Given that it’s now Sunday, it should probably be safe to resume posting without violating electoral law or unethically influencing the election. 😉
John Key is our Prime Minister for the next three years- not an unforeseen event, but one that many Greens will have been hoping to avoid. Change is the only constant in a democratic society, and it would be bad if Labour continued to lead the government indefinitely without offering anything new, even if National won the election on a similar premise. Nonetheless, as we’ve proved in the past with Labour, there will be common ground- perhaps less this time- that we can make with a government with which we still have significant differences. It is promising that Key praised Helen Clark’s leadership, that he mentioned he wants to be Prime Minister to all New Zealanders and not just those who voted National, and finally that he has spoken of engaging the Maori Party. These things suggest that there may be issues like the changes to §59 of the crimes act on which National can once again work with the Greens, despite its usual aversion to multipartisanship.
With a voice that is once more even stronger in Parliament, and one of our chief centrist foils out of the picture, the Green Party is still in a good position after the election, even if we’re likely to be sitting on the cross-benches in opposition to the governing coalition. It may not be as many as we were hoping from our strong polling, but we have two new MPs, and possibly also a third on the way if the special votes favour us.
Finally: I’d like to thank every New Zealander who went out and voted, or who voted in advance, regardless of who they voted for. This is what our country is about. This is part of our heritage as one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies. It is a right and a privilege that we should neither take for granted nor throw away. You made this new government and our new Green MPs a reality.
edit: I totally forgot to mention that although Helen Clark will be serving as an MP for this term, she resigned her leadership of the Labour Party in her concession speech. As a strong principled leader and one of New Zealand’s foremost women, I think it is no understatement to say that this is both an end of an era and a loss to New Zealand as a whole- even if it is, perhaps, the best move for the Labour Party.