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Reflections On The 1999 General Election

REFLECTIONS ON THE 1999 GENERAL ELECTION

The 1999 General Election was a return to normalcy, rather than a radical change, Hon Peter Dunne, United New Zealand leader and MP for Ohariu-Belmont, told Tawa Rotary club this evening.

He said the 1999 election was not a landmark election like 1935, 1949, 1972, or 1984, but was more like the 1957 election where a Government that had simply run out of steam was replaced by the Opposition.

"Labour and the Alliance deserve credit for reading the public mood better, which was yearning for stability and certainty, ingredients sadly lacking in recent times."

"Their Coalition Agreement offers a positive start, but the real challenges lie ahead to make the agreement work and move forward to provide stable Government in the true spirit of MMP," said Mr Dunne.

He said the election result provided some interesting historical parallels and possible pointers to the future.

"The result while emphatic, was no landslide, and the winning margin relatively small."

"National has been left the best placed Opposition since 1957, having regenerated itself in Government with the 1990 intake now in clear control."

"By contrast, Labour still has to go through the regeneration process, with many of the same old faces from the 1984-90 Government and before still prominent," he said.

Mr Dunne noted that New Zealand has had long-periods of centre-right Government, punctuated by brief spells from the centre-left, while the centre-right recharges its batteries.

Her speculated this trend might be about to continue, drawing on the parallel of 1957.

"That year, an unelected Prime Minister called Holyoake heading a three-term Government was narrowly defeated by the remnants of the 1935 Labour Government."

"Three years later after putting taxes up, and spending huge amounts on social policy and industry assistance programmes, Labour was defeated, with Holyoake returning to govern for nearly 12 years and preside over an economic upswing that lasted most of the 1960s."

"Is history about to repeat itself?" he asked.
ENDS

MEDIA STATEMENT
UNITED NEW ZEALAND
HON PETER DUNNE, MP
Parliament Buildings, Wellington 1.
Ph (04) 471 9410 or (025) 469 808. Fax (04) 499 7266.
e-mail: peter.dunne@parliament.govt.nz. Internet Address: http://www.united.org.nz


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