New Delhi, July 27, 2020
As New Zealand gets set for general election, the two main players- Labour Party under Jacinda Ardern and National Party under Judith Collins will hope to bank on their individual charisma to steer their respective Parties to victory.
However, the outcome of the elections will be determined not by the individual charisma but the substance of the policy which will be articulated by both Parties, how the cadres will be able to steer their chances to the electorate and of course the complex arithmetic of the coalition politics.
From Labour Party’s point, as an incumbent Party, it has built a of a government that would bring transformative policies on the strength of which employment and incomes.
This approach, Labour supporters say, would ride better through global ups and downs than under the present National Party.
Labour will present its case to the electorate that it will be tested in some corers.
Unlike Helen Clark’s time when it had the luxury of having talented leaders such as Phil Goff, David Cunliffe and Martin Gallagher, the Labour Party today does not seem to have strong people to handle key portfolios.
New talents such as Priyanca Radhakrishnan will prove their mettle in the government if given an opportunity to handle key portfolios such as Defence.
All in all, one can agree that Ms Ardern has travelled a long way from the back benches to the post of Prime Minister, proving herself as an adept lawmaker especially when her Party was in crisis.
Another aspect of which the Labour Party will be tested is the issue on National Security as it comes close to the elections.
In the past decade, after Ms Clark’s departure from the New Zealand political scene, Labour has focused more on the immediate issues concerning the welfare of the New Zealanders than on the abstract and complicated issues related to national security.
On the other hand, National, under Judith Collins, will hope to replicate its chance of winning and hope to see the days when some of the calibre of John Key was able to get back the voters to turn their head on him through his charismatic leadership.
As mentioned, Election 2020 will witness the clash of personalities – Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins but the outcome will be determined by the substance of the policy which they could articulate and the complex political manoeuvring involved before and after the elections.
Balaji Chandramohan is Indian Newslink Correspondent based in New Delhi, India.