“Let’s do this!” was the slogan for the New Zealand Labour Party as it headed into the 2017 election.
That changed to “We did this!” last night when party leader Jacinda Ardern announced the successful negotiation of a coalition alliance with the Green Party and New Zealand First, nudging out the National Party. National had only to reach agreement with other party to secure the clear majority needed to form a government. After weeks of negotiation, it proved unable to do so.
Simply, it is time for change. National may have still secured a record fourth term in office but in the end it was probably let down by the behaviour of some of its members and supporters. New Zealand was just tired of the arrogant conduct of those members, and for many the smear campaigns of the election were the final straw.
What made the outcome more interesting was that New Zealand couldn’t decide who it was to take the reins:
B. The Green Party
C. New Zealand First
D. All of the above
Last night we got D, All of the above.
Many lament that one party with only seven seats was able to wield the balance of power like a blunt instrument but, sorry, that’s how MMP works. In the end, as trite as it sounds, it is about consensus and working together – because it will only work that way.
As we have found increasingly since the end of the Cold War and the (for better or worse) resurgence of the UN, coalitions have become the norm. No long does one power get to wield its will without fear of dissent or opposition. Sharing, cooperation and liaison are all core functions of effective coalition. So is compromise.
There are interesting times and big challenges ahead. National did sterling work rebuilding after the big earthquakes of 2011 and 2016 but is free rein to big business has left us with some uneasy alliances.
Who knows what change will come? But come it will, it has…and for these little green dots in the middle of the big blue thing at the bottom of the globe, that’s not a bad thing…
It’s not time to get on with the job. For many there will be the temptation to follow the lead from some in the US and continue to protest the legal result of this election, to start their own little ‘we resist’ campaigns…
…if you need to, take two teaspoons and harden up…but we don’t need any of the same style media-driven division and conflict the media shows us in the contemporary US…