"A country of inveterate, backwoods, thick-headed, egotistic philistines
August 29, 2017 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Tired of American politics? New Zealand's General Election is fast-approaching...

New Zealand's Electoral System Primer:

New Zealand uses a Mixed Member Proportional system where people have two votes - one for their single member electorate - and a party vote that "tops up" the unicameral Parliament with party list candidates. This can have interesting results and coalition government is the norm.

The Political Parties and Players:

National Party - Centre-right party currently in power led by Prime Minister Bill English (who replaced John Key in December). National has been in government in various iterations for 9 years. 59 MPs.

Labour Party - Centre-left party currently in opposition. Leader Andrew Little resigned due to the parties worst polling numbers in 30 years. Labour’s support has surged since Jacinda Ardern became leader. 32 MPs.

Green Party - Left party that recently lost co-leader Metiria Turei after admiting benefit fraud in her 20s. They have since haemorrhaged support and seek to rebuild under remaining leader James Shaw. 14 MPs.

New Zealand First - Nationalist anti-immigration centrist party. Led by Winston Peters, the party seems set to play the “kingmaker” role it held after the 1996 and 2005 elections. Has served within both National and Labour led governments in the past. 12 MPs.

Maori Party - indigenous-rights based party and, although centre-left positioned, has provided support to the National-led government. Co-led by Marama Fox and Te Ururoa Flavell. 2 MPs.

ACT - Right wing party led by David Seymour and one of very few potential coalition partners for National. 1 MP.

United Future - A one man centrist party, led by Peter Dunne, who recently announced his retirement after polling suggested he would be ousted in his constituency by a Labour candidate. Highly unlikely to make it back into Parliament under Damian Light. 1 MP.

Other Parties outside Parliament: Mana Party, Conservative Party, Internet Party, Ban 1080, Cannabis Party, Democrats, The Opportunities Party (TOP).

Other Parties currently unregistered (Registration requires 500 members): NZ Peoples Party, Universal Party, GodsownNZ, 1law4all, Outdoors Party, Alliance Party, Expats NZ, NZ Seniors Party, Not a Party, Money Free Party.

The Issues:

So what are the most important issues? There seems to be some uncertainty about what New Zealanders are most concerned about.

The National-led government has long faced criticism for underfunding healthcare. Similarly, a housing crisis, has been met with minimisation and denial of the extent of the problem. House affordability in Auckland has suffered in particular. There are also concerns over the level of child poverty and the increasing gap between rich and poor. Pollution from farming is degrading water quality. The government committed to restoring 90% of waterways to a swimmable standard by 2040 but, embarrassingly, it was subsequently revealed they would achieve this by using a less stringent standard. However, New Zealand's economy has been in fairly good stead with solid economic growth, low unemployment, and low inflation. Moody's considers New Zealand "The Quiet Achiever." Like all multi-term governments, National are emphasising their "safe hands" approach with the tagline "Delivering for New Zealanders."

So what's going to happen?:

Current polling suggests New Zealand First will have a choice between a centre-right coalition with National or a centre-left coalition with Labour and the Greens. Here are some other predictions and attempts at forecasting.

Some Resources for Voters:

Wondering who to vote for? Explore the policy to find out what's on offer from each of the main political parties. 2017 sees the return of On the Fence and TVNZ's Vote Compass to help find out which party most closely aligns with your values.

And here's every electorate candidate with links to their social media pages.

Enrol to vote from within NZ, and from overseas.

Election Results - Election day is Saturday, September 23.

Media Coverage:

The Spinoff
NZ Herald
The Civilian [Satire]

Some more fun stuff:

An Illustrated Guide to New Zealand Politics Meme Pages.

3 reasons why New Zealand has the best-designed government in the world.

A Definitive Ranking of NZ Prime Ministers from Lamest to Coolest.


2014 NZ Election Thread
2008 NZ Election Thread
posted by Start with Dessert (43 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Good luck New Zealand friends.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:05 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Mana Party

Finally, a party that my MMORPG caster characters can support!
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:27 AM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

As a NZer overseas, I don't pay a huge amount of attention to the elections, but I was doing my once-monthly skim of the NZ papers the other day and saw reference to Labour "kicking off their campaign" and realised there must be an upcoming election. Took me a few minutes to recall that mean, in about six weeks. All the MeFi American politics threads have conditioned me to expect that campaign launches happen about a year in advance of an election.
posted by lollusc at 5:38 AM on August 29, 2017 [10 favorites]

So what's going on with Winston's pension overpayments, then? The first I heard of it was seeing a bunch of deep-Green usual suspects on Facebook this morning ripping into Labour for alleged "double standards" in not immediately throwing Winston under the bus as was allegedly done to Turia. Because Turia's downfall was absolutely all Ardern's fault, apparently. And to appease the Greens base (such as it is), Ardern should attempt to immolate the other party Labour will need to rely on to form any sort of winning coalition, leaving the Left bloc way short of a majority. NZ Greens supporters can always be relied on for their political genius around election time.

