With both Labour and National attracting the support of little more than a third of the electorate each, both parties are 'out of touch' with ordinary New Zealanders.
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD might say that when 'two tribes go to war, a point is all you can score', but it is debatable whether the Combined Trades Union's clumsy attack advertisement has scored a point with the slice of the electorate that has yet to decide who they going to vote for. They are looking for something to vote for, rather than vote against. While the advertisement might excite Labour's core base and have National Party supporters feeling a little annoyed, it will just confirm to those not engaged in tribal politics that the two major parties are as bad as each other.
The problem for the CTU is that it is not arguing from a position of strength. For every charge that it has laid at the door of the National Party, an equal charge can be laid at the door of the Labour Party. The CTU might say that Christopher Luxon and the National Party are 'are out of touch' with ordinary folk, but the past six years certainly does not suggest that Labour has been the best friend of the working class either.
The Labour Government oversaw the greatest transfer of wealth to the rich in the country's history. But there was little but thin gruel for ordinary people. After six years of a Labour government little has charged. Child poverty rates remain unchanged, while inequality has increased. The country has the worst homelessness rate in the OCED, with almost 1% of the population living on the streets or in shelters. It's worth noting that, shortly after the 2020 election, Labour tasked Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson with tackling homelessness.
Tom Chodor, a Political Science lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne accurately summed up the Labour Government and the leadership of Jacinda Ardern this way:
'This, then, will be the legacy of Jacinda Ardern: a missed opportunity. Ardern recognised the need to address the socio-economic disadvantage brought by 40 years of neoliberalism, and made bold promises of state action to do so. Yet when it came down to it, neither she, nor her government were able to break free of the Blairite Third Way mentality.'
But when Chris Hipkins was voted Labour leader, CTU boss Richard Wagstaff declared that the CTU had 'worked closely with Hipkins, and we have been impressed by his commitment to addressing inequity'. The Labour government, he said, had 'shown it has the wellbeing of working New Zealanders at its heart.' The folk lining up at the food banks and living in garages will obviously not share Wagstaff's rosy opinion.
Bereft of any real vision for New Zealand except more of the same, the two major parties - with the minor parties in tow - have little to offer an electorate that wants real change. Neither Labour nor National can command the support of more than a third of the electorate. They are both 'out of touch' with ordinary New Zealanders. If the last election is any indication, it will result in some 900,000 New Zealanders declining to vote. Attack ads and offering policy trinkets to the natives does not conceal the fact that both Labour and National are defenders of a failed political and economic status quo and the continued rule of the one percent. It is a status quo that an increasing number of New Zealanders are rejecting yet our present set of parliamentary parties deny us a voice.