I’m hopeful that even though there is a huge amount of power vested in just one party – like we’ve never seen under MMP - there are some pretty clear signs that Labour doesn’t intend to abuse that and force major structural change.
Everything says to me that Labour is planning to govern in the centre.
Those fruity decisions that we saw in the last term - oil and gas bans, cancelling all new roads – I suspect those kinds of ideologically-led decisions are over.
This looks like it’s going to be quite a centrist government
There are a few reasons to think this:
In Jacinda Ardern’s speech on election night, she made it clear that she will be a “leader for everyone”, specifically thanking those who may have never voted for Labour before.
“We will not take your support for granted, and I can promise you, we will be a party that governs for every New Zealander.”
And it’s quite telling also that Ardern seems reluctant to commit outright to including the Greens in her cabinet.
She’s made it clear she considers the vote a mandate for Labour, not for Labour plus the Greens.
This is heartening to centrist voters. Because what this says is that Jacinda Ardern understands that that landslide victory was not necessarily an endorsement of Labour party ideology.
A lot of those voters did not vote for the most radical things that Labour stands for or has stood for in the past.
I say that because the vote for Labour pre-Covid is very different to what we saw this weekend. Which means lots of those voters probably voted (a) for Jacinda Ardern’s Covid response and (b) to keep the Greens out.
That means those voters probably don’t want radical, transformational change
They will likely want her to keep on making Kiwis proud on the world stage, for her government to keep them safe, and if they voted strategically to keep the greens out, then transformational change is literally the thing they want to avoid
The good news is that looks very much like it’s off the table.