I think a more interesting question is: where did the leak come from and why is this information being leaked now? According to what we know so far: the State Services Commission informed the (National) Minister of Social Development about the pension issue, who then informed the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff. But naturally this leak is nothing to do with either of them or anyone in either of those two offices because (as we know from Hager's book), dirty politics like that never happens in New Zealand, and certainly not in National Party circles. No sirree.

I can't vote in this election, nor could I in the last one, but I'll be watching all the same. And hoping for a result unlike those of the last three elections.
posted by Sonny Jim at 5:42 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here's a random factoid. The Left-Green Movement of Iceland was founded in the late 90s, and drew its inspiratrion from New Zealand's Green Party. One of the founders, and long-time leader, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, was an exchange student in New Zealand and remains a kiwiphile to this day.
posted by Kattullus at 6:14 AM on August 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm typically a Green supporter but I am so fucked off at the party for throwing Metria Turei under the bus. A Maori woman speaks out on the indignity of poverty and is promptly shown the door. Disgraceful. Support for the Greens has tanked so I may grit my teeth and vote straight party ticket because it would be a shame to have a parliament without them, but I'm very unhappy with the Green leadership at the moment.

I also feel like Labour has a better articulated health policy than the Greens so I don't know. Do hope National is out at last. Sick of looking at smirking empty suits. Is everyone loving how suddenly there's all this money as well for the Nats to throw around? Money for roads! Money for education! Money for more parental leave! Sorry where was this money over the last 9 years? Also ready to see the end of Jonathan Coleman as Health Minister. He's absolutely ridiculous in the role, completely bereft of ideas or political acumen. His answer to continuous underfunding essentially boils down to "nuh uh!"

Which is so in line with National anyways right? There's a housing crisis in Auckland! Nuh uh! Transport in Auckland is completely unsustainable! Nuh uh! Health is critically underfunded! Nuh uh! Fucking wankers.

And fuck Winston. I will cackle like a witch if he's finally out.

Lastly if you enjoy schadenfreud and lulz theres good value to be had watching Gareth Morgan melt down repeatedly on twitter.
posted by supercrayon at 6:45 AM on August 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Took me a few minutes to recall that mean, in about six weeks.

NZ sounds like a nice place, although, from all those links, I see that there are a lot of thorny and divisive issues, too.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:54 AM on August 29, 2017

Evidence of New Zealand's existence is lacking. I think it's a hoax.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:27 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Evidence of New Zealand's existence is lacking. I think it's a hoax

Indeed. That's the plan. We had a previous political party in NZ called the McGillicuddy Serious Party, whose National defense policy included "Sending out intelligence agents around the world to wipe New Zealand off published maps, thus ensuring that no-one could invade the country". They also wanted to give Trees the Vote, but "the party could not decide on whether native trees should have the option to vote in Māori electorates, whether male trees as well as female trees should vote, and on the status of shrubs."
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:57 AM on August 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's quite incredible that in the last year most of the major parties have switched or lost leaders. National went from a charismatic figurehead to a data-wonk potato; Labour from a trade unionist to a charismatic young progressive; the Greens dropped their social issues co-leader and retained their environmental issues co-leader; and United Future saw the writing on the wall and just shuffled off.

The country is economically stable. That should favour the sitting government. But NZers tend to keep parties around until they get bored with them. The sitting government has both been in power for a long time, and also led by one of the most boring men in politics.
posted by Paragon at 2:52 PM on August 29, 2017

I hope Ardern gets it, she's awesome.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:48 PM on August 29, 2017

For those expats overseas who want to follow election night coverage, I'd recommend RadioNZ who will be streaming video coverage from their website and on youtube. It'll be the home of "little creep" John Campbell and Guyon Espiner. Having said that, it's highly likely we won't find out who is actually governing until coalition agreements are made, which could take weeks.

