Imperative Politics

Imperative, is an interesting word when it comes to politics, as it not only embodies an element of authority, but also what politicians consider the authoritative command. In the past we have trusted and accepted political direction more readily and New Zealanders are generally regarded as passive by nature and not inclined to rebel.

What we are currently seeing is a greater distance between politicians and the electorate driven by the left and right divide. Only one side can win this war, but within this political theatre there are multiple battles which hold fast to their own imperatives.

A well canvased example of this in New Zealand politics is immigration, although immigration tends to be seen strictly as a yes or no, needed or not needed, equation where politicians rely on specific prejudices to encourage their voting blocks.

If we look at the economic imperative, with regard to immigration, we find a non-emotive approach around the supply and demand of labour and the cost of labour, and the consequential impact on economic activity. This is where the conflict starts with what we might label the right-wing approach, although equally at odds with the country’s descendant population.

Looking at the imperative ideology of the left-wing, we currently see a download of the fundamental European dogma that has caused them so much disruption;

Although countries still exist in name within Europe, alongside the borderless structure of the EU, the borderless ideology demands …

– the free movement of labour

– the universal acceptance of qualifications regardless of origin

– that migrant workers should not be discriminated against by a preference towards that country’s native workforce.

This is the situation we are now facing from the Open-Borders Pact, the greatest irony of course, is that it was Winston Peters as Foreign Minister who signed us up to this, on behalf of the Coalition.

Now, I would suggest the imperative sits with the voters (does the patriotic imperative live or die) and should they take hold of the expression of what is important to NZ? Understanding this is something the major political parties fear, having to qualify their position more specifically with regard to immigration.

Will the left-wing rhetoric conflict with their ideology during the election campaign? Will the right-wing ideology stick to economic arguments because it doesn’t want to discuss the ‘morality and obligations’ commerce should uphold in training the next generation? (The learn on the job culture has historically been one of genuine interest, not one of a consequence of the job I got today, because I was the cheapest option)

While National and Labour try to steer away from a more difinitive conversation, how well these arguments are canvased will be determined by new parties such as TOP and particularly New Conservative who are making a significant appearance in current media.


The Age of Winston

This year Winston Peters will turn 75, and his political life looks to have come full circle.

Going back to 1975, a glance in the archives would show you a bushy-headed young law graduate on a hikoi with Whina Cooper, fronting the media in support of her historic land march.

In three years time Winston will be closing in on 78 years of age, and a question lies over how this final chapter in politics will have played out.

Going back to 1978, a glance in the archives would show you a rookie electoral candidate standing in the safe National Party seat of Hunua, giving Winston his entry to parliament at the age of 33.

His turbulent and volatile political career is not one I’m about to rehash here, however today, not that he would admit it, is probably at its lowest point and hanging on a knife edge.

If there’s an element of irony, Waitangi 2020, saw Winston launch into his not unfamiliar political hostilities, while Dame Whina Cooper was quietly recognised with her statue at Waitangi.

Now, today, the rescue of NZ First, (Winston’s MMP vehicle) was pushed aside by Labour not offering any electoral seat as a way back into this election campaign after having been rejected as a potential coalition partner by the National Party.

What happens now, as many people would say, is never predictable with the old man of politics, except though that the day may have come where Winston’s hikoi is at an end and he unlike Whina has not gifted the spirit to the next generation.

What happens between now and the election will determine how Peters is ultimately remembered and how much he deserves to be remembered.