a significant change has taken place in the new zealand political landscape over the course of this labour government.
because of clarks modus operandi of moving the party to the right to capture former national party voters and policies, (and returning to her roots, but that’s another story), there is a vaccuum on the centre left and left.
i reckon if the moderate wing of national sits still long enough, they will see clarke steaming past, heading towards their colleagues on the centre/right right of national.
if you looked at an ideological spectrum of politics in this country, taking into account the parties of last century, you would see act, national, labour, new zealand first and dunnes’ mob all squashed up at the right hand side of that spectrum.
since the dissolution of the alliance party, and labours move to the right, there has been no political representation for the centre left/left; and now even anderton is galloping over to the right. (see his recent uturn on tax policy; plus his promotion of corporate welfare).
he is a long way away from being the voice for the unrepresented.
but we all know vacuums don’t last, and here is why i think the greens and the maori party are going to be the big winners in the upcoming election.
lets look at the maori party first. so far, they haven’t put a foot wrong, and they have got through the possibly difficult patch of harawira the youngers’ nomination for, and winning of, the right to contest his seat, with nary a scratch.
so, it all looks like plain sailing for them. and as far as polling results, you can ignore them for two reasons. so many maori aren’t sampled by the pollsters, and the turnout on election day will be the highest ever.
maori know this is their opportunity to become a political force with real clout. they have come to grips with mmp, and can see that they no longer have to be a mostly ignored wing of labour; there, if only for no other reason than there was nowhere else to go.
labours long history of ignoring, patronising, and eventually betraying maori is coming back to bite them in the bum.
do you remember when maori last had a glimpse of that possibility? with winston? they turned out in force and swept the maori seats.
winston screwed them, as it turned out; but this time it is different. they have tariana turia; and she is no winston.
now the greens; they are going to get their core vote; but even that core has shifted. the greens policy of playing kissey kissey with this right wing labour government has pissed off a fair segment of what could be described as the deep green greens.
the greens also dont appear to have much concern for, or to pay much heed to, the activist/vegetarian/vegan/animal rights components of the environmental movement.
the most recent indication/manifestation of that was some green party head office raffle where possum fur nipple warmers, or some bloody thing, were the second prize.
the fact that only one green mp is a vegetarian could have something to do with that. if you’re eating them you can’t really be expected to care that much for them, can you?
but this loss for the greens will be more than made up for by the flow of votes heading their way from the rest of their core vote, and surpising to some, from the left/moderate wing of the national party, who are no longer scared by fitzsimons et al, and are probably more scared of brash and his coterie of rogernomes.
Nandor, of all people, has done more than most to woo that vote, with his reasoned pieces in the print media on a wide range of subjects; that he showed an understanding of, and expertise in, that range of policies ostensibly outside his core responsibilities/concerns pleasantly surprised a few people, me included.
one of the two big chunks of new votes heading the way of the greens will come from the left/soft socialist/environmental wing of labour; especially if, as expected, there is no danger of national taking the treasury benches.
clarke and her coterie are doing nothing for them, ignoring them/taking them for granted, much as they have ignored maori.
for this reason some of them will give the greens their party vote, mainly in the hope they will act as a check and balance, and slow or halt clarks’ slide to the right.
but the biggest chunk of new votes coming to the greens will come from that group who voted for the alliance last time, only to see them wiped out.
for the potential size of this vote you only have to look at the highwater mark of the history of the alliance party, pre mmp.
there is a large pool of voters who like what bradford and others have to say on social issues, and the greens would be wise to really push their policy for the increase in the minimum wage to $12 per hour.
many of those former alliance voters were upset with the greens for some time; blaming them for the breakup of the alliance (but that’s a whole other story).
but the passage of time has healed that somewhat, and more significantly, there is nowhere else for those former alliance supporters/voters to go to advance their deeply felt political beliefs.
their only other choice is not to vote.
so, the expected collapse of nationals vote , the bleeding from labour, and the circumstances listed above convince me that the greens and the maori party will be smiling come election night.