Every bullfrog and their leg rope has had their take on the election. So why not me?
Unusually, “None of the Above” didn’t win this election:
Pic by Nick Young
As my colleague Richard McGrath suggests, parliament should leave 28 places at the trough empty to reflect this voter disgust.
This was not because of low turnout that “None of the Above” polled so poorly. (This was one of New Zealand's lowest turnouts ever.) It was because National did unusually well. The first MMP election in which a party scored enough votes to rule on its own, and – virtually unheard of – a party lifting its vote for a third term in government.
It helped that its opposition was virtually unelectable. But National still had to beat the usual winner, None of the Above. And it did. Just.
Perhaps #DirtyPolitics helped? That what the electorate saw was not the muck but that it was directed National’s way, with Hager conflated as DotCon, and voters simply wanting to get behind “our guy.”
That might be a touch simplistic.
But perhaps there is a positive sign here.
Labour and the Greens unashamedly went the Big Government route. In rejecting Muldoonist Revival – their nationalised electricity, nationalised insurance and investment banks, nationalised housing, entrepreneurship subsidies, sovereign wealth fund to finance pet projects, higher taxes, house taxes, bans on foreigners buying houses – the silent majority have largely signalled they want no part of that. Turns out most folk who voted for all of that are either on welfare already, or living in Grey Lynn.
I suspect most voters -- that overwhelming number who for the most part keep their opinions to themselves and how showed up in numbers to vote on an awful weather day -- the large and mostly silent majority who don’t have columns and slots on TV shows -- were thinking that a vote for the Blue Team was a vote for more capitalism, or something like that.
And that’s a good thing, right?
Not that National themselves actually stands for much along those lines, but most voters who don’t bury their nose in policy all day long don’t realise that. Turns out most voters want more of what they think capitalism is, and they think the Blue Team are mostly delivering it.
Turns out years of indoctrination in sustainability all through voters’ school years still fails to get Team Green over the 15% line.
And Labour’s Nanny-statism is now confined to a small rump of support comprising mostly the commentariat and the collectors of welfare.
And the John Minto-Annette Sykes fringe are really as fringe as fringe can be, despite the fetid dreams of Martin Martyn Bradbury – who as political pundits go could not be more consistently wrong.
These are all good things.
Really good things.
And it turns out you can’t buy votes either. DotCon spent $577 a vote!, succeeding only in getting fewer votes than the Maori Party and losing Hone his seat – and, just maybe, with it’s last-week Moment of Strewth, giving National’s campaign a late lift. Colon spent almost as much, with only a slightly greater return, only to have his dreams of Crown limousines shattered once again.
So was it a “win for the centre right,” if that flatulent phrase means anything? Well, if you do bury your nose in National’s policy, it’s going to fail the sniff test. Any sane observer would realise they’ve long ago gone centre-left.
And that’s the bad thing.
Because, in the end, what is the point of National being there if it is only to keep the other bastards out? If it is going to do nothing to either reform or repeal – or to make the arguments that make either politically palatable – then all it is doing is marking time while the opposition reforms itself.
And they’re not the only ones. The party that National’s leftist blancmange leaves space for – ACT, the party that should be making the case for freedom, liberty and property rights – still needs to undergo its own reform after years of throwing muck at itself.
If there is to be a party wholly dedicated to a libertarian/classical liberal agenda, and New ACT is now that party, then it isn’t enough to have just one MP partially gagged due to his reliance on the Blue Team’s largesse for its electoral existence. It needs to have other folk boldly going where other parties fear to tread, publicly making the case for the principles that built the western world.
Which is why it’s so important to ACT’s continuing existence, now that ACT has finally found its mojo under Jamie Whyte, that Jamie Whyte continues working from outside parliament to build an electoral fire under ACT. (Something that I’m sure he realises is an intellectual and educational battle as much as a political one.) Because if he doesn’t keep active to that end, if an electorally-gagged David Seymour is all that is to remain in perpetuity of his party of peripatetic principle, then he might as well just be another anonymous National MP.
And then where would liberty be.
It’s impossible to wrap this election without mentioning the media – those folk who selected the agendas they thought were “newsworthy,” which were revealed on Saturday to be mostly the opposite of what voters wanted to hear about.
If there is one braindead member of this would-be fourth estate who epitomises their cluelessness and worse – and it’s a toss-up between several tossers, to be fair – then I’m awarding the prize to TV3’s Patrick Gower, a fellow with a face made for radio and a soul made from the sewer.
If you’re familiar with The Fountainhead then you’ll remember Stephen Mallory’s “Drooling Beast.” Gower’s visage is its physical epitome, and this interview an embodiment – right down to the misspelling.