long standing National MPs like Dr Lockwood-Smith for example but if they do come to power, NZ will continue to thrive.

    152:351 4:39, Oct 22 2008

  2. mummybot

    Cheers Duncan. I have two parts to this, first a response to your points and then why I think National will be a bad idea.

    In response: you say only time will tell if National is good for NZ. I don’t think the election is a foregone conclusion due to MMP. The point of MMP is that parties which are able to form coalitions and thus represent the ‘majority’ of voters are the ones in power. I agree National has polled consistently high but so has Labour. National has no natural partners which the NZ electorate want to see in power, so Labour keep getting reelected. NZ is fundamentally economically left: capitalists who believe in workers rights.

    Against National:
    • they would have had us send troops into the Iraq war,
    • they want to reform the RMA, which not only did they bring in, but is an excellent act for making sure that rampant development doesn’t destroy NZs natural beauty,
    • their emphasis on not having policy, coupled with leaks about what they will reform/sell/cut back scares me. If you have read Nicky Hagar’s the Hollow Men, National is still populated by people who want to sell of our state assets. I know you have said that they wouldn’t, but they will in comparison to Labour.
    • I vote Green because I want their environmental emphasis to be a part of the next NZ government, and the Greens and National will never form a coalition.

    I think replicating the consumerist mistakes of England, the U.S. and Australia are not the way forward for NZ. I am not saying that this consumption and high standards of living shouldn’t occur in NZ as they patently do. Only that National stands for more inequality, more consumption and more environmental destruction. And potentially more hawkish foreign policy. No thanks.

    152:354 7:20, Nov 05 2008

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