The September 20 election in New Zealand reflected the profound alienation of working people from the entire political establishment. The result was a rout for the Labour Party which received less than 25 percent of the votes, its worst defeat in 92 years. At the same time, the National government’s “landslide win” was completely hollow. Nearly as many people did not vote at all, as cast a ballot for National.
Disgust and anger, however, are not enough. None of the pressing issues facing workers and youth were discussed during the election campaign because all the major parties agree that the working class must pay for the deepening crisis of capitalism. Workers can only defend their interests by building a party that fights for a socialist and internationalist alternative.
A hundred years after World War I, the global geo-political situation is extraordinarily tense, with numerous flashpoints that could erupt in a confrontation between nuclear-armed powers. New Zealand’s political establishment has aligned itself with US imperialism and its reckless drive to war in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Labour and National have both declared their support for the US-led bombing of Iraq and Syria, while the Greens and the Internet-Mana Party have remained silent—thereby tacitly endorsing the war. The opposition parties have also endorsed the US-backed coup in Ukraine and Washington’s provocations against Russia.
Labour, the Greens and Mana all engaged in a xenophobic campaign against Chinese immigration and land purchases, while Labour courted the viciously anti-Asian NZ First Party as a potential coalition partner. They want to align New Zealand even more closely with the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia directed at encircling and preparing for war against China.
At the same time, while shedding crocodile tears for children in poverty, the Greens made clear that they were just as committed as National to running a “fiscally responsible” and pro-business government. Labour proposed to raise the retirement age, while the Greens advocated corporate tax cuts.
Far from defending democratic rights, Labour and its allies support retaining the spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, which conducts mass surveillance on the population in collaboration with the US National Security Agency.
The World Socialist Web Site urges workers and young people to attend our post-election meeting in Lower Hutt to discuss the alternative to the drive to war, austerity and attacks on democratic rights: a socialist and internationalist perspective to unite workers around the world in a common struggle to end the profit system.
Sunday, October 12, 1.30 p.m.
Room 1, Russell Keown House (formerly APEX House),
Cnr. Laings Road and Queens Drive, Lower Hutt