Prime Minister John Key told United States diplomats all New Zealanders have a “socialist streak” and they secretly thought he was a “natural politician”, recent Wikileaks cables show.
Several US diplomatic cables from Wellington address domestic news and political issues.
Key met with visiting charge d’affaire Glyn Davies and told him National could not adopt conservative policies because a “socialist streak” runs through all New Zealanders, the cable said.
It’s useful to remember that a US charge d’affaire is not a therapist or a priest, and conversations with them do not give us a glimpse into the PMs soul. Key might just be saying this because it’s a useful thing to say to a representative from a very right-wing administration.
But lets say Key meant it. Are New Zealanders socialists? In the technical sense of the term, in which all economic capital should be owned by the state – no: hardly anyone in New Zealand endorses this ideology. In the rather loose, modern sense of the term in which anyone who doesn’t hold right-wing economic views is somehow ‘a socialist’, then yeah – most New Zealanders are socialists.
What the modern non-radical left actually believes in is welfare state regulated free market capitalism – but we haven’t come up with a catchy name for that yet so we’re stuck with being called socialists.