The Green Party will want the decent run they had in New Zealand politics in 2019 to continue into 2020.
Whereas New Zealand First and Labour had some significant ups and downs in terms of policy being sought, the Green Party have been steady throughout 2019. As the fourth largest party in Parliament continues its revival from its near 2017 wipe out, it will be looking forward to tackling 2020 head on. A few highlights from the year 2019 thus far:
- Climate: The Government has set targets it wants the people to meet, but it is obvious that little real thought has been given to how individual economic sectors will achieve this
- Christchurch terrorist attacks: Christchurch and N.Z. were horrified by reports of a gunman having gone mad in Mosques killing 50 people in n New Zealand’s worst ever massacre; the Prime Minister made considerable political hay out of all that, but can we recover the innocence of a nation suddenly plunged into something few seem to have realized New Zealand could experience
- The handling of the claims that the Defence Force killed civilians in Afghanistan was straight up the alley of those who believe war crimes were committed in the country
But whilst these have been largely very useful for the Greens in propping up their supporters and making them realize there are alternatives to National /New Zealand First or Labour New Zealand First, they have caused ructures elsewhere.
But those other ructures are not the biggest problems that have confronted Labour or National in 2019. This has instead been the year when empathy was a winning card to play. This has been a year when we have needed to look out for our Maori, Pacific and such. This has been a year when concerns about online privacy and that New Zealand might be sliding back into a time when such ethical and moral considerations were not something to be celebrated. It was a year when people started standing up and saying “enough is enough” about their prospects, even in a good, well paying job.
So now there is another question. It is who can capitalize on concerns about the affordability of living, about crime, job creation and the environment.
If the Green Party can address all of this, if they get the timing right, they might even become a primary player in who goes with who following the election. They might get enough seats that Winston Peters and New Zealand First find themselves on the outer of coalition building agreements. 7.5/10
Labour as the senior partner in coalition talks also has a problem with how it can maintain effective defence of their plans. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s political capital can only go so far before it needs to replenish. She will find herself and her government facing big challenges in both her caucus dealing with ineffective ministers like Phil Twyford – who I believe should have been dismissed, and ones who simply do not understand basic instructions. Labour will need to improve considerably in order for people like myself to want to re-elect her – housing, sewerage/infrastructure, crime, affordability are just a few problems she faces. 5/10
For New Zealand First, 2019 has been a mixed bag. It has won a few victories, with Minister of Defence Ron Mark announcing significant changes in the Defence Force armoury. It has seen off a potential Capital Gains Tax, which to the dismay of many on the left has annoyed people. The Party has also announced significant new railway projects. But it has also had its dumps. A complete lack of transparency in the New Zealand First Board of Directors and the processes it internally adopts for fundraising, electing new members and even making sure that N.Z.F. Convention is faithfully followed to the letter. 6/10
It will be interesting to see what happens from here.