Similar old, or a new generation?

There has been an extraordinary turnover of party leaders this term – see Why are so many party leaders resigning?

John Key decided to call time on leading the country, but there has also been an exit signalled by many MPs who played a part in Parliament last century. Like Phil Goff, Peter Dunne, Annette King, Maurice Williamson.

One option for voters in this election is a combination of two party leaders from last century, Bill English and Winston Peters.

English represents a steady same old, or at least similar old.

Peters wants to take the country even further back to Muldoon style interventionism of the 1970s and early 80s.

Jacinda Ardern has suddenly risen as a representative of a new generation of politicians and politics, and she has undeniably excited both media and many voters.

Will the similar old hang on this election, delaying regeneration to 2020? Or will Ardern rise to the top next month?

Her ambition may be tempered somewhat by her probable need for an alliance with Peters, and there couldn’t be a bigger contrast in generations. Labour may grow their vote enough to do it with the Greens but they are looking more like they are in death throws than being a part of a rejuvenated Parliament.

Looking at it pragmatically I think Ardern needs more time. A creditable second this election and then three years to build her new modern style of politics to take over in 2020 seems a practical outcome to me.

But excitement and momentum may carry her all the way this campaign.

If Bill English’s steady hand and competence holds on and Peters doesn’t force too much backwards thinking I won’t be disappointed, things are going fairly well in New Zealand and are likely to keep improving incrementally.

But I’m not averse to change, and if Ardern succeeds this election I won’t be disappointed either. It will be riskier. It will be a huge learning curve for Ardern, far more demanding than her dream run over the last three weeks.

She would have to kick a previously lacklustre and limping Labour into life.

She would also need to manage a coalition that would include either or both the Greens and NZ First. That won’t be easy.

Is this a time of major change to a new generation of politics and policies? Or is the electorate going to hang on to one more term of a similar old?

Political fate will give us a good idea which in a month or so.

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29 Comments

  1. I was going to base this post on a post by Tim Watkins Ardern v English: Is this the time of transformation? but I ended up doing all my own thing. Watkins looks at the same choices before voters.

    A stark difference has arisen between the two major parties in recent days – one doubling down on old ways and another bursting with new generation vibes. Peter Dunne’s resignation reinforces the sense that generational change is coming. But when?

    So is this it?

    At some point this era of New Zealand politics will come to an end. The long chapter that began in 1984 and which has been dominated by baby boomers and neo-liberalism will be re-shaped by a new generation of thinking and voters. We will get a transformation election and a change of heart. History would suggest that change will be led by a Labour government, as it was in 1984 and 1935. So is the Jacinda Ardern-led Labour Party the one to do it?

    The idea that this election could be a pivot point in our political history has been growing in my in recent days. Witnessing the resignation of three party leaders in four weeks is unprecedented. So is that coincidence or is it freighted with more meaning?

    Are we about to enter the post-boomer era sooner than expected? Were Jim Bolger’s comments that neo-liberalism had failed – on the very day that John Key resigned – more symbolic of an end than I appreciated?

    There has certainly been a swing in sentiment in the last year, starting with Key’s resignation, and building up steam over the last month.

    Time for same, or time for change? The next month could swing things one way or the other.

  2. Corky

     /  August 23, 2017

    It’s time for a change. But Labour isn’t it. Labour reminds me of those kit sets you could buy a while back. It was a car that looked like a Ferrari, but was based on Volkswagen running gear.

    National is a true Ferrari. Yes , it has some dings and the GPS hasn’t been working for a while .But it can beat anything in the world according to time trials.

    • Blazer

       /  August 23, 2017

      National may be a dented Ferrari….but the Hoskingesque driver can’t get it into…..gear.

      • Corky

         /  August 23, 2017

        He’s having trouble, admittedly. He was short with Mike Williams. But, oh boy, If Jacinda gains power Mikey will be like a pig with lipstick as he critiques her every move..

        Oh, Bill English! The lodge has decided he must go…dependant on the leaders debate.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  August 23, 2017

      I think likening National to a Ferrari with or without dents is a bit of a stretch. Toyota Camry might be closer to the mark, reliable but a little staid, it starts every morning and gets you to and from work. A Ferrari is a bit flashy and you can’t use all the power on the road away.

