Man I seem to be constantly apologising for the lack of posts… so why stop now? I’m sorry for not posting more often. To say the least, life has been busy… but on the other hand, I have been really reluctant to keep updating my blog.
Anyway. This is another political post today. In Niu Sila / New Zealand, we are counting down to our national general elections later this year in Novema / November. Many pundits were forecasting the current centre-right National Government winning again. But the last couple of weeks have made people change their tune. And the forces that are making the change come from the opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Firstly, Hone Harawira, a former Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tokerau Maori roll seat, launched his own political party, Te Mana Party. After being disillusioned by his previous colleagues of the Maori Party, Hone split to get away from what he believed was a too cosy relationship with the centre-right National Government. But it wasn’t just another Maori Party Hone was forming. The new Te Mana Party has a strong pro-worker platform. In fact all of the policies released to date have everything to do with class and nothing specifically targeting the tradition Maori causes such as calls for Tino Rangatiratanga, or a stronger Maori say in political decision making.
The other event came from the ACT Party, which as I said earlier, sits on the other side of the political spectrum. ACT traditionally was a libertarian party, but in more recent years have been accused of pandering to sloganeering and populism. Political murmurings hinted at a rival right wing party being formed, but in the end we got a take over of ACT. A political coup of a parliamentary leader by a previous parliamentary leader of another right wing party. Sound confusing? Well it is.
Don Brash, right wing economist and free-marketeer champion, once was the leader of the centre right party, National. He almost became Prime Minister after running an anti-Maori campaign in 2005, but narrowly lost out to the then Labour Government. National dumped Don Brash for a more ‘centrist’ leader in the current Palemia / Prime Minister, John Key, who beat Labour in the last election in 2008. This same Don Brash, who is now 70 years old, has come back into the political scene not to be leader of National, but forcing himself on the right wing ACT party. In a public announcement, Don Brash said to ACT, “make me leader of your party, or else I’ll set up my rival party and waste you in the election in November”. And after a little bit of resistance, ACT dumped their then leader, Rodney Hyde, and installed Don Brash, who is leader of ACT from outside parliament!
For those who have been reading my blog, it’s no secret that I have left wing political leanings. And so I’ve been excited at the news of Hone launching Te Mana Party, while at the same time bemused at the ACT party happenings. Sure ACT with Don Brash poses a threat by possibly extending the possibility of the centre right seats at the next election, but his presence will scare a lot of people away from voting for the current National party if they think it will jump in bed with ACT. Because Don Brash is the cold face of right wing ideology. As the former Reserve Bank governor in the 1990’s he advocated monetary policy over a period which saw a lot of wealth within Niu Sila tranfer to an elite few. The privatisation and selling off of state assets has made Niu Sila a lot poorer. Cutting of social services and benefits have caused generational poverty. And this guy wants to have another try at getting back into parliament to finish off the job started back in the 80s and 90s under Rogernomics.
But the greater of the two events definitely has to be Hone’s new party. This has changed the game, and instead of pundits thinking the election is a done deal, there is recognition that there is a possibility of a centre left Government by the end of this year. I’m gonna put my neck out there and declare that I will be voting for Te Mana Party this November. At the least, Te Mana will keep any centre left wing Government honest. But best of all, here is an opportunity for the workers on Niu Sila to have a real voice in Parliament.