The NZ Billboard Vandalism tumblr is up and going again. Been some good ones already.
posted by Start with Dessert at 4:04 PM on August 29, 2017

I just wish someone was standing on a platform of redoing the flag referendum over and over until we get it right.
posted by Metro Gnome at 4:39 PM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Indeed. That's the plan. We had a previous political party in NZ called the McGillicuddy Serious Party,

I stood for them many moon ago, as a fine, upstanding, unemployed, recent graduate - giving me the dubious honour of being able to vote for myself in my first election.

I wouldn't say I did well, but I did beat the local Christian Heritage wingnut, so that was nice.
posted by Sparx at 5:02 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

All this and not a word on Jacindamania?
posted by HiroProtagonist at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2017

I stood for them many moon ago, as a fine, upstanding, unemployed, recent graduate - giving me the dubious honour of being able to vote for myself in my first election.

I wouldn't say I did well, but I did beat the local Christian Heritage wingnut, so that was nice.

IIRC the vote that sealed Metiria's fate as co-leader was for a McGillicuddy candidate called KT Julian...
posted by Sebmojo at 6:54 PM on August 29, 2017

I stood for them many moon ago, as a fine, upstanding, unemployed, recent graduate

If you were ever the McGillicuddy Serious candidate against Peter Dunne in Ohariu-Belmont - then dear sir/madam, I gladly report that I voted for you in the 1996 and/or 1999 election and gladly include myself in your exclusively low single figure results from my polling station. Often outnumbered - never outwitted.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:41 PM on August 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

The election campaign in New Zealand is getting so feisty, it might even bring down the government of Australia.
posted by Cobalt at 9:45 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Who is Putin backing?
posted by benzenedream at 11:35 PM on August 29, 2017

Inflatablekiwi: right electorate, wrong election. 1990 was me, though your impeccably wasted vote was undoubtedly appreciated by my prodecessor.

Sebmojo: yep, and KT is pretty ropeable about it.
posted by Sparx at 1:26 AM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

right electorate, wrong election

Ugh, if only I had been eligible to vote then (along with 544 other friends), we could have gotten you into the glorious fourth place position....just outside of medal contention but I'm sure we could have run a drug test on the Green candidate and had you replace him on the podium to take the bronze....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:30 AM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

The PM coolness ranking put Muldoon above Vogel? No.

Muldoon liked to bully journalists (well, everyone really) and once announced a snap election while drunk off his ass.

Vogel wrote a utopian sci-fi novel (in 1889) predicting the rise of women into positions of power and influence.
posted by Paragon at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if these links are helpful, seeing as the comments here seem to be divided between politely interested and impeccably over-informed: Just a few longform journalism sites and blogs.

Public Address
No Right Turn
The Hand Mirror
Maui Street
The Daily Blog
The Standard

If you're a history tragic there are also these great sites:
Election Ads is an archive of election ads in New Zealand currently dating back to 1907.

Browse the New Zealand Cartoon Archive. It's part of the National Library of New Zealand and a wealth of political and other cartoons dating back to the 1800s.
posted by Start with Dessert at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2017

The election campaign in New Zealand is getting so feisty, it might even bring down the government of Australia.
In the finest tradition of making everything New Zealand-ish all about Australia...

(I despair at my idiot country, sometimes all the time)
posted by prismatic7 at 6:26 PM on August 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

So some big shifts tonight as TVNZ release their most recent polling showing Labour ahead of National for the first time in 12 years. Labour on 43%, National on 41%, NZ First also down to 8%, and the Greens clinging on with 5% (just on the cutoff threshold for proportional representation.)

The poll was released just an hour before the first leaders debate between Ardern and English. Here are some first impressions of how it went.
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:39 AM on August 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

They say a week is a long time in politics, and this is no less true for NZ. The second leaders debate saw National finally make a commitment on reducing child poverty. National also mistakenly claimed that there was an $11.7 billion hole in Labour's budget numbers and this was quickly ridiculed by a number of prominent economists.

A debate audience member has become a local celebrity due to his reactions to the PM's responses. Funniest moments in the second leaders debate.

Here's some more light relief - A new sculpture of Environment Minister Nick Smith that aims to highlight water pollution issues.
posted by Start with Dessert at 6:13 PM on September 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

And more movement in the polls with National on 47.3 (enough to govern alone without needing a coalition) and Labour on 37.8. It also continues the squeeze on the smaller parties. The Greens polling below the 5% threshold (and without an electorate seat) casting uncertainty over whether they'll be back in Parliament. If the Greens dropped out of Parliament, Labour would lose the coalition partner it needs to get into Government. NZ First is down to 6 in this poll.

