Well, now I really am in a quandry around who to vote for at the next election. I remain, as always, wanting a centre-right government, but I am not sure that National being so dominant is healthy (the accusations of Labourlite are not entirely groundless and the policy platform has been a home this term).
Now, as a liberal, I am left wondering who I’ll be voting for at the next election (granted we are only mid-term here). I can only see 3 options at this stage (bar the founding of a real liberal party in NZ): National, ACT, and NZ First (I honestly never thought I’d say that).
National is in a problematic position for me in that they are now fully committed to a racist/separatist agenda, in line with the Maori Party, and they are dithering in the leadership space. The flag referendum was a patent waste of money and time and they aren’t doing much in the actual economic space (changing provisional tax is good, but there are plenty of real changes that need to be made in ‘resource management’ and the broader tax system).
ACT has been doing very well under Seymour, but remains a one man show (who are their new rising stars?), focus on some geeky areas of policy, and aren’t really offering to push National to the right (even if just in select areas). Equally, they still haven’t apologised to their voting base for previous mistakes, like the creation of Auckland Council. So they have some potential, but as yet they haven’t swung my opinion.
NZ First is the real stand out and the one with the most potential. Peters has actually made some sense in the past few weeks and, what’s worse, he’s shown a willingness to work with old does (coffee, Brash?) That doesn’t mean I trust him, as he’s a cunning fox, and the usual unwillingness to rule out a Labour coalition is a problem. However, they have a joker up their sleeve in that if they can get Jones back into politics, they’ll have someone who Waitakere Man, or Orewa Man (me) can vote for. That may not be a massive swell (white, heterosexual, man in the 30-50 range may not be the largest demographic), but we do tend to vote and would prefer a real bloke to someone who’s faffing about.
So it will be interesting to see where we end up, closer to election night.