After spending several minutes coming up with the satisfying headline to this posting, the team at MyThinks now present their reckons following the Left’s historic result in the 2020 New Zealand election.
As dawn lifts its weary head following a night of post-electoral festivities around the country, there will be many on the left of New Zealand politics who will be wondering, “what now?”
This thinking has nothing to do with the long-running children’s television programme that is about to commence in our house (at time of writing). No, this has everything to do with a Labour Party that now has a majority in a proportional parliament and a Centre-Left coalition commanding a 30 seat majority over the minor parties of the Centre-Right.
Before we head into reckonings of what the new Centre-Left supermajority may have in store for the country, spare a though for the National Party. What started out as the largest party in parliament has ended election night scratching the back door of the house of irrelevance. Whether it was Covid-19 giving the incumbents blanket coverage, or the natural cycle of election swings, or Judith Collins’ insistance on a final week fat shaming strategy, we may never know. What we do know, however, is the National Party will head to Wellington for caucus on Tuesday with knives honed and the saliva of revenge dripping from their sharpened fangs.
The main issue National now have is lack of talent. Sure there have been many retirements over this term, particularly following the policy of leadership change that was implemented earlier in the year. Also, National have lost loads of MPs we have never heard of and they are left with a whole heap of politicians who began their time in parliament at the turn of the century, or before. Will Gerry Brownlee or Nick Smith fall on their swords and leave parliament after millions of years opening the door for some fresher faces? Or, will they take their places in parliament using their list positions because they believe they deserve it? Who knows. In any case, what we can look forward to over the next three years is varied and plentiful leaks from a variety of MPs directed towards Tova O’Brien who will declare National to be a zombie party on life support, or some such hyperbole.
And what about ACT? The Association of Consumers and Taxpayers who, rather ironically, try to pay as little tax as possible, have cleaned up this election. One of the great moments of the election night coverage was David Seymour arriving in his sexy dinghy of austerity. Word on the street is they did plan to arrive on a superyacht but someone pointed out that may have been a bit austentatious. With the superyacht parked up for the America’s Cup, Seymour and his protection crew drifted triumphantly into port. Holding a paper cup of Ribena punch, the ACT leader had a look on his face that belied his 17 years. However you feel about ACT’s far right populism, on the night most were in agreement that Seymour and all those aboard should have probably been obeying the law and wearing life jackets*.
So, what will Labour do? Will they invite the Greens into their nest to sit on the eggs of economic and societal transformation, or is this metaphor a waste of time? As far as the punditry in the lounge here at MyThinks go, there are two options. Labour could go it alone, transform the economy for all New Zealanders, redistributing wealth and lifting those at the bottom, reigning in the runaway housing marking, ensuring workers have enough whanau and sick leave, investing in our crumbling hospitals and schools, or they won’t. At the time of writing either of these eventualities are possible.
Thankfully, however, the Greens showed the punditocracy of Aotearoa New Zealand how it could be done. Perhaps wasn’t a good idea giving several million dollars to a school who had a pretty nifty promotional video on Facebook, but who ultimately turned out to be the crystal waving, sandal wearing hippies the Right so love to marginalise. At the end of the day this didn’t hurt. They have won as many seats as ACT and as many list seats as National. They have also won Auckland Central thanks to the amazing Chlöe Swarbrick. OK boomers?
Do the Greens need Labour? Do Labour need the Greens? It would be nice to have a grand coalition of the Centre-Left to create legitimacy to the transformational change needed post-Covid. With Labour being so large it would be folly to leave the Greens out in the cold. All those new people mean a massive load of inexperience. The current Green Party MPs have all already had a role in goverment for the last three years. It would be foolish for Labour to waste this. I doubt whether they will. Jacinda Adern has shown herself to be a shrewd operator. National would love to believe there is just zephers of Stardust drifting around inside her head.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, when the clock is ticking down to full time, who would you rather have leading your government? Judith Collins, David Seymour and the far right fat-shaming brigade, or the side of the politicial spectrum who have specifically said they want to bring the love back to politics?
I know which side my bread is buttered on.
*after reviewing the footage in the cold light of day following several hours sleep and a clensing of the blood by my liver, it turns out Seymour and his boat people were indeed wearing life jackets. We at MyThinks apologise for any offense caused by our post this morning. We will, however, be leaving that part as it is because it’s quite a good joke and we don’t want to change it.