Friday, November 25, 2011

Final thoughts on the election

Its almost all over. campaigning ends at midnight, and then we get to vote. And then we get to party, either commiserating or celebrating depending.

(Those of us interested in the referendum will have to wait until December 10, though if the advance votes show a clear victory for MMP, then I think it will be in the bag).

Labour has run the most left-wing campaign that I can remember, repudiating core aspects of NeoLiberalism previously deemed sacred. Unfortunately, from the polls, it hasn't been enough. We will in all likelihood be looking at a National-led government on Sunday morning. The question is whether it will be hamstrung by an anti-asset sales coalition partner or not.

But even if they lose, Labour's campaign will still have changed things. Assuming, of course, they don't respond to a loss by blaming the policies rather than the people (which will probably be tempting for the high-list dead wood). But if they avoid that mistake, then these policies will be here to stay. We'll have a clear alternative direction (rather than just a bunch of people promising to do the same things, only better) and a prospect of real change for the future. It may take until 2014, but we'll get that Capital Gains Tax, we'll get those fairer employment laws, we'll get those policies to eliminate child poverty.

And while it may be too early, the clear winners of this campaign seem to be the Greens. On current polling, they've almost doubled their vote, and even if they suffer the usual election-day underperformance, they're still looking at 10% and becoming a real third force in New Zealand politics. The question will be whether they can retain and build on that success. And that I think is going to depend entirely on whether they're forced into coalition with National...