      • Corky

         /  August 23, 2017

        Your analogy is flawed. Rockstars need a rockstar car. A Toyota Camry is for Australia who have pissed their wealth away believing the mining boom was forever.

        • Blazer

           /  August 23, 2017

          record divvy for Fortescue Metals the other day.

          • Corky

             /  August 23, 2017

            That’s great. And there’s has been a resurgence in mining. But…

  3. Alloytoo

     /  August 23, 2017

    Bill English is the driving force behind social investment, a program of work utilizing technology previously unavailable to government. It’s an approach being watched with interest by much of the developed world. Ardern and Labour are advocating the same old stale tax and spend policies that failed before Ardern was even born.

    FSM knows we need a better MSM in this country, however it likely to get banned if Labour wind up in charge.

    • A funny contrast – a stale old politician promoting a fresh approach to social investment, while a vibrant young politician promoting same old tax and spend. Sort of.

      • So who is the vibrant young one? You realise Jacinda is entering middle age

      • David

         /  August 23, 2017

        And she wants loads of railways while National are demanding half the government fleet be electric cars and even Brownlee wants a driverless one.

    • Corky

       /  August 23, 2017

      Didn’t Aunty try to pass legislation restricting the media?

      • Patzcuaro

         /  August 23, 2017

        As opposed to uncle John and uncle Bill.

        • Corky

           /  August 23, 2017

          What did they try to pass, apart from a great economy?

    • Blazer

       /  August 23, 2017

      just another unfortunate experiment with NZ’s poor as the guinea pigs.Who gives a continental if it is being….’watched’!

  4. Russell is a Labour candidate likely to become MP for New Lynn – so biased, but one of the better new MPs for Labour.

  5. David

     /  August 23, 2017

    I think its pretty cool when someone good looking and articulate with a winning personality wins The Block with a few cooky perhaps impractical design ideas but winning government…not so much.

  6. duperez

     /  August 23, 2017

    I got the feeling that there are those who wanted Trump to win, come hell or high water, because though he was inexperienced in matters political, he would reframe the look of government. Out with the old, in with the new.

    I get the feeling that some who wanted Trump to win for reasons like those, don’t want Ardern to win because she’s a novice. She’s part of the patch so isn’t new to the environment but is seen to be a tyro.

    Is that “putting your money where your mouth is” ? We were prepared to gamble with another country’s (and the world’s) future and were vociferous in support, but certainly aren’t prepared to take (what some see as) a risk in our own backyard?

    • PDB

       /  August 23, 2017

      You ignore the fact we just had a political outsider come into govt and run the country for three terms.

      Ardern is another Helen Clark, a political tragic with a socialist agenda – that’s been done plenty of times in our history and is nothing ‘new’.

      • Blazer

         /  August 23, 2017

        ‘ we just had a political outsider come into govt and run the country into the ground for three terms.

        • PDB

           /  August 23, 2017

          The books when they open today will say otherwise…….obviously you are not working or else you’d realise the economy is in excellent shape and growing rapidly.

          • Blazer

             /  August 23, 2017

            keep repeating that and you may even come to believe that. The economy…the tradeable sector is stagnant,IMMIGRATION AND THE HOUSING BOOM …mask reality.Face facts.Btw I work and if you do..it must be in the FIRE,sector,the non productive ..sector.

            • PDB

               /  August 23, 2017

              Time for you to wake up……….and smell the roses.

              No doubt if Labour get in you’ll enjoy a stalled economy, increase in unemployment, increase in untargeted spending, increase in borrowing, increase in interest rates and increase in taxes. Master finance minister Grant Robertson will ensure all that occurs under his watch.

              Of course Labours real plan for housing is for them to get into power and for working people to then start leaving the country freeing up homes – so at least that is something.

  7. PDB

     /  August 23, 2017

    If Ardern wins I too am looking forward to a brand new generation being in govt.

    • Corky

       /  August 23, 2017

      Oh,dear. Lamb at the front desk, mutton behind the curtain. Mutton can never be dressed up as lamb.

  8. duperez

     /  August 23, 2017

    Mallard would look different up in the Speaker’s chair. Besides – you know you’d be hanging out for this bit – when he finishes the gig he’d get a knighthood! 😊

    The thought of the ensuing apoplexy tsunami in that event will have DHBs even more stricken about their management and resourcing.