Those uncertain times are by no means over. The people know this and rightly have given National a mandate to govern alone to keep the nation on track. That was the first surprise delivered last night. For the first time under MMP a single party has the numbers to govern alone. At least that was the case when I went to bed after watching an elated John Key deliver his victory speech. Special votes usually favour the left but I doubt they’ll make a significant difference to the outcome.With ACT and United First they now in a strong position to make institutional changes.
National deserves a third term. It has shown it can keep the economy on track and keep its head when all about it were losing theirs over sideshows. They should crack on now and reform the hated RMA that has been such a drag on progress.
The second big surprise was the poor showing of the Greens. I have been running my own campaign against this hard left neo-Communist party as have leading bloggers Whaleoil and Kiwiblog. It was very heartening indeed to see a rejection of their philosophy of alarmism and impending catastrophe. The Labour party needs to distance itself from these doom and gloom merchants to have a chance of recouping the middle ground they have lost by this flirtation. New Zealand is an agrarian economy. Getting into bed with an urban party of rich cyclists that doesn’t understand what drives the economy and that couldn’t care less about how New Zealand earns its way in the world will never have more than purely marginal urban appeal.
Nature abhors a vacuum. While Labour has allowed itself to be dragged left, the centre left ground has been occupied by New Zealand First. Almost as strong in parliament as the Greens they can no longer be ignored as a force to be reckoned with. They have wide appeal across the age spectrum and have taken up the deeply nationalistic sentiment that used to be the province of the ‘common working man’ that was the backbone of Labour.
The Greens are still the darling of mainstream media and ‘celebrities’ who like to wear their hearts of their sleeves. The people of New Zealand have shown they are better than that. They have shown they are not taken in by superficial posturing. It is on-line media and the new world of bloggers who are far more in tune with what the nation as a whole is thinking. I was pleased the Prime Minister singled out David Farrar of Kiwiblog during his victory speech as being the pundit whose predictions were closest to the final result on the night. Farrar continues to present facts and figures to back up his opinions something often missing in MSM. This election was a victory for the maturity of on-line media as well as a victory for common sense.
The final surprise came with the rejection of the media circus that was Mana/Internet. Not only has the foul-mouthed Harawira lost his seat but there will be no other political prostitute to sully the cleaner air of parliament. What a fiasco that was. The media lapped it up but to a mature voting public it was worse that a farce, it was a total mockery of MMP. At the very least there needs to be another look at a system that has been brought into such disrepute by allowing a criminal to buy a political party.
Overall the results showed a big swing to the right. Not only can National govern alone but if we add in the ‘wasted’ votes of the Conservatives then the victory of the right should be sounding warning bells for the left. If they don’t start finding their way back to the centre they will be relegated to also-rans perhaps forever. They should take a long hard look at the international trends that show the world is moving away from seventy years of socialism that has dominated post-war global thinking. The socialists have eventually run out of other people’s money. They have demonstrated that continually stealing from the productive sectors of the economy to give to the unproductive sectors has not solved the problems that beset our poorest and most in need.
There is much to celebrate in this victory. National has a strong mandate to reform some of the institutions that have held the country back. They need to keep in touch with the desire demonstrated by the rise of the right to end the race based politics that have been such a destructive force in the nation for far too long. If they do that they will get a fourth term for sure.