• National’s Problem

    It is becoming increasingly clear that National, under Christopher Luxon’s leadership, cannot win the next election.

    A Labour government, having recently brought about a smooth change of leadership, and currently being confronted with a series of unprecedented challenges – the impact on the economy and health services of the covid pandemic, the damage wreaked by cyclone Gabrielle, and the inflationary consequences of the Ukraine war, to name but three – has nevertheless moved ahead of National in the polls.

    Those same polls offer some indication of why Labour’s polling, despite the problems Labour has faced, has remained ahead of National. Chris Hipkins is shown as significantly ahead of Luxon as preferred Prime Minister; Luxon, sadly for National, is neither liked nor trusted.

    It is part of the accepted wisdom of democratic politics that voters decide which party they support according to whom they wish to see leading the country. On that basis, National will continue to face an uphill struggle for as long as Christopher Luxon is their leader.

    The problem for National is that it is not clear that there is any risk-free means of resolving the question of leadership. The repeated shambles that National got itself into with its leadership merry-go-round of recent times is still fresh in the public mind – and contrasts unfavourably with Labour’s smooth transition.

    They can hardly risk another disastrous flirtation with unsuitable candidates and a divided caucus (Judith Collins, anyone?). National are, in other words, seemingly stuck with a leader who is not acceptable to New Zealand voters as their Prime Minister.

1 Comment

  1. Jeremy Callaghan says: March 11, 2023 at 1:29 amReply

    This is an unfortunate situation even for those on the political left. I can’t imagine the circumstances in which I might vote for the National Party as a government, but a strong opposition capable of robustly questioning the ruling majority and helping to shape the public debate is essential to a properly functioning democracy.

    It’s a shame that such a debate, if it happened, failed to derail the damaging science policy that appears to have been imposed on education in Aotearoa New Zealand. As I understand matters, Maori ‘Ways of Knowing’ are to be accorded a status equivalent to the body of knowledge and practice generally known as western science in the education curriculum. I am not a scientist and perhaps I should leave it there, but I would be glad to be shown that the view I have formed is wrong and why..

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