As part of the Unshackled’s coverage of New Zealand’s general election campaign we are speaking with a number candidates and activists so we can gain an understanding of the politics of New Zealand, what are the big issues in this campaign and probably most relevantly what Australians can learn from this election.
New Zealand’s mixed member proportionate system has led to a number of minor parties holding significant influence on governments over the past 20 years. One of them is New Zealand First which was formed in 1993 by ex-National Party MP Winston Peters who has been their leader ever since. They have formed Coalition governments with both the National and Labour Party over their existence and currently reside on the crossbench, however are tipped to hold the balance of power after the election.
We were lucky enough to speak via phone their deputy leader Ron Mark who had been a New Zealand First MP from 1996 to 2008 and was Mayor of the town of Carterton from 2010 to 2014 before returning to parliament at the 2014 election.
New Zealand is often called a populist or far right party so we ask Ron how the party defines itself, why it believes the major parties and political establishment are letting the people of New Zealand down and what is their plan to fix it. We also find out from Ron whether they view New Zealand First as part of the anti-globalist wave sweeping the world. We also seek to find out how they will approach post-election negotiations and finally ask Ron if he believes the party can still prosper when Winston Peters eventually retires.
Links to Ron Mark