Why the left is failing to defeat the National government?

Minto Mana Vice president John Minto


It’s not because John Key is a great Prime Minister. It’s not because National has policies that New Zealand loves and it’s not even that the right wing media give John Key a free ride.

It’s none of these. The reason the left fails to defeat National is because the main “left” party, Labour, has failed to provide any reason, either in policy or vision, why anyone would change their vote away from John Key.

Look at it from the point of view of ordinary New Zealanders. In the 2011 election Labour moved a small way to the left promising

  • GST off fruit and Vegetables
  • The first $5000 of income would be tax free
  • A 15% tax on capital gains

After that election defeat the party abandoned the first two policies and went into the 2014 election with the only significant policy difference with National being a capital gains tax.

After that election the capital gains tax was abandoned and Labour has floundered since. Not surprisingly National out-manoeuvred Labour on the left in the budget by introducing a partial capital gains tax and increasing benefits for beneficiaries. Yes it was all cynical politics and National has nothing but contempt for anyone on a low-income but why would any voter change from John Key when Labour presents nothing of significance in its place?

The Green Party under James Shaw will inevitably move to the right and occupy the crowded place where parties like National and Labour vie for middle-class voters. Shaw’s first speech when he says free market capitalism died in the 2008 financial crisis was as stupid as it was revealing. Shaw has no idea of the day-to-day struggles of families under capitalism.

I wrote elsewhere about the new members Shaw wants to add to the Greens –

“So who will these new Green Party members be? They will be mostly blue-greens – Remuera mums who are genuinely concerned for the future of their kids and the environment but who are also wedded to living off unearned income from capitalism. This promised influx would shift the centre of gravity of the greens so that while the party wouldn’t go into formal coalition with National it is more likely than at present to do a confidence and supply agreement with John Key – a couple of high-profile policy wins and some greater environmental regulation while backing National when push comes to shove in parliament”

MANA has solid policies which will make a huge difference for low-income families struggling under the yoke of capitalism – te pani me te rawakore (the poor and the dispossessed) – and we carry a huge responsibility to campaign for real change, promote our policies and keep faith with those who vote for us.