It struck me this last week that one thing unites us all in this election, and it's fear.

You might think that's an odd claim to make, especially with all the party leaders and candidates trying to present a relentlessly smiling face.

But it's certainly fear that National's pushing to try and win another term. Fear that a Labour-led government will increase taxes every which way.

Farmers and landlords fear a change of government will directly affect their incomes. Hence the sight of farmers protesting in Jacinda Ardern's old hometown of Morrinsville.

Labour Party Leader Jacinda Ardern was in the sights of farmers this week in her hometown of Morrinsville raising fears about a water tax.
Labour Party Leader Jacinda Ardern was in the sights of farmers this week in her hometown of Morrinsville raising fears about a water tax.

Landlords, suspecting, quite rightly, that not many will sympathise with them about having to bear the costs of actually making the homes they rent liveable, have tried to sow fear that rents will skyrocket if Labour's elected.

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Then there are the fears of many ordinary New Zealanders, a royal mix of ethnicities and cultures, who are struggling in the same low wage economy.

And the retired couple who can't afford private healthcare but have experienced the public health system at crisis point, so underfunded that people are suffering needlessly.

Young people and their parents are fearful of what jobs are going to be available in the future, that won't be taken over by robots and automation.

The list of fears continues.

Prime Minister Bill English and the National Party is trying and win a fourth term pushing the fear a Labour-led government will increase taxes every which way.
Prime Minister Bill English and the National Party is trying and win a fourth term pushing the fear a Labour-led government will increase taxes every which way.

The housing crisis is simultaneously generating fears for homeowners and those locked out of the market.

If prices fall to where they need to be relative to wages, then current homeowners with big mortgages risk going into negative equity. But if they don't fall then a wealth divide along generational lines will persist.

Now that the problem has been created it's politicians who are scared.

Across the political spectrum there's an unwillingness to truly confront the realities of the situation.

Metiria Turei had the audacity to claim a while back that house prices needed to fall by a half.

No party is saying that now.

And then there's the most uncomfortable truth of them all, the fact that if the world is going to do anything about global warming there will be costs, which will challenge the very logic of our current economic system, and the way we move around, the food we eat, the kinds of work we do.

At some level I think most of us understand that we can't continue as we've been going.

As a country, and as citizens of the world, we are entering what is perhaps the most challenging period in all human history.

This brings me to the thing I fear most, which will determine how I vote when I walk with my family down to the Hikurangi School hall on Saturday.

It's that disparities of wealth and power will make it impossible for us to transition to a just, democratic and ecologically sustainable way of life.

Extreme inequality is not a strong base to meet the challenges of the future.

At this election there are parties who are promising to do something about the inequities being normalised in this country.

They are likely to be small steps, but they will at least be moving in the right direction.

Fear can turn to cynicism, pessimism, and at worst, hate, as we're seeing in America today.

I'd still like to believe in hope.