'Well that was awkward' - Jacinda Ardern grills Patrick Gower over Newshub-Reid poll results.

Also in the news: a series of satirical billboards went up over the weekend and have been doing the rounds on social media.

Advance Voting has begun, with 40,000 votes cast on the first day. Here's a neat article on obscure details on voting - decorating your ballot is fine as long as your voting intention is clear. Also cat bites.

And in case anyone needed more reason to enrol to vote: freebies!
posted by Start with Dessert at 4:05 PM on September 12, 2017

Only a week out from the election and people are already sick of it, so here's another link roundup.

There seems to be quite large difference between TVNZ's Colmar-Brunton polls (which keep Labour slightly ahead of National) and Newshubs Reid Research polls (which have National at a huge lead). This article explores the differences between the two and what that means.

MMP Maths helps to figure out exactly how Parliamentary seats are allocated.

The 36 Questions Project is a series in which Meg Williams takes a politician on a date and asks them 36 Questions, a series of conversation starters designed to make two people fall in love. I've saved the best for last. VICE has launched a mortal combat clone called Battle to the Beehive. Choose which party leader you want to be and battle your way through various election issues including transport, housing, the environment, the economy and education.
posted by Start with Dessert at 6:16 PM on September 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

There has been record levels of early voting and the count for these votes will be released at 7pm on election night, so we may have a strong idea of where the election is headed instantaneously. Here’s a report on electorates that may flip or are up in the air.

The bookies have National favourite to deliver a Prime Minister:
National 1.67 ; Labour 2.10 &
National 1.53 ; Labour 2.40
While the some pundits say all bets are off.

Paul F. Tompkins and Jemaine Clement get into it on twitter.

Need some light entertainment while you wait?
The Unauthorised History of New Zealand
Elections (29’33)
Politics (23’16)

Here’s an election night drinking game while you watch election night coverage:

Join John Campbell and Guyon Espiner, along with Jane Patterson and Mihingarangi Forbes, for the Election17 results as they come in. (Website, Youtube, Facebook)

Duncan Garner will host the Newshub Election Special, alongside political editor Patrick Gower and The Nation's Lisa Owen. (Website - but geolocked to NZ)

Māori Television
Oriini Kaipara, Matai Smith and Heta Gardiner will be crossing to reporters across the country, and in the studio former Māori Party leader Dame Tariana Turia and former Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chairman Sir Mark Solomon will be dissecting the incoming results. (Website)

NZ Herald
Heather du Plessis-Allan teams up with Tristram Clayton to host the Herald's Election Night Party. (Website & Facebook)

Mike Hosking, Hilary Barry, Simon Dallow and Wendy Petrie will join political editor Corin Dann and investigative journalist Jehan Casinader at TVNZ headquarters for their election special. (Website - but geolocked to NZ)

Don't want the coverage? Just want the results?
posted by Start with Dessert at 8:47 PM on September 21, 2017 [4 favorites]

I voted! I got to do it at the Australian Electoral Commission office. They were very nice people. There was a kia ora sign on the door. And they were excited that they hadn't had anyone from my electorate voting there before. Multiple people there congratulated me very enthusiastically on voting as I dropped my envelope into the box.
posted by lollusc at 11:11 PM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

So it's been an interesting election. A lot of discussion at work, where people support a wide range of parties, with several people talking or thinking about changing their usual vote. So there could be a move for change, but I think the narrative of 'Labour will raise taxes on hard-working people and give it to the feckless homeless' has got quite a bit of traction. (Hey, anyone remember when we barely had any homeless people?).

Seems clear that we are heading for a hung Parliament with NZ First holding the balance of power; an oddity of our system given that neither National or Labour would work with him if they had the choice. I'm guessing Nat + NZF is an easier and more stable option than Lab + Green + NZF, and I'm picking Peters to go with the first option if it comes down to his choice. Interesting to see National making noises that they could work with the Greens but that still seems like an outside option.

Looking at the breakdown of who has voted, it seems like enrolment among the young is down, so probably not much of a likelihood of a youth swing to the left.

