Getting to 5% is bloody difficult. Most who try fail and the last Party to get anywhere near that was the Conservative Party who lost it when Rachel MacGregor quit as Colin Craig’s Press Secretary and they were plunged into meltdown.
All is unfair in misplaced love and politics.
Conventional political wisdom will tell you that there is no way TOP can get to 5% with 4 months out till the election, especially when they are barely registering as 1% in the mainstream media polls, but conventional political wisdom doesn’t mean much since Trump, Brexit and Len Pen doubling the Right’s vote in France. Those who are losing from neoliberal free market globalisation are over throwing political hegemonies left, right and centre.
The only question about NZ is that are those who are losing most from neoliberal free market globalisation awake enough to realise what the words ‘neoliberal’, ‘free market’ or ‘globalisation’ mean.
Put aside the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind’s remarkable ability to remain blind, there is a deep anger that has built up in the Provinces which could undo the National Party.
It’s not just the Pakeha Pied Piper of hate, Don Brash who is pulling the provinces in to packed town halls, it’s also TOP. Beneath the radar The Opportunities Party has been doing remarkably well in its meetings out in the Provinces, so much so that other Political candidates of other Parties have noticed how well they are doing.
The deep cynicism that many in the Provinces feel at the lack of investment into the infrastructure of their regions which are producing the exports that are keeping the country economically afloat is attracted to TOP and NZ First.
This is going to hurt National’s vote, not Labour’s.
But could TOP harvest that resentment in the Provinces into 5%?
I don’t think so. I think they could gain 3% max from that resentment with their non-ideological solutions based policy platform based mostly on the fact that they have bugger all time between now and the election to maximise this discontent.
But what about their cannabis policy? On that front, TOP may have just triggered something very unique.
The Internet Party was intending to make cannabis reform a major part of their policy platform, but Hone was too conservative on the idea, and it made him look weak so shut it down. That was a tactical failure on his behalf, and that failure doesn’t look like it will repeated by TOP.
The Greens and Labour are wishy washy in the extreme on Cannabis reform so they have every right to be feel threatened and a little embarrassed that TOP have trumped them with their policy.
By going all in on a legislated cannabis market, TOP look bold and not as timid as the other parties but to be a real threat to the balance of power, TOP would need to see a huge jump in the next poll. If TOP can’t generate the perception of momentum they won’t be able to turn this potential into anything meaningful come September.