In the 24 hours since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States both here in New Zealand and around the world, we have seen disgust that Americans might elect such an obnoxious person, with no moral code. We have seen clashes between police and anti-Trump protesters. The markets jittered and some thought the U.S. Dollar was about to crash. And Hillary Clinton, instead of fronting up to her many supporters like a good person would in defeat went to bed instead.
But what are the potential effects likely to be on New Zealand from a day in American politics many are likening to Brexit in Europe because of the rise of the same/similar nationalist forces? First and foremost, we need face the fact that this was the American voting public on the conservative side of American politics saying to the establishment in Washington D.C. that most Trump-esque of one liners: “You’re fired!”.
Of the actual effects though:
- Effectively the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is toast, and with it a major plank of Prime Minister John Key’s economic policy platform. Although the tide slowly started turning against it sometime ago, it is virtually dead in the water in the United States unless Mr Trump wants to be a one term wonder. People like Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan might still try to support President Obama, should he make one final effort to pass it before leaving office – probably the only thing they have ever agreed on – but there seems little point if the incoming President-elect is going to kill it.
- How much Mr Trumps victory affects immigration to New Zealand we do not yet know, but if the fact that in the space of the last 36 hours more Americans have Googled how to move to N.Z. than in a normal two month period, tells me there are some pretty horrified people.
- Similar nationalist sentiment that the establishment here is somehow out of touch with New Zealanders is also at work, and the best representation of it is in New Zealand First. Although it is not necessarily to say New Zealanders will be inspired to reject National and Labour at the election, and elect Winston Peters the conditions that led to Trump winning there, potentially exist here – the establishment parties are not working for New Zealand; perceived loss of sovereignty and individual rights; no significant economic progress in 30 years.
- Views of America as a nation that inspires us may change negatively – the “land of the free”, “land of opportunity” and the associated values that are linked to America may be sullied by the xenophobic overtones of Trumpism – as mentioned I am horrified for friends and family (in-law)in the U.S.
Do not let there be any doubt, as this will have significant effects on New Zealand eventually. Knowing what form we will identify the the key characteristics is important to know, in case there comes a time when nationalist sentiment becomes too powerful for the big parties to control.The “who” is brazenly obvious, as is the “where” – the “what”, “how”, “when” and to a lesser extent the “why” will follow in due course.
Will New Zealand be ready? That is a good question.