Time for some answers

Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins.
Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins.
After weeks of questions, tomorrow, you, the voters, provide the answers.

Has Labour done enough to return it to office?

Has National provided an attractive alternative?

Does New Zealand First have enough support to remain in Parliament ... or the Green Party for that matter?

Will its high polling numbers translate into several seats for Act New Zealand, and is there a place for any of the smaller parties in the next Parliament?

There is also the weighty matter of two referendums, although the preliminary results of the vote on the End of Life Choice Act and reform of cannabis laws will not be known until October 30.

By 7pm tomorrow, more than 2.5million votes will have been cast and the 2020 election will be all over bar the counting.

Every election, every candidate will tell you that this is the most important election in years.

In 2020, it has felt like that cliche has validity with Covid-19 casting a dark shadow over proceedings.

For that reason, another well-worn cliche, that every vote matters, also holds true in 2020.

An election debate which has embraced everything from wealth taxes to obesity has, generally, been measured and decorous.

National leader Judith Collins has tried to offer a genuine alternative to Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, although the short time Ms Collins has had as party leader has made her task a difficult one.

Ms Ardern, meanwhile, has had the luxury of record-high poll numbers, but has also had to dampen down expectations that she might enjoy a comfortable victory in case that engenders a potentially decisive false sense of security.

Labour only has to look back three years to know that a scrappy underdog behind in the polls can score an unexpected election win — that 2017 result also offers hope for National it can spring a surprise.

Also enjoying record poll numbers is Act, but party leader David Seymour has been a sole MP for long enough to know not to count his MPs until they are actually elected.

The Greens and New Zealand First will, as always, have a nervous night as they watch the party vote share and hope they can clear 5% with some room to spare.

The Maori Party and the other minor parties are longer odds propositions to make it to Parliament, but cannot be written off until the voters have their say.

After the dust has settled, there will be plenty more questions for whoever forms the next government to answer.

Are the measures in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 sufficient?

Will their economic policies be sufficient to revive the economy from its Covid-19 travails?

Will unemployment rise?

Will incomes fall?

Will housing be affordable?

There are many others, and there are the ones that no-one has even thought of yet — who predicted that between 2017 and now the government would have to deal with a volcanic eruption, a heinous act of terrorism, and then a pandemic?

The New Zealand public will be placing an enormous weight on either Jacinda Ardern or Judith Collins’ shoulders tomorrow evening, and the winner will have a difficult three years ahead of them.

Comments

You're very fair.

The crises managed by the government this term are only ignored by the 'economy is everything' brigade.

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on "income distribution," the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned. The economy is everything even in a socialist country like New Zealand!

I know I am in the minority but I am desperately disappointed that the global crisis's of climate change and biodiversity loss have not featured much in this election campaign. Even the global pandemic discussions have been reduced to finger pointing and who can make money back the quickest! Not once have I heard a debate on how to prevent such a disaster occurring in the future. Instead the politicians have gone into default mode of just bickering over taxes.

Climate change is largely to blame for a near doubling of natural disasters in the past 20 years, a UN report said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned humanity must stop “waging war on nature". He said one consequence of the imbalance with nature – caused by deforestation, climate change and food production – was the emergence of deadly diseases such as HIV-AIDS, Ebola and COVID-19.

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales about eternal economic growth. How dare you!” - Greta Thunberg.

 

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