Monday, December 28, 2015

New Zealand Elections (1996)

From the December 1996 issue of the Socialist Standard

The World Socialist Party (New Zealand) put up a candidate in the Wairarapa Electorate for the first time. It is not a big constituency in terms of the number of voters but it is spread over a very large areas. The WSP candidate obtained 27 votes. The area is a farming district and very rural. Wairarapa is located in the south-east of New Zealand’s North Island. Wairarapa is bordered by the rugged Tararua Ranges to the west, and the wild Pacific Ocean to the east. New Zealand’s first planned inland town was built in the Wairarapa at Greytown followed a few weeks later by Masterton. The electorate carried on past North Wairarapa from Mauriceville, Eketahuna right up to Dannivirke and Norsewood in Southern Hawke’s Bay, where early Scandinavian settlers established communities in the early 1870s.

To the majority of voters this would be the first time they had heard of the World Socialism Movement With a campaign budget of $2500, ten thousand election leaflets were produced and delivered by hand to households predominantly in Masterton and the smaller towns south of it In addition advertisements were placed respectively in the two community papers that cover the electorate over four weeks. The candidate spoke at four public meetings and one organised by the education sector.

Media coverage from the daily newspapers was small, a mere two to three sentences, or we were simply excluded and denied the opportunity to express and present our view alongside the other political parties. This was particularly the case with the Wairarapa Times-Age based in Masterton. Only after a protest did they place a small piece on the front page on the eve of the election. Too small and too late. As yet we have not received a reply to our letter asking why we were excluded from putting our case across alongside the six main parties.

The votes cast for the World Socialist Party candidate spread over all the electorate and showed that some workers at least were looking beyond capitalism, it is hoped that these voters will now wish to be involved in the serious struggle for world socialism. 

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