Kiwi Voice : 10th Oct 2022
OPINION: Do the local body election results mean anything for 2023?
I’d like to say that the clear shift to the political right in the recent local body elections would be a strong indicator that NZ has had enough of the ideologically driven left-leaning leadership that Labour has provided over this current term – but I think I’d be lying.
Facts are facts – only 40% of eligible voters put in the effort to fill out their papers and post back, or head into a local council building of some sort and cast a special vote, or drop in. Historically, it’s always been a low turnout for these elections. This year was historically low.
Our largest city Auckland, of 1.7 million in population, had their Mayor elected with 150,000 votes.
In Christchurch, Phil Mauger received 50,000 votes. Dunedin’s Jules Radich 20,000.
With 60% of the voting population either ambivalent, lazy or disinterested, these results can’t be too heavily analysed in relation to 2023. Maybe we can get a “feel” for public sentiment, as a lot of mainstream outlets have reported being out there – but if the publics propensity to politically shift is proven to be as fickle as previous election cycles, Labour has all the time in the world to fix their currently abysmal public polling.
Jacinda Ardern’s international grandstanding is looked on adoringly by her most dedicated followers, and there are still so many. Her first trip this year to the States to catchup with buddies at big businesses such as Blackrock, google, Facebook, the UN and WHO before hitting late night TV to chat with friend, Pfizer shareholder and cringe-merchant Stephen Colbert was a massive win for existing base, may even have won her some new fans, those that take no time to dig slightly deeper and see that below the well spoken smiley public persona, there is a country divided, fiscally broken and focused on all the wrong things.
Her 2nd trip, this time as a key speaker at the UN, was also widely praised by her loyal following. Her speech proclaiming that words online can be “a weapon of war” and wondering out-loud how governments around the world can control the narratives behind climate change & covid-19 when people have access to opposing views, received rapturous virtual applause online in supporters’ circles.
Meanwhile GB News, Sky News Australia, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Podcaster Tim pool, and even American news commentator Jimmy Dore absolutely slammed Ardern as authoritarian, the speech as frightening, and cautioned the world on the perils of outright Government controlled censorship.
Fact of the matter is – it’s volatile out there. Things can change so quickly. Those awake enough to follow all the metrics that Labour campaigned on (mental health referrals, child poverty, housing) and their blatant disregard for the will of the people (3 waters) can see the persistent failures on every single one, and it would take a generational shift to bring them within a country’s length of a Labour vote.
But those Labour loyalists and strong left-wing ideologues that aren’t moving their vote anywhere aren’t small in number, and unfortunately, there is a huge block of undecided and somewhat disinterested voters that could just as easily go red should Labour throw some money or resources at something they believe in in a last-minute vote grab.
Maybe we will see some more common-sense at a local government level now that the vast majority of councils have gained some via these elections.
But does that transfer to central Government in 2023?