I covered my first election in 1975 and things have moved progressively backwards since then. Unlike many colleagues I support MMP as it brings single issues into the open. Just imagine what National and Labour would have done with their green policies if it hadn’t been for the Greens.
The election result was predictable and I’m relaxed. To me National and Labour are so close its hard to tell the difference. Its important to remember that National voted with Labour on both the zero carbon legislation and the gun laws. National obviously felt the urban Auckland voter considerably more important than those in the provinces. Act ran a good campaign and was well rewarded. Winston – well Parliament won’t be the same without him. I found NZ First frustrating as Ron Mark, Tracey Martin and Mark Patterson have done excellent jobs as Peters’ did as Minister. Shane Jones was the liability in my view and a major one at that.
The Greens got there and it will be interesting to see how they progress. They have some good people and some liabilities. I heard Eugenie Sage being interviewed before the election and she scares the tripe out of me. Conversely James Shaw comes across as sane and reasonable.
An issue for me was the dearth of solid new policy debate over the entire election. Labour worked on their achievements and National denigrated those achievements and claimed they were better managers of the economy than Labour was. I disagree. I think Grant Robertson has done a good job and I remain unconvinced over Paul Goldsmith. Although promoted as a financial guru by National his background is as an historian and biographer.
National have a major problem they need to fix. Their campaign was shite. A petulant Judith Collins making negativity an art form didn’t spin my wheels. Simon Bridges would have done a lot better. She’s toast. Mark Mitchell is making noises and has already had a tilt at the leadership. Christopher Luxon won’t rule a challenge out. I found that arrogant in the extreme as he wasn’t even in parliament when he made the statement. Running a country is a little different from an airline.
National have good leaders but they don’t get the air time. To be relevant in the future they need to change. It will be interesting to see if they do.
Going forward my fond hope is for policies based on science, meaningful consultation, a concentration on trade access and a removal of some of the ridiculous legislative barriers to progress and that’s at both a central and local level.