Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, October 20th, 2017 - 15 comments
Categories: greens, jacinda ardern, labour, national, nz first, same old national, winston peters - Tags: demonisation, duncan garner, matthew hooton, Patrick Gower
RadioNZ video. It really does state exactly why NZ First decided to go with Labour.
What was really interesting is that NZ First chose to be inside Cabinet in a full coalition.
I’d rather expected that they would choose to be in a confidence and supply agreement as they did with Labour back in 2005, and as the Greens have done in their C&S deal with Labour yesterday. A C&S gives a political party a lot more opportunity to differentiate from the government of the day, but it also conversely means that there is a lot less opportunity to get fully involved in all of the cabinet strategic decisions and directions. These only happen in the areas that any C&S ministerial portfolios lie.
The subtext of going into a full coalition is that there is both a high degree of confidence with the NZ First MPs and board with the new leadership of the Labour party, and that NZ First is feeling confident enough in their primary support in provincial and rural NZ to take the risk.
On the latter point I suspect that they are right. While NZ First had a lot of polled support shaved off them with Jacindamania (which in itself shows the preferences of their crossover soft vote) they also had strong support from their bastions of support. This was a lot more sticky than after the National sponsored trumped up charges back in 2008.
But probably just as important is that several rounds of Labour leadership have never shown the kind of bitter malevolence and outright demonisation that the National party operators have inflicted on NZ First and Winston Peters over decades.
The resulting mythology amongst our conservative and obviously more superstitious citizens has been an interesting demonstration that the lynch mob mentality is not just confined to 18th century. I always find the contrast to be stark when you’re bouncing politics around with people. When the subject of Winston Peters and NZ First comes up with National party supporters there is an obvious bristling and they start reaching for their conversational pitchforks and scythes.
When I discuss why, the amount of complete bullshit and straight out lying is pretty obvious. Quite simply, the nefarious treacherous behaviour that is often attributed to Winston Peters and NZ First is quite simply untrue, and generally the people stating it with certainty are unable to even give any actual examples. In fact they usually seem to wind up talking about how Winston doesn’t respect their favourite journalists and/or their particular heroes inside National while they simultaneously spew irrelevant gossip about NZ First or Winston Peters.
My usual take from such people is that they have fuckall idea about what politics is really about. I tend to get the impression that they are less concerned about how things actually operate amongst the whole of our population, than how things look from a nice clean mythological surface. They are more interested in the gloss than the reality. Matthew Hooton is a particularly fine example of this tragically absurd style of limited superficial thought.
By contrast, the attitudes of Labour and even Green voters are far more nuanced. They are usually far more concerned about the conservative social values that NZ First party espouse. Some in the business community are a bit aghast at the conservative economic policies. But generally there is way less of the demonising. There is also respect for the way that NZ First has actually operated in government when given the opportunity while at the same time decrying that he didn’t decide to work with Labour back in 1996. However bearing in mind the way that the Alliance fractured when in government in 2000, that may have been a wise move on their part.
The C&S agreement with Labour in 2005 cemented that basic opinion. It is incredibly hard to point to a damn thing that they did that was a false step right up to the point where National manufactured a bullshit charge of corruption and got their Act minions to push it. It was pretty obvious to me that lazy party accounting was a sign that NZ First needed to work on their party organisation that the electoral commission needed to rap their knuckles over. But it sure as hell wasn’t the kind of deeply suspicious and possibly corrupt behaviour as way that the anonymous money was being funnelled into the National parties Waitemata Trust from the election before.
Personally I’m not that interested in the PR of politics. I’m interested in needs, constituencies and representation. Back in 2008 while the shallow waders of politics, like many of our story hunting political media, were busy predicting the demise of NZ First. I was stating that NZ First had a constituency and that they’d be back. And they are.
Like the myth of their support being mostly amongst the elderly who could still remember Muldoon. I’ve always been aghast at this line of stupidity. It just begs the question about how Duncan Garner and Patrick Gower seemed to think that such people were immortal.
Sure, NZ First’s demographic doesn’t tend to have too many spring chickens. But they have a steady replenishment of support amongst the middle aged and new grandparents. That is where their policies target. These are the kinds of people that the advertisers who fund most of our political talking heads don’t target and have limited information on. They tend to ignore PR and media bullshit and aren’t that interested in doing anything apart from making up their own minds and voting accordingly.
I am sure that both NZ First and the Greens will be subjected to more Dirty Politics and that our flighty and shallow political commentators are going to go to town on them. I have to say that will just give us at this little site an awful lot of new targets.