The siege of Helengrad

Antony Green, election analyst with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, summed up Election 08 thus (abridged): “Whether New Zealanders wanted change or just a change of government is the mandate question that John Key will face. He has stressed that he wants to run a centrist government and promised, in the face of a Labour scare campaign, that he will limit himself to the moderate promises he made in the campaign … “There has always been a whiff of political correctness about [Helen] Clark. As a feminist and one of the first women elected to the New Zealand Parliament for Labour, there was always much resentment against her intellect and ambition within Labour ranks. Yet while her personal political views were strongly ideological, as leader of a democratic party she was rarely prepared to take on issues she viewed as electorally divisive or as lost causes. She learned the art of compromise in … the coalition-building required to work politics in an MMP Parliament … Hard work on policy formation and a deep understanding of the process of government and politics made her a formidable politician … “Key comes to power at a difficult time for New Zealand. Economic figures released ahead of the campaign revealed that the country’s economy had moved into recession even before the full effects of the global financial crisis had been felt … “The biggest economic problem faced by Key will be New Zealand’s struggle to retain its younger educated workforce, forever lured across the Tasman or further afield by higher-paying jobs. For much of the Kiwi diaspora, returning home is an ever-present but always impractical dream. Now the country has a Prime Minister who has lived the overseas dream and then returned to try to enrich the land of his birth.” Spectator Australia’s report also noted “The last two decades have also seen New Zealand address the unresolved legal problems stemming from the Treaty of Waitangi … New Zealand has become a country more at ease with its indigenous past than its larger cousin across the Tasman.”

Tags: 2008 election  Antony Green  John Key  The Spectator Australia