From left: Party leaders James Shaw (Greens), Jacinda Ardern (Labour), Winston Peters (New Zealand First) and Bill English (National). Image credit: Newshub.
After what is undoubtedly a stinging defeat, many credit English for his swift action to offer hope to a deflated National voter base. How did he supposedly achieve this? By injecting a renewed sense of purpose into the party’s existence: i.e. with a pledge to be "by far the strongest opposition party this Parliament has seen”.
But how admirable is his commitment?
National’s election campaign was widely acknowledged as one of the most dirtiest ever, with Newshub’s Patrick Gower calling out National for being “guilty of the biggest campaign lie” and “deliberately spreading misinformation” regarding Labour’s income tax policy (just one of numerous examples of disturbingly corrupt National party conduct).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of National’s shameful record of embellishments and deceit. We can expect, therefore, that English’s self-congratulatory statement around his party being well-positioned to be the ‘strongest opposition’ signals even more relentlessly ruthless and malicious attacks based on more false information and fake news. And what will that achieve? A more confused citizenry, more distraction away from the real issues, more conflict and disharmony in our country.
In this Age of historical levels of crises convergence, what every country needs is an unprecedented ‘all of society’ collaboration - not combative and divisive resistance to ‘the other’; we need remarkable, renewed, disciplined focus that results in bold strategic action responding to these rising complex catastrophes – not fear-based, tit-for-tat, meaningless point-scoring distractions; we need more conduct of integrity – not more Egoic behaviour. In short, we need true, wise, compassionate leadership the likes of which our nation has yet to see.
If “the strongest opposition” was the best idea in the interests of New Zealand that National had to offer post their election loss, then that just reinforces even more that MMP did indeed deliver the correct government for Aotearoa. Thank goodness.
(This item was published as "More malice from National" in the Northland Age's Letters to the Editor, 26 October 2017).
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