3 Aug 2023

Missing in Action: Kingmakers, popular leaders, tax policy & something to believe in

From Caucus, 2:00 pm on 3 August 2023
Julian Wilcox, Lisa Owen, Tim Watkin and Guyon Espiner laughing in the studio as they record their election podcast Caucus.

Caucus Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

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The campaign proper is still weeks away, but the campaign in real terms is already in full swing. So Caucus is back.

What marks out Election 2023 as different so far? The Caucus team - Julian Wilcox, Lisa Owen, Tim Watkin and Guyon Espiner - looks at the lack of a potential kingmaker and the rise of set left and right blocs. Locked blocs, you might say. The minor parties are looking strong, while the latest polls show both major parties struggling in the 30s. It looks something like the first MMP election back in 1996, when the minors had more strength and both major parties lacked dominant charismatic leaders.

They discuss missed opportunities, flank parties and their tactics, plus the resignation of Revenue Minister David Parker, amidst Chris Hipkins' call to reject a wealth or capital gains tax. 

Chris Hipkins and Christopher Luxon

Photo: RNZ

New Caucus member Julian Wilcox even quotes Shakespeare, asking if Hipkins chose to tarry when he should have hazarded some policy. While Lisa Owen wonder if us voters are the problem, rather than the leaders. So rather than Shakespeare, she's quoting Seinfeld: 'It's not you, it's me'.

We discuss how the minor parties can cross both Chrises, look at Luxon's lack of appeal and ask if Hipkins is a Rowling or a Fraser.

A composite image containing four separate photos of the leaders of four separate minor parties, all taken while the leaders are answering questions from media: from left going clockwise, David Seymour from ACT, Marama Davidson and James Shaw from the Greens, Winston Peters from New Zealand First, and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi from Te Paati Māori.

Minor parties could hold the balance of power at this year's general election. Photo: Samuel Rillstone, Angus Dreaver

Join Caucus every week as they countdown to Election 2023. The podcast is out every Thursday afternoon and plays on RNZ National at 6pm each Sunday.