New Zealand is essentially a middle ground country that doesn’t like political extremes. National has captured that middle ground well and has been rewarded with its third election victory because it has also steered the country through tough economic times. That has not been lost on the population in general. Labour’s answer, at least under Cunliffe and the Unions, was to take the Labour party to the left, ground already occupied by the Greens.
There has always been a ‘conservative’ element to the typical Labour voter that is nationalistic, wary of foreign influence and doesn’t like privilege. These voters do not like the Greens with their Communism and hard-left agenda. When it was clear Labour was aligning itself with this element they sought a more congenial party elsewhere. They found it in NZ First which, cleverly, has positioned itself somewhere in the middle of the political spectrum. Its appeal is no longer, and perhaps never was, just to the blue rinse brigade. It is evident the party includes people of all ages and across ethnicities.
I see many parallels with the rise of UKIP in the UK. They too seek greater independence from ‘foreign’ (European Union) influence in British affairs, speak to the working class simmering anger against mass immigration that threatens their jobs and way of life, and isn’t enamoured of the major parties that represent those interests. Their appeal is to voters across the political spectrum.
UKIP and NZ First both give voice to concerns not addressed in MSM but can be heard in pubs throughout Britain and homes throughout New Zealand. MSM needs to get over its personal dislike of Winston Peters because he usually gets the better of them and treats them with the disdain they deserve. Until they do they will always underestimate his, and his party's, influence with ordinary voters.
They also need to understand the simmering anger against ever increasing race-based privilege for New Zealand’s tribal colonisers. This will continue to push people of all political persuasions into the arms of parties opposed to such racism. National has not yet awoken to this reality and the threat it represents to their future if they continue on their current course of increasing race-based privilege.
The election results show a shift away from centre left towards centre right. This is more than an aberration. There is a global shift going on in the developed world towards the right even as the left continues, and maybe because it continues, to dominate global organisations like the United Nations. This shift alone could also account for the failure of the Greens to fire in this election. I will look at their failure tomorrow.