|Jacinda Ardern and Labour failed to offer a real alternative to neoliberalism.|
It was another highly successful election for the Did Note Vote Party - which attracted more votes than either National or Labour.
WHILE LABOUR AND NATIONAL do a bizarre and sleazy tango with Winston Peters and New Zealand First, its worth reflecting that it was, yet again, another highly successful election for the Did Not Vote Party.
In fact the main story of the 2017 election is not the lacklustre government that will be cobbled together over the coming days, but that voter turnout remained resolutely static. Despite a concerted campaign by the political establishment and its cheerleaders to drive folk to the polling booths, voter turnout was little better than in 2014 - which was the third lowest turnout of the past century. The 78.8 percent of registered folk who voted compares to 77.9 percent in 2014.
This means that the so-called 'missing million' voters remained mostly missing. This would of been a blow to Labour especially since it was hoping for a high voter turnout - and a high youth vote - to get it over the line. Despite a lot of excitable talk among The Commentariat about a 'youthquake', it never eventuated. On election day commentator Bernard Hickey declared that 'something was happening' out in the electorates. Well, it wasn't more people voting. Folk decided that they didn't actually want to 'do this'.
After the dust settles on this election, there will be the inevitable calls made to address 'the problem' of voter non-participation. There will be call for measures like compulsory voting and 'civic education' in schools. And members of The Commentariat and talkback callers will declare that 'if you don't vote, you don't have any right to complain'. It will be suggested that those who don't vote are less insightful and responsible than those who do.
All this does is disregard the growing anger and disillusionment among folk for a 'representative democracy' that ALWAYS results in the continued dominance of the one percent and of corporate interests.
And that's the real problem - we have a representative democracy that is representative and democratic in name only. To vote for one of a number of political parties that all share a loyalty to market interests is little more than rubberstamping the continued rule of neoliberalism.
The calls for political engagement are missing the point: we have little to vote for in this country other than more market driven polices and more austerity capitalism. And the present debacle that is Labour and National trying to stitch up a deal with the right wing and nationalistic and often xenophobic New Zealand First will only confirm for many of us that the only sane and responsible choice is not to vote.
It also confirms that its time for a progressive party that truly represents the many, and not the few.