Whaleoil reader ‘seriously?’ writes
Some of the recent posts has me thinking the left is dead, but so is the right. In fact, I now doubt whether the left/right political spectrum has any remaining validity, especially in New Zealand.
The mass of voters have no pallet for extremes, left or right, they want what I’d call pragmatists rather than centrists – they don’t care which ideological perspective an idea comes from, provided that it works. To a degree, Key is giving them that.
I think we substantively abandoned the old left/right divide as a part of adopting MMP. Unlike some other MMP style countries, the voters here have a sensible aversion to complicated coalitions. We want one main party to lead the way, even if they have a few hangers on. As a result, National and Labour faced a decision with MMP – move to the center or cease to be a main party. Labour under Clarke drifted toward the center. National under Key have taken the center by force, and claim it as its own.
It is only smaller bit players that are able survive and still be ideological, the extreme left positions held by Greens are a good example (but we may see them abandon that over the next few election cycles). But even those small ideologues struggle to survive (think ACT, or Mana pre Dotcom).
If Labour want to maintain its shift back to being the ideological party of the left, then they best get ready for a minority interest in politics, and a greater proportion of years in opposition than even they are used to.
New Zealand has, more or less, had the same government now for the last 15 years. Even though there are hot button issues like asset sales, smacking, gay marriage and so on, the fundamentals of how we live our lives and how our economy functions remains the same.
I always keep an eye on the markets around elections, and it never fails to amaze me that no matter who wins the election, the market doesn’t rise or plunge sharply because of it. It means that the people who have their financial bits in a vice are not concerned about New Zealand’s general stability and direction. Read more »