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Dunne and New Zealand’s new political order

Published: Tue 22 Oct 2002 08:06 AM
Dunne and New Zealand’s new political order
United Future New Zealand Leader, Peter Dunne, tonight outlined his vision of a sea change in politics in New Zealand, saying understanding this is the key to understanding United Future and its electoral success.
Mr Dunne told an audience at the Eastern Hutt Rotary Club, “For the past 40 years, politics around the world has been defined by issues that arose in the 1960’s. You’ll recall President John F Kennedy and the New Avalon – the sense that if only people of good will came together, we could save the environment, conquer space, preserve our social and architectural heritage and live a more spiritual, less materialistic, consumer-driven lifestyle.
“These politics of the hopeful 60’s spawned three types of political reaction:
· the cause-dominated left who sought to become the conscience of the world over issues such as the Vietnam War, apartheid and nuclear weaponry;
· the single-issue fundamentalists of both right and left such as extreme nationalists, anarcho-feminists and environmental fundamentalists;
· and the traditional conservatives, who sought to preserve the trappings of the past, while simultaneously grabbing the riches presented by the technological/commercial boom.
“The trouble with these approaches are that they are shallow and lead to barren ends.
“For example, once the causes went away, the left was reduced to pursuing the sterile goal of total political correctness; the single-issue fanatics are blinded by their own tunnel vision; and the traditional conservatives have found themselves engaged in increasingly frivolous lives chasing meaningless trophies. One has only to look at the multi-billionaires in the America’s Cup syndicates for an example of that.
“President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair – and in our own country, Steve Maharey - all tried to address this political vacuum with the so-called “Third Way, an ill-defined effort to chart a new passage between the extremes of right and left. This is a temporary solution, not a long-term answer. It gave the left international success in the 90’s, but a new paradigm is emerging.
“I believe we are now seeing the death of ideological rigidity as the path forward in politics.
“The increasing complexity of life is forcing the voters to look to a new simplicity.
“This simplicity is based on recognising the cornerstone role of families; realising that societies and nations exist for a purpose, not just in a vacuum; the need for social markers, not shackles; and the role of heritage and tradition as guides to the future.
“The converse of this new approach is that it’s no longer good enough just to look back and seek to re-assert traditional ideological principles of the past. This is the political approach – recently espoused by the National Party - that says ‘If only people know what we stand for, they’ll vote for us’.
“The danger of this, as National has shown, is that the voters knew all too well what they stood for and shunned them overwhelmingly.
“Classic liberalism has always recognised the primacy of the individual – not as an isolated unit – but living in and being part of the wider community with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.
“If you understand that, then you can understand why United Future, with its policies of the primacy of the family, emphasis on individual liberties and community responsibilities, and plain commonsense, did so well at the last election,” concluded Mr Dunne.

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