AT an election meeting some weeks ago, Winston Peters, then New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, was asked by a member of the public if Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was a Marxist.
He would not answer, but said that over the previous three years his New Zealand First Party had acted as a handbrake on any bad or extremist policies by her Labour Party.
Following Ardern’s landslide election victory last week, New Zealand First is no longer represented in parliament. Gone is the handbrake.
Although 40-year-old Ardern could now govern on her own, she says she wants a super-Left alliance with other parties to bulldoze through her legislation over the next three years.
She is considering links with the communist Greens and is likely to win the support of the new entrant to parliament, the Maori Party. It has only one seat, but in a legislature of 120 one vote could be useful.
A quick look at some post-election images gives a clue where New Zealand is headed. On the platform with Ardern was only one man, her husband. The rest were women. She addressed the nation first in Maori and then in English – the minority before the majority.
Her policies include decarbonisation of New Zealand by 2030. There will be tax rises if she forms an alliance with the Greens, as well as wealth taxes. The Greens want to implement what they describe as ‘sustainable’ farming.
Ardern has said a proposal to restore New Zealand’s original Maori name of Aotearoa (‘land of the long white cloud’) is ‘positive’.
A high minimum wage will be imposed on small businesses likely already hit by Covid-19. Her central bank intends to devalue the currency with negative interest rates, hitting the savings of the prudent. There will be asset purchases and foreign expropriations.
In 2021, massive dumping of the New Zealand dollar on the international money markets seems likely, bringing the threat of hyper-inflation.
Ardern is a virtue signaller. She wore an Islamic headscarf to show her solidarity with her chosen grouping – patronising to Muslims and crass in the extreme. She wants to restart the refugee programme.
We are told that most of those who voted for her were from the well-to-do middle classes. One imagines their mood will sour as they see their identity increasingly extinguished, crippling tax rises, exports priced out of the market, free speech suffocated, the cratering of the dollar and a flood of economic migrants.
Ardern faces re-election in 2023, provided she does not change the constitution to stay in power. By then, many will have suffered from her experiment with communism and the damage will take a long time to put right.