Issue 375, August 15, 2017
While the fast-changing election scenario in New Zealand continues to baffle even the most experienced political analysts and observers, it would be presumptuous to conclude that the Indian community is leaning towards the National Party.
Worse, it sends a wrong signal to the National Party that it can expect most votes of people of Indian origin in New Zealand.
The evolving ratio
While the National Party continues to be ahead in the opinion polls, not being cognisant of the rapid rise in popularity of Jacinda Ardern as the Leader of the Labour Party would be akin to living in fool’s paradise. Less than week after she assumed the top position, her Party has rallied back and if the trend of the opinion poll tally is of any indication, Labour may equal National’s rating, if not surpass in the next few days at least.
The total number of voters of Indian origin in the forthcoming General Election on September 23, 2017 is not known but constituencies such as Mt Roskill, Mt Albert, Manukau East, Mangere, Manurewa and Te Atatu which have sizeable population of Indian community, are all Labour strongholds. The fact that Labour candidates won in the by-elections held in Mt Roskill on December 5, 2016 and Mt Albert on February 25, 2017 with a thumping majority should indicate the fact that not all people of Indian origin are ‘leaning towards National.’
Besides, there has not been any opinion poll- that is officially recognised – has ever been conducted to evaluate the mood of ethnic communities, including that of people of Indian origin. Apart from them, the voting public comprise people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepalese origin and no one has taken any opinion of these sections of the community to determine the possible outcome in the forthcoming election.
The reality is that no one knows.
Politics can be dirty game and it gets murkier during every election season.
The National Party should be warned of the over-enthusiasm of its newcomers. It would be not only fallacious to presume that the shift of one individual would make a difference to the entire community is but also to underestimate the competence of that community to judge who deserves its votes.
We are confident that the leadership of the National Party and more importantly, its candidates, will not be misled by the ‘know-all’ commentators.
The price of such misconceptions would be too high to bear.