'It's a bit like a horror movie': New Zealand MPs 'scared' about US election

By Mark Mitchell, Isaac Davison

A world away from the looming US election, New Zealand MPs are watching with a mix of awe and fear.

"I'm like a lot of people - I'm a bit scared about it," National MP Chester Borrows told the Herald.

"I'm worried about Trump being elected as a president."

Borrows recently visited the USA, where he attended a law and religion conference in the conservative state of Utah. Traditional republican voters he spoke to "were scared stiff too".

"It's a bit like a horror movie," Green Party co-leader James Shaw said.

"I'm sort of glued to it but I can't keep watching."

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton watches the World Series baseball game today. Photo / AP
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton watches the World Series baseball game today. Photo / AP

Several MPs have witnessed part of the election campaign firsthand.

National MP for Bay of Plenty Todd Muller attended the Republican and Democrat conventions in July.

"I was absolutely struck at the Republican convention at how visceral their dislike of Hillary Clinton was.

"It was at a level that I'd never experienced in the New Zealand context.

"And then to see that replicated to a similar extent at the Democratic convention - not only their dislike of Trump but some Democrat supporters' dislike of Clinton - it was palpable."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Florida. Photo / AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Florida. Photo / AP

Given the opportunity, Muller would not say who he would vote for. But he said the range of political views within the parties was "extraordinary".

He considers himself to the right of the National Party. But in the US, "I'd probably be a moderate democrat", he said.

National's junior whip, Jami-Less Ross, also attended the conventions.

"We're so lucky in New Zealand that we actually get on well as politicians most of the time," he said.

"In the US, they just seem to hate each other and there's huge divisions between the parties.

"I hope that whatever happens they can actually function as a government and function as a congress and president working together.

Video

If he could vote, Ross would choose Clinton.

"Certainly for New Zealand, getting an outcome which sees a president which would be open to free trade, open to working with us as a country is what I think most politicians would be interested in."

Labour foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said he "had his fingers crossed" for a Clinton victory.

A Trump victory would make the world "an uncertain place for a very long time", he said.

"I would hope that he would surround himself with some very solid advisers and he'd listen to them."

None of the MPs the Herald spoke to said they would vote for Trump.

But some said Clinton was not a great alternative.

"Trump is just ridiculous," Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said. "But Hillary has a history that isn't so fantastic either."

National list MP Jono Naylor said he was "glad he was not an American".

"I think you just have to figure out what's the lesser of the two evils and I guess at the moment when you hear some of the things Mr Trump's said, Mrs Clinton might be the better option."

Asked for two words to describe the candidates, he said: "Please, no."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 03 Dec 2016 12:39:14 Processing Time: 32ms