By Ananish Chaudhuri
With power about to change hands, I see more and more commentary about how this election was somehow unfair. There was Rob Campbell, Chancellor of AUT pontificating in the Herald that this election was “bought”. Then more recently David Williams of Newsroom weighed in about the influence of the Taxpayers’ Union and its anonymous donors. The list is long. I find it bizarre that people who continually denigrate Donald Trump for his false claim about the stolen election (and Trump is lying, even he knows it and three of his lawyers have admitted this in pleading guilty in Georgia) are perfectly happy to claim that the election was stolen when their side loses.
I doubt that if somehow Labour managed to pull off a victory, the likes of Campbell or Williams would have written a lengthy exegesis of how that victory was brought about by the support of the Council of Trade Unions (did all their members sign off on the attack ad against Chris Luxon?) as well as a compliant NZ media purchased via the Public Interest Journalism Fund and various other handouts designed to advance Labour’s narrative.
Face it, Labour did not lose this election because some rich folks gave money to National/ACT.
Labour lost because the average punter on the street was sick and tired of the incompetence, the lies, the hypocrisy and the incessant identity politics. They lost because our Police are perfectly happy to beat up on protesters in Wellington but are unable to protect a womens’ rights activist in the middle of Albert Park or store owners being ram raided over and over. Labour lost because we shut our own citizens out of the country and let small businesses go to ruin in the guise of saving lives. And then they blamed those businesses for not being resilient enough.
Labour lost because they engineered a transfer of wealth from the blue collar to the white collar, from the young to the elderly and from mom-and-pop grocery stores to the big supermarket chains.
Labour lost because most of our lockdowns had little to do with health but everything to do with a naked exercise of power. We wanted our citizens fearing for their lives and to continue to venerate Jacinda Ardern as our saviour.
I used to be a Labour sympathiser and helped with Helen Clark’s campaign in 2008. I thought that Jacinda Ardern was a breath of fresh air before I realised that she was nothing other than a covert narcissist masquerading as an altruist. (And yes, Gen Z, I did just quote from Taylor Swift’s ‘Anti-Hero’.)
Ardern is a vacuous politician who has little understanding of history and civics and is blissfully unaware of the damage that she has caused to New Zealand’s economy, democratic institutions, civil liberties and sense of social cohesion.
And while not everyone had the same grievance, it was clear to everyone through everyday lived experience that something has gone seriously wrong with our country. People figured out that the current Labour Party consisted mostly of grifters who were never in it for the people but only for themselves.
I don’t know whether National/ACT will do better but sometimes the unknown devil is preferable because we know for a fact that the current ones are really devilish; hopefully the unknown ones will be a little less so.
This essay was originally published on Bassett, Brash & Hide on 2 November 2023.