Revivalist opportunity perceived at last moment
An outbreak of middle class idealism based on party immigration policy promises to boost the Green vote at the expense of Labour, and to a rather lesser extent, National, and even New Zealand First.
A sign of this is the 11th hour awakening is decision of the Greens to field a candidate in Ohariu in which the Labour candidate Greg O’Connor had seemed a shoo-in following the resignation of the enduring independent incumbent Peter Dunne MP.
Mr O’Connor (pictured) is one of the very candidates anywhere in the entire Westminster sphere who meets the traditional Labour Party guidelines. A tough street-level cop, deployed into the most troublesome zones, he went on to run the police union for an entire generation.
The Greens understand that Labour will respond with their own counter truce-breaking reprisal of some kind before the general election.
But the electorate move in Wellington’s up-scale suburb of Karori with its horse-riding schools and country club environs by the Greens is one of the party’s several calculated risks in the last few months and a closer examination of this one indicates a strategic positioning which also contains a strong surprise value.
The Green Party is the only party to have an ironclad policy embracing the acceptance in New Zealand of refugees, the ones from nations torn by tribalism and sectarianism.
All the other parties have hedged around the refugee issue, seeking to bury it in their wider immigration policies covering desired skills and economic contributions.
Facebook commentaries whizzing around between greying baby boomer ex- activists also indicate that Labour’s new leader Jacinda Ardern MP is expected to conjure up a reprise, if only partial, of the Labour glory days of the Vietnam-Apartheid-Nuclear era.
Great revivalist expectations such as this were simply not even to be considered under former leader, the pragmatic Andrew Little whose non telegenic façade shrouded a subtle blend in fact of the Trades Hall-varsity nexus and union lawyer.
Winston Peters MP and his New Zealand First Party will remain substantially, but not entirely, inoculated against any late-developing fever centred on the asylum-seeking category of immigrant.
This is just because New Zealand First’s most visible policy plank is the thumbs down to most immigrant categories regardless of whether they come bearing gifts or sectarian blood feuds.
The prospect of the Greens unveiling a high profile moral compass pointing to refugees in the accepted meaning of the word, and thus igniting a last minute bush-fire type of guilt-propelled fervour, is a prospect that Labour appears to be anticipating now.
We look now at the election eve multi-faceted immigration issue in its wider sense ……………………………….
THE GREEN PARTY
Advantage of humanitarian position on refugees
The children of the baby boomers appalled by middle class material values of their parents, who they often regard as sell-outs anyway, , reach for an ideal, in this instance the refugee one, in order to re-establish the nation as a force for good in the world. The Greens offer the only unequivocal policy in regard to accepting refugees, especially the ones that other nations do not want.
The children of the baby boomer beset by the need now for dual incomes and the financial demands of the tertiary education required by their own offspring are suspicious of the financial and social impact of the moral crusades of the type embarked upon by their parents in their own university days. These were free of charge and the parental generation in addition was often actually paid to enrol and attend university, incredible as it may seem now.
THE LABOUR PARTY
Advantage in stressing a new and enhanced humanitarian position on refugees
A breath of fresh air into the Helen Clark era doctrine of multiculturalism and diversity offering New Zealand an opportunity to walk tall once more in all the right international convocations, notably United Nations
A disquieting medium-term memory of the way in which Auckland schools, houses, and hospitals began to creak at the seams during, and after, the immigration influx inaugurated during this same era.
The National Party
Advantage in suddenly opening the policy gates to refugees
An indirect reminder that gung-ho immigration policy inherited from Labour ensured that businesses kept at full throttle and that the nation’s lavish, on a population basis, investment in universities of all description became partially shouldered by foreign students. A German-style open door refugee policy could/would sustain and enhance this
Immigration was used to fuel the “rock star” economy at the expense of infrastructure which in this context is code for houses, schools, hospitals. Also that the increasing reliance on the private students from foreign lands and their need to collect a degree of some sort and a widespread belief that this every-punter-gets-a prize devalued these qualifications and provided also the now much-quoted “back door” for an extended if not permanent stay here.
NEW ZEALAND FIRST
Advantage in its turn-off- the-taps immigration policy.
Immigrants are drawn to metropolitan centres such as Auckland already populated beyond its carrying capacity. Both National and Labour have implemented this state of affairs, the party claims. Universities have become disguised back doors for the “c’mon in” techniques devised by the immigration “consultants,” and until quite recently evident on their web sites. New Zealand First insists that immigrants must be selected on a needed and high skills basis.
Disadvantages in this policy
The drastic tourniquet is in some conflict with New Zealand First’s new role as the true saviour and champion of farmers and cultivators. They cannot find manpower locally and seek to fill this vacuum with workers from Asia especially. Their work is of the repetitive and conscientious type and does not meet the New Zealand First advanced specialist skill criterion.
Background to the all-party immigration dilemma
A very wide spectrum of voters are keen on immigration – in any form.
Big business for a start because it increases the number of consumers and the number of workers available to meet their needs.
The churches are very enthusiastic. Their inclusive view is both spiritual and practical in that people in need are manna from heaven and very much so in an epoch of dismayingly shrinking conventional congregations.
Social service agencies of all types tend to be similarly enthused
Metropolitan politicians are also enthusiasts as they see their electoral roles filling up with supplicants and thus voters.
Immigration Topics that National and Labour prefer you did not Introduce
So why has immigration replaced employment and even health and education as the most sensitive issue in this general election?
These issues are widely considered to be interrelated in that many of the so-called occupied urban jobs are in fact part time only. This is considered to be due to the ample availability of people to fill them because of the swelled urban work-force because of the immigration influx which also stands accused of putting the strain on houses, schools etc.
Why is the refugee component of this issue so ultra-sensitive?
It is dangerous to Labour and this has been indicated by the Green’s decision to stand its own candidate in Ohariu, which is regarded as a liberal constituency.
A sudden intensity focus on a need by New Zealand to admit many more refugees seeking asylum by the Greens would prick this liberal conscience and force the Labour Party into a defensive corner in which it has no ambition to be. Not in the run up to the election, anyway.
You could have the Greens asking for example why a nation, one of the self-proclaimed international good guys, and which has less than half of one percent of its land mass urbanised is not taking in many more?