The much-anticipated youthquake in New Zealand politics has not happened, at least as was largely expected, where youths would be coming out in hordes and giving Jacinda Ardern led Labour Party an unequivocal access to power.
It was expected that this phenomenon of youthquake would be implying a shift of balance of power in New Zealand politics towards the youth of this country.
Indeed, what has happened is that Jacinda Ardern’s charismatic leadership has surely revitalised the Labour Party by increasing vote share from 24 per cent to a respectable 36 per cent and giving it a real chance to form the next government.
However, this is still short of the ‘youthquake’ that many were anticipating, where youths would have the balance of power in New Zealand politics.
In fact what has emerged after this election is completely ironical of pre-election expectations where the balance of power in New Zealand politics has become unequally consolidated in one person – who can be safely called as the ‘grand old man’ of New Zealand politics.
Both major parties are gearing up to woo Winston Peters – the grand old man of New Zealand politics, who have the privilege of holding the balance of power third time in New Zealand politics in the last two decades.
This is far more inconsistent situation than what Green’s passionate activists set out to change in New Zealand politics, and is regrettably happening under the very watchful eyes of Green’s newly elected young caucus.
For a very long time, the youths of New Zealand have complained love-lost with the political system sighting that the system is screwed unfavourably to accommodate their idealism and vision of an egalitarian world.
Today the Green Party, a Party of young idealists, with an overwhelmingly young caucus in the new Parliament is sitting right on the cusp where it could unleash the ‘real youthquake’ in New Zealand politics, only if it chose to capture the moment.
A real youthquake in New Zealand politics would be akin to youths or a Party overwhelming represented by youths, seizes the balance of power in New Zealand politics, which means having a decisive say who will eventually form the government.
Indeed, this is a privilege, and currently, Mr Peters is relishing this privilege.
However, this could easily be changed, only if the centre of mass within the Green Party caucus convinces its only co-leader James Shaw that they are ready to seize the moment.
By initiating coalition talks with the National Party, Green party can hope to do justice with both of its cherished goals – environmental justice and social justice, with youths getting the best from the old rear guard of the country.
The alternative option of continuing to play second fiddle to the Labour Party and surrendering to the demands of Grand old man of New Zealand politics for being in the government is neither helpful in the short term nor in the long term.