Local Government Magazine
LG Magazine Opinion

The 2020 general election

Could your council’s plan B become plan A?

by Vaughan Winiata

Vaughan Winiata

The recent local body elections highlighted working relationships between local and central government nationwide. They vary greatly from the productive to the vacuous. With a general election less than a year away what would a change in Government mean for you?

New Zealand is governed by “the least popular party with the most popular leader” while in opposition is “the most popular party with the least popular leader”. In 2017, National pulled 1,152,075 votes (44.4 percent) vs Labour’s 956,184 (36.9 percent) making National the most popular party. Not so for leadership. Jacinda rules currently on 38.4 percent with Simon stuck in a different postcode of 6.7 percent.

National’s implosion in 2018 had the coalition looking certain to govern for at least two electoral terms. In 2019, that is not the case. National is obsessed with “getting its job back” and is directing all efforts into driving the Government on to a less stable back foot.

This is a far cry from a party that only a year ago was publicly beating itself, that ended with a final scene when Jami-Lee Ross chose to blow his whistle. There was no hiding the fact the party had deeper issues and needed to stop the rot. At this time, National was not fit for purpose to run a hot bath let alone aspire to run a country.

It’s a different story today, however, and we head into an election year that holds the answers to many questions. Is Jacinda a one-term wonder? Can Simon prove the doubters wrong? Will Winston play ringmaster again?

All elections are defined by key factors that influence the outcome. Here are six factors with potential to influence the 2020 result.

1.The cannabis referendum helps Labour and the Greens. Voter demographics are generally older but the referendum will drive a tsunami of young voters to the polls like never before. Don’t underestimate this one.

2. The Maori Party helps National. National did beat themselves up in 2018 but The Maori Party knocked itself clean out of the Parliamentary ring in 2017. Despite that it holds an ace card in Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, new candidate for Te Tai Hauauru. Ngarewa-Packer is highly respected and too strong for Labour’s Adrian Rurawhe.

The seat was won by a slim margin of 1039 in 2017. Unless Rurawhe puts runs on the board it’s not enough.

3. Shane Jones is currently helping National. The media feasts on Shane like an endless hangi and, of late, that’s cost New Zealand First. For the party’s sake, Shane needs to rediscover his mojo; if New Zealand First fails to return to Parliament in 2020 it’s game over for this Government.

4. Chris Luxon. National’s big play that sent a love letter to the business sector. Business Confidence Surveys have been a nemesis for Labour: the only prospering sector seems to be the consultancy and advisory world. In 2018 the Prime Minister appointed Chris Luxon as chair of the hastily assembled Business Advisory Council. That backfired. Luxon saw the disconnect between the Government and business worlds and promptly exercised his staff discount privileges and booked an Air New Zealand flight to join the blue team. Note: Luxon has not joined “just to be the MP for Botany”… To be continued.

5. Phil Twyford. National adores him. Good sports teams target the other side’s weakest player. With chestnuts like KiwiBuild and light rail, Phil needs no introduction. National targets Twyford as the weak link and that won’t change while Labour continues to leave him as a sitting duck.

6. Winston. Political landscapes look barren without Winnie. This political phenomenon owns a hat that seems to hold an endless supply of white bunnies. Only a fool underestimates this man and, let’s be clear, this Government is relying on The King of the North.

Taking all factors into account it is evident the 2020 election result is far from certain. If you plan around Government policy or rely on advocacy then consider what a change of Government means. Wise planning factors in the scenario should Plan B need to become Plan A.

Vaughan can be contacted at:

V Formation Business Mentoring & Advisory

www.vformation.co.nz

 

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