Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Clive Bibby: A plan for re-election

During the last election campaign, l had the good fortune to ask the Leader of the National Party, the Hon. Judith Collins a question during her visit to the Williams family property north east of Gisborne. I was impressed with her reply then as l have been with most of her responses during her tenure as the National Party leader.

Like many of our friends and colleagues, my wife and l are very supportive of her attempts to change the topic of conversation leading up to the next campaign.

It is important that the Opposition Leader is able to do so because it is difficult to challenge a “one trick pony” like the current Prime Minister when she is not being forced by a sycophantic media to step outside her comfort zone and answer for her party’s inept performance during the last 4 years - at least where the subject matter is anything other than the COVID pandemic.

No matter, l predict that the playing field will become more competitive, once the vaccines have been distributed and the battle focuses on the party that offers New Zealanders the best plan for the immediate future.

To that end, l would like to add my humble voice to the long list of experienced political advisers to the Opposition Leader who want to see her make effective choices regarding the strategies she endorses - particularly during the next 12 months.

I believe that the moral high ground that is hers for the taking will be based on the county’s rejection of the racist legislation that will impose Maori Wards on a populace that has already demonstrated it doesn’t want a bar of them.

I am old enough to remember Sir Robert Muldoon’s successful campaign to destroy a seemingly unassailable Labour Party in 1975.

In the end he was able to focus on a single issue that effected every voter irrespective of race, religion or ideological persuasion - “National Superannuation.”

It just so happens that this time, the equivalent single issue that will overwhelmingly influence voting patterns should be “the undemocratic imposition of racist Maori Wards.”

In my opinion, as an observer of politics for more than 50 years, this regrettable gerrymandered law altering has the capacity, like no other, to change the government within 3 years in spite of the exaggerated victory of the last election.

One other point that l believe is relevant.

Judith Collins can’t work this miracle on her own but it is definitely doable with the help and cooperation of the Act Party.

However, Collins has a problem.

She is going to have difficulty holding on to the remnants of her Party’s loyal supporters and perhaps even some her wavering MPs who might be enticed to join Act as a perceived more effective home for voters wanting immediate action on a number of fronts.

As long as any transfer of political allegiance doesn’t alter the base numbers of the opposition block’s total, there may well be room for individuals to realign their preferences. In fact, there may be opportunities for strategic voting in regions that would benefit from this activity and as a result, see an increase in the total number of MPs who represent electorates rather than from just being on the Party list.

Either way, the important thing to note is that the Opposition parties together need to develop a simple message that every voter will be forced to consider. A concentration on peripheral issues will only weaken the power of the main thrust which is aimed at the Government’s jugular.

A campaign based on inflicting a mortal wound is the only one that will surface when trying to unseat an entrenched adversary such as the current Labour Government.

Anything else will surely result in at least another three years in opposition.

We can’t afford to allow that to happen.

“We can do this!”

Heard that before somewhere.

And we can be nice while we’re doing it.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay. 

1 comment:

DeeM said...

I sincerely hope you are right Clive. After a few months of inaction by both National and Act, signs of life are flickering again.
I agree absolutely that both parties must strongly and loudly oppose any further racist moves to favour Maori at the expense of everyone else and the claim of Maori sovereignty must be shown up for the lie that it is. This can only be done by making the public aware of what the TOW actually states.
In an ideal world where the electorate are well informed and interested, the recent authoritarian legislation to remove petition rights over Maori wards should concern everyone and would likely be a nail in the coffin of any government enacting this.
However, I know that the NZ general public are not well informed because of the craven, left-wing dominated media. This is the biggest challenge to any opposition. How do they get their message to the public at large when the newsprint and airwaves are steadfastly against them? Websites like this are all well and good but realistically they reach a tiny proportion of the public.