I remember being at the Wellington Central Green Party party last election. It was a flat night. National won large, and the Green Party, hoping to push forward with a weak Labour, stalled. They stalled at about 10%, with 14 MPs, as the third largest political party. That result, which was so disappointing in 2014, would be a wonderful dream in 2017 where they are stalled at 6% and might, might get 8 MPs as the fourth largest party out of only five parties actually in parliament.
This is the worst result imaginable: National-New Zealand First government with Act.
Let’s take a little time to pour salt in our wounds and talk about ACT. Despite being utterly irrelevant to New Zealanders (they lost 6,000 party votes on their 2014 vote, reaching 0.5% of the party vote and putting it behind TOP and the Maori Party, but ahead of Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis by 0.2%) they can continue to be used by National to bring more anxiety, testing and inequality to education. David Seymour can continue to take up air space in the media hugely, HUGELY out of proportion to his mandate. Exactly what we saw, in fact, in the debates where United Future got a voice at the debating lectern, but TOP were excluded; the voice of 1400 people this election result as opposed to 48,000.
And then, of course, we have New Zealand First. They also went backwards, and Winston lost his electorate seat… but.
I’m not sure what James Shaw is saying about a coalition with Winston. New Zealand “voted for change” if you can count voting for New Zealand First as a vote for change. You can’t do that. Winston was a National Party MP, and represents a kind of retro National. A kind of Muldoon-era National Party. When you went on Winston’s website during the election one of his top five policies was about horse racing. Vote for change? Nup. As for Gareth Morgan’s idea that the Greens should go with National. Did he not notice an entire political party disappear as a result of that exact strategy?
A few things got me exercised in this election. Te Reo in schools, water, poverty. What does Winston have to tell us? We know he has zero interest in Maori issues except to remove any whiff of affirmative action. He ruled out making farmers pay money for water. I have absolutely no idea what he thinks about the poor, which is enough information in itself. One election cycle ago he was actually talking about making New Zealand great again (eat your heart out Donald Trump). His power now reflects that general trend on the right towards nationalism.
I wonder if National are actually impossible to beat. Any policy that gets popular appeal they can simply take and make their own, and the people who turn out to vote are those who benefit most from National’s maintenance of power and free market economics.
My last post was about “keep” versus “love”. I see the mistake now. The Labour Party brought in “keep” politics in 1984 and now, in 2017, we are a country of “keep”. The current Labour tertiary policy wasn’t popular with existing tertiary students because it wouldn’t benefit them personally. Who cares about other people, right? In the end it’s me against the world and I need to win at life. There is no commons. There is no common good. In the free market model what is the purpose of a public library, or pool, or park? The RMA is an impediment. Zoning is illogical. Giving money to people without money makes no financial sense. Nature is a commodity. So are people.
Love was overwhelming defeated last night. Keep kept on. Keep won large.
A victory for hardworking kiwis.
Like the cleaners where I work? I walk past a homeless woman every single morning. She sits in the garden outside the community centre. There are three or four others who live pretty rough that I often see too. When I walk I also see a trail of rubbish. Plastic wrappers, and bottle caps, and plastic bottles, and fast food bags and burger boxes. The two places that are worst affected are the gutters and the gardens. Rubbish that catches in the gutters will wash eventually into the drains. People stuff their old cans and beer bottles into the planting along the roadside, and paper and plastic catches and tangles in the branches of the bushes. The bottom students in my classes usually are not white.
Keep. New Zealand voted to keep because the people who vote are not affected by these things. There are no homeless to see where they live. Their suburbs and towns are clean. Their schools are homogeneous.
When I get a bit drunk and tell people what I really think I reckon they think I’m just drunk and joking and I don’t really believe those things. But I actually do believe that we are in the sixth extinction. That by the time I die New Zealand will have lost many, many more species. That our weather will have become far more extreme. That inequality within and between countries will have risen hugely, and that freedoms will have reduced. That this cascade of effects will lead to war. That diversity will continue to shrink. All this presided over not by evil dictators but by strong and stable governments trying to maintain the status quo for those who vote in a pot slowly coming to the boil. The banality of unintentional evil.
I am wrong to admire Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, Buddha and Christ. Idealism and faith in the human spirit is not misplaced, but it is misplaced in political systems. Political systems are not spiritual systems. They are power mechanisms and power is a substance that seeks to concentrate and harden in the hands of those with it already.