New Zealand. The government coalition between the Labor
Party and its coalition partners, the more left-leaning
Alliance Party, went hard to show that the regime change at
the end of 1999 meant a clear change in the market liberal
policy pursued in the country since 1984. Decisions on
raising taxes for the 5% of the population earning over
60,000 New Zealand dollars. A review of the entire tax
system was also planned. At the same time, minimum wages
were raised (except for young people), and privatization of
state-owned enterprises was halted. More money was also
decided on care and education. The unions regained some of
the rights they lost in the early 1990s, including the right
to demand collective bargaining.
COUNTRYAAH, the right accused the government of burning the bridges
between themselves and the business community, claiming that
government policy contributed to a falling rate for the New
Zealand dollar, rising interest rates and reduced economic
In March, Clark's ministry withdrew an order of 28 combat
plans that the former Conservative government had ordered
from the United States. A month later, a decision was made
on another symbolic issue: the titles Dame and Sir, which
the British Queen gives to noted citizens, were abolished.
Few had any objections. In November, Helen Clark promised
that the country would guarantee that all import goods from
the world's 48 poorest countries would be exempt from
customs duties from July 1, 2001. She urged other countries
in the region to follow New Zealand's example.
Only in the 20th century did new political movements
emerge capable of fighting for power with the liberals who
had become a firmly entrenched and well-organized political
party after 20 years in power. With the broad support of the
working and middle class, the Labor Party became one of the
most important political factors in New Zealand.
Throughout the 1930's, the demands of the Maoris
increased again, thanks to alliances between groups of the
indigenous population and the Labor Party, which could
therefore rely on government for the first time in 1935, but
the Waitangi Treaty had not yet been officially recognized..
The influence of the United States is increasing
The second World War marked the beginning of a new era
for New Zealand. The inability of the English to offer
protection to their former colonies during the war pushed
Aotearoa to settle under the growing North American
influence, which, based on a number of political and
military alliances, consolidated its presence in the area.
In the 1950's and '60's, Aotearoa came to feel the cost of
these alliances, especially by being involved in conflicts
such as The Vietnam War, which seriously marked political
life in the country.
Legislation up through the 1950's meant that the Maoris
often had to move from their native territories, and in the
following decade they moved in large numbers to the cities.
This urbanization process meant greater contact with the
"culture and institutions of the strangers" and easier
access to an educational system that was also that of
During the 1970's, Aotearoa sought to make production
more diverse and to gain access to markets other than
English and North American. Unemployment rose, inflation
reached unprecedented levels as the attempt to diversify
production failed, due to the rise in oil prices and the
extensive foreign loans taken to finance major projects. In
1975, the value of exports dropped significantly. This
decline, together with foreign loans, led to a rise in
foreign debt. After 12 years in opposition, the Liberal
Party came to power in 1972, but lost the subsequent
election in 1975 to the Conservative National Party. The new
government shut down immigration, blamed for the high
The fact that the Maoris became increasingly militant led
to the creation of the so-called Waitangi Tribunal in 1975
to investigate the charges of violating the Waitangi Treaty.
In 1986, the Labor government authorized the Tribunal to
deal with complaints dating back to 1840. The Tribunal has
no penalty against the British Crown, so since 1992, less
than 15% of the court's recommendations have been met.
In the mid-1980's, Labuor regained power and initiated a
liberalization of the economy, with widespread privatization
of public companies, leading to a large part of the party's
traditional electorate feeling left behind.