With the votes at 99% in, I have three lessons top of mind tonight from this election.
1) MMP can create a stand-alone government. I’ve said it here and everywhere since MMP started – the system does not stop one Party from winning a majority of votes and it does not make coalition governments compulsory. Well done National for being the first Government in NZ to show it possible. More extraordinarily still, National broke records by doing it in a third term. An awesome victory. Do we now get a ‘traditional’ First Past the Post Government?
2) There was no mood for change. The left-wong parties got caned. I recently wrote that Parties tend to campaign in the equivalent of gated political communities – so are able to deceive themselves. The mood in the electorate today was actually an almost 3% swing against change. I suspect the problem was that the left-wing gave away the centre. They gave away ordinary NZ workers.
3) Money doesn’t buy elections. Despite many politicians trying to demonise political spending, and even creating laws to frustrate it, money clearly failed to buy success. This attitude is fundamentally patronising and dismissive of the wisdom of the electorate. The anti-money beliefs are held mainly by people scared and frustrated that their own messages don’t resonate with voters. Money doesn’t “buy” elections or votes. Ideas, attitude and connection with people win votes.