Next year New Zealand will go to the polls. It will be a poll of unprecedented magnitude if one considers the political shocks that have occurred in Europe and the United States this year. Ordinary people like you and me showed their displeasure with the politicians of the establishment. And as we look towards 2017, we would do well to look back at the shocks of 2016 – and whether one could occur here?
In Europe’s case it was British voters saying yes to a British exit from the European Union, frustrated by the malaise of European Union bureaucracy slowly choking Britain and the sky high immigration levels that had manifested as a result. I say Europe’s case because Brexit will have Europe wide fallout by the time it is finished and one need look no further than the volatility that engulfed the Pound and the Euro immediately following the result.
In the case of the United States it was the swing to the right in American politics that resulted from the election of Donald John Trump to be President of the United States. But it was not just his election – as much as that shocked/delighted people – but also the comprehensive sweep in the House of Representatives and the Senate. His election, like the Brexit result across the Atlantic was the result of massive pent up revulsion with establishment politicians continually chipping away – largely for their own gain – at the rights and well being of ordinary Americans.
Here in New Zealand, the incumbent National led Government wants a fourth term in power. The Labour led Opposition is desperate to avoid a fourth term on the Opposition benches. But are they so keen on their desired results as to have noted the surge of nationalism in the United States and Europe? Are they so keen as stop and look at the potential for a nationalist surge in New Zealand in the 2017 election?
It was after all, no accident that the shocks in Europe and the U.S. occurred. The political forces that made them possible have been brewing for sometime. Europe is particularly on edge with nationalist parties keen to upset the old order even further in France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
If the media projections are anything to go by, National will get a fourth term in office, and Labour will be consigned either to political oblivion or an all out civil war in which the party ends up reinventing itself. Of course, New Zealand could always add to the roller coaster ride of world politics at the moment by electing a New Zealand First dominated Government. A New Zealand First dominated Government would bring a number of positive changes that despite their attempts to take the centre and claim to be working for New Zealanders, both National and Labour have consistently failed to understand the importance of. So what are those changes we should make? A few of them are:
- Introduce the very good pro rata superrannuation scheme conceived by Denis O’Rourke, List M.P. Port Hills where immigrants to New Zealand get paid superrannuation proportionate to the time they have spent in New Zealand as a contributing tax payer – a person spending half their professional career in New Zealand becomes eligible for half the superrannuation a person who spends their entire professional career in N.Z.
- Increase investment in research and development – New Zealand lags behind the rest of the O.E.C.D. in funding for this and the nations who have invested more tend to have higher income per head of population
- Restrict house ownership to New Zealand citizens – this would take a lot of heat out of the housing market immediately and reduce the pressure on builders and tradespeople
- Walk away from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement – a proper trade agreement does not need 6,000 pages or the shroud of secrecy that this abomination had around it if it is for the public good
All of the above are in New Zealand First policy. As is the case at every New Zealand First convention in election year, major policy will get announced. The party has hard working Members of Parliament whose contributions often go overlooked by the media. Its grass roots membership has grown and diversified in the last eight years since it was ejected from Parliament and in the last two elections people of Indian, Maori, Samoan and Chinese descent have stood. What will 2017 bring?