Despite the PM acknowledging this was a Covid election, her side kick Grant Robertson said even without Covid, they'd have won big.. because of all their delivery in their first term. Are you kidding me? Never a more delusional statement uttered. Out of step even with his own leader. But while we dissect whether to credit Labour for the win, or blame National... I can tell you that if I had a dollar for every National voter who told me they were voting Labour this time round to keep the Greens out, then I'd have made a lot of money out of this election.
Nats voters disillusioned with the omnishambles that is National right now, and freaked out by talk of a wealth tax, held their breath and ticked red on the day. Covid-fearing Kiwis ticked red, and the red ticked red, and voila - a landslide.
But the biggest surprise for me was Auckland Central.
And this now worries me with regards the Cannabis vote. I took heart from the polls, that Cannabis would be a no, based on what we were seeing in poll results.. but then.. Chloe. Chloe equals young people turning up in their droves, and young people turning up in their droves, may potentially also equal a yes vote for cannabis. I’ll be fascinated to see the proportion of young voters this time round, but if a Green party candidate can take out Auckland Central, a blue seat for two terms, then can a Green idea like Cannabis also get in?
Commentators say Swarbrick’s win is down to sheer hard work, she was omnipresent, she hit every household, knocked on every door, had a swathe of volunteers, appeared everywhere, and gets lots of favourable media coverage. She has the added advantage Jacinda has, of being all over your TV radio and newspaper. Never under-estimate the celebritisation of these women. Kiwis love a familiar face, if Judy Bailey had ever run for Mayor she’d have romped in, New Zealanders like familiarity, celebrity, and smiling female faces. Which leads us to Judith.
What derailed National the most? The leaks? The wealth tax talk? Taking on fat people? Judith being surrounded by muppets? They didn’t spend money in the right places, their advertising was weak, their messaging off. And Judith was on the wrong side of the media, who clearly decided early on they didn’t like her, or the National party, and ran a pretty spectacular campaign against her. She had an uphill battle, I personally think she gave it her all, but she was unsupported and that was never more clear than on election night when barely a handful of National MP’s bothered to show up to support her. Appalling. So the Nats didn’t deserve to win, and if they can't get their house in order, they’ll be facing three terms on the opposition benches, not just two.
Labour ran a slick campaign both from a marketing point of view and from a boots on the ground point of view, but you can’t take it away from Jacinda Ardern. She has captured Kiwis like no other leader, they’re mesmerised by her, they clearly see her as their saviour, and she will be hoping those rose tinted glasses voters are wearing stay shiny and red for the next three years.
Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.
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