John Key will be leading New Zealand for another three years after his conservative National Party claimed a landslide victory in the polls held on September 20 last week. For Key it will be his usual state of affairs, but any display of arrogance from incoming ministers will not be tolerated.
Aotearoa or New Zealand has a unique voting system. Called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and borrowed from Germany, this unique voting system allows a voter to cast two votes. One vote is for the candidate representing the electorate, while the other is for the party that will lead the country. Interestingly the two are mutually exclusive, and allows voters to choose their leader impartially. With this system in place, Key’s National Party secured their third historic win with 48 percent of the vote and 61 seats in Parliament – the first of its kind since MMP was introduced.
As coalition talks continue with other parties in New Zealand, Key’s victory is seen as a significant one since MMP was introduced in 1996. Despite a campaign rigged with claims of corruption, the release of a book called Dirty Politics and Kim Dotcom’s “Moment Of Truth” – an event on the eve of the polling, where Edward Snowden revealed to the Kiwis gathered that New Zealand was planning on using mass surveillance – Key stared victory in the eye. His centre-right National Party won its third term on the basis of the fiscal prudence and economic growth he achieved through various projects in Auckland and Canterbury. His biggest achievement, political analysts say was the way he steered New Zealand’s economic growth, by boosting investments in building projects in Christchurch and Auckland, besides boosting the export of dairy products which account for a quarter of all overseas sales.
New Zealand is a relatively small country and hence the small economy, but do no let that fool you. The small island has outperformed several developed countries for 40 years and recently released data showing an annual growth of 3.9 percent in the second quarter, revealed that it was the fastest pace achieved in a decade. Economists and the government expect moderated growth because of a historically strong currency and increasing interest rates. On the other hand, a lull in the prices of dairy products may likely hurt New Zealand’s economic prospects, while the slowing economic growth in China, its major trading partner is definitely affecting the economy now.
The rate of slowing growth in China is not yet known, however if the demand for agricultural exports declines, then that would indicate certain damage to the Kiwi economic system. Key has maintained that the National Party is committed to achieving a surplus, despite having to pay public servants more. Rising incomes and external factors are definitely playing an important part in trimming losses, as National cut down its budget surplus forecast from 2014 to 2018 down by NZ$ 500m. Key, who will lead New Zealand for another three years is a former currency trader and understands economical politics all too well.
Despite various allegations of corruption, mass surveillance and a tumultuous election campaign, Key’s hugely popular non-elitist image won him public support. Coupled with the economic stability he has provided New Zealand over the past years, Key’s understated political campaign ultimately led him to lead New Zealand for another three years.
By Rathan Paul Harshavardan.