“Little isn’t listening.” That’s been the despairing conclusion drawn by the majority of the nation’s cannabis users over the past couple of years, as the total refusal of the Labour Party to take the issue seriously has caused many to switch off from politics entirely. Sentiments like these go some way to explaining why Labour is polling at their lowest level in over 20 years.
A change of Government at this stage of the electoral cycle is usually a procession for the opposition. After nine years of conservatism, which has left us with the world’s highest teen suicide rate, a completely dysfunctional mental health system and never-seen-before levels of homelessness, simply appearing competent ought to be good enough for Labour to win this year.
It’s likely that this has been Andrew Little’s strategy – appear as competent and steady as possible, and wait for the public to naturally swing to you as they start to desire an alternative.
The trouble is – and this is where Little is losing – is that his Labour Party doesn’t actually look like an alternative.
California legalised medicinal cannabis in 1996, meaning that New Zealand is already 21 years out of date on the issue, but the Labour Party website doesn’t even mention it.
The angry geriatric brigade might continue to dismiss the importance of the issue, but for the nation’s under-40s the cannabis law reform question is talismanic of the Establishment’s refusal to take their concerns seriously.
So when Andrew Little goes on television to say that cannabis causes brain damage, young Kiwis all around the nation drop their heads into their hands.
And then switch their vote to the Green Party. If one looks at the demographics of cannabis law reform voters in the 2014 General Election, it’s apparent that the bulk of them are young, poor, Maori and disenfranchised – precisely the sort of person the Greens had, until recently, neglected in their drive to the centre.
Last year’s policy change towards once again putting a high priority on the cannabis issue has attracted huge numbers of these otherwise disenfranchised demographics to the Green Party cause, and possibly even attracted some from Labour.
Young people are sick of having no recreational alternative to socialising with pissheads, and now that there’s clear evidence that cannabis can effectively serve as an alternative to alcohol there’s no reason to keep denying it to a New Zealand public that clearly understands the need for it.
And so, the Green Party has shot up to 15%, their highest ever poll result.
The hordes of morons living 20 years in the past will chalk this up to a coincidence, but the fact is this: cannabis law reform is a major issue for the under-40s, and by taking an intelligent and humane stance on it the Greens have rightfully gained some great electoral rewards.
For years, the issue has been sitting there as a soccerball before an open goal, with none of the cowards in Parliament willing to take up the issue.
The ridiculous Stephen Berry, mocked by our propaganda department for saying that ACT only cares about “the issues that matter to New Zealanders,” now finds himself a member of a party that is polling at 0.3% – lower than the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party at the last General Election.
This is the truth: no-one cares about gay rights any more. That issue is settled; it’s the politics of our grandparents. There are far greater grievances and injustices in New Zealand society, and it’s time to sort those out.
As long as the National Party refuses to consider granting respite to the nation’s 400,000 cannabis users, they will keep crying out for an alternative to the Fifth National Government.
And as long as the Labour Party refuses to listen to those crying out – and refuses to consider being that alternative – they will continue to fall in the polls.
The Labour Party ignores the need for cannabis law reform at its own cost, a cost that escalates the longer they do so.