I’ve argued that Labour are on track to win the 2023 election but there are two outside chances National have left that could spook those 45+ women back to National and see them beat Labour with ACT.
Labour have benefited from an unprecedented solidarity created by the universal shared experience of the pandemic and Jacinda’s incredible leadership skills during that lockdown won over all the generational female vote that Labour lost to John Key.
These 45+ women didn’t vote for Jacinda in 2017, but the pandemic represented a seismic shift in the psychology of the electorate and Jacinda’s leadership generated a never before seen MMP majority.
This leaves National with almost no chance of winning back hearts and minds, especially with the strength of ACT. A hard right ACT/National Government will scare the bejesus out of middle NZ, and in that fear is National’s only path to winning 2023.
There are 2 chances for National, and both require reactionary fear and anger.
The first is that Covid breaks out in NZ and the public trace it back to an incompetence by the Government.
The ongoing fiascos at the border are beltway topics that someone like Chris Bishop can champion but for voters the proof is in the pudding and our Covid free status held up against news coverage of other countries still being ravaged by the pandemic means National can only win when NZ fails.
We have had almost 140 000 through MIQ with only a handful of breaches, until there is a serious breach (which is possible with a Trans-Tasman bubble), voters will still see Labour as their personal saviour.
The second issue that National could manipulate into reactionary fear and anger is the looming gang war that is erupting on th streets right now.
The domestic criminal gang scene has probably never been under the unique stresses it is now facing.
2000 ‘501’s have been forcibly removed to NZ in the space of 5 years. In almost all cases, these people left NZ when they were children and have little or no connection to our country.
40% go on to offend in NZ, and while all are not hardened criminals, those who are have brought a level of violence to the criminal gang scene that is completely outside the norm for NZ gangs.
Kiwis like to think our domestic gang scene is rough and dangerous, the truth is that we are very tame when compared to the Australian crime scene.
Th 501s are bringing an enormous level of violence to NZ and are using it against the domestic gangs in stand over tactics. They are also bringing high quality, cheaper meth from South American Cartels alongside guns to enforce those stand over tactics.
Th 501s are targeting existing leaders in various gangs and we have seen that violence escalate recently with this drive by shooting of the HeadHunters pad and the killings of various domestic gang members.
In response, domestic gangs have gone on a meth cooking binge while also trying to buy as many guns as possible to counter the 501s.
What we are seeing is a market in chaos with an invasive new species taking over.
This becomes a political issue when ordinary Kiwis accidentally get caught up in the cross fire. We are not used to this kind of gang violence, and when it erupts, Kiwis will demand a response from the Police that will border on the paramilitary.
National and ACT will capitalise on this the moment it happens and Labour’s attempts to unpick the factors that cause crime will be seen as grossly underwhelming.
Finally, for any of these to work it will be with a new leadership team. Judith can’t appeal to the electorate National needs to win back and she doesn’t have any strategy to arrest the loss of votes to ACT.
So National’s hopes rely on Team Luxon/Bridges and that hope has to be fed by reactionary anger and fear from open gang warfare and or NZ failing at the border.
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