On August 1st, 2017, the Labour Party leader, Andrew Little, resigned in favour of Jacinda Ardern. The leadership change came as a surprise to media commentators and political pundits alike coming as it did within 60 days of the 2017 General Election.
Andrew Little decision to resign was primarily the result of the inability of the Labour Party to make any inroads in the polls with the party averaging around the mid-20s in the latest Colmar-Brunton polls. While Little's leadership was, at best, lacklustre, his biggest problem was the failure of the Labour Party leadership as a whole to come up with policies that were likely to encourage voters to vote Labour.
Many Western countries are increasing the age at which a person can qualify for the pension. Generally, this has often involved moving the eligible age from 65 to 67. The argument for this has been due primarily to demographic considerations, as the baby boomer generation (those born between 1945 and 1965) reach retirement age, placing ever increasing financial burdens upon these bourgeois states and their taxpayers. At least, that has been the line fed by the governments’ concerned. While demographics certainly play a role, the real cause has been the neo-liberal (capitalist) policies pursued in the last thirty years, especially in countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
This perspectives document should be viewed as an addendum to the 2015 document. As the general processes outlined in the previous document are apparent in the present situation.
The New Zealand economy is still showing signs of weak growth of about 3% GDP per year in 2015. As previously explained the majority of the economic growth is a result of re-building earthquake ravaged Christchurch, property bubbles in both Auckland and Christchurch and economic growth not based on the productive sectors of the economy. Auckland's speculative property bubble is due to a shortage of housing and capitalist market failure to provide people with a basic human need – shelter. Auckland is not able to cope with population growth as a consequence of record inward migration.
John Key has announced that he his standing down as Prime Minister on 12th December. This has sent shock waves through the National Party. He stated family reasons and getting out whilst he is ahead. These reasons are flimsy ones and bears no serious scrutiny.
New Zealand's economic situation is changing for the worse, as the general crisis of world capitalism is unravelling and China's growth is slowing down affecting the whole of the Pacific and Austrialia in particular. Austerity policies are being carried out by the National Party-led government, undermining the political support for the right wing and creating the conditions for an intensification of the class struggle in the period ahead. This perspectives document should be viewed as an addendum to the 2014 document, as the general processes outlined in the previous document are apparent in the present situation.