The Green Party and New Zealand First; the scrapping underdogs and the yapping mad dogs. Assign metaphor to either party as you will. Their different philosophies will play an important part in forming the next government.
The Greens are the little party that could — they keep going and going, gaining ground here and there but also, more than any other party, energising the youth vote.
Winston Peters energises older people so much it almost feels dirty. Although ask around and you’ll find quite a few young people voted for him too — maybe for a laugh, but it still counts.
The Greens are ideologists. They believe we can all live in a better world, and more importantly that change can happen now to make future generations’ lives greater. And if the current generations aren’t ready for that change, the Greens also believe in their capacity to come around. Their antagonists call them naive.
New Zealand First believes in Peters. His presence makes the world better. Whatever change he wants is for the better and, more importantly, as long as he’s in Parliament, he can make their world personally better. Their antagonists call them insane.
Calling the Greens naive is dismissing the only party on the political left that has increased its MPs in the last two elections. Russell Norman’s Aussie twang may be annoying, but that’s because you’re racist — which Metiria Turei will point out in due course. Get past the accent, and he’s clocking more hours on TV arguing hard economics than David Parker.
Yes, Gareth Hughes loves sharks intensely, Catherine Delahunty looks ready to attack interviewers, and marijuana legislation is a “red flag”. But Hughes swims with actual sharks, Delahunty’s a green belt in karate, and it’s easier to talk marijuana legalisation since the explosion of roots music. Somehow the Greens have got gangsta.
As for New Zealand First, ask yourself: in a world of derping prime ministers and bumbling opposition leaders, why not follow New Zealand’s favourite angry drunk? Has any other politician managed to climb the heights of government from either side like Peters? National had him as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Labour followed that by making him Minister of Foreign Affairs. He even snuck Super GoldCards through just before turning 65.
Sure, Brendan Horan got kicked out for a gambling problem, Richard Prosser wrote about “Wogistan”, and Asenati Lole-Taylor asked Anne Tolley about blow jobs, but this is the
party responsible for Michael Laws. By that benchmark, things can only get better.
If New Zealand First seem merrier than the Greens, it’s probably because:
- a) they drink more; or
- b) they understand they’re on borrowed time.
Green MPs have dreams, believe in ideals, and have generations’ worth of plans to begin and fulfil. If they weren’t MPs, they’d still be fighting the same fights. New Zealand First MPs live in the now, a Peters posse basking in the warmth of Winston: The Last King of Scotch.
No two parties represent MMP’s beautiful storm better.