Incredible, historic election night. Well done everyone, and congratulations to Labour, the Greens and the Māori Party. Head over to Matt’s post on the probable make up of parliament if you want to see who is in, who is out, by electorate and list.
Labour members must be feeling pretty stoked. Really good results, including with the electorates, where seat after seat fell from National last night, including Ilam (Gerry Brownlee), Nelson (Nick Smith), and the big shift in the rural seats.
This is also the first MMP election where a single party has gained a majority to govern alone. Not sure that is a good thing. The shift from FPP to MMP was meant to diversify representation not consolidate power to one party, but given that Labour no longer have NZ First as a square wheel I’m excited to see the changes that happen next. It means that we now can see exactly where Labour sit on each piece of legislation and policy and hopefully this will make (centre) left wing politics cleaner and clearer.
The Greens have also made history by becoming the first smaller party in government to survive to a second term, and they increased their vote. No small achievement this, and my feeling is this is largely due the Greens doing their thing in their Green way despite it not being the received wisdom. Marama Davidson said last night that the Greens brought out their fully costed Poverty Action Plan early in the campaign and then stuck to it all the way through. This is part of their success.
Then there’s Chloe Swarbrick! As it stands she has won Auckland Central against most pundits’ predictions. There are the Special votes yet to count, but it’s still a mighty achievement by Swarbrick and the power of the Greens’ Auckland Central campaign team. Also historic, James Shaw pointing out last night that this is the first time a third party has won an electorate seat under MMP without a major party ‘cup of tea’ type deal.
The Greens are crediting on the ground, grass roots campaigning as the reason for the win. It will be interesting to see the final numbers and subsequent analysis, including the age range of voters. Previous estimates suggest that less than half the potential youth vote was enrolled in Auckland Central. I’d like to see just where the swing to Swarbrick came from, because there are lessons to be learned here for the left about green as distinct from left politics,
This from @LeftieStats on twitter,
Result of the New Zealand election in the constituency of Auckland Central:
Green: 35% (+25)
Labour: 33% (-7)
National: 29% (-16)
Others: 4% (-1)
Green GAIN from National.
Where to now? Post-election process will become apparent in the next few days as Labour makes decisions about whether and who to enter in negotiations with. Looking at Labour/Green for a moment, there are a range of options,
Of note is that the Greens have a specific negotiation process that includes consulting with the membership. In other words, the co-leaders and caucus don’t get to decide, members do. There’s an explanation of how that worked in 2017 here. I’m in three minds about what I’d like to see, each have their up and down sides for the Greens and NZ’s ability to make progressive change.
Both Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson talked last night about how Labour will be governing for all New Zealanders, a fine piece of rhetoric which will appeal to many new and seasoned Labour voters, and which prompted a number of responses on the left along the lines of this is Labour manufacturing consent for continuing a centrist agenda.
Robertson said they now have the mandate to look at climate and inequality. What will convince me of Robertson (and Labour’s) sincerity on this is not just spending another length of time looking, but taking action this year. We will see this in how much of the social security portfolios Labour will share with the Greens or the Māori Party, and whether Labour offer anything substantial in the way of commitment to raising benefits and enacting the WEAG report. Or whether they defer, again.
Ardern said something else that meant more to me,
We are living in an increasing polarised world. A place were more and more people have lost the ability to see one another’s point of view. I hope that this election, New Zealand has shown that this is not who we are. That as a nation we can listen, and we can debate. After all, we are too small to lose sight of other people’s perspective. Elections aren’t great at bringing people together, but they also don’t need to tear one another apart.
And in times of crisis I believe that New Zealand has shown that, so again, I say thank-you.
National suffered a massive defeat and need to go away and have a long hard look at themselves. But we still have the issue of the harm done by Dirty Politics and the degrees to which we can and can’t talk with each other across difference. Looking at what is happening overseas, we can’t say we weren’t warned. The relief at having Ardern as PM shouldn’t make us complacent either, there is work to do.
The stand out for me last night in terms of our best potential were the voices of Māori women talking about what progress looks like from their perspective. Marama Davidson absolutely shone in her speech (all the Greens looked like they’d won the election). She said that Wahine Māori have the solutions. I agree, we should be listening to and amplifying them more, because they hold the confluence of wisdom on social and economic wellbeing, equality, culture, climate and ecology.
Laura O’Connell Rapira has been calling for the Māori Party and Greens to work together,
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I would love to see the Māori Party and the Greens take the lead of @tautokai and work more strategically together. I think both of your voter bases are more ready for it than you realise.
A final note. Russel Norman tweeted this last night about the probable new Māori Party MP.
Rawiri Waititi still ahead in Waiariki. Be so great to have this climate warrior in Parliament.
Maybe this was the climate election after all. I know next to nothing about Waititi yet, but this is huge: we have Ardern, Shaw and the rest of the Greens, Waititi now leading the Māori Party with it strong pro-environmental position. Three progressive parties in parliament, all strong on climate. What we also need is strong voices outside of parliament holding Labour to the nuclear-free moment promise.