Heather Roy

22 January 2018

“It doesn’t matter who you vote for – politicians are all the same”

If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me … and it’s just not true. Policy differences between National and Labour instantly spring to mind.  Helen Clark’s policy to wipe the interest from student loans won her the 2005 election. Despite not reversing this, National would not have proposed this policy. Conversely, National changed employment law in 2008 to allow a 90 day trial period for new employees – there is no way a Labour government would put this policy forward and there are plans for them to abolish it now. In addition to these examples is the policy influence the smaller political parties have in return for supporting their major coalition and support partner parties. In short, it does matter who you vote for.

For those working in areas that are affected by legislation and regulation, knowing the political environment is crucial. So too is knowledge of how government works. Understanding the ideology of the different parties and being able to predict policy initiatives and direction are very useful tools in helping businesses and organisations prepare for regulatory change. Unfortunately many don’t recognize the importance of understanding the political spectrum.

TorquePoint, my business consulting company, runs a day long experiential learning programme called LobbyTorque. We focus on showing organisations how to lobby effectively and one of our sessions is understanding the political spectrum. We’ve started 2018 by planning a Knowledge Series that we’re putting on our TorquePoint YouTube Channel and the first in this vlog series is ‘The Political Spectrum’. Have a look at our take on how to best describe where the NZ political parties sit on the political spectrum:

Sometimes it is easy to predict what might change in the short to medium term. And sometimes allies emerge from surprising places, including in the political sphere. The best way to plan for both the expected and the unexpected is to know the decision makers in the political spectrum as well as you possibly can.