Despite finishing second in the recent general election Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party will lead the next government of New Zealand after reaching an agreement with the centre-left Green Party and the conservative populists of New Zealand First. The move will result in New Zealand’s first government not led by the National Party since 2008 and as a result much attention has been paid to what the priorities of the next administration will be. In recent days Ardern has been more explicit in what her government will do and on the whole the Left should welcome the announcements, although there are some caveats that need to be added.
Last week I covered a news story about how Britain had recently passed a law that would retroactively pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men who had been prosecuted for ‘indecent acts’, also known as homosexual sex. At the time of writing I said: “work on this issue still needs to be done”. Admittedly I was referring to Northern Ireland and Scotland, but the same is true around the world; men convicted of the crime of having sex with other men should have those convictions overturned. For a number of years activists in New Zealand had been lobbying the government to get exactly that, and on Thursday the government agreed.
Since 2008 New Zealand has been ruled by the centre-right National Party and its leader John Key has successfully guided the party to three general election victories. In 2017 there shall be another election and the New Zealand Left is uniting in order to overcome the National Party. Based on current polling it looks unlikely that the National Party will lose in 2017 however the move is still the right one and work should begin to carve out an energised and united left-wing movement.
Despite the House of Windsor remaining popular with the British public there are major events afoot across the world that will challenge the final bastion of British influence over its former colonies. I believe that due to these events, which are going largely unreported, in the next few years the many nations across the world that recognise imposed symbols of British culture as their own will be a greatly diminished number.