van Beynen on the changing of the guard

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, September 16th, 2017 - 6 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour - Tags: , , , ,

Martin van Beynen has been touring the country. He’s of English’s generation, but he can feel the winds of change blowing.

Martin van Beynen: A changing of the guard is on the way

As the Kingswood Election Tour winds its way up the North Island – as I write we are on our tenth day of the road trip tuning in to regular folks – it strikes me that something has indeed shifted in New Zealand.

It has obviously been happening for quite a while but sometimes these subterranean societal shifts are hard to detect, especially by people like me who are being left behind.

As we approach the closely fought election in which the race is between somebody about my age and someone exactly 22 years younger than me, it’s become clearer that New Zealand is indeed ready to cross over into something new.

That’s why I think Jacinda Ardern is going to win the election or at least get more of the party vote than National.

And even if I am wrong about that, the ground has still shifted and what she represents is in the ascendant. If not this time, it will be the next.

What she stands for is a different sort of New Zealand.

Under her, we can see the country becoming less male orientated, more diverse and tolerant (ironically she stands for less immigration), more open to changes like the legalisation of cannabis and euthanasia and less blaming of the poor and dysfunctional. Ardern stands for Māori language and redistributing money from the financially comfortable to the battlers and the losers.

She stands for a New Zealand that some will see as painfully politically correct and others will regard as less derogatory or patronising of people traditionally seen as different.

In other words, a country that is more Scandinavian than American or Australian.

The shift she represents is obviously generational. She gets student debt and the difficulty of buying a house.

She’s more sensitive to mental health problems and the issues youth face in finding their way. She’s prepared to make some economic sacrifices to do New Zealand’s bit for fighting climate change. On the divide between rural and urban she’s in the latter camp, where, fortunately for her, all the votes are.

Perhaps the strongest historical parallel to the current situation is the rejection of Muldoonism in 1984 …

Read on for plenty more, and voices of the people, in the full piece on Stuff.

6 comments on “van Beynen on the changing of the guard”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    i’ll wait and see how this pans out on election night. the Electoral Commission says , as reported by RNZ

    more people may enrol, but at this stage nearly 20,000 fewer young people under 30 registered compared with 2014.

    So far, 97 percent of people over 70 have enrolled to vote, but as the age drops, so does the percentage.

    Only 75 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 29 enrolled to vote and that proportion dropped to 67 percent for 18 to 24-year-olds.

    I have seen a graph on Twitter that shows poll results with a vast majority of young voters saying they’ll vote Labour, and older voters increasingly saying they will vote National.

    As an old boomer who has always voted left, I will be really happy to see a vast seachange towards more left wing values and policies – whether it be a generational change or something else.

    But, I will still wait til election day because, the final results seem too close to call.

    • Sans Cle 1.1

      Any idea how many under 30s are living overseas?

    • Ross 1.2

      At the last election the voter turnout among the young (who were enrolled to vote) was about 62%. I think the over 50 age group was over 80% turnout and it increased with age.

    • lprent 1.3

      There are less people in the younger demographics. They don’t get enough points immigrate here apart from the people who go from schooling here to work.

      The late 90s/ early 00s baby boom is pretty over. This is why the universities are hunting down 1st years so assiduously.

  2. Bill 2

    “Changing of the Guard” sounds about right to me 👿

    I’m picking the current rebound for the Greens is going to become a huge and sustained post-election bounce- a bit like the post election popularity of UK Labour.

    That’s being said on the basis that NZ Labour becomes increasingly seen as nothing much beyond a change of the guard over coming months, aye?

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