NZ election: why voters chose 'health over wealth'
Into mania in. New Zealand. Tonight. New Zealand has shown the Labor Party, its greatest support and at least fifty years. End For that. I only had two simple words. Thank you. Well that was prime, minister? I done this she celebrating her emphatic election victory last weekend. Now the significance of the Labor Party landslide. It's not just that it's seen as a reward for her decisive response to the COVID crisis. It means New Zealand now has its first single-party government in decades. So what does the mandate main for new? Zealand's economic landscape as it faces its worst recession in nearly a century. We'll deliver a progressive transformation across the ditch. What happens if New Zealand does not sort ad its economic challenges quickly. trans-tasman cousins could I become fouled state? All of the heart, which is executive director of the new. Zealand initiative and Josie. PAGARINI is the executive director of the Council for International Development both a based in Wellington all of Josie welcome to. Radio National. Hello Tom. JC How do you account for Cinderella Dunes emphatic victory. Well, I mean you've got to say the popularity is genuine people lover. She's like a superstar she goes into to shopping malls and gets mobbed but I think you'd say you'd have to say to that that election campaign was incredibly disciplined Labor wanted a covid election. They wanted election that was about who stopped US getting sick not who's going to get us back to work and they succeeded in getting that they also wanted election that was focused not on labor, not particularly on policy, but almost entirely on just cinder. So if you the completely unscientific focus. Group in the Texas, you'd ask a taxi driver who you voting for, and let's say I'm voting for just under the all of a juicy. He reflects the Conventional Wisdom Abacha in Dorado and that her aggressive handling off covered and not to mention her response to the mass shooting of Muslims in in Christchurch earlier last year the gun control measures she put in place all that explains Justin, Dryden's remarkable political popularity. She's also received widespread global price for being a stateswoman who's kept New Zealand you nodded even in the face of multiple crises, your not fanned. Why? Well. First of all, I would agree with our choice just as remarkably popular and. This scenes from her election campaign were quite telling wherever she turned up. They were hundreds of people around her celebrating her. My experience with taxi drivers though is a bit different, maybe different taxi companies are us. Last The last few times I had known taxi drivers They complained that their businesses stoned at the city's undying out that we are not recovering properly from the crisis. That business is simply not what it used to be an typically detect Texas. Of course when I'm flying from Wellington to Auckland, and have to get to the CD and you can see the traffic in the city, the city looks kind of dead. We've got a massive challenge ahead on the economy in these eland, and that's why I haven't really seen much from the government in general plans of how to revive the economy and how to get us out of they have effectively beaten the virus now twice. But they haven't actually given us any clear indication how they're going to lift us out of this because the protections for public debts for unemployment. From monetary policy, they actually scare me when you look at them many New Zealand business figures share all of skepticism is fair Point Jersey. Yes, it is because the election really did focus on cousin who it was absolutely about who stopped US getting sick and so it was actually really hard to get any coherent debate about what is the plan B if we don't get a vaccine next year, what is the retail kind? So it was all very vague that staff and. You're right. All of you got different taxi companies to me to probably but another thing I heard in Texas a lot was all well if it's between wealth and health, I'm GonNa pick health and just send a picked health. Well, of course, you know we know that that's a false dichotomy it's not health or wealth. If you country is unable to trade and you borders closed long-term, then you're not going to raise the revenue to be able to have decent hospitals. You're not going to get your school buildings. Renovated and so on, and you're not going to be getting elective surgery and people are actually going to get unhealthy. So but it was no one wanted to hear that town that was the thing. No one wanted to hear a debate about next year they just wanted to know that. Anti Cinde was gonNA look after and that was it. Yes we'll enjoys does mentioned the vaccine just interested in like most western leaders frankly, she's pretty policy on the likelihood of a vaccine in coming months but the question here is what if a readily available vaccine if it ever happens what if it's a long way off I mean for how long all of our the present measures sustainable I mean, how long can you zeal and cut itself off from the outside world? Well I think that is actually a political question not an economic run from an economic perspective I. Think it would be desirable to New Zealand to the words more quickly but can do the safely. We can still have proper border to ensure that when we opened up to the word again, we do this without importing the virus. But I think the government sticks to the precautionary principle at the moment, and that's a political decision because the public doesn't want the government do anything outspent opinion polls before election showing that more than seventy percent of New Zealanders what actually like to keep the borders Morris close and these are people who probably don't have any immediate travel plans or maybe don't have any family abroad. Heavily business to do abroad, and so for them life is quite pleasant as long as they also keep their jobson New Zealand's, and so they would rather electric continue the status quo until that vaccine arrive. So it is difficult for the government to go against this when the public is. So strongly in favor of just keeping the border shut as they are but at some stage will just have to a because some the economic consequences of this some prolonged isolation are going to be enormous Jesse is point. Absolutely, you could not get a discussion out during the election campaign about elimination versus suppression of the virus, and so it was it was almost impossible to talk about the plan. B. If the vaccine doesn't turn up which let's face it, it's unlikely tuneup and be available next year so. Realistically the from left or the right of the political spectrum. It was really hard to talk about how long do our border stay closed, and those of us myself included who were trying to say, you know look closing the borders as a six month policy not a two year policy. He can't possibly maintain a closed border and keep trade going even though we can still export milk powder and so on. But the ability for our businesses to connect with the world and so on for us to travel is just not feasible but whenever I said that I would get attacked on twitter and everywhere for being the head of a capitalist difficult. So you could not get a good debate going about this even though the w eight show for example was saying, Hey, you know strict lockdowns and we've had very strict lockdowns for lockdowns are not the best approach if you're doing a cost benefit analysis on either health or economic growth.