And so, with special votes now counted, National and ACT have lost their overall majority and now seem to be dependent on the good graces (sic) of New Zealand First. What does that mean for us?
Firstly, it seems that our allies in the Greens and Te Pati Maori have picked up additional seats, so this isn’t a complete bluewash. However, note that the result still makes the Greens the third-largest party in Parliament, indicating that they represent a sizeable segment of public opinion. The National Party and ACT overlook that at their peril.
Winston Peters has never been an ally of our communities and has voted against every single LGBTQI+ legislative reform in Parliament from homosexual law reform onward. New Zealand First has fallen out of Parliament twice, once in 2008 and again in 2020, but both times, it was resurrected by ACT New Zealand’s futile pursuit of populist right-wing votes, rehabilitating the obstructive populist in question. During the recent election, he whinged about gender-appropriate ablutions, changing rooms, and trans people, leading to wry observations from Prime Minister-elect Chris Luxon.
I would advise Luxon not to pander to either New Zealand First or ACT over populist grandstanding by either party. His government was elected on the basis of fiscal responsibility and he must be aware that similar populist antics and outbursts by the UK Conservative Party are treated with impatience by the electorate. It recently lost two by-elections by twenty to twenty-five percent swings. He needs to consider what pandering to either the anti-co-governance, anti-vaccination, or anti-transgender lobbies while in office might reap in terms of mass mobilisation and electoral backlash. It is not impossible that this could be a single-term government.
Article | Craig Young.