The National Party campaign was a train-wreck dumpster fire that collided with a school bus that exploded next to a pet store.
Simon Bridges fell foul of the sudden solidarity created by Covid and National were caught flat footed by a crisis that only became worse by more free market deregulation.
No one wanted to hear about the State being cut back when everyone was running to the State for safety.
It highlighted the utter vacancy of National Party ideology, all they kept coming up with was privatisation!
Their position on the border was farcical…
…and that’s after you had to accept a former President of the Party leaking privileged information to a National MP who then leaked it to the media, another MP sending sext texts, another Party Offical smearing their own candidate, and the Todd Muller coup ignited by cowardice.
The hollowness of National’s ideology created an enormous friction on the Right and once the woke gave Seymour the freedom of speech war and ACT hit 2MPs, they became the fault line for this backlash against National.
ACT became the Values Party of the Right the way the Greens are the Values Party of the Left.
The vacant ideology coupled with National’s incompetence sparked an anger towards RINOs (Right In Name Only) and ACT has become the vehicle for the frustration.
While Seymour is leader, the power and appeal of ACT will grow, not diminish and I expect ACT to continue to cannibalise National’s vote.
While ACT will still be too radical for 2023, it will take more National vote and rather than water down their policy, they will radicalise more of the right.
While Seymour is in power, that radicalisation of a broader swathe of the Right has self imposed limitations that Seymour himself rigorously applies, but the next leader of ACT might see those self imposed restrictions as weakness.
The collapse of National is the end of a political dynasty and shows we as a country have finally hit the upper limit of boomer influence and farming political power. From here on in, National will decline as a political force while ACT radicalises more of the right and grows.
We are seeing the seeds sown of a far more polarised political future in NZ.
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