Given NZ electoral law I'm not going to say anymore about what I want to happen or who I voted for. I've been out doorknocking a couple of times in my area, but couldn't tell you much about what I learned (other than an electorate that historically favours three parties looks to be favouring them again). I'll be scrutineering at a polling booth this afternoon and then going to a friend's place for drinks to watch the results.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:14 PM on September 22, 2017

So in this thread I said this: The Left-Green Movement of Iceland was founded in the late 90s, and drew its inspiratrion from New Zealand's Green Party. One of the founders, and long-time leader, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, was an exchange student in New Zealand and remains a kiwiphile to this day.

I was talking with a friend about this earlier and the timeline doesn't quite fit. It seems that Steingrímur J. Sigfússon was influenced by the Alliance Party, which the Greens were in, but it seems that Jim Anderton was his main inspiration. Also, apparently most active members of the Icelandic Left-Green Movement are completely unaware of this history, only being remembered by people like me who obsessively watched political discussion shows in the 90s.
posted by Kattullus at 5:33 PM on September 22, 2017

Jim Anderton left Labour in '89 to form New Labour - a bit of a misnomer in that the party was a throw-back to traditional Labour values which the Labour part had eschewed (somewhat) in favour of 'Rogernomics' (named for Roger Douglas, then Finance minister and proponent of economic neo-liberalism). Anderton (& New Labour) then went on to form a coalition of left-wing parties - the Alliance. They actually did OK at the polls in the early days of MMP. More info at wikipedia.

I cast an early vote on Wednesday at the library - the smoothness of the NZ election process never ceases to amaze me. I was in and out of the polling station in under 2min.

Currently following the election day #DogsAtPollingStations & #catsnotAtPollingStations tags on twitter.
posted by phigmov at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

we are heading for a hung Parliament with NZ First holding the balance of power

So, like just about every election since the dawn of MMP ever. Winston Peters will be a happy man, I suppose. (How can he still be around???)
posted by lollusc at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

Polls closed! Aren't people ever tired of flippin Winston? I have only lived here 12 years and I am sick to death of this dude always playing kingmaker, ugh. Looks to be a knuckle-biter tonight, I've made some guacamole and I'm settling in for the evening.
posted by supercrayon at 12:07 AM on September 23, 2017

I really don't want the arrogance of the right wing National party to be gifted a 4th term, so I'm hand-wringing and hoping that the late counts witl make the tipping point. There are some interesting movements, such as the co-leader of the Maori party possibly being ousted by Labour.

Labour and Greens (who would need to form a coalition) had a couple of tragedies in the early stages of the campaigns, and the fence-sitters are notoriously fickle.
posted by arzakh at 1:40 AM on September 23, 2017

So it appears that the tendency of NZ MMP to squeeze out the smaller parties continues. United Future is out (no surprises there) but so is the Māori Party. Both Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox are big losses to Parliament IMO. Here are the preliminary results:

National 58 (-3)
Labour 45 (+13)
NZ First 9 (-2)
Greens 7 (-6) (although they appear confident that special votes (from overseas) will give them another seat at National's expense - this happened in 2014.)
ACT 1 (0)

The magic number is 61 MPs(from 120 in Parliament)
It seems a National/NZ First coalition is on the cards. (67) In his speech, Winston Peters ruled out "extremes" which seems to suggest he wants to exclude ACT from any dealings. I do wonder if the superannuation dirty dealings will have an impact. I don't think we've seen the full fallout of that.

Unlikely but possible that NZ First go with a Labour/Greens coalition. (61) More likely, Peters will not make noises about choosing one or the other in order to extract the most he can out of the party he chooses.

I share the opinions of most in this thread that we need to get rid of Winston but I can't see another party breaking through the 5% threshold to fill in the role of centrist party. TOP didn't quite manage 2% (although I don't imagine Gareth Morgan would be much of a replacement.) I wonder (hope) that this is Winston Peters final run in Parliament. Having him pick the final winner is hard to stomach for a third time.
posted by Start with Dessert at 5:05 AM on September 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Depressing twitter post to contemplate - Peters may push for a referendum to disestablish Maori seats.
posted by phigmov at 11:43 AM on September 23, 2017

So, like just about every election since the dawn of MMP ever. Winston Peters will be a happy man, I suppose. (How can he still be around???)

