What does the UK election mean for NZ?

What does the UK election result mean for New Zealand politics? Not as much as some enthusiasts for a Labour revival here seem to think. The situation in the UK is vastly different to here in New Zealand, except perhaps that they both had unpopular leaders of parties struggling to be liked.

Brexit

New Zealand has nothing like Brexit. The UK is planning to go through a massive change by severing it’s European Union ties, while New Zealand is chugging along fairly well and uncontroversially.

Terrorism and Immigration

New Zealand doesn’t have a terrorism problem, and we also don’t have anywhere near the level of immigration issues that the UK has (many of their immigration issues are closely tied to being in the EU).

UKIP and SNP

The collapse of the UKIP vote and the significant losses for the Scottish National Party (they lost a third of their vote share and over a third of their MPS) and the redistribution of votes to Labour and to a lesser extent the Conservatives has no obvious parallel here.

FPP versus MMP

New Zealand has the moderating influence of MMP, under which no party has ever held an absolute majority and coalition governments are normal and expected.

This is in contrast to the UK which has the archaic FPP system still and the ‘hung Parliament’ scenario was big news. A governing  arrangement between the Conservatives and probably DUP is seen as potentially weak and there have been suggestions the UK may have to go to another election sooner rather than later.

The rise of Corbyn

Some on the left here are seeing Corbyn’s rise, albeit short of a victory, as a great ‘win’ for the left and will be encouraged.

No doubt there will be more and louder calls for NZ Labour to swing further left and campaign on similar issues that were successful for UK Labour. This may well influence Labour here, but it may not turn out to be wise.

Health

One issue in the UK that seems to have been important is their health system. Labour here have health as one of their key issues. Andrew Little has lost credibility over his persistence in talking up (erroneously) health cuts.  I presume Labour will keep trying to get some traction on it.

Housing

Housing doesn’t seem to have been a significant issue in the UK, but it is here, especially in Auckland. That is as much a local body issue as a national political issue but is likely to be a factor in our election in September.

Snap Election

One message that should have been clearly received by New Zealand parties and leaders is the folly of calling a snap election for no good constitutional reason. We haven’t had a snap election under MMP and are unlikely to in the foreseeable future.

Polls

Another key message is that polls are an approximate indication of support only, and they can move quite quickly in a short time in an election campaign.

There are signs also that a significant proportion of voters either don’t give accurate responses to pollsters, or change their minds late.

English and Little

I think in our election a lot will depend on how Bill English and Andrew Little shape up.

English is not very colourful but has vast political and governing experience and has an in depth knowledge of economic issues and a wide range of other issues.

Little is dour. He may find a way of connecting during the campaign, but I think his biggest weakness contrasts with English’s strength – he doesn’t seem to have picked up a huge amount of in depth knowledge of issues, and he is poor at thinking on his feet during interviews. Unless he masters this he may get caned in debates with English, and that may well decide this election.

In fact May campaigned poorly, avoided debates and was strongly criticised for bland recitals rather than sounding intelligent and being on top of the issues. That sounds more like how Little is.

Labour here will get a lot of confidence from the resurgence of UK Labour and the improvement of Corbyn. Little badly needs a confidence boost. He may lift himself after the UK result.

National should also have learned from the UK result, from May’s poor performance, a poorly run campaign, and arrogance.

There are some things to learn here from the UK experience, but there are also  significant differences.

Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. If LabNZ can offer a bribe to nationalise everything not nailed down, Post, Rail and Power and scrap all tertiary fees like Corbyn – who knows.

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  June 10, 2017

      Do catch up the Gummitt brought back the railways in 2008.

      Reply
      • The Railway was just a part of Corbyn’s nationalisation plan.

        Credit to him, he got out the vote and he has allegedly dispelled the myth that people won’t respond to the hard left. I contend that turkeys will always vote for Xmas if they’re promised enough gravy with their dinners.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 10, 2017

      I guess in your eyes a better plan is to sell off state assets cheaply to people who…’like’ right leaning govts.

      Reply
  2. David

     /  June 10, 2017

    “Some on the left here are seeing Corbyn’s rise, albeit short of a victory, as a great ‘win’ for the left and will be encouraged.”

    Corbyn didn’t rise, May fell. You could make a case she actually intended to lose the election to stop Brexit. Finishing the election run with a promise to cut off the internet was just the last straw for many.

    Reply
  3. NOEL

     /  June 10, 2017

    As long as National leave the dancing Cossacks in the vault shouldn’t present much of a problem.
    Encouraging to see around the world attack campaigning is a turn off for many.

    Reply
  1. What does the UK election mean for NZ? – NZ Conservative Coalition

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