?? He's been in government twice out of seven MMP elections. I know it seems like it always goes back to him, but it actually doesn't. (And he'll be gone after this term, surely. He's getting old and people seem to think this will be his last shot at it).
posted by Pink Frost at 2:28 PM on September 23, 2017

A very depressing day for the left. Some thoughts:

*Suggestions from TV commentators, and Gareth Morgan, that the Greens should offer to work with National. While I'd love to see National implement Green policies, this would surely kill enough Green support that they'd struggle to get back into Parliament next time (c.f. the Lib-Dem agreement with the Tories in the UK).
*Therefore I thought James Shaw's speech was great. Basically argued that there is a mood for change, and that NZ First should join Labour and the Greens to implement that change.
*Winston Peter's speech looked tired, and just weird. (Telling his candidates/people not to do anything to embarrass the party? Weird). I didn't feel like he has much fight left - this sort of situation is made for his sense of drama.
*Jacinda Ardern's speech was less impressive than I expected, but I still think she's great.
Gareth Morgan is really a charmless arrogant prick isn't he? He spent half his speech advising the Greens what to do. Gareth, if you want to shape our direction, join the party and vote like the rest of us. Otherwise worry about your own game. Also spent half the speech flattering his members for being 'early adopters'. (Suffering from engineer's disease? TOP may be right for you!).

As a Green, I think I'd almost prefer to see Nat-NZF now. Lab-G-NZF with a one-seat majority would be unstable, easy to blame when anything goes wrong, and would probably have one term before being out for three. Almost better to let the other side face the infighting and problems of a 4th term government (Peters is 2/2 in joining last-term governments, after all). Let Lab spend three years sorting out their policies under Jacinda, and giving the Greens space for their own policies, so as to present a stronger front next time.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:36 PM on September 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

Agreed, Pink Frost.

My only problem now is that I could actually see the Nats riding out the next term in exactly the same way as the previous one and still getting elected next time. Its clear to me that that a fair chunk of NZ is pretty happy with the status quo (two ticks blue!) even if it is leading to a slow decline for the country as a whole. The Nats can just sit on their hands, do the bare minimum to get by and they'll be fine - they could even renege on some of their pre-election promises, people will just forget and wait for the next All Blacks game or Americas Cup regatta.

Also, unless the messaging is on-point, the next election will be a poison chalice - the country is rooted and it'll take multiple terms to fix - doing that without rocking the boat (eg raising taxes, introducing some form of CGT, massive infra/social spend-up etc) is going to be such a fine balancing act that I doubt anyone could pull it off.

Definitely starting to think there needs to be a grass-roots movement to support people who are doing it tough and lobby parties regardless of who is in power - the progressive left can't be counted upon to be 'in power' long-enough to affect change on their own.

posted by phigmov at 3:11 PM on September 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

My only problem now is that I could actually see the Nats riding out the next term in exactly the same way as the previous one and still getting elected next time.

You could be right; I thought the switch from Key to English would cost them, but clearly not. Will take a strong effort to win, and a very strong effort to run a government that balances delivering social services without pissing off too many of the 'don't raise my taxes' crowd. Labour really needs to get some serious messaging around the CGT and actually run on it - don't promise working groups, do the research now and run on a platform where you tell people exactly what the taxes will be.

Definitely starting to think there needs to be a grass-roots movement to support people who are doing it tough and lobby parties regardless of who is in power.

ActionStation could be worth a look, if you're not aware of them. It's about grass-roots lobbying (anyone can propose a campaign). They ran a pre-election scorecard of different parties, scoring Greens first followed by Maori, TOP and Labour. [Disclosure, I know the organiser].
posted by Pink Frost at 1:48 AM on September 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Man, I forgot what it feels like to be in this post-election limbo without knowing who will be the Government.

It seems there's still room for intrigue. Heaps of backroom dealing and media-manipulation. Patrick Gower: Winston Peters wants utu from Steven Joyce. It says Newshub was given a tip-off six weeks out from the election that National had a four-pronged strategy to destroy NZ First's chances. It involved:
  • Steal NZ First policies (like the bootcamps for young serious offenders)
  • Squash his party vote below the 5% threshold
  • Drive him out of Northland (which they successfully did)
  • Drop a scandal on him (leaking his benefit overpayment)
Peters has hit back with a press-release titled Newshubs world of make-believe. Gower countered This is all a clear play by NZ First to get the message out there that it's not a done deal with National, and they're deliberately getting the message out to raise the stakes in the negotiations.

I don't think there's much point in trying to read the tea-leaves. The 1996 election was a pretty ugly campaign with Peters and National taking chunks out of each other but he still ended up going with National. Granted, that coalition ended up in disaster for both National and New Zealand First, but I think Peters will go with whatever side gives him the most in negotiations.
posted by Start with Dessert at 2:00 AM on September 26, 2017

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